The Galapagos Islands remain one of the world’s “must visit” destinations. They attract adventure travelers, nature lovers and family vacationers, keen to experience one of the last unspoilt wildlife paradises on Earth.
Famous as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking work on natural selection, the Galapagos islands are home to unique species and habitats. Untouched by humans for millions of years, the native creatures have no fear of people, and a visit to Galapagos will allow you to get closer to these remarkable species than you ever thought possible.
A Hotel That Floats
For most people, the traditional “hotel and excursion” model doesn’t really work for Galapagos. The archipelago is made up of 19 islands and scores of islets, most of which are home to unique species and habitats. Having to return to a fixed base every day really limits the value you can get from your time in Galapagos.
For those who want to have the full range of experiences these remarkable islands have to offer, taking a dedicated cruise boat is the perfect solution. Galapagos cruise reviews are consistently high thanks to the sheer number of visitor sites and activities you can enjoy by traveling in your five star hotel…
Luxury Adventure Travel
Galapagos cruise boats range from traditional and intimate sailing yachts, through purpose-built luxury cruisers, and some larger adventure ships. While the number of more affordable cruise boats is growing, there is still enormous demand for “trip of a lifetime” luxury aboard boutique yachts that cater to your every whim.
Because of the limited size of the Galapagos cruise fleet, finding the perfect boat and itinerary has been a somewhat complicated business. For the past year, specialist Galapagos cruise company galapatours.com has been working hard to build a portfolio of vessels that can cater for every budget and taste and a website that makes the whole process simple.
Stunning cruises to the archipelago that inspired Darwin…
How to plan your luxury Galapagos Cruise
With so many options, and so many reviews of Galapagos cruises to wade through, planning your trip can seem like a daunting task. But by using galapatours.com and speaking to their travel advisers we were able to condense the process into 4 simple choices:
1) How long would you like your cruise to last?
Because the Galapagos Islands are part of a large Marine National Park, the movements of tourist vessels are strictly regulated and so most boats offer 4,5 or 8 day itineraries. Because there is so much to see and do, we strongly recommend the 8 day option – you’ll be able to see the best the islands have to offer within this timeframe.
2) Would you prefer a larger or smaller ship?
National Park regulations mean that visitors must always be accompanied by a naturalist guide, and each guide can only have a maximum of 16 people they are responsible for. Because of this, most of the boats offering a Galapagos cruise are deliberately designed (or modified) to take a maximum of 16 guests.
This self-imposed limit means that many Galapagos cruise boats can offer a really intimate experience in superb surroundings.You can share stunning meals, exciting excursions and wonderful evenings under the stars getting to know a small group of like-minded people. For those traveling as a family or in larger groups there are also a small number of larger ships available that might better suit your needs, but at the expense of some of that intimacy.
3) Price: First Class, or Luxury?
There are some simply stunning luxury yachts available in Galapagos. Huge staterooms, private balconies, and some of the finest chefs and wine lists in South America can be yours to enjoy after a day spent seeing some of the world’s most unique wildlife.
First class vessels are often equally sumptuous, but may compromise on the size of your cabin or the range of itinerary choice. You should always bear in mind, though, that during a Galapagos cruise you’ll only spend about 20% of your waking time actually on your boat, the rest of your time will be filled with excursions and activities, so pick the balance that fits your needs and pick the boats that give you exactly what you want.
4) When are you going to travel?
Being on the equator, the Galapagos is a year-round destination – there’s no best time to visit Galapagos. The downside of that is that there isn’t really a “low season”. Some boats do reduce prices at certain times, and it’s really worth checking a variety of vessels for the dates you want to see if any have offers. Sites like www.galapatours.com will list all available cruises filtered by your dates, making it easy to find the ships and itineraries that have availability, as well as showing any offers that may be available.
Ready to go?
Given the cost of a Galapagos cruise it’s really worth taking the time to find the perfect one for you. We would always recommend doing lots of research, and although the internet is a great tool for independent travelers we would highly recommend speaking to a specialist Galapagos tourism company. Given the remoteness of the islands and the logistics involved in getting there, letting knowledgeable professionals help you build the perfect luxury adventure is the smart move.