Sunday, March 02, 2014
Galapgos Islands Trip in February, 2014
3/1/14 The 8 day boat excursion in the Galapagos Islands occurred at the end of our 5 weeks in Ecuador. I am going to tell you about it first, because it was the main reason I wanted to go to Ecuador, and also it is perhaps the part of the trip of most interest to people. We have been back in the USA since Feb. 18 and have been so busy getting back into the RV lifestyle and taking care of accumulated chores, that I haven’t had time to write until now. My apologies for the delay. On Feb. 9 we had a very early flight from Quito to Baltra, one of the 2 airports in the Galapagos Islands. The islands are about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and the flight there costs $495, round trip. It was arranged by Cometa Travel, the agency we used to book the yacht we stayed on, called The Angelito. This 16 person yacht (with an 8 man crew) was specifically recommended to us by RV friends Rick and Kathy Howe, who had done this trip years ago when they were RVing through South America. They were quite impressed with Maja Homberger, the naturalist, and they suggested that we make sure that she would be the one to lead our trip. Maja is Swiss, married to the Ecuadorian owner of the yacht, and she not only speaks excellent English, but is an amazing naturalist as well. Any trip in the Galapagos Islands is pricey. The Angelito is considered a mid-level yacht and the cost for the 2 of us for 8 days, plus our flights, was $6460. Despite the “mid-level” label, we would rate our experience as outstanding. I’m not sure that a more costly yacht would have provided anything superior to what we had with Maja and the Angelito Baltra airport was built by the USA during WWII to help protect the Panama Canal. After the war it was turned over to the Ecuadorian government and has been the main airport for the islands until recently. The procedure upon landing at Baltra is that everyone has to show a passport, pay $100 per person in cash to the National Park person, and show the $10 tourist transit permit which had to be purchased at Quito airport before the flight. Ecuadorians pay less for the flight and also for the park permit. Here is a picture which greeted us at this airport.