Santa Cruz HIghlands - really cool first experience on the island. Our tour guide was awesome and we really enjoyed the quiet/personal nature of it as we were tired from travelling. The tortoises were awesome to see at the Manzanillo ranch and the ranch/restaurant was really cool with great food. We then drove into town and went to the Darwin center and spent about an hour/hour and a half there. We liked it but did not love it. I think that an hour and a half is enough time because this is one of the must see attractions at the place.100% would recommend again
North Seymour - This, along with Bartolome were our favorite tours. Being completely honest,I have never once in my life even remotely enjoyed bird watching and I absolutely LOVED this. So cool to see such massive birds up close and to learn about the mating/life of these birds. Also got to see our first sea lions up close. 100% would recommend again. Before Seymour, we also went to Las Bachas beach for a short walk (saw flamingos, marine iguanas, crabs, and some birds) and some snorkelling. Again, enjoyed this but Seymour was definitely the highlight for us.
Bartolome - we really enjoyed this tour. To start the hike off, we saw 3 penguins swimming in the bay. The views at the top were absolutely stunning and the hike was not too difficult. The snorkelling afterwards was one of our favorite snorkelling spots to go. Really cool and got to see a white tip reef shark.
Kicker Rock - Probably our most fun tour because of the group/tour guides. Really really exception tour guides that made all of the difference. The trip started with us spotting two Whales at the beginning of the journey on the way out. Then we made it to the first stop about an hour later, witch hill (not sure of the spanish word). Really cool sandy beach and stunning views. We even saw a ray in the water from the beach. We then went to Kicker rock and did two separate snorkelling sessions. We absolutely loved it. Hard to see at times due to cloud cover but saw tons of turtles and 3 sharks (no hammerheads unfortunately). Kicker rock/Leon Dormido was beautiful and would definitely recommend again.
All tours - all of the tour guides were very professional and created a great experience. The food was excellent and the rides were not too bumpy. We felt prepared for everything that we had to do. With that being said, want to call out the crew from wreck bay on the kicker rock tour. As said above, the content of the trip itself was maybe not our favorite on its own, but the crew absolutely made this tour one to remember. Very funny and made a huge effort to connect everyone together into having a really good time. It was much appreciated from everyone on the tour
Let me start by saying that we loved both towns that we stayed in on the islands. However, will say that we preferred staying in Santa Cruz, but think a lot of this had to do with proximity to the downtown area.
Santa Cruz – amazing food, great shopping, really cool vibe
San Cristobal – great food and awesome free day activities to do on our own
Casa De Judy – Awesome place. Room was adequate but the staff was great and accomodating, the breakfast was great, wifi was great, and a really good location.
Arena Blanca – Good place. Room was big and nice, staff was friendly but not as helpful with things to do, routine tasks. Wifi was not very good and the location was very far from downtown which I think limited some of what we did. Fantastic breakfast
Would definitely recommend Casa De Judy again but Arena Blanca, maybe not if closer options are available.
Ease of Travel – I have travelled a lot, so I know what a pain some of the routine tasks can be (i.e drivers, people helping us with the airport, telling us what to expect). There was literally not one stressful moment on this trip and that is because of you
Friendliness – this extends to quito too, but we never once felt unsafe and every single person we interacted with was so friendly and awesome to talk to.
Free Days – we went to LA Loberia (Twice) and Tijeretas. AMAZING time. Got to play in the water at both places with baby sea lions and saw an unbelievable amount of sea turtles. We liked Loberia so much that we went back the day that we flew out first thing in the morning.
Drivers- very professional. Mostly on time (Once or twice about 20 mins late but no issues). They always got us on time and handled every single question we had.
Equipment – across the board, top of the line equipment (masks, snorkels, wetsuits, boats)
Tours – We loved the tours. But will give you some of the things that we noticed. SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS – early start to the day meant we were tired, so think this one maybe was just a little too long (but we really did like it, just tired).
Our first tour was just us and it was best to be that way. The next two days were with the Galapagos Shark. The tour guide was very good and was genuinely excited. The last tour, as said above, was phenomenal because of the entire crew/tour guides. So not sure how to say this, but having a really phenomenal tour guide made the difference. By no means a worst part, but just food for thought.
Arena Blanca – good place, just really far.
Boat Travel from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal – this one you warned us about but half the boat got sick. Nothing different I think you could do however.