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Galapagos: land based vs cruising
Visitors to the Galapagos Islands have one big decision to make – whether to explore the islands’ natural wonder by cruise or on a land-based trip. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ve highlighted the main benefits and considerations for both options.
Located over 600 miles off the Ecuadorian coast, the Galapagos archipelago includes 19 islands and over 100 islets. For many, the chance to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin with a trip to these unique volcanic islands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After all, they were the inspiration for Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and one of the 12 original UNESCO World Heritage Sites declared in 1979. Here you can get up close and personal with waddling penguins, prehistoric iguanas, lumbering giant tortoises and playful sea lions. Marvel at skies alive with Darwin’s famous finches, red-throated frigates, waved albatrosses and blue-footed boobies, and swim in waters brimming with over 400 species of tropical fish, not to mention manta rays, sharks and turtles. The landscape is just as diverse, with black lava formations, lush green highlands, warm turquoise seas and glorious stretches of pristine white beach.
Speak to our specialists to plan your adventure in Galapagos
Call us on 020 3141 2840 for more information
THE CRUISING OPTION
Traditionally, cruising has been the most popular way to visit the Galapagos Islands, as it allows passengers to visit the more remote islands such as Fernandina and Genovesa, which can only be reached on a cruise. The itineraries are designed to be time-efficient with most travelling undertaken at night; waking up in a new location every morning is a wonderful way to appreciate the ecological diversity found in the archipelago. So, for those looking for a broad perspective over the whole region and the opportunity to see a wide variety of marine, bird and wildlife, a cruise is a great option.
What’s more, on-board naturalists and credited guides are on hand to enhance the experience. Each day usually includes a morning and afternoon activity, such as guided hiking, swimming or snorkelling. As you sail through the water, you also have the opportunity to spot rays, whales and dolphins, not to mention the surreal glow of bioluminescent plankton under star-filled skies. Many find cruising a very relaxing option as all the practical details are taken care of.
A motorised catamaran with a modern design, the M/C Petrel offers a magnificent way to cruise the Galapagos Islands. Designed for comfort and stability, the boat is outfitted with spacious cabins and a comfortable lounge, while the Jacuzzi on the sun deck is the icing on the cake. Named after a sea bird common to the Galapagos Islands, the Petrel is like its namesake – elegant, swift and silent at sea. Cruises range from four to eight days and allow you to travel in comfort to the different islands to enjoy close encounters with blue-footed boobies, iguanas, giant tortoises and more. The Petrel’s excellent guides will enrich your experience with their expert knowledge of the biology and ecology of these unique islands.
THE LAND-BASED OPTION
The major benefit of a land-based itinerary is that it can be tailored to specific requirements, making it a good option or those with specialist interests or keen photographers looking for a specifically lit shot. Visitors can stay on one of the inhabited islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela or Floreana) and design their own itinerary, making day trips by boat or plane to neighbouring islands without the constraints of a cruise schedule. Spending several days on one island gives you the opportunity to explore the island’s unique landscape, habitats and wildlife. You also benefit the local economy by staying in the hotels and dining in the restaurants – immersing yourself in the local culture and cuisine. There is a good range of accommodation on offer including a number of unique eco lodges and safari-style tented camps. The freedom and flexibility offered by a land-based trip makes it particularly suitable for families with young children. We can also arrange island hopping itineraries, which offer the variety of a cruise but the comfort of staying in hotels.
Galapagos Safari Camp
Galapagos Safari Camp is an African-style tented camp in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Nestled on a 55-hectare estate on a volcanic ridge boasting magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and various small islands, this is our go-to property for those looking for a land-based adventure. Comprised of a panoramic main lodge, nine charming tents, a family suite and an infinity pool under a canopy of endemic trees, it’s an intimate camp offering the highest level of service. Privately guided excursions will allow you to visit nearby islands, trek to lava tubes, go mountain biking in the highlands and get out into the water to snorkel with penguins, dive with hammerhead sharks or kayak with sea lions.
Speak to our specialists to plan your adventure in Galapagos.
Call us on 020 3141 2840 for more information