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Michael M USA
Very nice trip indeed! We got to see flora and fauna that I have never seen before. The guides were informative and friendly. Both Spanish and English were spoken fluently.
Well worth it! Why? Title is misleading. There is a 3 hour tour of Tortuga Bay, then a 2 hour lunch break, then another 3 hour cruise (with snorkeling and mask provided free) followed by another beach tour. On the downside, because I misunderstood, I showed up in a bathing suit and coverup at start of trip! ARGH! Highly frowned on, but I honestly thought the entire thing was a 1/2 day boat tour of both Tortuga Bay and La Loberia! So wear tee shirt, shorts and good hiking shoes for first round of trip (which also includes a refreshing swim in Tortuga Bay, so make sure you wear your bathing suit under your hiking clothes), then enjoy lunch and get ready for a great time in the afternoon. The staff was SUPERB! They do speak English but most of your tour mates will speak Spanish, the primary language of the guides. It is worth studying Spanish for a couple of months just to understand and communicate with your tour guides and tour mates. I HIGHLY recommend this! Had no clue I would get this kind of value for my money! Hotel pickup fast and easy; Eduardo in Quito confirmed and doubled confirmed my hotel pickup. There is, however, no "drop off" but guess what? Puerto Ayora is only about 1/4 square miles, so walking back from the main docks (directly across from the only real grocery store) to your flat or hotel is easy as punch. There's no such thing as getting lost in Puerto Ayora. This tour was a great and FULL day of fun and adventure!
I was very impressed with the number of locations this tour took us on. We were picked up at our hotel by a bus and after we had picked everyone up, we traveled to the starting point for Tortuga Bay. You could have walked to this point from most any point in Puerto Aroya but it was nice to travel as a group, especially since I was traveling alone. It was a long walk to the beach and once we were on the beach we still had a ways to go until we got the the small cove. The weather was rainy and overcast, but as we entered the cove, it was automatically sunny. I would have never found this area without a tour guide. The tour guide also gave information and answered questions on the way. The guide spoke English and Spanish and spoke both languages to the group. We stayed at Tortuga Bay for about an hour or so then we were dropped back off at the end of the pier or at the hotel for a 2 hour lunch break. After lunch we had a new tour guide that took us on a small boat. The weather was a bit rough so we got as close to La Loberia Island as we could do so safely. I really didn't see the sea lions very well. I thought we would get to walk on La Loberia Island or snorkel around it but we didn't. This is my reason for rating it 4 stars instead of 5. They really should not use La Loberia in the title of this tour since it was such a small part of the tour. We traveled to La Playa de los perros which was full of the marine iguanas. This was a nice sight. We also saw the Canal de Amor and the white tipped shark reef- unfortunately the water was all stirred up from the choppy water and we couldn't see the sharks in the water. They also took us to an area where we could see the blue footed boobies. We stopped to snorkel. There were many sea turtles at the location that were so close you could touch them not advised. There were some colorful fish, but unfortunately the water was a bit murky from the weather. Finally, they took us to Las Grietas. I really wanted to go there and did not know it was on the tour so I was very excited. We had a short walk to Las Grietas and then we had about 30 minutes or so where we were able to swim if we wanted. As a whole, it was a wonderful tour and the guides were very informative and nice. Many of the places could be visited without a tour guide but since I was traveling alone it saved me a lot of time and worry by going on the tour. I had a very short amount of time to see Santa Cruz Island and I saw almost everything on this one tour. Totally worth the cost. It also says it is a half day tour, but we did not return to the pier until almost dark, so don't plan on getting another tour or activity in on the same day. When they pick you up in the morning, you should already have your bathing suit on under your clothes, but be prepared to walk quite a bit. The path to Tortuga is a nice paved path, but some of the other paths are a little more rocky. I had tennies shoes and sandals to wear. You may also want to rent a wet suit from your hotel some people said their hotel did that or a local business because the water is pretty chilly. Be sure to have cash if you plan on tipping the guides and boat captain. I tipped pretty well because the boat captain especially was very helpful while I was snorkeling. There are a lot of travel agencies on the main road, Charles Darwin, so you do not have to book ahead of time, but I highly recommend this tour if you want your trip adventures already planned before you get there. Most places on Galapagos only accept cash, I can't speak for the travel agencies but that is another bonus to booking ahead of time with this tour. I did not have to worry about bringing much money which is always a plus when traveling. I did a lot of research for my trip and I really wasn't sure what to expect so I hope this helps. Don't forget biodegradable sunscreen-they didn't check if it was biodegradable, but let's keep the Galapagos beautiful!
We sorely missed having an English speaking guide as we were promised. The guide gave us the wrong time for the second part of the tour ( or our translation was in error) which caused us to miss the yacht cruise entirely. We also had difficulty contacting the company (mostly due to holiday hours) so we unsure when to be ready to go in the morning. Loved the hike, the bay and especially the blue-footed boobies. A better explanation of what to expect would have been helpful.
I cannot believe Viator would permit the local tour operator to offer this tour as a "yacht" excursion. Perhaps others were fortunate enough to partake of the tour on a yacht, but my daughter and I were not so lucky. Where the description of this excursion states the vessel will be a yacht, the vessel used in our trip was a single-deck, single out-board engine transporter, equipped with no bathroom, and with a posted passenger limit of 16 (similar in build to the water taxis used in the harbor at Puerto Ayora). The guide spoke some English, but directed most of his commentary to the 14 or so passengers who spoke Spanish. I grew increasingly nervous when I saw the behavior of the boat's captain, who clowned around, standing on the outboard engine, joking and entertaining the crowd in Spanish, while operating the boat.
In addition, I don't know how our guide expected us to sustain a four-hour trip without restroom facilities - so I suspect he planned on allowing those passengers who wanted to snorkel to go to the bathroom while they were swimming. That was not a viable solution for the four of us who chose not to swim.
I am also concerned that the captain set off with 18 passengers, in a boat that was marked with a capacity for 16 passengers. This excursion fell far below what I have come to expect from Viator. If nothing else, the title of this excursion should be changed to reflect that no yacht is involved.
Extremely disappointing experience. This is an overpriced tourist trap. We booked this cruise based upon a previous review and Viator's reputation. Our " Yachi" turned out to be a wobbly modified water taxi or an old speed boat, whichever comes first. Our snorkling experience lasted 15 minutes and on our way back, about 1000 yards from the shore, engine was cut and our guide pulled out a satisfaction survey which one of the other passangers filled with a chuckle. Whole process had an effect of a "shotgun wedding" and was extremely inappropriate. We were dropped off at the docks around 12:30PM and were told we would be picked up back at 2PM for a trip to Tortuga Bay. At that time we boarded a bus and five minutes later we were at the entrance to a walkway which leads to Tortuga Bay. It's about a 40 minutes walk but at the end we found ourselves on one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches anywhere. We stayed for a couple of hours and walked back bypassing our tour bus.
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