Cheapest way to Galapagos LOB?

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dumpsterpurrs

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What's the cheapest way to go on a LOB around the Galapagos?

  1. Early bird, book online in advance?

  2. Last minute, book online in advance?

  3. Last minute deals from local agents on Santa Cruz, book day of-a couple days in advance?

  4. Or last minute deals from local agents on San Cristobal, book day of-a couple days in advance?
I know Option 3 is likely the best for normal non-diving cruises. I'm not sure if it's the same for diving LOBs. We have approx two weeks in total for the Galapagos, including the LOB.
 

Johnoly

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dumpsterpurrs

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Option 4
Stand at the dock with cash in both hands smiling at the captain during the slowest weeks.
Thanks! Option 4 (San Cristobal) would be my preference too, so that on the way back, I can hop off in Santa Cruz after the last night on board and save myself a transfer. Just surprised that it's easier to find last minute deals in San Cristobal than the bigger island, Santa Cruz.
 

drrich2

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My Research Notes from Planning Galapagos Trip

From when I was compiling info. online, I found where Dom@DiveAdvice in Aug. 2019 noted the Galapagos AQUA is a good option, particularly for the more budget conscious.

When you push the budget aspect pretty hard, pay close attention to what trade-offs (if any) you are making. I'm not condemning budget options; I'm interested in them generally myself, and for example many people like Blackbeard's live-aboard trips in the Bahamas.

Aggressor Fleet tends to offer yearly big sales in the Caribbean region; I'm talking >30%. I think last year that was in November, before Black Friday. Those big sales don't extend equally to distant foreign lands; I don't recall how the Galapagos Aggressor III was affected. That may also 'encourage' competitors to offer some sales; I picked up a sale for competitor Explorer Venture's Humboldt Explorer (really liked it, and it was cheaper than some other options).

You can go to a big website like PadiTravel.com or LiveAboard.com and browse your destination for the months you could go, and see if any boats with openings have sales like '20% off' listed. Even if your preferred dive travel agent (if you use one, and I do for distant trips with complex travel arrangements), ask if your preferred agency will price match (if they don't already list the sale price).
 

Dom@DiveAdvice

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Hi guys - having personally made many trips to Galapagos since the first in 1986 and having probably sold more Galapagos trips in the last 30 years than any other agent, I would highly recommend that you look at our website and see all the availability of every boat and compare rates. If something interests you, ask us about it and if we maybe able to get you a better rate. We work personally with every owner and because of the volume of business we do, we are more likely to be able to offer you a better deal than any of the online agencies who do not know the boats, have no personal contact with them and may not have ever been to Galapagos. I would not recommend that you try with local agencies as in most cases, the sales are not actually made in Ecuador and those agents and locals shops contact us in the US or Europe when they have a local inquiry, to ask us what is available. I have had 3 Ecuadorian agents contact me in the last 24 hours asking me to send availability and best rate for trips in the next two weeks, so I guess that meant that someone walked into their shop and asked them for a trip. In general most boats do not offer last minute discounts even if they have space but in recent times there are more frequent discounts being offered and we list most of those on our site under the live availability found at Find available spaces, book a trip on a dive liveaboard | Dive Advice and our secondary availability which is manually updated and is mostly private charters which ask us to offer their spaces - they are often the ones who maybe prepared to offer a last minute deal if they have spaces - you find that at Find available spaces, book a trip on a dive liveaboard | Dive Advice - no one wants to run a boat with empty spaces as the last 2 spaces are what makes money, but don't be too sure that you will find spaces by wandering the docks. One thing there are no docks to wander and these boats are only in for a few hours to drop off passengers and pick up the new ones a few hours later. Happy to help you - just send me a note dom@diveadvice.com or look at our website DiveAdvice.com. I agree that Galapagos has become outrageously expensive and I am always happy to help people make it a little more affordable. Cheers Dom
 

drrich2

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I agree that Galapagos has become outrageously expensive
I haven't been following prices there lately so this was news to me. Why is that? Is it from reduced competition due to pandemic-related shutdowns elsewhere (e.g.: Indonesia), an attempt to make up for lost profits during the pandemic, or what? Do you anticipate they're likely to stay quite expensive well into the future?
 

Dom@DiveAdvice

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Hi Rich - it is not about a recent rise but a steady rise over the years by all operators that they put down to the increased cost of operating. For example rates on GALAPAGOS SKY in 2007 were $4595 in Master cabin and now they are $7595. In 2007 Aggressor was $3195 and today is $6795, MISTRAL was $2730 (no longer available), Deep Blue (now GPS Master) was $3395 in 2009, now $6150. Humboldt Explorer was $3995 10 years ago and is now $5995. I understand the increase in costs and inflation but Galapagos has increased way more than anyone else during that time period. Remember that they also require $100 park fees, $20 TCT card, $35 decompression chamber fee, and all the other costs attributed. I still sell and support the boats there but I personally feel that the rates have increased so much that it is now beyond the average divers budget and which is why they are forced to offer such deals in order to fill the spaces. There are also more dive boast than in the past with some such as AQUA offering rates $2000 lower than their competitors and although space is maybe tight on that boat, many will opt to pay $2000 less even if less room on the dive platform. They are all good dive boats and hard working crews and I do not know why they have just kept increasing rates but that is partially why I work very hard to find the best deals for my clients. It si still amongst the best diving in the world so for that you pay a premium but then you have decide how much you are willing to pay. We will see how it evolves after the pandemic.
 
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