Galapagos with Odysseys Unlimited? Tauck?

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#1
Fredericksburg, Virginia
489 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
We are considering tour of Machu Picchu and Galapagos with either Tauck or Odysseys Unlimited. We know Tauck is top of the line and we would have 6 nights on the Isabela II in the Galapagos and stay overnight at the Sanctuary Lodge (my dream). Odysseys Unlimited also stays overnight at the Lodge but only has 3 nights in the Galapagos (on the Coral II). We have toured with Odysseys Unlimited before and thought they were a good company and less expensive than Tauck. Our big question is whether we would be disappointed with only 3 nights in the Galapagos. Should we pay the bigger bucks and be there for the full 6 nights? Would we be cutting ourselves short for such a special place?
#2
Australia
241 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Personally I think 3 nights is on the short side - by the time you arrive on and get on the boat, you may not see much at all on the first 'night', which then only leaves you 2 days and nights.

It all depends on what you're interested in - I planned on only going once and did a two week itinerary that included every island that could be visited. That might be overkill for you though! If you want an indication of what two weeks looks like, the link in my signature below to my website and blog might help. I also went to Macchu Pichu on the same trip and stayed at the Inkaterra rather than the Sanctuary. To avoid wading through all of the blog, there is a link to the 2 pages covering December 2010 here: http://www.travelimages.com.au/page1...h=1&postPage=2

Cheers
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parischris







Travel images:

http://www.travelimages.com.au/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/parischris

Expeditions:

2004 Hurtigruten on M/S Nordkapp Bergen - Kirkenes return
2006-7 M/S Nordkapp to Antarctica and Chilean Fjords
Dec 2008 Mare Australis - Punta Arenas to Ushuaia
Dec 2008 Minerva - Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
Oct-Nov 2010 NG Explorer - South Georgia & The Falklands
Dec 2010 Galapagos on M/S Beagle
March 2012 NG Explorer - Cape Horn to Cape of Good Hope
July 2013 Le Boreal - Oslo to Reykjavik via Svalbard and East Greenland
Dec 2015 Le Soleal - NZ & Australian Subantarctic Islands
Sept 2017 L'Austral - Darwin to Indonesia via The Kimberley (back to back expeditions)
March 2018 Le Lyrial - Ushuaia to Cape Town
April 2018 Le Lyrial - Durban to Mahe (The Scattered Islands)
#3
19,491 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Why not look into booking directly with Metropolitan Touring who owns the Isabela II and Santa Cruz ships that Tauck uses? That is what we did and they can out together the entire trip with flights and transfers.

I would not consider less than 7 nights in Galapagos, our best cruise ever!

Btw, we were just at MP and stayed at the Sanctuary Lodge which I highly recommend. See post on our tour guide.
#5
Bowie, Maryland (suburb of Washington, DC)
5,850 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by OBX Cruisers
We are considering tour of Machu Picchu and Galapagos with either Tauck or Odysseys Unlimited. We know Tauck is top of the line and we would have 6 nights on the Isabela II in the Galapagos and stay overnight at the Sanctuary Lodge (my dream). Odysseys Unlimited also stays overnight at the Lodge but only has 3 nights in the Galapagos (on the Coral II). We have toured with Odysseys Unlimited before and thought they were a good company and less expensive than Tauck. Our big question is whether we would be disappointed with only 3 nights in the Galapagos. Should we pay the bigger bucks and be there for the full 6 nights? Would we be cutting ourselves short for such a special place?
Take a look at IEtravel.com (International Expeditions ) and see the program they have that allows both Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands in one trip. We sailed 7 days on the Evolution which was a great yacht type ship with a water deck that allows for getting into and out of the rubber high speed dinghy's that take you to the absolute wonderous islands. The rooms were basic but comfortable, the food was outstanding, and the guides are truly an education -- they know so much and they keep you safe because there are no trails allowed. You better have someone (more than one) to help you over the rocks, coral, sand, water landings, and keep you from tripping over the dumb frigate bird nests. Each island has different environment and animal bird species. In 3 days, you would have some very stiff choices made -- see the sea turtles (Lonesome George) or the sea lions or the blue footed boobies or the red footed boobies or the frigate birds. Not all are on one area or island and the islands are a fair distance from each other (we ran all night long 8 or so hours between islands that had things we wanted to see.)

We have been to MP, GI and the Amazon River cruise to deep parts of the Amazon which looks pretty much like no person has ever been there. All 3 trips are worthy of your ultimate bucket list. All 3 you need experts to spot what you should see, keep you out of harm's way and prepare food and shelter so that you don't end up sicker than a dog. I would not consider a 3 day trip as you wouldn't get much value for the long trip to GI or MP. Even if you have to wait a year save until you can do a first class experience.

Our ship had 28 folks 2 guides, a doctor, a captain, and some ship folks who also ran the dinghys and kept an eye out for sharks and bull seals (who like to climb up on the water deck) and some folks working that we didn't really see since they drove the boat at night. All 3 of these trips with IE rank among the best trips we ever took (we also did their African Safari) and were worth every penny of the money spent. The small number of passengers means you always are with a guide and only 8 others so that you can explore without disturbing the wildlife, leaving an impact on the environment, with great help to answer your questions and keep you safe (I fell 3 times even with walking sticks so get going before too much age happens). We have been so honored to see these wonderful areas that most just see in pictures -- and the real thing is way better than the pictures and the memories are warm and stunning!
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Barbara and Walter
Bowie, Md.

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#6
Northeast US
955 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We did 7 days on the Galapagos Explorer II. Some people were on a 4-day trip; some on 3. We were very glad to have had the full week. Some in our group went on to Machu Picchu, even after the full week.
#7
2,269 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
We visited the Galapagos and Machu Picchu with Lindblad last year. I agree with everyone that 3 days is really short, you need at least a week to see the great variety of terrain and wildlife there.

I recommend the Sanctuary as well. Our first day at MP it was raining cats and dogs all day. Then, the next day was sunny and beautiful. If we had only had one day there and it was like the first I would have cried all the way home.
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Margaret

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