Suggestions for the Galapagos, anyone?

MoonMan04MoonMan04 Registered Users Posts: 69 Big grins
I am planning on visiting the Galapagos in August and wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions for some wildlife hot-spots? Additionally, I'd be interested to hear any feedback about booking tours there to go check out some of the islands.

Kyle C. Moon
Portfolio: Moonman.Photography


  • StumblebumStumblebum Registered Users Posts: 8,480 Major grins

    Take the ones where boats hit multiple islands and wild life is abundant. The whole Galapagos is wild life hot spot. However, 95% is off limits to everyone except nerds.
    Still that 5% should help you fill up some 64 GB cards.
    I mentioned on other thread......try Cloud Forest near Quito for birds....they also have a place for Condors and both of those are on mainland
    But best tours of Galapagos is where they hit most islands as wild life on each one is different....

  • MoonMan04MoonMan04 Registered Users Posts: 69 Big grins

    @Stumblebum , How you suggest I pick out the five percent; do you recommend a particular guide/tour? I take it if you went to all the islands, it was a multiple day/night trip, yeah? Also, do you recall an estimation of cost to do such a tour where you go to all the islands?

    Kyle C. Moon
    Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Registered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins

    There are many tours that can be done for the Galapagos, finding the one right for you is going to take some research. You can do day trips or stay overnight in hotels. Many years ago I did the National Geographic and loved it. Not only did I get to see the highlights, but the staff was very experienced with the islands and knew which spots to go to and how to get there. Plus the knowledge shared was incredible.


  • StumblebumStumblebum Registered Users Posts: 8,480 Major grins

    It was a while ago when I went....I was on different tour, but I ran into people from cruises for Galapagos....they go to many islands thus exposure to more wildlife....
    My 5% comment was not for tours, but overall in Galapagos, nobody can access 95% from tourist POV so tour selection doesn't matter
    Whatever you see is chance is with cruises that hit numerous islands....

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins

    @puzzledpaul said:
    I'd have thought that choice of tour operator /length of stay / number of target subjects etc would also be governed (to some extent) on what you'd like to achieve - from a photographic pov?
    Getting to know any location sufficiently well to take half decent shots that're going to be sufficiently different from what's already 'out there, will take some time - as well as being dependant on all the other (uncontrollable) variables associated with w/life 'shooting.

    I've not been (or intend going, btw) - but not being able to get where I want to be for shots invariably drives me mad.


  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,679 moderator

    You do not have freedom to wander about on the islands alone - as a tour member you will have a naturalist/guide with you to lead you about and monitor what you do on the island. You are not permitted on most of the islands before sunrise or after sunset. Generally you must stay on a path or a restricted area of beach. Equador is serious about protecting the islands and their wildlife.

    Like Cygnus said, you can do day trips or stay overnight in hotels on a few islands. You will want to do some research before you get there about what is available and permitted. The islands are about 500 miles from the Ecuadorian coast, so you aren't going to be going back and forth often from Equador. And you cannot arrive in Galapagos from outside Equador. You have to pass a bio-screening questionnaire on Ecuadorian soil before departing for the Islands. We had a couple lovely days Guayaquil when we went, but more people travel through Quito I believe.

    The wildlife does vary from island to island, that was what caught Darwin's attention while he was there. Your guide will explain that to you as you travel from island to island. The landscape will vary as well, some are volcanic, and some are dry and sandy.

    You can choose what tour you want before you depart, but usually can't deviate from that tour once you're shipboard.

    I strongly suggest a smaller boat that take only 8-15 guests. These boats are about 80 feet long and usually use 2 zodiacs to ferry guests to and from shore. Some beach landings may require getting your feet or more wet, too. Larger cruise ships will create more disturbance with more launches going from boat to shore, and more people in your groups milling about. Larger cruise vessels MAY be more inexpensive than the smaller cruise vessels.

    Also don't forget that the Galapagos Islands are a great scuba diving destination - so at least consider bringing your own mask and snorkel and a small water proof camera.

    Some of my images from the summer of 2013 are here -

    Pathfinder -

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2017

    Interesting / useful first hand info / overview, Jim - thx.
    As a 'non-group' person, it confirms thoughts expressed in last sentence of my previous post.

    Btw, I think 9/164 (8856) would probably get my vote - but the 'environment portraitists' would probably comment that it could've been taken in a zoo, and I can't help wondering what's in the bg ...
    nice shot.

    (100/400mk2s seem much in evidence?)


  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,679 moderator
    edited July 22, 2018

    Hi Paul. I used a Canon body with a 70-300 f4-5.6 IS L, and a few m4/3 lenses on a Panasonic DMC-GH3 - usually the 14-140 variable or the Panasonic 100-300.

    Looking through my Lightroom catalog, the earliest images I have with the Canon 100-400 V II were in November of 2015, about two years after my trip to the Galapagos Islands. I think I got mine shortly after they were released, but I don't remember the date the v2 was released. Maybe someone else here knows that fact.

    I think this is the image you were referring to?? It was shot with a 1DX and an EOS 70-300 f4-5.6 IS L, 1/400th at f5.6, 300mm, ISO 640. I do try to get down to eye level if i can. :-)

    The background is more lava rocks.

    Pathfinder -

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • SpenceSpence Registered Users Posts: 105 Major grins

    Moon Man...
    My Bride and I made our 2nd trip there about 2 years ago and we used this company,,

    Tel: +593 (0) 995545821
    skype: emma.morgan1

    The lady who owns the company is Emma Morgan and if one was to rate the company and her expertise from 1 to 5 we would give her a 7. Absolutely flawless trip and we also tied in a a visit to Machu Picchu. Contact her and get a quote and tell her I sent you. As to the Galapagos the whole place (except for the airport and the few towns) is a wildlife hotspot. Whatever tour you take make sure they will take you to Genovesa Island. It is just about the most northern of the chain and is a sunken crater open to the sea. So you actually sail into the crater. When you do that have the operators take you to the higher side and climb the "Prince Albert" steps. These are steep but when you get to the top and walk around you will see things that are no where else on earth.

    Be Happy to answer any other questions you have

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