28 independent reviews for Galapagos adventure holiday

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 10 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So much to list! I think snorkelling ith the turtles on Galapagos and having humming birds at my finger tools feeding from a nectar pot.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go with the flow! Itineraries may change due the nature part of a tour. Let your guide be the judge. Pack a less than you think you'll need for various activities/weather. Boat travel better with lighter bags.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Most definitely on Galapagos. Our guide was very good at distributing tourist business. Eating away from the hotels to give business to various restaurants/ businesses. Travel in transport big enough for the group but not too big. Using local transport companies and local transport.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Unbelievably fantastic! All enhanced by the fantastic guides we had in Quito, Galapagos and Bella Vista Cloud forest!

review 25 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I spent a week riding in the Andes and a week sailing round the Galapagos Islands. Both weeks were fantastic - well organised, knowledgeable and friendly guides , good accommodation, plentiful food etc. I was very lucky with the composition of the 2 groups - very friendly and good humoured travelling companions!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The sun is very strong - wear gloves for riding to prevent sunburned hands. Alcohol in Ecuador is very expensive - so make the most of duty-free shopping!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We stayed in a comunity village project in the Andes. Also, the riding holiday leader (Sally) is involved in charity projects in Quito and I was able to leave behind spare medications etc for their use.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic!

review 31 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Galapagos cruise was the highlight of the whole trip! Snorkelling with the sealions, sitting on the beach with curious baby sealions waddling up to sniff your hand and the amazing close up contact with the animals in Galapagos -- all these experiences will stay with me for a long time!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring seasickness pills!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely! The crew on our boat are all local and I believe the boat is local-owned. Our naturalist is very good at educating us about the fragile environment in Galapagos and what we can do to minimise our impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This has to be one of my best trips ever!! Highly recommended! The Galapagos has to be on everyone's bucket list!

review 11 Jan 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

No single element. My wife and I each had different high points but we shared the overall impression that it was a great experience. We had the good luck to have a group in which everyone got along and helped and supported what others in the group wanted to do. Best of all was probably the local organizer who had people on location ready and able to manage every conceivable issue that could come up. As old folks (ages 74 and 83) we chose to pass or go slowly on some of the more strenuous aerobic activities but it was so well organized that we felt perfectly free to do what we felt appropriate, had support staff to hike more slowly and not go quite as far as some, and neither our doing less or most others doing more interfered with anyone else's holiday. We were pleasantly surprised by how well they were able to help us fulfill individual special requests.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We found it to our benefit not to fly from mainland Ecuador to & from the Galapagos with the group but to book that travel on the same ticket and with the same airline (LAN) as our flight form home (in our case flying from New York JFK) to & from Ecuador. It gave us international instead of domestic baggage allowance and lower cost for the mainland - Galapagos legs than splitting the ticket. The only liability was having to take our own cab from the Quito airport into town when we arrived an hour later than the rest of the group.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Probably.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We feel we've had many 5-star holidays but this was certainly one of them.

Read the operator's response here:

We're delighted the Coifmans had a great time on the Galapagos Islands with us. We're experts at tailor making tours and always do our best to accommodate client's needs. The Coifmans elected to arrive to the Galapagos two days earlier than the group and so built in extra time for delays but also incurred extra costs. However, we recommend that people travel with the group flights; if any independently booked flights are delayed/cancelled the group cannot wait and activities can be missed, and all costs to book new flights/catch up with the group are then the responsibility of the client. If independently booked flights are not the same as the group flights, which is very likely, then clients must accept costs for transfers from the Quito hotel to the airport and within the Galapagos as well as from Quito airport to the hotel at the end of the trip. Quito airport is a 1.5-2 hour drive from the Quito hotel we use. We are happy if people wish to book their own flights but this carries extra costs and risks that using the group flights negates. The main thing is that the Coifmans had a great time!

review 22 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We hiked the Inca trail; catching sight of Machu Picchu through the cloud as we approached was spectacular! We also visited the Galapagos and were amazed by the abundance of wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is cold at night on the Inca Trail; bring thermals and a good sleeping bag. Also bring waterproofs; it is likely to rain!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly benefitted local people; guides, local restaurants etc. The only disappointment as far as environmental impact was concerned was the number of internal flights required.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very enjoyable. Would recommend

review 25 Mar 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling with the wonderful under-sea creatures - as well as scores of beautiful fishes, I swam with marine iguanas and sea turtles. Plus the kayaking was a high point for me.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take lots of dollars (I took $300 which was seriously too little and had to borrow from a kind fellow member of the tour group)and take a credit card as well, not a debit card on a checking account, as these aren't popular with the ATMs in Galapagos. Practice each unfamiliar activity if you can before you go so as to get off to a fast start.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Indeed. We saw several instances every day where money was going directly to local people and to the tortoise-breeding centres. We were constantly reminded about environmental impact, e.g. the hotels have water dispensers so you can refill your water bottles for free rather than buying new plastic bottles, and don't use flash photography near wild creatures. Money from tourism is helping local people to become less dependent on farming non-native species, which is also good for the Galapagos habitats.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

100%. The best holiday I ever had. A special thank-you to our Guide - Pepo - whose is inspirational and very good at encouraging beginners in the various activities.

review 31 Jul 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling with sea lions

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Try to avoid Quito and fly via Guayaquil

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An incredible experience and privilege like no other

review 26 Jul 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

At first thought I would say the Bryde whale and her baby playing along side the boat but then well maybe swimming with the penguins! Let me think again, the sea lions were amazing and did they out do the hammerhead sharks and sea turtles or was it the mammoth tortoises? The trip was sensational from start to finish! After day one we said that if we saw nothing else we would be content but everyday new and wonderful experiences!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The trip was indeed an action holiday. I would say be ready to participate fully - there is so much to see!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All of the above!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This holiday was my gift to my daughter for her 21st birthday! I would say the best birthday ever!!

review 29 May 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Pretty much all of it - it was fantastic. Maybe snorkelling with sharks and meeting a great group of people. A wonderful, passionate guide.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Fly back from Guayquil rather than go back via Quito. All international flights that leave Quito go via Guayquil.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. I think there could have been a much clearer vision for recycling on the Islands rather than relying just on the ethos of various tour groups.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The Best Ever. Literally.

review 29 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

How to choose, sea lions nibbling your knees, boobies all over the place nothing disturbed by our presence, swimming with both sharks and sea lions the fantastic crew and the food on board.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take loads of suntan lotions and memory sticks and just enjoy.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The guides certainly were completely whole hearted about the conservation of the islands which would not happen except for the income from the tourists

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

First class.

review 3 Oct 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It is really difficult to pinpoint one particular highlight or activity. For me, every day was a "highlight", not only because of daily changing activities and scenery, but also because of our daily discoveries of new endemic species (in both flora and fauna). The marine life however is definitely one of its kind! Special was also getting to know the life story and legacy of the Wittmer family - a German family migrating to the "wild" and uninhabited island of Floreana in the early 30ies, their contribution to local development and the environment, their struggles, successes and much more. Staying in their hotel (which is still run by them) and reading Margaret Wittmer's book "Floreana" (which, if bought in their hotel shop will be signed by Erika & Inge Wittmer but also be stamped with the famous "Barrel Mailbox Stamp") was not only moving, but also enabled me to much better embrace and understand Galapagos life.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light - you got to move your luggage quite a bit between mainland and boat and also open it at every stop for inspection (laundry services are offered on every island and are fairly priced). Bring lots of small US$ dollar notes Ė everyone is hesitant to provide changeÖ Even though Galapagos is an amazing and attractive all year round destination, be mindful of your trip objective and pick your travel time accordingly not to be disappointed. Be flexible -nature (i.e. the weather) determines your rhythm and activities and not your itinerary. Our guides daily words: always carry sunscreen, drinking water, your camera and a rain jacket ?

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely Ė unlike ship based travel through Galapagos where the majority (if not all) of the money stays with the tour agent and shipping company, we stayed in local owned and run hotels, ate in local restaurants local products - moreover our local tour guide ensured intercultural exchange and interaction. We were also encouraged and asked not to buy drinking water in plastic bottles but use refillable and re-usable bottles filling it from water fountains. Our guide was very knowledgeable and considerate of the local ecosystem and ensured that we would not disturb any wildlife or destroy any fauna.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a fantastic holiday in great company with a lot of varying, fun and interesting activities, in a fascinating, unique ecosystem, leaving me with many amazing and unforgettable impressions but also greater awareness and knowledge about the evolution of our planet. Everything was extremely well organized and smooth.

review 15 Apr 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There was ample opportunity to see most of the wildlife the islands are famous for, and to be able to get some amazing photographs.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Itís a great opportunity, go in March or April. Although there is more likely to be rain, the wildlife is at its best.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All the accommodation etc was operated by locals ensuring money went to the people that lived there. The national park fees also generated an income to help maintain the islands.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An excellent 10 days, we had perfect weather throughout, it was well organised and the guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

review 10 Apr 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Watching a pelican fishing from the black volcanic rocks next to the white sandy dunes of Isabella island, in the western part of the Galapagos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If going to the Galapagos in the wet season be prepared to get soaked in downpours and for it to be difficult to dry clothes out. It is not cold or unpleasant to be wet but take dry clothes and a separate bag to put wet stuff in - particularly if, like us, you are travelling around a lot with little time in one place to give stuff a chance to dry out in the humid weather. Also wear a wet suit in the water, even in the wet season when the water is supposed to be warm - there are cold currents around and swimming into them is unpleasant without a wet suit on.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I think local people in the Galapagos do rely on tourism there to a considerable degree and tourists are welcomed and are of great benefit to the conservation of the islands - if they act responsibly i.e. have proper regard to waste disposal, try to think about not wasting electricity and don't interfere with the animals or their habitats.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Extremely good Ė the operator was very helpful in getting us properly advised about the trip in advance and the local operators for Quito and the Galapagos were superb. Nick, Tim and Crystal did everything they could to ensure people had a good time and took great trouble over many minor details that contribute significantly to overall satisfaction. The guide they assigned to our group, Zambo, was also excellent- knowledgeable and caring.

review 5 Dec 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with sea lions, giving up my seat on the plane for a virgin in a box.....religious statue being transported! Flora and fauna.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just do it - fantastic holiday, mixing the wildlife and amazing area with human history of the islands as well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely fantastic.

review 27 Nov 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The abundance of wildlife everywhere, the pristine water and the absolute scarcity of any obvious signs of pollution. It made me feel so much more optimistic about the future of the planet, at least in this small, beautiful corner of the globe.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Sunblock, hat, long sleeves... the Galapagonian sun is a killer if you happen to be a pale skin!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, I'm certain a land based trip has a greater positive effect on the local economy. I was thoroughly impressed by the efforts our guide went to to reduce any negative impacts our presence had on the wildlife and environment. From the refilling of water bottles to minimising any harassment of the wildlife or impact on the local flora and marine life. Our guide had an obvious deep respect and enthusiasm for these islands and the environment and that was very impressive to witness. This attitude is so sadly lacking in many other beautiful places on this planet.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fan-****ing-tastic! Feel free to bleep out that middle bit if you must ;-) 4.75 stars (to say it's the BEST holiday I've ever been on is too big a call... but it's certainly up there!)

review 11 Jan 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with rays, sharks and seal lions.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You do not need binoculars. Do not take too much clothes with you.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Benefited local people -yes, impact on the enviroment - some.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic.

review 22 Aug 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling with penguins and sea-lions.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack light- there is a lot of moving from island to island. Take your own diving mask the boat ones don't fit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent.

review 31 Aug 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The highlight for me was definitely the snorkeling, especially when there were sea lions about. I never thought I would be so enthusiastic about swimming with sharks!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take an extra pair of hiking shoes/trainers in case of muddy walks. They take a long time to dry out!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Most definitely. Constant effort was made to remind the group of the importance of taking care of the islands and how to reduce our impact on the environment. Local services were used throughout.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A trip of a lifetime!

review 5 Jul 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkling with sharks, seeing a green turtle as soon as we got off the boat, the views of the volcano and seeing something new everyday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Learn some Spanish before you go

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Incredible.

review 8 Jan 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The fabulous wildlife in Galapagos, our terrific guide (Pablo) and the really great bunch of interesting people with whom we shared our vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You will be busy from sun up until sun down!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. Definitely. We stayed and ate at establishments most visitors to Galapagos (who go on cruise ships) miss.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fabulous.

review 15 Dec 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being able to see and get close up to the endemic animals of the galapagos, most notably the blue footed booby, marine iguana, giant tortoise and the humble Galapagos duck.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The water in early November was cold for long snorkling sessions - you need something in addition to the wetsuit provided. Pack a light wind breaker - spray on the boat and light rain. Underwater cameras are a plus.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes but then the Galapagos national park is very well organised.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a great holiday. Lived up to expectations for the wildlife.

review 10 Mar 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

1) Meeting the people featured in the book Plundering Paradise and our very knowledgeable guide Minino. 2) The adventurous side....bike ride, snorkeling, hikes. 3) Fellow travellers and their wit and sense of adventure and camaraderie.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be flexible and open.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. I would have preferred to eat at a bigger variety of places, though perhaps the good and reliable choices were limited. Loved the local feel of the places we stayed and ate.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent choice; really liked the land-based way to do it.

review 10 Dec 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It's difficult to pick out one thing as I really enjoyed snorkelling with the turtles, walking on the volcano and just enjoying island life. My husband would say snorkelling with hammerhead sharks!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack lightly but make sure that you take a windproof jacket as it can get quite chilly in the evenings. Also the water was very cold for snorkelling and I wish that I had taken a full wet suit with me to the other islands as I got cold very quickly in the water.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, the tour was run by a local company and employed local people on the boat. We used local guides at all times who were charming and very enthusiastic & knowledgeable about the islands. We also stayed at small hotels and ate at the local restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a great time on the Galapagos. I really enjoyed the different mix of actvities and enjoyed staying on the islands themselves rather than on the boats. I felt that we had more flexibility by staying on the islands and got much more of a flavour of what life is like for the locals.

review 2 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

When I first saw a blue footed boobie and Lonesome George!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Sea sickness tablets, and remember that you are on a boat. Also if you have your own fins and snorkelling gear it is worth taking!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a fantastic experience. I would also recommend staying a couple of days in Quito which is an amazing city. I would suggest Hostal de la Rabida in Quito, an oasis of tranquillity and they have a beautiful cuddly rabbit called Brownie!!! :-)

review 2 Jun 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming and playing with Sea lions and Penguins.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This multi activity holiday is just that with little down time. Some of the walks are long and include hills. There are also long trips 2 to 3 hours on small boats between islands.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

This particular holiday ensured that the local community were involved with tourism using locally hired guides, drivers and boats. We discovered that some cruise based holidays to the Galapagos were not so inclusive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The Galapagos Islands are something you must experience. This holiday gave a small group (13) of like minded people the opportunity to enjoy the island's wildlife and scenery. Accompanied by a local guide with great English and a passion about the Islands and their welfare. A MUST DO holiday!

review 11 Feb 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with sealions and turtles. Plus amazing scenery and beaches.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Beware itís a pretty active holiday. But thatís why I went. Lots to do each day, not much lounging around. But to be fair it wasnít over the top - and there was even a 76-year-old grandma on the trip who managed to do everything. So donít be put off.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We always stayed at locally run hotels and eat at local restaurants, while the guides used were also from the local area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Often trips around the Galapagos are based on cruises. But this one also allows you to see the islands which are beautiful. There's so much wildlife going on. Dolphins, whales, sharks...giant tortoises and turtles. Iím not a wildlife boff but it was brilliant to see and there was also other stuff to do like mountain biking and hiking up a volcano. It's a well worked out and varied trip.

review 19 Nov 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling with juvenile sea lions.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't think about it - just do it. It was fantastic.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I feel that the team leader did his best to minimise impacts on the environment but was surprise that the locals didn't do more.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Brilliant - never stopped for a moment so crammed in as much as we possibly could.

review 12 Feb 2007

I had an excellent time in the Galapagos with a great group of people and an highly enthusiastic and friendly couple of guys, as well as the local guides, running the trip. Nothing was too much bother and they were in the main always keen to assist and help out where and if needed. It was extremely well organised and I have little or no complaints and would not hesitate to recommend the trip to anyone else who was thinking of going to the Galapagos, especially those who didn't like the concept of being 'stuck' on a boat for a couple of weeks cruising between the various islands and wanted a more 'active' trip with like minded people.

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Unedited reviews from other travellers

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
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