More and more of you are considering a Galapagos cruise and are asking yourself a lot of questions. How much does it cost? Which boat to choose? How far in advance should I book? Which route to choose? When to go there? To help you organize your dream trip to the enchanted islands, I share with you my good tips and advice.
Come on, I know you’re looking forward to getting your answers. I would like to give you a brief introduction to remind you in a few figures that the Galapagos Islands are one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world.
Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean at the confluence of 3 ocean currents, the islands are 1,000 kilometres from the South American continent.
Made famous by Charles Darwin, where he developed his theory of evolution, the archipelago is a unique museum and laboratory in the world. It consists of 127 islands, islets and rocks with 19 large islands, 4 of which are inhabited (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana). 97% of the land area was declared a National Park in 1959. It is also a UNESCO protected reserve since 1978. On land and at sea, you will find exceptional endemic species. The list is too long, I let you discover it on the spot.
Discovering the Galapagos Islands is the dream of every nature lover that you will surely have the chance to realize only once in your life. Explore them on a cruise is an exceptional gift!
Why is a cruise better than an island to island stay?
It is the best solution to discover remote islands in complete privacy, immerse yourself in the heart of this exceptional natural environment, cut yourself off from the modern world and experience unforgettable emotions. It is to take your eyes full every day between hiking, snorkeling and relaxing on the beach. It means enjoying the Galapagos without worrying about anything else, the staff is taking care of you.
Aboard a 16-passenger yacht, with a naturalist guide, these are always privileged conditions for discovery. And there are boats and routes for all tastes and desires!
It is also the only option to enjoy sunsets over the ocean or discover some endemic Galapagos species such as the cormorant that can’t fly. Yes yes, I promise you, it exists and it is between the Fernandina and Isabela islands that you can observe them during 8-day itineraries. You don’t believe me? Check out the travel diary of Marc and Anne, a couple of young retirees who travelled aboard the Millennium last November.
In fact, who better than other travellers to show you how unique and magical this experience is? I invite you to read the Galapagos cruise blogs of the couple Marie-Noëlle and Jean aboard the Golondrina and the Pierre and Paul backpackers aboard the Fragata, it should comfort you in your idea.
Did you take a look at it? Are you tempted by the cruise to explore the Galapagos? I continue to help you.
What budget should be planned to discover the Galapagos Islands on a cruise
Let’s start directly with the subject that makes you angry and be honest! If you choose this option, the cruise will represent a major part of the cost of your trip to Ecuador. They will also be the most beautiful emotions and incredible memories.
Whether in advance or at the last minute, even on the most basic and economical boats, it is impossible to find an itinerary at less than 200 US$ per day and per person. This does not include airline tickets (about US$400-500) or entry taxes (US$120 in 2018). Yes, it’s a budget but I don’t know a single traveller who regrets it! If you haven’t planned this amount, choose to discover only the continent and come back to Ecuador another time to give yourself this wonderful gift.
In addition to the purchase and maintenance of the boat, it is also necessary to take into account all the services included: full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), room service, daily visits and activities, unlimited water, coffee and tea or even sauna on the most modern and luxurious boats. Finally, it’s not so expensive when you look at it in detail.
And then again, the Galapagos, you’ll probably only go once, it’ll be a shame not to enjoy them fully, won’t it?
What services do you have according to the price of the cruise
Backpackers and “small budgets” prefer basic yachts offering services similar to a youth hostel. These include Lonesome George, Golondrina, Darwin, Floreana, Aida Maria, Fragata and Danubio Azul. As I said, you still have to plan between US$200 and US$300 a day, which is still a significant expense in a trip.
When you travel on these boats, you put comfort on board aside and focus on discovering the natural treasures of the Galapagos Islands. I promise you, it’s easy because all the islands are unique and magical. Have you ever read Paul and Peter’s notebook? They loved it!
Of course, I will gladly help you to enjoy the enchanted islands under the best conditions. If you want the best prices, write to me at email@example.com. I have the direct contacts of the owners, it will always give you a significant discount. As All Ecuador is a Solidarity Network, I even accompany you in the exchanges to facilitate the booking, payment and everything.
If you have a slightly more comfortable envelope of about US$300-400 per day, you will of course have more choice and above all better services. To give you an idea, I’d say it corresponds to 2* or 3* hotels. In the end, the budgetary difference is not so great, but the one on board is immense. Of course, I help you too. The team is even available through Skype and WhatsApp to help you see more clearly between all the options available to you. Don’t be shy, ask us, that’s why we’re here.
If you are ready to offer yourself more comfort, such as a 4* and 5* hotel, you will have to pay up to US$500 per day and even more! I promise you, at this price, the services of luxury yachts are incredible. The cuisine is of great quality and diversity, your cabins are spacious (some even with balcony!), the beds are large and comfortable, the common areas are numerous and the whole crew is at your service.
These are really top-of-the-range cruises with the appropriate services. In this category, there is even more choice, you will easily find your happiness among all my partners.
Which date and which route to choose? The Galapagos is always exceptional
Yes yes yes yes, I know, I’m answering your question a little quickly. Come on, I’ll help you a little bit anyway.
For the weather in the enchanted islands, you already have everything in a column. As I have a Breton on the team, an expert in cold water, he tells me that the temperatures indicated are a little exaggerated (except everything in the east!). For those who are not as brave, the boats offer rental suits that will help you enjoy each snorkeling session (and also avoid sunburn). You can also take your equipment with you.
What about the wildlife? The majority of species – land and sea turtles, land and sea iguanas, rays, white-tip sharks, blue-legged madmen, sea lions and sea lions, penguins, etc. – are also found in the marine environment. – are present all year round with a few exceptions, such as some marine mammals and albatrosses.
However, they are not everywhere. For example, these kings of the azure, dear to Baudelaire, nest exclusively on the island of Española, while the Flyless Cormorants are visible between the islands of Fernandina and Isabela. Wolf and Darwin Islands, just to the northeast, offer the best diving spots. The mating season is always a unique and magical spectacle.
What are the best programs
Oh yes, I forgot to mention the programs!
They all give a lot of importance to discovering nature between hikes, snorkelling (mask and snorkel!), zodiac tours and moments of relaxation on the beach. On average, count one of each of these activities once a day! Yes, all day long, you are busy enjoying the treasures that the Galapagos have in store for you with the wise advice of your naturalist guide. Do you really think it was going to be relaxing?
Of course, some routes offer more snorkeling or hiking opportunities. How to choose? The only solution is to read the routes. I am happy to share them with you to make your life easier.