Booking the Samba for a Galapagos Cruise
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Oct 5, 2012 8:16 AM Last Post By: ztsipapu
Oct 1, 2012 8:47 AM
Booking the Samba for a Galapagos CruiseI've read many positive reviews of the Samba, and I would like to either book that boat or a similar one with a similar itinerary. Three questions:
1. What other boats/operators offer something similar – a "nicer" or "higher-end" tourist class boat that isn't necessarily first class or luxury? I'm open to shopping around.
2. How would I book the Samba (or something similar) from either Quito or Guayaquil? I will be visiting both cities well in advance of when we'd like to depart. When I was in Quito in 2008, there were a lot of tourist offices in the Mariscal, but maybe I'd have to go somewhere else now? And from Guayaquil I have no idea.
3. How far in advance can one book these boats? I'd be booking it a few months ahead of time.
Oct 3, 2012 3:28 PM
1well I can't offer any advice about the boats, but I did notice that you can book a tour on Samba through Happy Gringo, and they may be able to offer you more information about each of the different boats:
So far my experience with Happy Gringo has been very positive. I'm using them to arrange my amazon trip. They have been very outgoing and helpful.
Oct 4, 2012 8:02 AM
2Thanks for the suggestion. I'm always a little skeptical (perhaps unnecessarily so?) of booking agencies with names like "Happy Gringo." It just seems like there's going to be some kind of unnecessary markup that I could avoid by connecting with the boat operators directly, you know? Perhaps I'm wrong and this is pretty much the only way to book aside from going to Galapagos and finding a boat after I arrive?
Oct 4, 2012 11:21 AM
3yeah I'm not a fan of the name either, a little cheesy, but they do get good reviews. You are probably right that there would be a markup, but I'm not sure how else to go about avoiding some kind of agency if you want to ensure a spot on a specific yacht. If you wait to catch a last minute deal in person on a boat, there's no guarantee it will be the one you want. But if you are going to be in Quito in advance of your Galapagos journey, perhaps you can find a better deal in person with an agent in the Mariscal or maybe you can contact Samba directly and ask about any promotions or deals they may have: http://www.sambagalapagos.com/
Oct 4, 2012 5:36 PM
4I used the happy gringo for several side trips when I was in Ecuador last year and was very happy with them. Very professional, and great service.
Oct 5, 2012 8:16 AM
5The Samba is indeed a terrific boat. In my opinion, its NW itinerary is among the best there is. (It offers 2 snorkeling opportunities off the island of Marchena, making it the only boat that stops there!) The guides are generally top-rated as well. We're planning a return trip in 2013 and the Samba was one of our top 2 choices.
Another boat that is locally owned, falls in the tourist superior category, and gets good reviews is the Angelito, run through Cometa Travel. The guides are often the owner-operators too, so they are especially motivated in providing a high-quality experience.
trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/
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