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Thinking of planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands...wondering if anyone here has gone and what their impressions were, as well as recommendations regarding tour operators, and cruiseship versus smaller boat.....

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My wife and I went to the Galapagos Islands a couple of years ago and it was a fascinating place to visit. First of all the topography of the islands varies so much between them it is hard to imagine. Also many of the animals there are unique to the Galapagos and are still completely unafraid of humans even though they are wild. Now, this was before cruise ships were allowed, the place was still relatively free of tourism, and almost all the islands were nature preserves and uninhabited and with the only way to step foot on them was to be with a government employed ranger/guide. I am afraid of what the place is like these days with cruise ships and the abundance of people they bring and garbage they leave behind. This was one of the truly unique and natural places left in the world with unique habitats and species and the outer/northern islands completely unspoiled by humans. We visited the islands as part of a live-aboard scuba diving vacation, so we were on a 100' boat with a small group of other divers in search of whale sharks and we visited the islands during surface intervals. I would imagine if you went by cruise ship you wouldn't see much of the northern/outer islands because there is no way to dock a ship at them and the waters around the islands are a marine sanctuary so there is no dropping anchors. The only way you will see these islands is with a small boat. If, at this point, the islands have somehow not been destroyed by cruise ship tourists, I would definately say fly there and cruise the islands on a small boat. Learn to dive if you can because the life in the ocean around there is just as fascinating and unique as the life is topside. I would rate the Galapagos as :up::up::up::up::up: and go if you can, because there is no telling how long they will remain pristine.
 

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yeah^^ I remember watching a special discovery channel about the islands.. the animals were unafraid of humans.. Which i found astonishing..
 
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