Galapagos Islands Galapagos Islands Galapagos Islands
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Build Your Trip

Our Build Your Trip tool is designed to unlock Galapagos Trip Planning and make it yours. Choose your boat class and/or land accommodation. Choose your experiences. See your estimated trip price. Then Save Your Trip to look at later.

Let’s Begin

HOW WILL YOU TRAVEL

CHOOSE ONE

Galapagos By Boat

(1) Choose your boat class. (2) Choose your experiences. (3) Then hit “Save This Trip” to send yourself a good-looking summary email of your journey.

BOAT
CLASS

See our Boats page for an explanation of our boat classes. Boat itineraries are a duration of either 4, 5, or 8 days.

The
EXPERIENCES
INCLUDED
Snorkeling Excursions
Nature Hikes
Kayaking
SUP (stand up paddleboarding)
Rest & Relaxation
Cooking Classes
SPECIAL

When you stay in a private cabin on a shared boat, we are not able to incorporate any of our Insider Access Experiences into your cruise itinerary. Shared boats have a fixed itinerary and you are limited to the included experiences listed above.

Curious to learn more about our portfolio of Insider Access Experiences? See them all here>

Whereas, a Private Charter offers total route flexibility for your group and we can incorporate any of our Insider Access Experiences. Get in touch with us to discuss the amazing array of yachts and catamarans available. Smaller private catamarans are surprisingly affordable for groups of 8+

ESTIMATED
PRICE

Boat Per Day
0
trip minimum
4 days
WHAT'S
INCLUDED

All pricing is per person, based on 2 travellers booking together.

Our Special Experiences are an additional cost as they require special arrangements. Separating (1) your per-day price for chosen boat class, from (2) the additional cost for your special experiences lets us portray a more honest picture of how we price a Galapagos Journey.

What’s Included in your Per Day boat price: Private Cabin in a shared boat, All meals, VIP airport reception and departure, Transfers b/w boat and airport, Fixed itinerary with route that you choose and 1 or 2 shared experiences per day, 24/7 assistance during your journey and pre-departure.

Not Included: International Flights to Ecuador, Flight from Quito (or Guayaquil or Lima) to Baltro Airport (GPS) or San Cristobal (SCY), $100 National Park Fee, Personal expenses

Galapagos On Land

(1) Choose your land stay. (2) Choose your experiences. (3) Then hit “Save This Trip” to send yourself a good-looking summary email of your journey.

LAND
STAY

See our Lodging page for an explanation of our land accommodation tiers. We suggest a minimum land stay of 5 days if choosing land only.

The
EXPERIENCES
INCLUDED
Nature Hikes
Biking at Your Lodge
Local Beach Visits
Rest + Relaxation
Travel with Purpose:
Giving Back to The Galapagos
SPECIAL
A Sea Lion's Kingdom + $250
Mangroves + Sea Dragons + $350
Feeding Frenzy + $300
Volcano Trek + $250
Eco-Sport Fishing + $400
Snorkeling + Birding + $200
Swim With Penguins + $250
Scuba Dive Day Tour + $250

Curious to learn more about each of the Special Experiences above? See them all here

ESTIMATED
PRICE

Land Stay Per Day
0
Additional Special
Experiences
$0
trip minimum
5 days
WHAT'S
INCLUDED

All pricing is per person, based on 2 travellers booking together.

Our Special Experiences are an additional cost as they require special arrangements. Separating (1) your per-day price for chosen land stay accommodation, from (2) the additional cost for your special experiences lets us portray a more honest picture of how we price a Galapagos Journey.

What’s Included in your Per Day land stay price: daily breakfast and some other meals, 1 or 2 experiences per day, all airport transfers and reception, transfers from hotel to excursions, airport hotel in Quito if your flight arrives late, 24/7 assistance during your journey and pre-departure.

Not Included: International Flights to Ecuador, Flight from Quito (or Guayaquil or Lima) to Baltro Airport (GPS) or San Cristobal (SCY), $100 National Park Fee, Personal expenses

Combination - Boat + Land

(1) Choose your boat class. (2) Choose your land stay. (3) Choose your experiences. (4) Then hit “Save This Trip” to send yourself a good-looking summary email of your journey.

BOAT
CLASS

See our Boats page for an explanation of our boat classes. Boat itineraries are a duration of either 4, 5, or 8 days.

LAND
STAY

See our Lodging page for an explanation of our land accommodation tiers. We suggest a minimum land stay of 5 days if choosing land only.

The
EXPERIENCES
INCLUDED
Snorkeling + Excursions
Nature Hikes
Kayaking
Beach Visits
Rest + Relaxation
Cooking Classes
Travel With Purpose:
Giving Back to The Galapagos
SPECIAL
A Sea Lion's Kingdom + $250
Mangroves + Sea Dragons + $350
Feeding Frenzy + $300
Volcano Trek + $250
Eco-Sport fishing + $400
Snorkeling + Birding + $200
Swim With Penguins + $300
Scuba Dive Day Tour + $250

ESTIMATED
PRICE

Boat Per Day
0
Land Stay Per Day
0
Additional Special
Experiences
$0
trip minimum
7 days
WHAT'S
INCLUDED

All pricing is per person, based on 2 travellers booking together.

Our Special Experiences are an additional cost as they require special arrangements. Separating (1) your per-day price for chosen boat and/or accommodation, from (2) the additional cost for your special experiences lets us portray a more honest picture of how we price a Galapagos Journey.

What’s Included in your Per Day prices: Private Cabin in a shared boat, All meals on the boat, VIP airport reception and departure, Transfers b/w boat and airport, Fixed boat itinerary with route that you choose, 1 or 2 experiences per day, 24/7 assistance during journey and pre-departure.

Not Included: International Flights to Ecuador, Flight from Quito (or Guayaquil or Lima) to Baltro Airport (GPS) or San Cristobal (SCY), $100 National Park Fee, Personal expenses

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    learn more about

    THE
    GALAPAGOS
    ISLANDS
    Each day here can be as varied as the islands are different – from diving with sea lions and sharks, to hiking the world’s second largest caldera, to leisurely kayaking through mangroves. The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site, explored and loved by travellers of all ages, activity levels and interests.

    Here is some additional information about these rugged islands, with an eye to geography and island history.

    • some Basics
    • Land vs. Boat
    • Geography
    • History
    • Seasons
    • RIGHT FOR ME?
    1. Many travelers come to us to feel inspired. If you’d like, we can recommend ways to get you outside your comfort zone / stretch your sense of self.
    2. Your boat + accommodations decisions are the primary drivers of your per-day baseline cost.
    3. Our Insider Access Experiences carry additional costs. Our Build Your Trip tool shows you the additional cost per experience.
    4. Certain experiences are only on certain islands. As such, your preferred experiences will drive travel arrangements and itinerary.
    5. As you add experiences, the number of days in your itinerary will increase, increasing the overall cost of your Galapagos Journey
    6. Your trip can be a mix of ship-based island hopping and land-based overnights.
    7. If you wish to avoid boats, flights can be arranged between the islands.

    On Land. By Boat. Or a Combination?

    We're here to un-complicate a complicated destination. As a travel company that solely creates custom (fully personalized) trips, we guide you through a number of Galapagos travel decisions, en route to crafting the ultimate Galapagos Journey for you and your group. The first decision you'll make is whether to choose a land-based itinerary, a boat-based itinerary, or a combination of both. Below we walk you through the pros & cons of each:

    Traveling On Land

    Pros. Exploring the Galapagos Islands by land lets us incorporate our Insider Access Experiences into your itinerary: we can flexibly arrange your days around active adventure, with more space and privacy. Depending on your selected island(s), you will have an array of adventures to choose from with an unlimited amount of time for exploring.
    Cons. Less islands covered during your journey and less diversity of nature if you have little time.
    Tip From The Experts. We have a private collection of villas to choose from – this is an amazing option for groups who want privacy and a truly custom itinerary. Groups who book one of our villas typically combine with a private yacht charter as well, creating a very customizable, private and exclusive Galapagos Journey where you and your group will be away from the crowds for your entire stay.

    Traveling by Shared Boat

    Pros. More exposure to and viewing of the Galapagos' 20+ islands. (Much of the travel to new islands happens while you sleep!) Travel by boat allows you to see more of the islands without having to worry about private transfers or schedules and you have a great many amenities at your fingertips on the boat. It is worth noting that we only work with smaller ships and yachts (accommodating 12 to 100 passengers max) in order to help protect the unique natural environment of the Galapagos.
    Cons. Typically costlier than travelling on land and less exclusive. Very little itinerary flexibility as route and activities are locked in. Certain times of the year, prevailing weather creates choppier seas, so if you're prone to motion sickness, a solely boat-based itinerary may not be ideal.

    Traveling by Private Boat Charter

    Pros. Ideal for families and groups of friends seeking privacy. With advance planning, we can completely customize an itinerary to your liking. Ideal for those wanting to do special experience add-ons (see our Insider Access Experiences). Special culinary experiences can be added.
    Cons. Unless you have a group of 8 or more, private charter options are costly per person.

    A Huge Array of Landscapes 

    Perfect for Exploration
    The Galapagos Archipelago is an infinitely intriguing collection of over 60 islands and islets, most of which remain uninhabited – aside from the hundreds of endemic animal species, of course. An ecosystem all its own, the Galapagos Islands boast a biodiversity that is evident not just in its animal species, but also across its array of plants and landscapes. Here, you can find ancient lava fields and depleted volcanoes, picture-perfect white sand bays and some of the best snorkeling in the world, all within a day's travel. There are grassy highlands, mangroves and forests of giant cacti, as well as rocky outcrops and barren tundra. what you will get to see depends on which islands are included in your tour. 
    The most popular islands are Isabela (the largest of the group), Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Santiago – with lesser-known Genovesa, Marchena, Santa Fe, Baltra, Pinta and Pinzon making up the 13 recognized volcanic land masses. Certain species such as Sea Lions, Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs can be seen throughout the Galapagos. However, if visiting the northern islands (Santiago and Genovesa) look out for nesting seabirds, Turtles and Stingrays, native plant species and forest-covered islets.
    The Western Isles (Isabela and Fernandina) are known for their Giant Tortoises, flightless Cormorants and Dolphins found in and around their lava fields; while the East is populated with Red-footed Boobies, Gulls and Waved Albatrosses. If you cruise South to the islands' sandy beaches, you'll find the White-tipped Reef Sharks and Frigate Birds of Espanola and Floreana.

    Pirates & Explorers

    A Fascinating History
    The Galapagos Islands are best known for their most famous guest, Charles Darwin, who laid the foundation for the Theory of Evolution. But the islands’ 450 years of human history are rich with ambitious characters, ruffians, and eventually, today, a local population that takes great care in protecting the islands' natural wonders. During the centuries, the islands have been used as prison colonies, naval ports and research stations.

    Charles Darwin

    Setting off from England in 1831, Darwin accompanied Captain Robert Fitzroy as companion and naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle, charting a five year voyage around South America. On September 15, 1835, on the return route across the Pacific, their ship arrived in the Galapagos Islands. Darwin was just 22 years old. You can imagine his delight: amid the volcanic geography of these islands, some 600 miles west of Ecuador’s mainland coast, plant life takes root in basalt rock (mineral-rich now-cooled lava flows), communities of sea lions relax on pristine beaches, and penguins swim in equatorial waters.
    During 5 weeks of island-hopping, Darwin focused as much on geology as on biology. Darwin disembarked on San Cristóbal (September 17-22), Floreana (September 24-27), Isabela (September 29-October 2) and Santiago (October 8-17). He hunted, purchased and stuffed, bringing back to England in 1836 a huge collection of specimens as well as hundreds of pages of written observations and ideas. It was only years later, after studying his accumulated notes, that Darwin came to grasp the full significance of the differences among each island’s species. 1
    In On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, a quarter century after his visit to the Galapagos, Darwin gave the world the Theory of Evolution. Calling it “natural selection”, he was proposing an alternative mechanism to the dominant explanation of the distribution of species on Earth, referred to as “Special Creation”. Running counter to the Special Creation's thesis that all species were created by God in the beginning times (with no changes occurring to species over time), Darwin explained that if “the distribution and type of species vary with respect to a particular trait, and if these variants have a different likelihood of surviving to the next generation, then, in the future, there will be more of those with the variant more likely to survive”. 2
    Though broad acceptance of Darwin's ideas took decades if not centuries, the scientific view on the biological origins of life would be forever changed. Darwin also wrote a book called The Voyage of the Beagle, an account of his five year worldwide journey. But let's backtrack 300 years: many came to the Galapagos before Charles Darwin. 

    First Officially Recorded Human Visit, 1535

    Though fragments of broken pottery and other artifacts that predate the Spanish have been found in the Galapagos, no evidence suggests any permanent settlement before the 16th century. The first recorded visit came in 1535 when Fray Tomas de Berlanga, the Bishop of Panama, accidentally arrived while investigating accounts of the barbaric actions of the Conquistadors. Berlanga's ship, caught in a dead calm, drifted westward into the Pacific, eventually coming upon the Galapagos, where he and his crew hoped to find fresh water. With no reason to stay they left, but not without sending word to King Carlos V of Spain, describing the unique and incredibly tame wildlife, including the numerous galapagos (giant tortoises). The islands appeared on maps in 1570 as the "Insulae de los Galopegos”. 3

    Prevailing Ocean Currents Bring Exiled Soldiers, 1546

    After failing to bring about a coup, a band of disloyal soldiers of Fransisco Pizzaro (the Spanish Conquistador known for his expeditions that led to the fall of the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquest of Peru) were exiled from the continent. Like other animals transported here by the prevailing ocean currents, these ruffians with little nautical training eventually came upon the Galapagos. “Peering through fog and carried by currents, they felt as though the islands themselves were moving, that they were enchanted and named them ‘Las Islas Encantadas’.” 4

    Ahoy, Pirates !

    During the hostilities between the English Navy and the Spanish Armada, the English tacitly supported buccaneers who sacked ports up and down South America's Pacific coast. These pirates used the uninhabited Galapagos as base and refuge for much of the 1600s and early 1700s, a perfect place from which to attack treasure fleets (carrying gold and silver from South America to Spain) and seize sailing ships. One English buccaneer, William Ambrose Cowley, drew up the first basic navigational charts of the islands in 1678. William Dampier, an English naturalist and peer of Crowley's, visited the Galapagos during the 1680s and was one of the first to describe the Galapagos from a naturalist’s perspective in his book A New Voyage Round the World, published in 1697. Dampier coined the word “sea lion” and added more than 1,000 other words to the English language. 5

    Whalers + Fur Traders

    In the 1800's, as South America became increasingly independent of Spanish rule, mercantile vessels such as whaling ships came to the islands, especially Floreana. Whalers and maritime fur traders had lasting detrimental effects on the islands: the reduction of elephant tortoises and the near extinction of sperm whales. They killed and captured thousands of Galapagos tortoises to extract their fat for fresh protein; they discovered tortoises could be kept alive on ships for several months without any food or water. Along with whalers came fur-seal hunters, who brought Galapagos sea lions close to extinction. 6

    Ecuador Annexes The GalapAgos

    On February, 12 1832, Ecuador annexed the Galápagos Islands – 3 years before Darwin arrived on the H.M.S. Beagle. This set in motion the eventual protection of the islands through what is today a partnership between national governance and not-for-profit environmental stewardship. The Ecuadorian National Park Service works closely with Sea Shepherd and Galapagos Conservancy, two not-for-profits dedicated to protecting the Galapagos' natural habitat and endemic species.
    Footnotes

    The Seasons

    When To Visit The Galapagos
    The Galapagos is a year-round holiday destination, with the seasons broadly split into two. It’s either dry and cool between June and November, or warmer and often wetter between December and June, with August and September seeing slightly choppier seas, which could affect your cruise itinerary.
    The real question then, is which species can be seen during those two seasons. January and February are good if hoping to witness both Giant Tortoise hatchlings, and Green Sea Turtles laying their eggs, as well as penguin migrations to Isabela and Fernandina Islands.
    March and April see a lot of activity for Frigate Birds and Waved Albatrosses, while May and June marks the arrival of Humpback Whales and Whale Sharks, making for the most exciting boat tours. July is traditionally the mating season for Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, coastal birds and Sea Lions, so expect a lot of fascinating rituals during this time, particularly if visiting Espanola or Fernandina.
    Air temperatures are usually at their lowest during August and September, though wildlife-watching opportunities do not stop as both highland and lowland species are still active. October through to December is then a great time of year to spot newly born chicks, pups and calves, while throughout it all, the foliage changes and flowers blossom creating an ever-changing backdrop of colors.

    Is The Galapagos Right For Me?

    The Galapagos Islands are a perfect travel destination for all types of luxury and experiential traveler: families with young children, small groups, retired couples and honeymooners alike. This is thanks to the versatility of trips, range of activities and choice of routes, all sewn together with predictable weather, endless wildlife and stunning landscapes to admire. 
    Active holiday makers will love the open-water sea kayaking, volcano hikes and some of the best scuba diving in the world. Meanwhile, anyone looking for a more relaxing Latin American vacation can sit back and enjoy the view, aboard a luxury Galapagos cruise yacht in between gentle wildlife walks or afternoons spent strolling pristine beaches.
    The Galapagos Archipelago, and each unique travel experience to be had here, has made this region a popular bucket-list destination. For wildlife enthusiasts, tracing the footsteps of Charles Darwin is a must, witnessing the same species and scenery that he did back in 1835, prompting the now famous Theory of Evolution. That said, you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world to make your Galapagos adventure the trip of a lifetime, as with its former pirate hangouts, deserted beaches, luxury cruise vessels and eco-lodges, there really is something for everyone here.