Galapagos Cruises vs. Land-based Tours
Taking a cruise is the most popular way to tour the Galapagos Islands, but in recent years, 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.
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.