CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Why join us on our "Classic Active Galapagos" Tour?
"This ship, with its crew and its owners, is one of the best and most welcoming in Galapagos. I recommend it a thousand times, even with my eyes closed!"
Arturio Izurieta, Darwin Research Station Director, former Galapagos National Park Director
After having taken a few regular cruises, we realized that often, the land and water excursions tended to be geared to accommodate the least adventurous, or the least physically capable person in a group. At times, we didn't walk to the end of a trail, or we didn't linger in the water with the sea lions as long as we wanted to.
We understood that there were people out there who had been dreaming of a trip to the Galapagos for a long time - that this was not just one more place to tick off a list of "been there" holiday destinations. These people already had a good general knowledge of what Galapagos was all about. They tended to be more inquisitive, and as a result, they could be disappointed in mediocre guiding. They needed a naturalist guide who could respond to challenging questions, who could nurture a sense of wonder and who could make them really feel what Galapagos was all about.
In response to these needs, we created our Active Galapagos tour, desgined for the inquisitive and physically fit adventurer.
Some highlights that make this trip unique:
- What we believe are among the best Galapagos National Park Certified Naturalist Guides that can be found - this is the most critical component to any Galapagos cruise. The naturalist guides for this charter go out of their way to ensure you have the best possible opportunities to know Galapagos - see our Active Tours details page for more information on the guides.
- A small group environment on a perfectly suited, well managed and unobtrusive 14 passenger ship. The Samba does not impose itself on the sea and landscapes you are visiting.
- Snorkeling, snorkeling and MORE snorkeling. The Galapagos Marine Reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 for good reason! (Our ship is the ONLY one in Galapagos that takes you snorkeling at the remote Marchena Island). Our guides will take you into the water as often as possible to marvel at the wonderful underwater life.
- One double kayak, six single kayaks and two paddle boards on board to give you the chance to explore quiet coves and bays - there is no better way to spot sea turtles, reef sharks and other coastal/mangrove ecosystem wildlife.
- Extra land-based time in Galapagos giving you some personal time to do your own exploring, and a full day trip in Quito (another World Heritage site) to appreciate what is commonly considered to be the most beautiful historic urban centre in all of South America.
- A professional and attentive crew, ensuring that all your minor concerns are attended to in a cordial and discrete fashion, providing wonderful meals and a helping hand whenever you need one.
- A very good price! A stimulating 13 day trip, on an excellent ship, with a top guide, including flights, 5 nights in quality hotels, transfers and more, for a price many will pay for just an 8 day cruise.
Am I Fit Enough?
The ACTIVE cruise will give you greater opportunities to hike, kayak and swim than with most other Galapagos cruise experiences. Despite the focus on fitness, you don't have to be an olympian to join us. The most strenuous of activities consist of moderate 2 hour hikes (interspersed with several nature observation stops), with little elevational gain. As a result, we have had participants from 10 to 87 years (Indeed! Joining us in 2006, this man was reportedly more fit than most others on the cruise!) of age on our cruises without a problem. In all cases, activities are optional and should you decide to relax on the ship while the party is out hiking, kayaking or snorkelling, you will be free to do so. When possible, alternative activities are arranged.
PLEASE NOTE: As is the case for all Galapagos cruises, we will be out of reach of immediate medical attention during most of the time at sea. The main town of Puerto Ayora has a basic hospital, and better medical attention is only available on the continent, which can, in some cases, be more than a 24 hour journey back. By joining us on the cruise, you accept this situation and its potential consequences. Should serious medical attention be required, the ship captain will do all that is possible to get a participant to the hospital, or to the airport. The guide is trained in first aid.
Comfortable, Safe, Clean and Well-Operated Ship
Nearly 70 cruise ships ply the waters of Galapagos, ranging from 100 passenger mini-Caribbean luxury liners to 8 passenger boats. Of course, quality ranges from dark, humid, cramped and cockroach infested skiffs to glitter and glamour vessels. And as usual, one generally gets what one pays for. A US$350 per person per day cruise may get you a poorly maintained and unprofessionally operated cramped boat, while a US$950 per person per day cruise will get you a top cabin in a luxurious vessel.
Finding an ideal ship that combines good value for money, be on a tourist or luxury class ship is the challenge. We make a point of being very familiar with all of the ships that we recommend, either by having carried out personal inspections ourselves, or through close inspection by our colleagues in Galapagos (who tend to be current of former naturalist guides - they know their ships!).
Who Will Be My Travel Companions?
It's anybody's guess, but our experience has shown that the ACTIVE Galapagos cruise usually attracts dynamic and inquisitive individuals from a variety of backgrounds sharing a common state of mind. They are interested in the natural world, eager to get exposed to new experiences, and keen on making the absolute most out of their time in Galapagos. Some may be accompanied by their adolescent and adult children. A representative sample might include a hospital administrator from the Canadian arctic, retired university professors, their spouses, friends from the UK, a physiotherapist from Alaska, a computer specialist from Silicon Valley, local entrepreneurs/business people... One of our guides commented "I had more questions from this ACTIVE Galapagos group on the first outing of our first day than I usually get during an ENTIRE WEEK on a regular cruise!"
We cannot say enough good about CNH Tours, particularly Heather Blenkiron who handled our request. Throughout the whole process of planning our Galapagos island vacation, the personal attention that she paid us made us feel like we were her only clients, knowing full well that we weren't. We found out later that she was a Canadian consular officer on the Islands for several years. She was very knowledgeable and very open and honest in her suggestions. We felt like she was working for us, not for the boat companies. Their pre-tour information book (44 pages!) covered every conceivable issue.
For the full trip report, on an independent website, click here