Travel challenge: A Galapagos Islands cruise

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The Independent Travel

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specified holiday. Today: a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Prices are for two and are based on an April departure.

Steppes Travel

£6,200: Galapagos cruise and Amazon adventure

Departs 17 April and includes 13 nights' accommodation (three nights in Quito, three nights in an Amazon lodge and a week aboard the vessel Eclipse), selected meals, a naturalist guide, domestic flights and transfers. International flights and Galapagos National Park tax (US$100/£67 per person) are not included. "A special offer for departures in April and May saves up to £1,000 for seven nights on board one of the best luxury charters in the Galapagos Islands. It's a perfect time to see the albatross arrive and display their courtship rituals; watch sea turtles and land iguanas hatching; and generally wonder at the spectacular nature of this incredible archipelago," says Kate Wharton of Steppes Travel (01285 880980; ).

Journey Latin America

£5,616: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Departs 17 April and includes return flights from London, domestic flights, land transfers, 12 nights' accommodation (five nights' B&B in hotels, a week full board on a Galapagos Islands cruise) and guided excursions. "Home to giant tortoises, iguanas and blue-footed boobies, it is a privilege to visit these islands," says Laura Rendell-Dunn of Journey Latin America (020-8747 8315; ).

Bales Worldwide

£7,450: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Departs 9 April and includes return flights from Heathrow, internal flights and transfers, 10 nights' accommodation (three nights' B&B in Quito/Guayaquil, a week full board on board the Eric, Letty or Flamingo yachts) and guided excursions, but not Galapagos tax. "This is an intimate experience with a maximum of 20 passengers and two naturalists onboard. Snorkelling equipment, custom wetsuits and clear-bottomed kayaks are offered so you can get even closer to the wildlife. The operators of these boats provide scholarships for local children to learn about conservation and have set up the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund with the WWF," says Clare Moore at Bales Worldwide (0845 057 0600; ).