Choose Your Ideal Adventure on the Galapagos Islands – Yachting, Sailing or Staying on Land
We would love to help you to plan your ideal vacation experience in the Galápagos Islands, tailored to exactly what you hope to see and do! If you don’t know where to start, that’ okay. That’s why we created this page to help you out, as it can get very confusing quickly. Which islands should you go to? Which companies have the best guides and offer the best value? Where can you see all of the different kinds of animals?
The best place to start is getting in touch with us, to talk through what your ideal experience would look like. Reach out any time – here’s the contact page.
The Galápagos Islands are the world’s number one bucket list destination for a reason. They are magical. It is like going back in time when our natural world was still untouched, but with animals that are different than anywhere else on Earth. Fascinating, beautiful animals endemic to the islands abound, all with no fear of humans, and therefore so easy to get close to.
We want to help you to pick the best possible trip, whether that trip is yacht-based or land-based. It’s important that you have the opportunity to see what is most important to you, and have the best experience for you. Below we have put together some information about land-based trips versus yacht-based, as well as some broader information that we are often asked about, such as weather, the best time of year to travel to the islands, and a little about the animals.
Some Key Basic Points about the Galápagos Islands:
For those looking for activity, there is lots to choose from: kayaking, biking, hiking, and excellent snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving. There is also the option to spend time just relaxing on the beach. No matter what, there will be lots of wildlife interaction.
You have to fly to the islands, regardless of whether your trip is yacht or land-based, as they are situated approximately 600 miles (1000km) west of the Ecuadorian mainland. We will arrange the Galapagos flight for you.
Anytime is a good time to travel to the Galápagos, but there are differences with the seasons. Seasons are split into cool and dry (June – November) and warm and wet (December – June), with the warmer season offering calmer, warmer seas and better underwater visibility. During the “cool” season the land birds and sea mammals are most active.
The difference between a yacht and land-based trips, is you stay in a hotel on one of the one, two or all three of the inhabited islands (San Cristobal, Isabela, and Santa Cruz), and it allows you to get to know the culture of the laid-back beach towns found on the islands and generally offers a little more time with the unique and magical two and four-legged inhabitants found on the islands.
Yacht-based Trips (including sailing) allow you to get a taste of the more remote, unpopulated islands of the Galápagos, and offer the opportunity to see 100% of the islands’ wild and beautiful animals.
Both land-based and yacht-based trips should offer the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions and Galapagos Green Turtles, and possibly also with sharks, marine iguanas, and rays. Three ocean currents collide at the islands, making them a haven for unique marine life.
A couple of animal facts: the Galapagos penguin is the only to be found in the northern hemisphere and to breed in the tropics; A Galapagos tortoise can weigh up to 595lb (270kg) and outlive most humans; The endemic Galapagos fur sea lions are the smallest among the world’s seven species of fur sea lions; The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the only marine lizard to exist in the world. We could go on here…
Different trips will offer the opportunity to walk amongst giant Galápagos tortoises in their natural habitat or see them at a breeding centre, but we recommend doing both if possible – and many itineraries will offer both.
Talented Galapagos naturalist guides serve as your liaison to the local culture and wildlife, and can answer any question you have about the islands, as they are well-trained experts.
Darwin sailed to Galapagos on board the HMS Beagle in September 1835.During the five weeks that he spent there, he went ashore to collect plants, rocks, insects and birds which inspired his ground breaking theory “The Origin of Species”.
In 1959, the Government of Ecuador declared all uninhabited areas of Galapagos a national park and visitors an inhabitants alike are very conscious about conserving the environment. The 97% of the islands that fall within the national park are very carefully managed, limiting access to groups of 16 per national guide (and no option without a guide). Excursions within the park are coordinated so that not too many people are ever on the islands at one time.
Most yachts in the Galapagos range from 16 – 20 passengers in total, with a few sailboats that are smaller and a few cruise ships that are bigger (never more than 100 people, as a strict rule). Some are more luxurious than others, but they are all pretty spectacular!
Some good things to consider in your research and planning: Are you prone to sea sickness? When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos? Do you like to snorkel? What is included in the different packages, such as the flight from Quito and meals? What is the one or two animals that you would be disappointed not to see?
We will do our best to accommodate your preference of departure date, noting the earlier you book, the greater chance there will be that we can find exactly what you are looking for!