We had a truly fantastic time in the Galapagos. Many thanks to you and Lucero for finding us the Beagle, and for helping us get to Isabela at the end of the cruise. We understand that you both spent a lot of time working on our trip and we really appreciate it. Here are a few points of feedback on Puerto Ayora, The Beagle, and Isabela, which will hopefully be helpful to you for future passengers.
PUERTO AYORA Overally, we enjoyed our time in Puerto Ayora. Following Lucero's recommendations, we visited Tortuga Bay Tuesday afternoon and really enjoyed that. We brought snorkeling gear, but the visibility was terrible so we spent most of our time walking around on the lava rocks near the beach where there were lots of iguanas, crabs, and some blue-footed boobies.
On Wednesday we went diving in Academy Bay. The only other group going diving that day was going to Gordon Rocks, and we are not advanced enough to go there. Wednesday we took a water taxi across to Playa de los Allemanas and Las Grietas, which was fun. We stayed in Puerto Ayora. We ate at several restaurants on the street with lots of kiosks, including Tropicana and Familiar William's which were both very good.
THE BEAGLE The Beagle is a beautiful boat, very well-maintained, with excellent service. The food was good and they made special items when necessary to accommodate Barron's food allergies. Our cabin was lovely and comfortable, the staff professional and helpful, and our guide Camilo was warm and knowledgeable (it was his first time on the Beagle). Contrary to what we were told prior to the cruise, the Beagle has good snorkeling equipment (mask, fins, wetsuits) available at no cost to the passengers.
The itinerary for the second half of the cruise was different that what we were told by the operator. Here is what we actually did: Friday -- Charles Darwin Research Station and highlands Saturday -- Floreana Sunday -- Santiago and Bartolome Monday -- Genovesa Tuesday -- 6:00 a.m. panga tour around lagoon at Tortuga Negra, then to Baltra by 9:00 a.m. We really liked this itinerary and felt that we saw a nice variety of things. They have a lovely brochure (titled "Islands of Fire: The Beagle") with great pictures and detailed boat info, you might want to request a copy to show future customers.
ISABELA We *loved* our time on Isabela. Thank you for coordinating with the Archipel to split the cost of the flight, and thanks to Lucero for all the great ideas for activities. The flight itself was lovely, it was wonderful to see the islands from above. The activity coordinator at La Casa Marita was really helpful, and even though we weren't staying there she included us and organized two days of trips for us, along with other hotel guests. We went to the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Chico, and really enjoyed it, it was beautiful and unusual scenery.
We chose not to ride horses, and the hike was long but fine. Unfortunately we were put together with a very large group, most of whom were riding horses, and walking right alongside them was sometimes difficult. The next day we went to Cabo Rosa, and it was *FANTASTIC*, perhaps the best thing about our entire trip to Ecuador. La Casa Marita helped us find a boat captain who was willing to take us (group of 7 people). It was a 1.5 hour, very choppy ride to get there and he had to navigate the surf and dangerous lava rocks on the way in, but he did so beautifully.
Cabo Rosa was the most stunning and strange landscape we saw in the Galapagos: lagoons with really clear water, lava bridges, collapsed lava tunnels, and lots of cacti. Just walking around, we saw a penguin and turtles swimming in the lagoons. While snorkeling we swam with a sea lion and several huge sea turtles, the other people also saw eagle rays. I think that's it. Please let me know if you have additional questions, and thanks again. Katherine