Galapagos Islands

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June, 2017

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Recently went to Galapagos with Celebrity on the boat called Xpedition. I have to say that before going I was very wary as I had a lot of trouble with Celebrity’s administration. The trip I chose was a week in Galapagos followed by time in Peru and trying to ascertain exactly what was included was a nightmare. The brochure tells you to look online, easier said than done, most of the links do not work! Phone calls by our travel agent did not help, one person said all inclusive throughout, another said no food provided in Peru. Another bugbear was trying to ascertain the luggage allowance for the flight from Quito to Baltra, the brochure states 13 kg with no explanation about what to do if you need more. A phone call to Celebrity was little help, they were not sure but they thought we could leave a case at the hotel in Quito and collect it somehow before going on to Peru.

When we got to Ecuador prior to our flight to Galapagos we were told the flight allowance was 20 kg but also that ALL liquids/sprays and electrical items had to go in hand luggage, none in the hold at all. This meant very heavy hand luggage (which was not weighed). This was so cases could be inspected by authorities apparently. The flight was a charter and okay, only just over 2 hours.

The ship was small and cabins very small but reasonably comfortable. Each day we moored off an island and travelled by zodiac to our destination for the day. Not the most comfortable way to travel but the only way available. You have to be quite agile to get in and out of the zodiac, especially when it is choppy. We did see a lot of birds, marine iguanas, crabs, sea lions and penguins. To see the marine life you have to be reasonably good at snorkelling and the water in June is very cold. All equipment for snorkelling is provided. Food was good on the boat and price included all drinks, coffee, water, tips. There was internet access but slow as per most boats. In order to avoid damage to any cameras we took large sealable plastic bags to put them in during zodiac rides, these bags were also handy to put wet shoes in after a wet landing on some islands. They strongly recommend neutral coloured clothing to avoid attracting insects to you, apparently the bugs like bright colours! It did get rough as the week progressed and one day we were unable to get off as it was too dangerous, in fact the ship lurched so much at dinner a lot of glasses fell and smashed in the dining room, quite scary. It is pretty noisy on the ship when they drop anchor and lower the zodiacs, gets you up in the morning quite early. There were mainly Americans on the ship with about 14 Brits out of the total of around 100 passengers. Most people were around retirement age with just a few children and their parents.

I have wanted to do this trip for a long time and somehow it left me a bit disappointed, it was VERY expensive and I felt that we did not see as much wildlife as I had hoped. I am aware that wildlife does not automatically appear but the numbers were small in comparison with my expectations (which may have been unrealistic). Is it not true that the more you travel the harder it is to be impressed?


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