Discover an archipelago of such breathtaking biodiversity that it inspired Charles Darwin. Today, it promises unrivaled opportunities for wildlife watching.
Trace the story of life itself by taking a cruise to Galapagos, one of the world’s most wildlife-rich areas. This stunning archipelago features all kinds of evolutionary oddities, including giant tortoises, flightless birds, swimming lizards and Darwin finches. Snorkel around these islands where colonies of multicolored fish frequent the waters. Even those who are not impressed by wildlife will be awed by the Galapagos’ volcanic scenery and forest-covered islets.
Cruises to Galapagos are rarely mega-ship expeditions found in places such as the Caribbean. Most operators offer ships with occupancies no larger than 100 people, sometimes taking as few as 20 or 10 guests. Visit these unique natural landmarks, which feels like escaping into untamed wilderness, where nature is free to run its course.
Choose between several different types of Galapagos cruises. This trip doesn’t have to use your entire vacation budget, as Galapagos cruise deals are available with economy berths. For something a little more upscale, choose operators that offer luxury options for a truly relaxing journey, far more comfortable than Darwin’s expedition on the Beagle.
Look for Galapagos cruises with Level 3 guides, a designation given by Galapagos National Park to specialists in the field. These highly trained expedition leaders can describe the lives of giant tortoises in Santa Cruz or explain the striking lava flows of Fernandina.
Remember, visiting Galapagos comes with some restrictions. In order to preserve the natural beauty and thriving ecosystems that make the islands so special, Galapagos National Park is open only from sunrise to sunset. As such, when it comes to debarkation, Galapagos cruises run tight schedules to ensure that you can fit everything into your onshore visit.
Take a Galapagos cruise at any time of year to see the native wildlife. June to September and December to January are the peak seasons, but weather throughout the year is largely amenable to cruises. Bring seasickness medication as the ocean around Galapagos can at times get uncomfortably choppy.
As Galapagos is still a wild, untamed swath of nature, bring appropriate all-weather gear. Quick-drying clothes and sturdy footwear are both recommended.