Did you mean?Try your search again
You should be fine in February as long as you are flexible and have a little bit of flux time. Most of the time there is spots for 1-2 on boats with the local tourists. I have never booked anything ahead of time and typically just see whats available and if I dont like it I just travel on my own via the lanchas to San Cristobal and Isabela. I dont particularly care for Floreana. There is a small hotel there I know but I have never stayed at it. Boats leave daily and cost $25 or $30. I like staying at La Jungla on Isabela, Sir Francis Drake or Espana in Puerto Ayora. I volunteer at Hacienda Esperanza when I am in San Cristobal, so I dont stay at a hotel. I prefer this to touring. I think Mar Azul and Casa Blanca are nice. I dont know what your budget is. I dont recommend doing cruises to these place as it would be rushed and its easy to go on your own.
Written Jan 1, 2012
It may seem strange to recommend Puerto Ayora and vicinity as "off the beaten path" since it is by far the largest town in the islands, with over 10,000 residents!
However, most visitors just pass through Puerto Ayora on the way to or from a boat tour. And generally they only stop for a look at Lonesome George at the Darwin Station, or maybe to buy a couple of tee shirts or check email at the internet cafe.
But if you can manage an extra day or a few days, try to spend them in this town, observing the rhythm of island life and enjoying the island. There is really quite a lot to do!
For example, you can head down to Pelican Bay right in town, where the fishermen come in with the daily catch. You can pick up a fish that looks good to you and then take it to a restaurant and ask that it be prepared for you.
Or you can catch a "panga" water taxi and head across the bay to Playa de los Alemanes to relax on the beach, Or maybe even go a bit further and spend some time on the lovely Tortuga Bay beach. It's a two-mile/ three kilometer walk.
The photo shows a shot of the town from the pier. The website below is from a commercial venture, but it has great info on things to do on the island of Santa Cruz. You can do any of these things based out of Puerto Ayora.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Tower Island, which isn't on all itineraries, is the northern most island in the archipelago. Here, one can see Red Footed and Masked Boobies and the Galapogos sub-species of Fur Seal. It is an experience you wont soon forget. Before booking a trip, see if they go here. As mentioned, not all trips include this island. It is highly recommended though.
When I went, I chose not to go as it was an option. It was because there was wading in waste deep water, or deeper. Now, many years later facilities have been made as this is no longer necessary.
Updated Feb 18, 2009
I think it's off season on the islands at the moment so finding a tour at the last minute shouldn't be a problem. Although, In my opinion, leaving out of Quito is fine, there is no need to go to Guayaquil. Finding a reputable travel agent.......of course always beware of companies with overinflated prices gouging tourists in Quito. One alternative is book directly with a local Galapagos company (not one of the international/Ecuador companies who have massive overheads). There are a couple local companies that I heard of which offer island hopping (as opposed to being stuck on a boat with other tourists for a week!). Volcanika Adventures is the only one I can think of at the moment, but there are probably others aswell, although I know for a fact that Volcanika is actually island owned which is rare down there. As to travel companions... the islands are a blast! You'll meet so many locals and other backpackers if you are into island hopping!
Written Aug 31, 2008
A lot of this page could unfortunately be considered off the beaten path since the tourist industry of the Galapagos Islands caters strictly to selling cruises. You are all but shunned if you ask about anything other than a three, four or seven day cruise as if that is all that exists. Sure, once you buy that they'll be happy to tack on anything else like a few days on Santa Cruz but if you ask about what you can do on the island you'll invariably be met with blank stares. You must be crazy after all to come all this way and not spend every penny you own to do a cruise. It's "once in a lifetime, " right? By their logic Isabella is off the beaten path despite being the biggest of the archipelago's land masses. So, prove them wrong and make sure to check out some of these great "off the beaten path" destinations. They are just as good as their more famous counterparts. They just happen to be free and the tourist industry can't sell you that, can they?
Most of all, wherever you are, keep your eyes open. There is wildlife all around you. You don't have to buy a tour to see many of the great sights of the Galapagos if you are willing to do a little of the work yourselves. Look and ye shall see.
Updated Apr 2, 2008
If you have done any research on the Galapagos Islands, you have probably seen this picture. It was taken at the top of Bartolome. When we went snorkeling, we went in the cove on the right (see picture). On the left cove, we were not allowed to snorkel. We were able to walk over there and evidently sharks like to frequent this area. They were right, I saw two Galapagos sharks trolling left and right (they seemed to be moving in a pattern). They got very close to shore (only about 10 feet from shore). You might ask how I know what type of shark it was? the naturalist was able to identify the shark by the fins. You could watch these two for hours. Really! I walked back to the right cove to grab some people...walked back to the left cove...and yes, they were still there! I believe those waters are protected for the sharks though. Just need to look at for those of us that like to look while staying out of the water.
I had to come back and edit this after a friend told me this story. So, I told my friend about the sharks in this particular area. She had been there in November and saw sharks mating in this same location!
Updated Nov 9, 2007
Let’s face it; the whole trip is off the beaten path!! Only a certain amount of tourists are allowed on any island at one time so it’s most likely you will have the whole place to yourself (and of course the sea lions).
You do need to stay on the designated paths in order to protect the wildlife and plants, but trust me, everything will come to you!!
The best thing you will do while you are there is to snorkel and swim. Apart from swimming with the Sea Lions, we swam with penguins, sharks (safe ones), sting rays and an abundance of colourful fish surrounded by the most amazing coral. The waters are the clearest I’ve ever seen. Don’t forget to bring an underwater camera!!
Written Aug 30, 2006
Most of the Galapagos might still be considered off the beaten path, but some tours skip this lovely island. Tower is a very low lying island and difficult to see until you are very close. At times the sea mist may completely obscure any view of the island and, unless your boat is equipped with radar, it may make it extremely difficult to find
Written Nov 10, 2005
If you find yourself on Santa Cruz Island, having seen the Darwin station and Puerto Ayora, and have some time I would suggest a nice walk to the beach. It is about a 30 min walk on a nice stone path (it seems really long the first time, so have patience). The beach is called "Tortuga Bay" and is found by taking a small road off of the main "Darwin Avenue", if you ask anyone they can tell you how to get there. The nice thing is that at times you may be the only one there. It has pretty good surfing (can rent boards for about $6 a day, but do so before leaving town since there is nothing out there at the beach), as well as a small bay if you walk around the tip where there are no waves and kids can swim. Take some water and food and maybe some shade or sunblock and enjoy a relaxing time.
Written Mar 18, 2005
If on Santa Cruz Island and have the time, take a taxi (about 30 min) to one of the most beautiful beaches, the "Garrapatero".........its a little ride, and not a surfing beach like "tortuga bay", but if you have time you will likely have this gorgeous beach all to yourself.
I decided to make a coke commercial!!
Updated Feb 27, 2005