Galápagos and Tip Top IV

This item appears on page 30 of the August 2011 issue.
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For our 30th wedding anniversary, my wife, Janie, decided she wanted to tour the Galápagos Islands. After quite a bit of research on the Internet, we booked with Galápagos Travel (Aptos, CA; 800/969-9014). We could not have chosen a better organization.

Our 11-day trip, March 17-28, 2011, cost $5,200 each (not including international air to Ecuador) plus $418 each for the round-trip flight from Quito to the islands. We flew home from Quito on the 30th.

Galápagos Travel sent us informative materials, a helpful checklist and the indispensable book “A Traveler’s Guide to the Galápagos” by Barry Boyce. They answered all our e-mailed questions promptly, and everyone was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. We felt they were committed to our having as fine an experience as possible. They actually called after our return to ask how things had gone.

Our hotel in Quito before and after the cruise was the Grand Hotel Mercure Alameda — quite comfortable.

Galápagos Travel handled all our transfers. It was a pleasure to be taken through the intricacies of baggage check-in by efficient people who knew what they were doing.

In the Galápagos we boarded the Tip Top IV, operated by Rolf Wittmer. We were very impressed by the crew. The cabins were clean and well maintained. Meals were very good, and there was a decent selection of inexpensive wines.

Transfers from the ship to the pangas (skiffs) for the rides to the islands were made skillfully and safely. The guides were knowledgeable and informative, making our visit to this unique place incredibly interesting.

Additional costs for us were our bar tab on the ship ($160 for wine and beer) and tips to the crew ($220) and guides ($200).

Fourteen strangers at the start of the trip became a pretty congenial group by its conclusion. Galápagos Travel’s agent in Quito arranged for an end-of-trip dinner for the group at a restaurant with a stunning view of the city.

DENNIS EDDINGS
Salem, OR

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

For our 30th wedding anniversary, my wife, Janie, decided she wanted to tour the Galápagos Islands. After quite a bit of research on the Internet, we booked with Galápagos Travel (Aptos, CA; 800/969-9014). We could not have chosen a better organization.

Our 11-day trip, March 17-28, 2011, cost $5,200 each (not including international air to Ecuador) plus $418 each for the round-trip flight from Quito to the islands. We flew home from Quito on the 30th.

Galápagos Travel sent us informative materials, a helpful checklist and the indispensable book “A Traveler’s Guide to the Galápagos” by Barry Boyce. They answered all our e-mailed questions promptly, and everyone was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. We felt they were committed to our having as fine an experience as possible. They actually called after our return to ask how things had gone.

Our hotel in Quito before and after the cruise was the Grand Hotel Mercure Alameda — quite comfortable.

Galápagos Travel handled all our transfers. It was a pleasure to be taken through the intricacies of baggage check-in by efficient people who knew what they were doing.

In the Galápagos we boarded the Tip Top IV, operated by Rolf Wittmer. We were very impressed by the crew. The cabins were clean and well maintained. Meals were very good, and there was a decent selection of inexpensive wines.

Transfers from the ship to the pangas (skiffs) for the rides to the islands were made skillfully and safely. The guides were knowledgeable and informative, making our visit to this unique place incredibly interesting.

Additional costs for us were our bar tab on the ship ($160 for wine and beer) and tips to the crew ($220) and guides ($200).

Fourteen strangers at the start of the trip became a pretty congenial group by its conclusion. Galápagos Travel’s agent in Quito arranged for an end-of-trip dinner for the group at a restaurant with a stunning view of the city.

DENNIS EDDINGS
Salem, OR