This page is a recent addition to this website and it is based on 2 recent personal conversations I had with people who had recently been to Galapagos and did not get the experience they expected. It is important to note that of these people were NOT booked through Galapagos Adventures and their tours were booked through two different agency.
Important Question 1; What kinds of wildlife am I going to see on this trip?
General background information - Galapagos is a large archipelago with many islands. All the islands are different from each other and to see the whole archipelago requires a 14 night cruise. Most people do not book tours this long so most people do not see all the islands. Because every island is different, you will see different kinds of wildlife on different islands. Therefore every day you are in Galapagos you will see new things. What you see on your tour is determined by which islands/sites you visit during your cruise. There are also seasonal variations so to see a specific thing sometimes it requires you to travel to a specific island during a specific time of year.
Personal conversation # 1.
In May of 2019, I was on a yacht in Galapagos. There were 6 people traveling with me and 10 others who were on the same yacht but had booked their cruise through a different agency. 6 of these 10 were on the yacht for just a 3 night cruise.
On the first night of the trip, one of the 6 – 3 night passengers made the statement “I can’t wait to see the giant tortoises – do you know when we will see them?” I asked her how long she would be on the yacht and she stated for just 3 nights. Sadly there were no visitation sites during the time she would be on board the yacht that had giant tortoises. When I inform her of this, she was very disappointed and made the following statement - “Why would they sell me a tour that didn’t have what I came here to see?”
Of course the answer is simple – she didn’t know to ask and the person she bought her tour from either didn’t know or didn’t care or didn’t ask what it was that she wanted to see while in Galapagos. Sadly she left Galapagos without ever seeing giant tortoises.
Important Question 2; How many times have you personally been to Galapagos?
General background information - Even though Galapagos is located directly on the equator there are seasons in Galapagos and only way to really know Galapagos is to go there numerous times at different times of the year. All too often people who are selling tours to Galapagos have only been to Galapagos once or twice and some of them have never been there at all. These people are strictly sales people looking to earn a commission on a sale with little to no knowledge of Galapagos.
Personal conversation # 2.
I was recently hiking in western NC and I was wearing a “Galapagos” hat. A fellow hiker stopped me and asked “Have you been to Galapagos? We went last year”. Our conversation turned to the topic of Galapagos and during the conversation he stated – “Boy were the seas rough. When we first got on the yacht there was what we thought was a bowl of “candy” on the table but as it turned out the “candy” was Dramamine tablets. 2 hours into the cruise several of the passengers requested that the yacht return to port where they disembarked and skipped the cruise entirely”.
I stated wow you must of gone in late August or early September to which he replied, “how did you know that?”. I said "because that is what the seas are like that time of year. If you had traveled 6 months earlier or later the seas would have been flat". I asked him “Didn’t you know the seas were going to be rough when you booked the trip?” to which he said “no, no one told us or we would have gone at a different time”.
Most likely in this case the person who sold him the tour simply did not know the seasonal variation that occurs in Galapagos and was unaware that the seas were going to be rough. Of course it also could have been that the sales person withheld this information in order to close the sale and earn the commission. In either case, this client was not given a critical piece of information he needed in order to make an informed decision before booking his tour.
To make sure you have the experience that you are expecting while in Galapagos, you should make sure you book your tour with an experienced Galapagos tour operator that knows Galapagos and is sincerely interested in making sure you to have the best experience possible. You should NOT book your tour with a sales person who does not know Galapagos and who’s only concern is in closing a sale and earning a commission. Asking these 2 simple questions will help you differentiate between the two.