advice for planed 20 day trip to Ecuador and Galapagos.
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jan 6, 2012 7:46 PM Last Post By: amokinsa
Jan 5, 2012 10:46 AM
So I have just under two weeks to get from Quito to Guyaquil. I'm thinking of spending 3 days in and around Quito (maybe take in the market at Otavalo), then bus to Banos for 3 or 4 nights, on to Cuenca for a few more days, before heading to Guyaquil. (maybe fly from Cuenca to save a bit of time?)
For now, I've decided not to do a boat cruise in the Galapagos, manly due to the high cost, and It seems I can have a good time and see quite a bit of nature from one or two islands being land based. I may change my mind if I discover some last min. deal.
Other than pre-booking a place to stay in Quito, so I have somewhere to go when I get off the plane, I was pretty much going to play it by ear as far as accommodations go. Is that a bad idea for the Galapagos? Should I pre-book somewhere? I don't need anything fancy, maybe just a step above the basic hostel type accommodation.
Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.
Jan 5, 2012 8:29 PM
1I'm assuming you're headed to Puerto Ayora and staying there the whole time. If so, the vast majority of the hotels are on the main drag or a block from it. As long as you're not arriving on a holiday (or right before one) or on a weekend or some other special events that brings in a flood of tourists (more than usual), you should be fine.
But I would still poke around online (ThornTree, tripadvisor.com, etc) to get a feel for the places you want to stay at though. Note that if you decide to reserve a room, a lot of places don't take credit cards so you'll have to wire money from Western Union, use PayPal, or something else.
Jan 6, 2012 6:39 AM
2I'm not sure if I will stay in Puerto Ayora the whole time. Would it be possible to spend some time in San Cristobal? Is flying from one island to the other the only option for getting there? (other than booking a cruise).
Jan 6, 2012 6:54 AM
37 days in Puerto Ayora would be a bit much. Santa Cruz is the most populated and expenive of the three big islands. What I would do is fly there, hang around for 2 days, see if a last minute deal comes up, visit the Darwin Centre and Turtle Bay (both free) and the twin craters in the highlands of Santa Cruz. Then take a boat to Isabella or Cristobal (there are daily ferries, about 2 hours rough boat ride) and explore those islands for a couple of days.
I haven´t been to Cristobal, but heard good things. I think it is much more developed than Isabella, because they have an own airport, some cruises start from there and they also have the capital city of the Galapagos.
Isabella really feels like a Pacific Island, very relaxed, and plenty of stuff to do, gorgeous beaches.
I wouldn´t worry about hotels in Puerto Ayora, there are a lot of them and local families also rent out guest rooms for cheap. Maybe you shortlist a few hostel options and then shop around when you are there. If you book in advance, you will definitely pay more and have to make a downpayment...
Your itinerary Quito-Baños- Cuenca- Guayaquil makes perfect sense. In the time available, I´d say you can easily bus it and flights are not necessary.
Jan 6, 2012 8:17 AM
Thanks, I think your advice sounds good, staying just one or two nights in Puerto Ayora and then going to either Cristobal or Isabella. Then I could head back to Puerto Ayora for one last night before my flight back to the mainland. With just one week, I probably won't try to visit both Crisobal and Isabela, but just pick one.
Jan 6, 2012 9:50 AM
5Definitely, just pick one island. That's what I ment. Not sure with which airline you have your ticket with. I think TAME allows to fly into Santa Cruz, and flying back from Cristobal. That way, you could go to Cristobal and fly back from there...and wouldn't have to take the boat back to Santa Cruz.
Jan 6, 2012 10:29 AM
Jan 6, 2012 12:34 PM
7Thanks again! My flight is already booked to and from the Galapagos (to Santa Cruz) so I don't know if I could change it to fly back from San Cristobal. In any case, it sounds like Puerto Villamil on Isabella would be a good place to spend 3 or 4 nights after my initial couple of days in Puerto Ayora).
I arrive and leave the Galapgos on a Monday, and as far as I know, there are no holidays during that week, so I think I'll just look for some accommodation when I get there.
Jan 6, 2012 1:13 PM
Jan 6, 2012 7:46 PM
9My opinion... don't worry about "spending a bunch of days in Puerto Ayora," ie., basing yourself in Santa Cruz for most of your trip. I spent 5 or 6 days there (cheaper than a cruise!) and STILL did not have enough time for everything I wanted to see.
Although your trip to Isabella will require half a day there and half a day back (so, 2 days traveling for the most part), you can book most everything else on the fly along the main thoroughfare in Puerto Ayora. Here's a quick outline of things you might consider while based in Pto Ayora...
Santa Cruz itself will take up two full days (see everything mentioned by the others in previous posts). You can also book day trips (which DO require the entire day for travel & touring) to the nearby islands of Floreana, Santa Fe, Bartolome (and San Salvador if you can fit it in). Trying to get to San Cristobal would require flying since you don't have enough time to go by boat with your schedule. Hope that helps your planning.
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