Best Galapagos Tours
Planning a cruise to the Galapagos can be overwhelming simply because there are hundreds of ships and tour companies to choose from. Once you’ve decided when you want to visit the Galapagos Islands, taking a cruise on a small yacht is the best way to see the more remote islands and wildlife.
Don’t let the word “yacht” give you the impression that you’ll spend your days lazing in the sun as you drift among the islands — tours to the Galapagos come with itineraries calling for early-morning wakeup calls, challenging hikes and multiple excursions daily. Translation: You’ll be spending most of your waking hours exploring the islands rather than relaxing on the ship. But you wouldn’t want it any other way when given the chance to visit a destination known for wildlife so epic that it inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
I opted to cruise with because this sustainable travel company is a member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) and helps fund conservation projects to protect this . As a guest on the M/Y Galapagos Grand Odyssey, I saw first-hand the benefits of traveling on a smaller luxury ship because it made the expedition experience both more intimate and comfortable. Here are some things I learned from traveling the Galapagos by ship:
Size matters. I took a 16-passenger yacht whose 8 rooms and 1 suite were much roomier than I expected — about 25 square meters. While you won’t find any mega cruise ships here because the national park restricts the size of boats to 100 passengers, I really enjoyed the cozy feel of having only 15 other travelers onboard. The M/Y Galapagos Grand Odyssey is a good bet if you’re traveling with family because it has cabins that connect. Tip: Those of you prone to seasickness may want to keep in mind that larger ships tend to be more stable, but booking lower cabins on small yachts helps ease symptoms since you won’t notice a churning sea as much when down below as compared to higher cabins. My cabin was actually on the upper level and I had no real issues with seasickness even without taking any preventative medication.
Comfort counts. For me, having a well-educated, interesting guide was very important since the Galapagos is a place to learn all about its unique nature. Our bilingual, naturalist guide Christian was a native of the islands and was very passionate about sharing his knowledge with travelers. And even though we didn’t spend much time on the ship, I really appreciated being able to watch the sun set from one of the 2 Jacuzzis on the sun deck and having a private bathroom big enough to spread out in to wash off the saltwater and dirt after a day spent snorkeling in the ocean and hiking volcanic terrain.