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Galapagos Cruises & Tours

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A Galapagos cruise or tour 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 safest small yachts, catamarans, & small cruise ships in the Galapagos hand selected by our team of Galapagos experts. Nowadays, Galapagos tour options aren't limited to taking a cruise, as land-based tours and active adventure trips have become increasingly popular. We specialize in luxury Galapagos cruises, and private charters and offer trips for all price ranges. The Galapagos were our first destination offered over twenty years 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.

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Top 10 Galapagos Travel Deals for 2021

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Trip NameSaveFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
West & Central Islands + Genovesa$1000$78298Dec 27, 2020Enjoy an exceptional trip to the West & Central Galapagos Islands as you sail across one of the most magical destinations in the world. Discover the …
South & Central Islands$1000$78298Dec 27, 2020Enjoy the beauty of Bartolome, Española, Floreana, Mosquera Islet, North Seymour, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santiago and South Plaza on …
Western & Eastern Islands$1000$78298Dec 26, 2020Join the M/C Elite on a spectacular 8-day small ship cruise. Visiting San Cristobal, North Seymour, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Rabida, …
Central Islands Cruise$1000$78298Jan 2, 2021Enjoy the highlights of San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Santiago and Genovesa islands on this incredible 8-day adventure aboard the …
North & Central Islands + Floreana$700$58696Dec 24, 2020Delight your senses with all the natural beauty and breathtaking wildlife of the Galapagos Islands! Sail across some of the most emblematic …
Luxury West & Central Galapagos Cruise$700$58696Jan 19, 2021The Galapagos are some of the world’s most famous and beguiling islands the M/C Endemic offers you the perfect opportunity to discover and enjoy …
Northern Islands Cruise$500$48895Dec 22, 2020Board the Elite for a 5-Day sailing expedition across one of the most unique archipelagos on the planet, the Galapagos Islands. Experience the beauty …
Southern Islands$500$48895Dec 27, 2020Sail through the Southern Galapagos Islands, exploring their biodiverse and magical landscapes. Starting in Baltra making your way through Española, …
Luxury Central Galapagos Islands Cruise$500$37694Dec 24, 2020This luxury Galapagos cruise explores the central and eastern islands of the archipelago on the new Endemic Galapagos catamaran. Hike sea-side …
Northern Galapagos JourneySavings$33995Dec 27, 2020Travel through the Northern Islands of the Galapagos aboard the Sea Star Journey. Observe colonies of sea lions and penguins, experience incredible …

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COVID-19 Travel Updates for the Galapagos Islands
(Updated Aug 5, 2020)

The Galapagos National Park officially re-opened in July and the first international travelers have been arriving to the Galapagos since the beginning of August.

A negative PCR request is required within 7 days before arrival in order to enter Ecuador. If you arrange your entire trip with Adventure Life there is no quarantine requirement, just a second PCR test needed in your hotel in Quito or Guayaquil before boarding your flight to Galapagos.  

Some cruise lines have begun to book dates in August, but most yachts and small ships are expected to return to service slowly over the next months as few have been able to fill enough spaces to justify sailings. 

Contact one of our Galapagos experts with any questions you have about when to schedule your 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. Follow these 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. Some have doctors onboard and may be a good choice for physically challenged travelers. 
  • Budget Cruises make it possible to experience Galapagos on a budget. One should be very careful when choosing a low-price Galapagos cruise, but we only work with the best boats and 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.
  • 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 people, so "large" in the Galapagos is actually "small" compared to huge cruise ships in the Caribbean or other major cruise destinations.

Small yachts in Galapagos tend to carry 16 to 20 passengers and the larger ships carry from about 40 to 100 passengers.

The social dynamic on smaller vs. larger ships is different, and you'll get to know your shipmates on smaller boats. Larger ships tend to have a doctor onboard and multiple guides so that you may choose between multiple activities each day.

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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New Galapagos Yachts Recently Launched

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
M/C Elite16$3769Perhaps the most luxurious small yacht in the Galapagos, the new Galapagos Elite set Summer 2019. It has reinvented luxury, comfort and class in the …
Solaris16$2695The Solaris is a spacious 114.8 feet long yacht that will take you across one of the most stunning archipelagos on Earth! the 16 passenger ship was …
Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts20$7850The Origin & Theory combines modern sophistication and a high level of comfort and service, with quality guided land excursions in small groups, …
Aqua16$1595Aqua offers naturalist cruises with soft adventures for all ages, such as snorkeling, kayaking, wildlife interpretation hikes and occasional diving. …

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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 almost 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 Seymour airport (GPS) next to Santa Cruz Island or at San Cristobal Island airport (SCY) just outside of 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 Island, where you will board your yachts to begin your cruise. Some cruises arrive to one airport and leave from the other.

Taxis and water taxis are available in the inhabited villages of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. 

Most Galapagos tour packages booked with Adventure Life are all inclusive and we take care of all transportation details for you, including the flight from Ecuador to the Galapagos. .
Galapagos Tours & Cruises, Island-by-Island

All tours and cruises to Galapagos start and/or finish at Santa Cruz Island (at neighboring Baltra Island Airport, GPS ) or San Cristobal Island airport. Cruise itineraries are frequently categorized as central, north, south, east and west.

Central Islands: Santa Cruz BaltraSantiagoChinese HatRabidaBartolomeSanta Fe,  South PlazasNorth SeymourMosquera, and Daphne Islands

Eastern Islands: San Cristobal 

Southern Islands: Española, and Floreana.

Western Islands: Isabela and Fernandina.

Northern Islands: Genovesa, and the northernmost Wolf & Darwin Islands which are only visited during dedicated diving trips
Choosing Cruises based on Activities 
Let's face it - if you've chosen the Galapagos Islands as your travel destination, then you're looking for an adventurous vacation, and while there are plenty of itineraries that feature light hiking at the heart of the trip, you can also find itineraries that offer more active options:
  • Volcano treks
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Paddleboarding 
  • Glass-bottomed boats
  • Panga excursions
  • Nature & breeding center visits
Our tip for getting the most out of your active Galapagos vacation? Choose an itinerary that has a mix of all of these activities. By the end of your trip, you might wish you had more time to hike or snorkel, but you certainly wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the other items to do it.

That's why finding a Galapagos itinerary with a fair combination of activities is the best way to make the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime trip to these precious islands.
Get to Know Each of the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are constantly growing and changing as the volcanic hot spot in the western archipelago continues to force lava to the surface and the eastern islands drift slowly back into the water from whence they came. Among the many islands and islets that you can explore, there are just four islands that are inhabited:
  • Isabela Island is the westernmost, biggest, and youngest of the inhabited Galapagos Islands. There are six active volcanoes here that can be explored and some of the best snorkeling opportunities as well. The quiet town of Puerto Villamil has managed to maintain its fishing village atmosphere despite the growth in tourism to the Islands.
  • Santa Cruz Island is the centrally located "main island" in the Galapagos and serves as the biggest port for cruises and the main hub for cargo ships in the Galapagos. The town of Puerto Ayora has a growing population of 18,000 people and a number of restaurants, shops, bars, and hotels. It's also the closest island to the Baltra Airport.
  • Floreana, in the southern part of the archipelago, is one of the most historic islands in the Galapagos, home to centuries-old legends and tales of betrayal and romance, pirates, whalers, and artifacts that remind us how real this period was in the Galapagos Islands.
  • San Cristobal in the far east of the Galapagos Islands is the administrative capital of this Ecuadorian province from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and is home to some of the best surfing and land-based exploration sites, like the giant El Junco freshwater lagoon, geological formations, Cerro Brujo & Lobos Island and more.
The Best Way to Experience the Galapagos Islands
Perhaps one of the most fascinating and engaging destinations on the planet, the Galapagos Islands offer an exciting opportunity to witness pristine nature in its purest expressions. Make your trip a valuable and memorable experience by considering this when planning:
  • Prioritize conservation! Travel to the Galapagos Islands is heavily monitored and fairly restricted by Ecuador's ministry of tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and the Galapagos National Park. Those who have the privilege to visit this fragile archipelago also have to play their part and practice responsible tourism by booking with operators committed to "green" travel practices (like the ones that we feature). It's also up to you to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines and make sure to respect all of the rules that your guides tell you (like not feeding animals and staying on the trails). 
  • Plan your trip around your interests. From kayaking to scuba diving to hiking to photography and so much more, there's more to do in the Galapagos Islands than even the 16-day itineraries have time for; that's why most cruises try to fit in two daily excursions to maximize your experience. If you're an avid kayaker or photographer, for example, make sure that your itinerary allows for plenty of time for these options.
  • Experience the marine life by snorkeling! Even if you've never been snorkeling or don't consider yourself a particularly strong swimmer, the wetsuits will help with buoyancy and just floating on the water's surface with your mask down is enough to open your eyes to a whole new submarine world. If you're a stronger swimmer, then use your flippers to explore even deeper in the water and get closer to the fantastic rainbow of coral and marine life hidden below the glassy turquoise waters.
  • Plan longer trips. While you might find a 4- or 5-day cruise for a much more economical price, we recommend staying at least 8 days. This will not only allow you to see more of the Galapagos Islands and experience more activities, but longer stays also help the local economy and community.
  • Visit Machu Picchu in Peru and the Andes & Amazon on mainland Ecuador. If you're already going to be in South America for your trip to the Galapagos, you might as well see other staple South American attractions like the colonial capital city of Quito, Ecuador, Cusco & Machu Picchu in Peru, or even the Amazon rainforest.
Galapagos + Ecuador Mainland + Peru, South America

If you're traveling to the Galapagos Islands, then you're passing close to some of the world's natural and cultural wonders. That's why it's a great idea to take advantage of your trip to the Galapagos Islands and combine it with some time exploring mainland South America! There are a few great options to consider:
  • Galapagos & the Amazon: The Ecuadorian Amazon has the most easily accessible area of the Amazon Rainforests, and one of the most diverse. It's usually experienced from an eco-lodge. If you love the idea of another cruise, then visit Peru's Amazon to take a river cruise from the town of Iquitos.
  • Galapagos & Machu Picchu: Check off another wonder of the world by visiting Machu Picchu to see this impressive architectural landmark of the Inca empire. From here you can look out over the Sacred Valley and stop in the colonial city of Cuzco en route.
  • Galapagos & the Andes: Whether you're taking in history and culture in the the colonial Ecuadorian capital city of Quito, exploring the active glaciated Cotopaxi Volcano, or enjoying national parks and colonial streets in the southern Andean city of Cuenca, these towering peaks and volcanoes seem to put the whole world in perspective. 

Top Activities & Things to Do in Galapagos

Wildlife Viewing - The Galapagos Islands are perhaps the world's premier wildlife viewing destination because of the fearlessness of wildlife, whom have never had significant predators and only know humans as peaceful camera carrying creatures. Every Galapagos itinerary is packed with opportunities to see the unique creatures that inspired Charles Darwin's theories on evolution. 

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 on board, 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 occasionally. Do consider a polarized lens 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 between 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 like those in the United States and Canada.

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 boats and hotels do feature business centers or WiFi hotspots, but even the most luxurious cruises sometimes do not offer internet access on board. 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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