minute Galapagos - dare you risk it? If you can find
including international flights, and have the freedom to leave work,
home and responsibilities at very short notice, the answer is probably
yes. Last minute cruise deals can be a real bargain, saving
money or alternatively giving you a Galapagos cruise in more luxury
than you could otherwise afford. However, there are pitfalls
avoid with last minute deals.
it until the last minute to book your cruise can lead to disappointment
if there are no offers available even at
full price, so don't leave it too late. If you have
of time in Ecuador, you can shop around for a last minute deal once you
are in the country.
If your Ecuador travel time is limited I would recommend
your cruise before you arrive so as not to miss out. Bear in
that the starting days of cruises are fixed by the National Park, so
don't expect to arrive in the islands and find a cruise
the exact day you want.
cruise deals are a great option if you have the flexibility in your
schedule, BUT make sure you know what is excluded from the price.
cruise deals rarely include the National Park entrance fee of $100 or
the control card fee of $10. Look out for other omissions
special offer packages. What appears an attractive
cruise deal can turn out to be very costly if you have to pay for
water or are charged for all excursions. Package offers
ever include alcoholic drinks, or tips, whether they are last
minute deals or not.
cruise boats vary in size and quality. See tips
for choosing a Galapagos cruise boat
to ensure that your
last minute cruise deal really is good value for money and the boat
the facilities you need. Be aware that operators may switch
boats, so make sure you know the category of the boat you book, in
order to insist on an equivalent or higher category, or a refund, if
your last minute deal turns out to be not what you paid for.
discounts on Galapagos flights are unlikely as the flights are
usually full, if not with cruise passengers then with locals travelling
to and from the mainland. Galapagos
prices are around $460 to $510 in the high season and $425 - $500 in
season. Remember to budget
to the islands if they are not
included in the
and take this cost into account when comparing last minute cruise deals.
cruise don't hang around for long, so be ready to act fast if you find
one - know the availability on international and domestic flights, and
be ready to make a payment immediately. You may be surprised to learn
that not all travel agents and tour operators in Ecuador can accept
credit cards, so being able to pay at least a deposit, if not the whole
price, in cash, could be what clinches you that last minute cruise deal
if you are already in Quito.
if there are no last minute offers
published, the economic
climate does have an impact on Galapagos tourism, so it is always worth
asking for a discount in case agencies are experiencing lower
than usual demand for cruises. Be realistic in your
can only find a 4 day cruise on a last minute deal, rather than a
week, remember the option of a few days before
and / or after your cruise in one or more of the Galapagos
hotels for day excursions, beach
time or hiking. The Galapagos Islands have an interesting
history to explore, fascinating volcanic geology to admire and of
course endless opportunities for wildlife photography.
may be available on hotel
nights, if you've found a great
deal on the cruise of a lifetime, but cannot get flights to or from the
islands on dates matching the cruise.
in the Galapagos Islands without booking anything, as the authorities
will require the name of your cruise boat or hotel on arrival - they
have lists. Don't think you can get away with saying you are
with friends on the islands", either, unless you actually are, because
on a small island everyone knows everybody else.
have everything you need and are ready to travel in order to take
advantage of special last minute prices. See tips on what
to take to Galapagos and buy or
prepare travel clothing and luggage
check the Galapagos
Climate Calendar and Wildlife
pages for an understanding of weather conditions and animal behavior at
different times of the year before deciding on your last minute
Galapagos cruise deal.
Spanish Vocabulary for finding last minute cruise deals in the
Last minute cruise deals and tips on avoiding the pitfalls of booking
Galapagos last minute.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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