Traveller's guide: Galápagos Islands
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Direct flights to Baltra and San Cristóbal airports in the Galápagos Islands leave from Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean mainland and are operated by Tame (00 593 2 290 9900; www.tame.com.ec) and AeroGal (00 593 2 294 2800; www.aerogal.com.ec). A transit card costs $10 (£5.50) and the park entrance fee is US$100 (£55). Guayaquil is served by KLM (08705 074074; www.klm.com) via Amsterdam; and Iberia (0870 609 0500; www.iberia.com) via Madrid.
To reduce the impact on the environment, you can buy an "offset" from Abta (020-7637 2444; www.reducemyfootprint.travel).
The 63m luxury yacht La Pinta started operation on 14 March. The vessel accommodates 48 passengers in outside cabins, all with picture windows. Bales Worldwide (0845 057 0600; www. balesworldwide.com) offers weekly departures as part of a 14-day La Pinta Cruise holiday, from £3,790 per person. The price includes return KLM flights from Heathrow via Guayaquil and Quito, B&B accommodation and sightseeing in Quito and full board on La Pinta, as well as all fees. A special Bales charter onboard the vessel takes place on 28 October, escorted by a member of the Bales family and the naturalist Greg Estes, a leading light in the protection of the Galápagos marine environment, priced at £3,999 per person. Bales also offers two-night pre- or post-cruise stays at the new Galápagos Safari Camp for £220 per person, half-board.
Galapagos Safari Camp, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador (00 593 9179 4259; www.galapagossafaricamp.com). Double tents start at US$400 (£210), half board.
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