The reality of this tour far exceeded my expectations. I elected to fly with KLM from UK. No great shakes but it was OK. The representatives who dealt with my Quito arrangements were helpful, knowledgeable and on time, greeting me on arrival and handling all arrangements of my transfer to the hotel and eventually to the Galapagos. Monserrat even obtained my TAME boarding pass for me. Gloria was a mine of information on my visit to Quito which I extended by one day. The new road from airport to hotel allows a 45 minute transfer time.
The hotel Viejacuba was quaint and clean. Helpful staff always on hand, however, the promised early breakfast on the morning of my Galapagos departure did not materialise.
Christina, my guide met me at Baltra airport. What a gem. At 24yrs she was an encyclopedia of local knowledge on all aspects. Fauna, flora, geology. Couple this with her customer care and enthusiasm, take my tip, tip her well.
The Cachalote although not luxury, is first class. Helpful crew and good wholesome and plentiful food.(How did Pedro, the chef, perform so well?) The cabins are miniscule and, although I was lucky enough not to share, two people sharing would have to be very considerate to one another and arrange a dressing, washing and toiletry rota. Again, the crew were well worth a generous tip.
The weather was hot without being unpleasantly so and, apart from a T shirt to protect from the sun, only shorts were required to swim in.
Now, about the wildlife. Well, this is why I went. It is so fearless you have to take great not to bump into it, tread on it or disturb it. It is in abundance and Christina's information was boundless. Resist the temptation to touch.
I came home tired but feeling totally satisfied that what I had done could not be bettered.