Galapagos vacations, Ecuador

“This sailing trip was made for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history and geology; if you love all four, you won’t want to come home.”

Highlights

Galapagos Islands on board a motor sail catamaran | Santa Cruz Island | Charles Darwin Centre | Bachas beach | Sea turtles | Santa Fe Island | South Plazas Island | San Cristobal Island | Espanola Island | Galapagos giant tortoises

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Date
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07 Jul 2018
US $ 3255
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21 Jul 2018
US $ 3255
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18 Aug 2018
US $ 3255
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01 Sep 2018
US $ 3255
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15 Sep 2018
US $ 3255
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29 Sep 2018
US $ 3255
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13 Oct 2018
US $ 3255
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27 Oct 2018
US $ 3255
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10 Nov 2018
US $ 3255
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24 Nov 2018
US $ 3255
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08 Dec 2018
US $ 3255
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Galapagos vacations, Ecuador

Accommodation & Meals:
The majority of the trip is spent sleeping on a first class, motor-sail catamaran called Nemo II which is an environmentally aware vessel. Whilst expedition cruising in the Galapagos there are tight regulations in place to prevent ecological damage to the National Park. For instance, glass is recycled and plastic waste, burnt oils and other non-biodegradable waste is sent back to the mainland for disposal. All cleaning products (like shampoo, detergent and soap) are biodegradable. These waste management efforts helps to protect the islands fragile eco-system. Staff are also employed locally both in Quito and the Galapagos, therefore providing benefit to the community.

Community:
The Galapagos is renowned for its incredibly unique wildlife and conservation efforts. We try to make as little negative impact on the environment and wildlife as possible, but also to leave a positive impact in terms of community and local economy. We hire guides and drivers from the area, meaning that the state of local employment and economy benefits. Although much of this tour is spent on board the boat or in nature, wherever the opportunity arises clients are encouraged to use local businesses and to engage with people they meet in order to promote positive cultural exchange.

Conservation:
We support visits to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the ecology of the islands and carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Entry fees help contribute to all the work going on here by improving demand, facilities and creating employment opportunities for scientists. We are also careful to adhere to National Park guidelines, which, amongst other things, ask that we keep a safe distance from wildlife at all times.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

2 Reviews of Galapagos vacations, Ecuador

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 02 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Swimming with giant sea turtles and being woken up at 2.30am to watch a volcano erupt!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you take closed walking shoes and suitable walking attire(shorts/lightweight trousers). Also take sea sickness tablets, even if you think you won't suffer! I'd also recommend an underwater camera. Also, pack light, there is very little room in your cabin to store much more than a holdall.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Although the places we visited were largely uninhabited when we did visit towns the guide did try to direct us to local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely amazing!

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Plenty camera space and underwater camera.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good.

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