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Frigatebird in the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Cruises & Tours

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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 aspect of your trip perfect is our top priority. Contact us for a free personalized itinerary. 

10 Best Galapagos Cruises & Tours

Galapagos Cruises & Tours (258 Results)
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Trip NameSaveFromDaysLevelSummary
Aventura Lodge$3375$33758RelaxedExplore the Galapagos Island of Santa Cruz as well as two neighboring islands while relaxing in comfortable beachfront hotels. This 8-day vacation balances activity and relaxation perfectly in one of the world's premier wildlife-viewing destinations.
In the Steps of Darwin30%$46208RelaxedDiscover all of the Galapagos wildlife that made the Islands famous and inspired Charles Darwin´s theory of evolution. Snorkel, swim, or kayak on the pristine crystal waters and experience amazing animal encounters, including playful sea lions, frigate birds, iguanas, blue footed boobies, penguins, and giant tortoises.
Footsteps Back in Time30%$46208RelaxedHave amazing animal encounters while experiencing the depth and breadth of what the islands offer, including top notch landing sites on this 8-day voyage through the Galapagos. Visit the most remote islands and experience the true Galapagos exploration aboard the M/V Evolution.
Following Darwin's Footsteps25%$54508RelaxedEmbark on a memorable vacation aboard the Grace. The 8-day journey allows for many close encounters with Galapagos wildlife. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming and kayaking in clear waters. Explore South Plaza, Genovesa, Isabela and more on this tour!
Beyond Darwin's Footsteps25%$54508RelaxedThis 8-day adventure aboard Grace offers close encounters with wildlife. The islands are full of creatures that love to interact with visitors. Travel around Espanola, Floreana, Santa Cruz and more! Enjoy snorkeling, swimming and kayaking in the crystalline waters of this area.
Isabela, Fernandina & Central Islands$1000$68808RelaxedCruise aboard the luxurious new Petrel catamaran as you explore Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz, South Plaza and San Cristobal Islands. Visit Charles Darwin Research Station and the best visitor spots in the National Park with the best bilingual guides on this 8-day all inclusive luxury cruise of Galapagos.

Tools, Tips & Guides

Planning Your Galapagos Trip

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.

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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Getting to the Galapagos Islands - Flights & Transportation

Flights to the Galapagos Islands fly exclusively from mainland Ecuador, specifically from Guayaquil on the coast and from Quito in the Andean highlands. You will either land at the Baltra Island's Seymour airport (GPS) next to the central Santa Cruz Island or at San Cristobal Island airport in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the southeast Galapagos Islands.

Once you're here, you will be met at the airport and taken by ferry, bus, or taxi to the towns of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal, where you will board your yachts to begin your cruise. Some cruises arrive to one airport and leave from the other.

If you're taking a land-based tour where you stay in hotels at night, you may also either fly or take a water taxi to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island.

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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Galapagos Travel FAQs

Do I need a visa to travel to the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos are governed by Ecuador, and tourist visas are not required to visit the Galapagos from the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia. If your country is not on this list, you should check with your country's embassy for more detailed travel requirements.

Is tipping customary in the Galapagos Islands?
Tipping is always appreciated and very common in the Galapagos Islands. Adventure Life never requires travelers to tip, but it is a courteous gesture to show appreciation for the excellent service that we promise you will experience.

The rule of thumb in the Galapagos is tipping $7-$10/ person/ day for the guide and $10-15/ person/ day for the crew. For cruises, there is typically a gratuity envelope that you can leave in the cabin on the last day. If you eat at a local restaurant there will likely be a 10% service charge included in the bill, in which case tipping isn’t necessary.

Do I need power adapters?
Most plugs in hotels and boat cabins are two flat prong that run on 110-volt electricity.

What is the internet access like in the Galapagos Islands?
While there are cyber cafes in the port cities like Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal, you shouldn’t plan on being connected for most of your trip. Certain hotels do feature business centers or WiFi hotspots, but even the most luxurious cruises usually do not offer internet access onboard. If this is a concern, we can help you figure out which options allow the most internet access.

Can I use my cell phone while in the Galapagos Islands?
You will need a GSM phone that is either unlocked or has a roaming option on your plan. In the port cities, if you have a local SIM card for your phone from Claro, Movistar, or CNT, you will be able to make calls. However once you are at sea on a cruise or if you are at some of the more isolated visitor sites, it is unlikely that you will have any signal at all. It’s not uncommon to go several days or up to a week out of range, so plan to be disconnected.

What are the toilets like in the Galapagos Islands?
The toilets on cruises and hotels are all standard flushing units. At certain visitor sites, it’s possible that there are pit toilets or no toilets at all on the visitor sites where only trails have been built. In any situation, you should make sure to have hand sanitizer and toilet paper on hand just in case.

What will it cost for a… ?
Bottle of water or juice: $2.00
Inexpensive meal: $6.00
Meal at a decent restaurant: $30

*The Galapagos Islands are over 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, so the prices of everything that is not grown or caught around the Galapagos Islands themselves must be adjusted for transportation costs and local taxes.

Can I drink the water in the Galapagos Islands?
You should not drink the tap water in the Galapagos Islands, however we make sure that there is always safe bottled water available for you. Most water on yachts and ships is purified but sits in large tanks, so it’s not usually a good idea to drink it from the tap. It’s generally okay to brush your teeth with the water from the ships, but using bottled water is always the safest option.

You can use the tap water to shower, wash your hands, and wash dishes with a strong antibacterial soap as long as you let them dry completely before using.

Are credit cards accepted in the Galapagos Islands? Are there ATMs?
The only places where you’ll find an ATM or stores/ restaurants that accept credit cards are Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. It’s a good idea to withdraw money while in mainland Ecuador before departing for the Galapagos just in case the ATMs aren’t working or if you don’t have an opportunity in the Islands to withdraw money based on your itinerary.
 
Do I need to purchase travel insurance before heading to the Galapagos Islands?
You definitely should! We highly recommend buying travel insurance before heading out on your vacation, and we work with TravelGuard Insurance company to provide you with the best deals. They offer fair prices for comprehensive insurance packages. Our Once You’re Booked page has more info.
 

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