Book unique places to stay and things to do

WHY IT RATES: New e-brochure provides useful tips, maps and more, making it easier for travel agents to book the Galapagos with confidence. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer

To help travel agents understand the logistics, regulations and different options available for creating a memorable eco-adventure in the Galapagos archipelago, F.I.T. specialist Avanti Destinations has created a 34-page educational e-brochure, The Islands of the Galapagos, available on Avanti’s agent portal. The e-brochure can be downloaded and is designed to be passed along to clients.

Avanti sells custom-crafted itineraries in Central and South America, Europe and Asia for independent travelers and for custom groups of 15-100 passengers exclusively through travel agents.

“The Galapagos are one of our three top-selling destinations in South America, and sales have been growing at a steady pace for the past 10 years,” said Paul Barry, Avanti’s executive chairman. “We offer a wide range of choices, including a variety of expedition-style smaller vessels–accommodating anywhere from under 10 to 100 passengers. In addition, there are wonderful island-hopping options that have been selling well, where clients cruise between the islands during the day and stay in hotels overnight. For clients wanting a more relaxing alternative, we have land-based options.”

Useful Tips and Maps

The e-brochure points out that the Galapagos are ideally suited for families, active travelers, and honeymoons or romantic vacations generally. The climate is warm all year round, but between December and May the temperatures are highest and the waters calmest, making it the best time to snorkel. The cooler temperatures June through November are better for those wanting to hike.

To protect the unique fragile ecosystem, the government of Ecuador strictly regulates the number of visitors allowed in the Galapagos at any point and requires that every group of tourists has a licensed naturalist guide for most sites. Because the limited number of cruises and hotels fill up fast, Avanti recommends that agents book clients early, up to a year in advance.

A useful map of the archipelago indicates which Galapagos wildlife species can be seen on which islands. Descriptions and photos of the different birds and animals found nowhere on earth except in the Galapagos are also included.

Expedition cruises from three to seven nights–and important to add pre-/post-cruise stays
Galapagos cruises range in length from three to seven nights. Because flights to the Galapagos leave from either Guayaquil or Quito (via Guayaquil), and flights from the US usually arrive late at night, agents must book at least one-night pre-cruise. Avanti recommends two nights pre- and one-night post-cruise, although it is possible to return to the US on the same day as a Galapagos cruise ends.

Other helpful tips in the e-brochure include how to pick the most appropriately-sized and type of ship for each client, required fees, baggage limits on flights to and from the islands, suggestions for what to pack, the importance of carrying cash (ATMs are few and far between), useful Spanish phrases, voltage, and other information.

For more information on travel to the Galapagos or to book custom-crafted, multi-destination FIT travel 365 days a year in Central and South America, Europe, and Asia, log onto Avanti’s agent portal or call 800-422-5053 to speak with an expert travel specialist.

SOURCE: Avanti Destinations press release.