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Galapagos Cruises, Tours & Boats

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A Galapagos cruise is an unparalleled wildlife experience on planet Earth. You'll snorkel with playful sea lions, admire amusing blue-footed boobies, and marvel at ancient tortoises. Choose from only the best yachts, catamarans, & small cruise ships in the Galapagos hand selected by our team of Galapgos experts. We specialize in luxury Galapagos cruises, but offer trips for all price ranges. Nowadays, Galapagos tour options aren't limited to taking a cruise, as land-based tours and active adventure trips have become increasingly popular. The Galapagos were Adventure Life's first destination offered nearly two decades ago, and for most, exploring this archipelago is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so getting every step of your trip perfect is our top priority. Contact us for a free personalized itinerary. 

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Planning Your Galapagos Cruise

Choosing a Galapagos Yacht or Cruise Ship
With so many boats and cruise options, it's hard to know where to start when planning a trip to Galapagos. Here are several tips and factors to take into consideration when choosing your cruise.
  • Luxury Galapagos Cruises have the top-rated naturalist guides, superb cuisine, and spacious, stylish cabins.
  • Galapagos Catamarans may have the best of both worlds. Catamarans are small 16-passenger yachts that are stable in the water and the most luxurious vessels to sail the Galapagos. 
  • Galapagos Cruise Ships have spacious cabins and public areas. Here we list the best ships that cruise the islands. 
  • Budget Cruises make it possible to experience Galapagos on a budget. We take the risk out of choosing a trip that won't break your budget.
Price & Length of Cruise
Galapagos can be a pricey destination and the cost of your cruise increases nearly proportionally to the number of days. That said, most travelers find that:
  • 4-day cruise is too short as the first and last days are used flying from the mainland of Ecuador, so you only have 2 full days on the islands, and that's not enough!
  • A 5-day cruise (with 3 full days on the islands) will be sufficient for some travelers, though most experts agree that
  • An 8-day cruise is the perfect balance of enough time on the islands vs cost.  
  • The 15-day cruises offer complete circumnavigations of the islands for those with ample time and budget.
Staying at a hotel on one of the inhabited islands for a few days before or after your cruise is a way to lower the cost per day.
Large vs. Small Boats 
The maximum number of passengers allowed on a cruise ship in Galapagos is 100, so "large" is relatively small compared to huge cruise ships. Small yachts tend to carry 16 to 20 passengers and the larger ships carry from about 40-100. The social dynamic on smaller vs. larger ships is different, and you'll get to know your shipmates on smaller boats. The stability of a boat in the water is another important factor in the sometimes choppy waters of the Galapagos. Catamarans and larger cruise ships tend to be more stable in the water, whereas smaller single-hulled boats tend to rock more.

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Galapagos Tours by Land vs. Galapagos Cruises

Taking a Galapagos cruise is the most popular way to tour the Galapagos Islands, but in recent years, Galapagos land tours that stay in hotels at night, then visit different visitor spots and islands during the day have become more popular. Below are several factors you'll want to consider and some advantages and disadvantages of each type of tour.

Cost: In general, cruises are more costly than hotel-based Galapagos tours. That said, the less expensive boats may work out to less per day than an all inclusive tour that stays in luxury hotels. For cost, the edge goes to land-based tours.

Number and Diversity of National Park Visits: On a cruise, itineraries usually visit one official visitor's spot in the morning and a second spot in the afternoon. During the night, the boats sail to the next island which saves on transportation time. On land-based tours, you lose the sailing during the night, but a well designed land-based tour can efficiently see about as much as you would on most, especially shorter, cruises. Here the edge goes to cruises.

Passengers with Motion Sickness: If you're prone to seasickness, then the prospect of being at sea for several days may be frightful, but it's not a reason to skip a trip to the Galapagos. Several land-based tours require minimal boat time. If you take a cruise, choose a larger ship or a stable catamaran to minimize boat rock. Here the clear winner is a land-based tour.

Still not sure which is the best way for you to visit the Galapagos? Contact one of our Galapagos specialists who can answer your questions and help you plan the perfect trip to Galapagos. 

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Top Activities & Things to Do in Galapagos

Snorkeling - The Galapagos are absolutely amazing for snorkeling. It's the only place on Earth where you can snorkel with penguins, marine iguanas and numerous endemic species such as Galapagos Sharks. Most Galapagos cruises have several, even daily, snorkeling opportunities. 

Sea Kayaking - A limited number of yachts carry sea kayaks onboard, so make sure that your yacht has them before reserving. The kayaking opportunities on most cruises are quite limited, so if sea kayaking is important to you, consider a multi-sport tour.

Hiking in Galapagos - Most cruises do one or two hikes per day at National Park visitor spots, so your trip will likely be filled with hiking. Want more? Take our specialized Galapagos Hiking Tour for the best hiking on the islands, including the walk to the rim of the massive Sierra Negra volcanic caldera. 

Photography - Nowhere on earth is there such fearless wildlife that pose in front of breathtaking scenery. You'll get excellent shots with a modern mobile phone camera. If you have a DSLR, you'll only need a telephoto lens occaisionally. Do bring a polarizer for the Equatorial sun. The "must-have" landscape shot is on Bartolome Island, while wildlife photography opportunities are literally everywhere. 

SCUBA Diving - The Galapagos are one of the world's premier diving destinations and one can choose betwee Liveaboard dive cruises or taking diving day trips based out of one of the towns in Galapagos such as Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.

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