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Value Galapagos: Budget cruising in the Enchanted Islands

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It doesn’t have to break the bank to spend a whole week’s cruise observing the unique fauna of Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. You’ll sail on a small motor cruiser offering the informal atmosphere favoured by those who prefer the laid-back approach of smaller craft to the larger luxury vessels. You will have ample opportunity to make new friends among people with shared interests. In addition to landings on the islands you will have the opportunity to snorkel or swim with sea-lions. Travel by night and awaken next day with a new island to discover.

Travel to Guayaquil, on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, and fly to the Galápagos Islands. Spend a day relaxing in this congenial town of Puerto Ayora before embarking on a cruise to see the greatest wildlife show on Earth. It was on a similar trip 200 years ago that Darwin returned to the archipelago to write the seminal book ‘The Origin of the Species’. Step into his shoes and explore the diversity of land and marine life which inhabit these enchanting islands. You’ll have the opportunity to observe a wide range of bird, mammal, reptile, insect species in a hugely contrasting variety of natural habitats, not to mention a plethora of exotic flora. The twisted lava, dense forests and white sand beaches are a great attraction too as are the snorkelling and swimming experiences.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Guided city tour of Guayaquil.

Day 3

Fly to the Galápagos Islands and embark MV Cachalote Explorer for your cruise.

Days 4-9

Land excursions from the cruise around the Galápagos Islands.

Day 10

Fly to Guayaquil, connect with international flight home.

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What our experts say

This holiday was created for people who would love to visit the Galápagos Islands without spending a hefty sum. The Galápagos’ remote location means that it has traditionally been a fairly expensive destination, so I think it’s great that this holiday opens up this incredible archipelago to people whose budget is a little tighter.

Isabelle

Isabelle Mazille

Product and Marketing

Places visited on this holiday

Value Galapagos: Budget cruising in the Enchanted Islands

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Guayaquil
Until quite recently a scruffy Pacific port with a dubious reputation, Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city is a newly emergent commercial and cultural centre, showing off freshened up plazas and boulevards, a charming waterside malécon (promenade), good hotels and trendy restaurants. Always a flamboyant place in comparison with the upland cities, it has a vivacious atmosphere. The river Guayas is chock-a-bloc with boats jostling for space, some laden down with tropical fruits and sugar cane, others offering transport to distant villages. The historic quarter of Las Peñas nearby is an arty district with a tumble of toybox multicoloured houses, galleries and bars.
When to go

Guayaquil is a hot, humid place where the temperature seldom dips below 28°C all year round. Heavy rainfall can be expected from Jan-Apr but hardly any outside this period.

Language

Spanish

Getting local currency

Ecuador uses the US dollar. There are a number of banks in Guayaquil. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs using a UK credit or debit card, but the permitted withdrawal may be a lower amount than at home.

Time difference

GMT -5 hrs.

Combines with

The Galápagos Islands, 1.5hrs by air; the southern upland city of Cuenca, 175km (2hrs 40mins by road).

Getting there

Average flight time is 12 hrs. There are no direct flights from the UK to Ecuador, popular routes to Guayaquil involve a change of plane in Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid. The city is a 50min flight from Quito.

Key events

Fiestas Julianas:  Guayaquil, 24-5 Jul.  Parades, fireworks, beauty pageants and other events to celebrate the city’s foundation and Simon Bolivar’s birthday.
Dia de Independencia & Dia de Raza: Guayaquil 9-12 Oct.  Various cultural events.

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Galapagos Islands
Sunset on the islands

The Galápagos Islands.  There’s something magical about the name - they are, of course, known as the Enchanted Isles  - and they sit adrift of mainland Ecuador in isolation in the Pacific Ocean, for centuries far removed from the influences of mankind. Up to the middle of the 20th century only a colourful array of pirates, whalers, convicts, eccentrics and fishermen dropped anchor on their shores.

Born from volcanoes thrusting their way through the surface of the waters, the clutch of alternately sun-baked and misty islands of twisted lava, jagged cliffs and scrubby forest seem an unlikely habitat for wildlife. But a phenomenal array of trusting bird and reptile species, not to mention undersea marine animals, have settled and evolved here, to the delight of visitors from Darwin onwards.

Watch the lumbering giant tortoises, nesting albatrosses, flirting frigate birds, comic boobies, wrinkly iguanas and frolicking sea-lions from a cruise or land-based adventure. Climb a volcano, kayak to a white sand beach or swim with hammerhead sharks:  so many unique experiences to get involved in are at your feet.   

When's the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

At any time of year some of the fauna species will be breeding, nesting or in some other way particularly active. The climate is not extreme and even in the wetter months the rain usually only comes in afternoon showers. Dec - May the weather is hot with warm, calm seas and more chance of showers. Jun - Nov it is cooler with morning mist and choppier, colder seas.

What's the official language of the Galapagos islands?

Spanish

What is the official currency in the Galapagos Islands?

Ecuador uses the US dollar. The bank in Puerto Ayora may offer advances on a UK credit or debit card but you are well advised to bring US dollars cash sufficient for your needs on the islands with you.

What is the time difference between GMT and the Galapagos Islands?

GMT -6 hours.

Which other countries combine well with the Galapagos islands?
A land tour on the Ecuadorian mainland; the Inca archaeological sites of Peru (daily flights Quito to Lima 2hrs 20mins).      
How long is the flight from Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands?

Flight time from Quito is 2-3 hours, 1.5hrs from Guayaquil. Quito flights normally touch down in Guayaquil.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

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Please note
Explore the dates and prices of this unique holiday to Latin America.

Due to flexible pricing and minimum room night requirements during peak times (such as New Year, Carnival and Easter) we may not always present all the dates we have available.

If your ideal travel date is not shown, call us on 020 8747 8315, or click on the 'Make an Online Enquiry' button to the right.

Prices exclude international flights at the beginning and end of the trip.

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Value Galapagos: Budget cruising in the Enchanted Islands

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The total price above excludes international flights at beginning and end of your trip. To add flights speak to one of our experts on 020 8747 8315.

Value Galapagos: Budget cruising in the Enchanted Islands

11 days from £3,867pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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