More about your Oliver Guide: Caren Orum
Trip Type: Family
Ideal Trip Length: 7 day boat trip plus travel days
TO & FROM
Do it better than us! (We booked late and didn't have a lot of options.) We went SFO-Houston-Quito with a stay over; then on to Guayaquil and the Galapagos. If I had to do it again, I'd fly to Guayaquil and stay over there. The altitude (9,500 ft.) nearly killed us in Quito. It was nice to see the city but not enough to make up for the lack of sleep/oxygen. Our boat-mates who stayed in Guayaquil had a great stay there. It's actually the biggest city in Ecuador. When looking at itineraries, don't forget Copa Airlines (a partner of United).
- We booked through Geo Ex. They were fantastic and handled all of our land arrangements, guides, etc. The tour company who ran our boat is Eco Ventura. They have three boats: the Eric, the Letty and the Origin. The Origin is the newest boat in the Galapagos and is AMAZING! All three of these boats hold 20 passengers and about 11 crew members. The Origin is very high service (I'm sure the others are too). Our cabins were spacious and were cleaned three times a day, and there was laundry service which proved essential! My cousin was on a boat called the Eclipse (40 passengers) and loved it. That boat is being renovated right now, so it will be worth checking out. Everyone thinks their boat is the best, but ours was! :) Did I mention it's brand new and has a hot tub?? :)
EAT & DRINK
- All of the food was inclusive on the boat and it was delicious. Super high end/gourmet but plenty of flexibility for the kids. There were kids who had nothing but hotdogs and pasta the whole week. They were super accommodating. Cocktails available all day. Full bar with bartender...what's not to love?
- The itinerary on the boat is active with morning and afternoon excursions. We did not skip any of the island excursions. You see something new every time. GO!
- The passengers on the boat were terrific and a few have become friends we'll see again. By nature, people who take this trip are active and interesting.
- There's a lot of activity, so would recommend this trip for families with kids over the age of 7.
- You don't necessarily need a "family" itinerary. Depending on the time of year, you can count on kids being on board, but don't hesitate to ask your travel provider to find out if there are other kids who are booked to come and their ages.
- If you're traveling with a large family group, or older relatives, the National Geographic or Silver Seas might be a good option as these boats are bigger, have more amenities and usually medical staff.
- Pack clothes that dry quickly.
- Bring a TON of sunscreen.
- Quito. Unless you don't mind altitude, I don't think it was worth being there.