Booking Your Galapagos Island Trip
It is important to book your trip to the Galapagos in advance, as tours here are often booked solid especially during peak tourist season. Also, it is vital to remember that traveling to the Galapagos is not cheap. In fact, a cruise to the islands can go as high as US$ 900 during the ‘high season.’ If you wish to travel here, a good idea is to use a travel or a tour company, so that you can have a hassle-free all-inclusive vacation package without having to bother about a thing.
Basically there are three types of tours to the islands; day tours with night stays at the same hotel, hotel tours which allow you to stay at various island hotels and boat tours where one spends the night aboard a cruise boat. To avail any of these tours, your safest bet is to make an advance booking and reservation two to three weeks before your trip, so that you only have to confirm your plans before traveling. This is key because public transportation to the Galapagos is very limited and expensive, plus touring the islands without a guide can often be a huge waste of time, if you do not know what you are doing.
Also keep in mind that most boats traveling around the islands have fixed itineraries, so if you catch a late flight or miss a boat, you can get stuck in one place for quite a while. Additionally take care not to get stranded in Puerto Ayora for more than one night, as a couple of days is more than enough to see the entire town.
Most day tours in the Galapagos are based in Puerto Ayora. However, some tour operators do arrange trips from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, but they tend to be quite pricey. While these tours are fine if you want to avoid spending too much time on a boat, the downside is that you do not spend a lot of time on the islands themselves, as there are a number of islands to visit. It is also better to opt for a slightly expensive day tour option that lasts a week, as these kinds of tours offer you the entire Galapagos experience.
Hotel tours are pricier than day tours, but they give tourists a more complete island vacation. Plus, they tend to be more hassle free as they include airfare and park fees as well. But if you are looking for the best way to explore the Galapagos, then a boat tour is ideal. Not only are they convenient, but they have quite a good standard as well. Avoid opting for a short boat tour. Instead a two week cruise is perfect as you get to visit even the outlying islands. You can arrange for a boat tour either locally or in advance, but keep away from cheap vacation packages as they mean cramped boats and poor service.