[Tweeters] RFI: Birding the Galapagos-long

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Mon Feb 11 15:04:45 PST 2013

Will and Tyler,
Any Galapagos trip you go on will focus on birds and natural history b/c that’s what it’s all about there! No matter which company you travel with, you must be accompanied by a National Parks guide from Ecuador. We went in 2004 and we used a Seattle eco-tour agency, Wildland Adventures for all of the bookings. We later learned that the price was the same whether we had booked here or directly with the Ecuadorian company. The boats we chose (and there were options from liners of 100+ people to re-furbished fishing boats) were from a company called ecoventura (no caps). Their boats were more ecologically friendly, had been built specifically for Galapagos travel, and held 20 passengers. There were 2 NP guides and we would split up each day and go opposite ways on the trail, so we were always in a smaller group. Another thing we liked about them is unlike the other tour boats, they stayed on mainland time. That means we were always at the appointed landing place an hour earlier than any other company.

Ecuador controls the area, limiting the number of people who can be in the islands and where each boat can land. Due to economic pressures, though, they have steadily increased the amount of tourist traffic out there. Also, at some point, and maybe already, they have increased the touring time from 8 days to 10 in order to acquire more foreign dollars. When we went, the choices were 4 days or 8 days. (Also, we ran into Europeans with looooong vacations, who assumed they could book upon arrival—all the slots were taken and they had to settle for day trips or nothing.) If you went for 4 days you missed the islands with the Waved Albatross (which you might miss anyway in Feb, Tyler—I think they are out to sea then) and the flightless Cormorant. We went in July and had to step over all of the baby birds on the trail. We snorkeled every day (one day w. penguins!) in the boat-provided wetsuits. We were too late to see mating displays, except for the albatross, which were sitting on eggs. I asked the guides what their favorite month is and they said April—some islands have mating birds, while others already have hatchlings. It’s a bit warmer then (including the water) b/c the Humboldt Current isn’t in until June, I think.

The Ecuadorian guides were very knowledgeable about all of the birds—our tour was not a birding trip, but the birds were discussed and pointed out every day. It shocked me that most of the people didn’t have bins, though they all had cameras. We were very satisfied, though, as the guides knew we were birders and always took care to make sure we saw everything. Their knowledge was incredible. You might get even more in depth stuff if you were on an actual birding tour, but you would pay more as well. And, of course, you would be w. like-minded birders.

If you decide to use this company, e-mail me back and I will give you info on deck choices. We also took an extension to Bella Vista, a cloud forest birding joint, that was most worthwhile. We didn’t do this in ’04 b/c we didn’t want to give up the day at BV, but you can get a trip to Angel Paz’s farm with his Antpitta array. (Though we found our own Giant Antpitta at BV) And we spent a couple of days in Quito with a trip to the Equator museum (Black-tailed Trainbearer!) which was included in our tour package. We just took at second trip to Ecuador on both sides of the Andes and on the Napo. It’s a fabulous nation for birding, but anyone who likes nature would love the Galapagos!
Penny Koyama, Bothell

From: Will Markey
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 2:11 PM
To: Tyler Davis
Cc: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] RFI: Birding the Galapagos

My wife and I, for two, are also interested in birding the Galapagos. I am sure we are not alone. So, if those of you who have experience with the Galapagos could reply to all of Tweeters, it would be most helpful to my wife and me.

Will & Willie Markey
East of Auburn on Soos Creek.

On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM, Tyler Davis <fishingowl at gmail.com> wrote:

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