Ecuador & Galapagos Islands: Andean Highlands and Galapagos Islands Meets Thread

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, May 29, 2012.

  1. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Yeah! I'm glad it was helpful. I thought the box came too late to prep for the journey...thats why I was so glad to have the folks on CC for advice! If you are taking an adventure in a different "season" than the one you are in; you might need to shop well on advance. For instance those rash gaurd shirts are very useful for galapagos and probably Australia, but the seasons can be opposite (Dec is summer in Aus) when the box comes I would have trouble finding one in NE in December. For Africa, I found it very helpful to have a large sun hat and safari shirt (which are sold as "fishing shirts" here in NE,) and I was able to get good deals at the late summer sales and then had them ready for an early spring trip. Those shirts were also very helpful in the Galapagos too, while hiking, for covering my arms.
    Happy Packing!
     
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  3. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    Oh, did you use rash guards on this trip? I missed that on your list somehow. I guess it makes sense with the wetsuits? Luckily, I live in a surf town so they are always easy to find any time of year. (actually, I'm the only one in my family who doesn't have a bazillion already...) Should we throw some in?
     
  4. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    We did! We are all very fair and the sun is strong on your back when you are snorkeling. Also, the water is cold and the extra layer not only helped keep me warm, but also, I liked having the extra layer when wearing the "loaner" wet suit, rather than having it right next to my skin.
     
  5. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! Added them to the list.

    A couple more questions, if you can stand them :)

    - It looks from your pictures like you had on long sleeves/long pants on your island hikes. Was this for sun protection or is it not hot even there? Trying to figure out how wide a variety to pack.

    - We are having a hard time finding water bottle straps, which you suggested. Can you post a picture or size of the bottles? There are plenty of "slings" for water bottles, but they will be useless if the wrong size.


    Aaack! I've been so laid-back about this because we booked soooo long ago! Now suddenly it's upon us! I feel like we "have this" to a certain extent, because we travel so much and have done the Peru trip. But still trying to chase down all the little foxes that could cause problems!

    Thanks for all your help!:thumbsup2
     
  6. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Let me know if you have any other ???s
     
  7. gadawg94

    gadawg94 Earning My Ears

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    I just got back last night. Fabulous trip! Our guides were Laura and Eduardo who are both amazing. Sounds like Laura will be back for the trip next month. The other guide would either be Eduardo or Robby.

    For as obsessively as I checked the weather forecast, it was time wasted. Laura said one day that the forecast is never right for the Ecuador portion. We had beautiful weather. Jeans and light weight long sleeves during the day in the highlands then add a fleece jacket at night. In the islands I wore capris and tee shirts during the day and usually jeans and short sleeves to dinner. I added a fleece jacket for stargazing and used my pashmina a couple of times at dinner.

    The ship is small and the currents are strong in Galapagos so the ship moves a lot. Lots of people leaving dinner every night because of motion sickness. Bring the sea sickness patches/wristbands/meds if you are prone to motion sickness.

    Bring hand sanitizer and be very vigilant about its use. We had 25 on our tour and 12 went down with a stomach bug. Our excursion group was hit the hardest so we referred to it as "flamingo disease" since we were the flamingos. Those of us who did not get sick became hand sanitizer fanatics. Those who got sick saw the doctor and were not charged for it.

    Definitely bring bug spray. Those who wore shorts in the highlands got some nasty bites. Don't forget sunscreen lip balm too. My lips got burned in day 3 and are still sore and peeling!

    The wifi on the ship worked really well, even with an iPad. It was $60 for unlimited use for the cruise. You could only be logged in on one device at a time.

    Be careful with packing lots of liquids in your checked bag going home. I had a full bottle of spray on sunscreen and a full bottle of pepto (both still sealed) and when checking in to the gate for our return home I was told my bag had been flagged that it needed to be searched by the police. I was taken through the innards of the Quito airport and out in to the jetway in the rain the back under the airport where a policeman searched my bag. He was most interested in those 2 items and judging by the other people having their bags searched whole bottles of liquid seemed to be a common cause. It was not an overly pleasant experience so I would have preferred to avoid it!

    Tell Laura that Lori warned you about the llamas at the rose farm. ;) long story short, Laura had just finished saying the llamas were pretty friendly but let them approach you when one hopped over a ditch and attempted to mount me as I was walking away! Laura was behind it pulling on its fur to get it off of me (the whole thing was over in seconds and was not a big deal). I told Laura I'm writing ABD and telling them she needs a raise since she can add llama wrestler to her job description. There were lots of llama jokes at my expense for the rest of the trip. :lol

    This was a really amazing experience and I am so thankful I had the chance to do it! I'll be happy to answer any questions too!
     
  8. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Lori-
    :rotfl2::rotfl2:That's just great! I can just picture Laura doing that! You must have been very attractive to that Llama, good thing you didn't have my room at the hacienda, the stallion was right outside our window:laughing:

    Will you do a review? We'd love to hear about your trip!
     
  9. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    thanks, Lori, for all this info!

    I'm sorry so many got sick. Do you feel like it was from food or from bacteria on the island? Either way, lots of hand sanitizer will be packed!

    FamilyGoBoston, thanks for the updates. Continuing to add to our pile in the spare room. Planning a stop at the Columbia outlet on our Thanksgiving road trip so we can gear up a little more, as well.

    Yay, yay, yay, I can't believe it's fewer than 30 days away!
     
  10. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    Down to the nit-picky questions.....

    On the Island days that you hiked and snorkeled, did you just wear your swimsuits under your walking clothes?

    Also, it seems there are several hours on the islands at a time. Was there any way to "go potty" during that time or do we need to be really careful with the coffee in the mornings?

    Thanks!
     
  11. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    No question is too nitpicky;) As for hike, then snorkel days; there are 2 days where you do a "hike" before a beach snorkel. The first one is more of a hike and I'd wear your suit underneath hiking clothes and especially wear your good hiking shoes/sneakers. The second one was more of a "beach walk" which you could do with your reef runners/beach shoes and beach cover up on. The other snorkels; you'll head back on the pangas to the ship after the hike, you can get your gear (or drop off non snorkelers) and then go back out on the panga for a deep water snorkel.

    Now the itinerary could change- but rest assured you will get a briefing every night at dinner with all the nitpicky details. They will literally tell you... bring this, wear that; you honestly don't have to use your own brain:lmao:

    On the potty issue...there is no eating, drinking and no ducking behind a bush on the islands. They are quite strict about it. Im sure if you were ill or a child really was stuck the guides would make some kind of arrangement, but really there is no "going" on the islands.

    But with that said- you will find that there are very few island stays that last more than a couple of hours. Some can be more than 2 hours if you have a snorkel afterwards, but well, what happens in your wet suit stays in your wet suit:( Also, there there are pangas going back and forth pretty frequently, so someone with a real issue could head back if needed (though who wants to miss all the fun!!) So we did find ourselves being careful, but at the same time you do want to hydrate. Honestly, no one in our group really struggled with this, luckily its only an hour or two.

    I only had one issue, as I was hiking one day, I felt like my stomach was acting up, and sometimes when that happens I have to go, quick! One of my tips was to carry a tiny "go bag" of first aid and tummy remedies...you can find the list of stuff I bring in my review with the packing list. What I did that day was take an Imodium , with my water and the "feeling" passed and I could enjoy the hike. I don't usually do that sort of thing, but that day I was happy to have the Imodium with me. Ok enough Potty Talk!;)

    Boy Kristalew, you must be leaving soon! So exciting!! I have most of these threads on "instant notification" so if you have any last minute ???s I'll do my best to get right back to you...have a blast!!!
     
  12. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the quick answer! I really appreciate you being willing to talk the "potty talk" too! Just trying to think everything through as much as possible, so I can totally relax on the trip! We have made a list from all your packing tips and are referring to it as we prep. Your report is so incredibly helpful!

    Yep, with our pre-days, we leave here in 18 days! We keep pinching ourselves!
     
  13. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Have a wonderful trip, kristilew! This really does sound like a fabulous trip (but the whole potty situation is a bit scary for me! I have a very perverse bladder! :scared:)

    Sayhello
     
  14. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Did you leave a little bit of room in your bags for...ME!?!;)
    Wish we were going again, have fun!

    Truly, the thought is scarier than the practice, it's no more than a bus ride with a potty break every 90 min- 2 hours would be...every bit of the adventure is worth it!
     
  15. CastlesandDreams

    CastlesandDreams Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone,

    I just got back from the Adventures by Disney trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands so I would be glad to answer any questions!

    I am going to start a trip report thread too tonight. :goodvibes
     
  16. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Can't wait to check it out!
     
  17. dizneekrazee

    dizneekrazee Fullfilling my bucket list, one vacation at a time

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    Can somebody please tell me what level of accommodations are included on the boat? I am trying to convince myself that, money-wise, this would be the best option for me to get an ABD experience, as the 4 night Galapagos cruises are not cheap to begin with.

    Thank you so much!!
     
  18. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    Most people will be on Magellan (2) or Columbus (3) decks with a window cabin. There were a few people in a similar window cabin on Marco Polo (4). I would not count on getting a balcony cabin, although occasionally to accommodate the whole group they may have to put someone in a balcony cabin...in our experience this was usually adult doubles or triples (parents and teen, or grandparents and adult child). No one said so, but I got the feeling they are loathe to put children in balconies. There were obviously plenty of suites on the upper decks, because I noticed that is where the guides were staying:rolleyes: I am assuming it's because no one booked those cabins because of the cost and that's what was left.

    You can pay ABD to upgrade to a guaranteed balcony suite, (I hear its expensive) but I really have to say it wouldn't be worth it on this cruise. We cruise a lot and almost always get a balcony, but on this cruise you are literally in your room to sleep and change. (Neither of which you will have much time to do:laughing:) There is literally no time when you can relax on your balcony unless you plan to skip excursions or meals. It's a very busy expedition cruise and being equatorial, the sun sets at 6 every night, so there is very little day light time when you would be in the cabin.

    All of the decks are very close to the main dining area (2) and ABD meeting area (4), so there's very little difference really in which deck you get.
     
  19. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    We were put in a balcony cabin on Marco Polo deck. As FamilyGoBoston says, we are a family with one teen. We liked the balcony but probably spent a total of 45 minutes enjoying it over the entire cruise. The nicest thing about it was as a place to put our wet shoes and wetsuits. And even then, one night it was very rough and I could hear waves crashing and jumped up to "rescue" the shoes as I was sure they would go overboard. (of course, they were fine, it was just my imagination)

    The cabin itself was very nice, and I am under the impression not any bigger than one without a balcony. As for outdoor relaxing, we found that we really enjoyed some downtime in areas of the boat that are public but were always deserted when we had free time. There are lovely big deck chairs and sofas on the back behind the piano bar, and a nice seating area on the next level up as well. There is a sunning area on deck 6. One of the great things about doing this with ABD is that by the time the other, non Disney, guests are off on the excursions, we were back on the ship and felt like we had it to ourselves.

    If you are looking at doing the ship portion anyway, you should know that the process of flying into the islands and getting through customs is a little complicated. Doing it with Disney makes it sooooo much easier. You're still tired but at least you know you're in the right place with the right paper work and that snacks and drinks are around the corner waiting for you. The people that were just going on the ship on their own all had a refugee look on their faces.
    And one family had booked a private trip through Austin-Lehman. Apparently they were guided in the land portion, but they were dropped at the airport in Quito and expected to manage on their own until they were on the ship (where they then were just part of the regular passengers.) The wife was so upset over how things went just on the flight transfers (I'm not clear what exactly went wrong), that she was on the phone with AL yelling that she wasn't even getting off the plane until they fixed things. Throughout the cruise, the husband compared the ABD experience to their own and at the end told our guides that their next trip would be with ABD.

    So in terms of justifying the additional cost, I would tell you we all felt grateful we had gone with ABD just for that portion alone, let alone all the fantastic rest of the trip.
     
  20. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Wow! That's surprising! Austin-Lehman is not cheap, and has a pretty great reputation. I'd be very upset if that happened to me!

    Sayhello
     
  21. dizneekrazee

    dizneekrazee Fullfilling my bucket list, one vacation at a time

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    Thank you familygoboston and kristilew. I think this is the one I want to try for a first time ABD. I just need to find a travel buddy from work, and wait for the 2014 dates. Of course, the one date that works for me this year is wait listed.

    Can anyone tell me, why are some dates more expensive than others with the same itinerary? Sometime it is within the same month, and that is what confuses me.
     

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