Juan Fernando Arizaga with Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges talk about visiting the Galapagos Islands via a land based program compared to a cruise or water based adventure. Important information for planning your Galapagos adventure.
Things To Consider: Cruise or Land Based Galapagos Adventure?
Juan Fernando works for Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges as the Sales & Diving Coordinator. In this video, he speaks from his own experience and training. Juan has lived and worked in the Galapagos as a Red Mangrove Tour Leader. He has traveled extensively with Galapagos Naturalist Guides and has taken the Mandatory Temporary Residents Course. To clarify, Juan is not a scientist or a government official.
Until recently, the most common way to to visit the Galapagos Islands was by cruise ships. But nowadays, land based programs are taking a lot more interest in the whole exploration side of the islands. Because you get much more flexibility, much more time in the islands to achieve this exploration.
So in case of diving, for instance, on a live aboard you can get a lot of diving but you cannot get enough of what the islands can offer you by exploring the land. This is something that we’ve worked with and have accomplished very successful itineraries that combine the land exploration with the diving adventure in the Galapagos.
So with a live-aboard (on a Galapagos Cruise Ship) you have the same chances to go diving as on a land based program. But when you have the need to go to the islands, you know, to the surface to explore what is in the islands – there is plenty to see there. Then there are a lot of restrictions for the cruise ships. In Galapagos there is always a matter of keeping enough job positions for the Galapaganean community. So in that case, if cruise ships were to take over the land based activities, the Galapaganean people would not be as successful in the land as they are. That’s why these regulations prohibit them from – well they can do some, explore some sites, but they cannot do as much as we do.
We cover three islands (Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela Islands) and on each island we visit the lowlands and the highlands. In the lowlands we most typically go snorkeling or to the wetlands.
So in that case the customer always thinks: “I want to go diving, but I also want to explore what is in the islands. So I want to know if I can get as much diving and deeply explore the islands.” Because there are people as passionate about giant tortoises and the Darwin Finches as they are of hammerheads and the mola mola. So in case you have to combine these packages in the best possible way. In this case we have all inclusive packages that triangulate with these three islands and give you the chance to do morning dives and in the afternoon explore the islands – which is a perfect addition to diving in the Galapagos.
So that’s why our guests prefer our services over a cruise service. They really have that extra interest in exploring the islands – not only going underwater but also going to the volcanos, you know. Isabela Island has Sierra Negra – and has five active volancos one of which erupted a couple of years ago. It is actually a big deal to go up there and be on such fresh lava fields, lava flows and you can witness the volcanic activity on those islands.
Really a lot of what you can do in the Galapagos, diving can be covered with snorkeling. For instance, on Isabela Island (this is an island that grows very rapidly and) thirty years ago there are a couple of diving sites and now they are snorkeling sites because the island has emerged. But the same species are down there, you know, the sea horses, the tropical penguins are there. So you don’t need to go diving so much anymore. Of course, diving is going to Tortuga, to the Four Brothers. But on Isabela specifically it is very nice to have snorkeling activities there. Really to combine diving and snorkeling and land based activities is the ultimate adventure.