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Best ways to explore the Galapagos
Famous for their incredibly fearless and unique wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are some of the most spectacular volcanic islands in the world. Isolated just off the coast of Ecuador, it’s the only place in the world where you can swim with a playful sea lion, plod along with a giant tortoise and ogle at the brightly coloured feet of the blue footed booby. There are several ways to explore this wild and magical archipelago and we have selected the best of all these options to get you started:
The Galapagos is a fantastic cruising destination and because of the long distances involved, cruising around the archipelago is the best way to make the most of the destination. Many of the cruises travel between islands, mostly at night ensuring you can see as many of the islands as possible. Depending on your interest, time and budget, there are countless combinations of stops, routes and cruises which range from 3 nights right up to 14 nights. As a general rule, each cruise has two landings per day and the longer the cruise the further afield you can travel. This means you have the opportunity to see more wildlife, less explored islands and more marine life such as whales, dolphins and sharks. Here, at imagine travel we closely work with a number of carefully hand-picked cruises which range in size, standard and vessel. From yachts to catamarans and cruise ships ranging from 16 passengers to 90 passengers, we have something to suit everyone.
To get an idea of some the cruises we offer take a look at our three favourites below:
Sea Star Journey a stylish four-deck expedition boat taking a maximum of 16 guests on wildlife cruises in the Galapagos Islands.
La Pinta an exclusive and elegant 207-foot yacht accommodating up to 48 guests.
Santa Cruz this state-of-the-art expedition vessel showcases the perfect infrastructure for Galapagos exploration. With five-decks and 50 cabins the vessel accommodates up to 90 guests.
if you prefer dry land; you can stay in eco-lodges and hotels in the port towns of Isabela Island, Santa Cruz or San Cristóbal Island. Whilst you will not be able to visit as many islands as you would on a cruise, you will still be exposed to an array of Galapagos wildlife. The benefits of a land-based option is that you are not restricted to set departure dates, you have more time to spend on each of the islands and you have the option to engage in a number of activities which includes mountain biking, kayaking, swimming and hiking. What’s more, you have the flexibility of doing what you want when you want and so staying on land tends to be more relaxing than a cruise.
The land-based properties we recommend are as follows:
Galapagos Safari Camp offering a mix of programs to explore the Galapagos, the Galapagos Safari Camp is a great tented camp in the highlands of Santa Cruz. Offering stylish glamping, wildlife adventures and friendly service, it is a fantastic alternative to cruising.
The Finch Bay Eco Hotel nestled on the beach of Santa Cruz Island; the Finch Bay Eco hotel offers the perfect blend of exploration and relaxation. The hotel staff will work with you individually to determine the best activities and daily boat excursions to suit you.
Both properties offer day cruises to the neighbouring islands that include snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along Santa Cruz's hillside trails.
Here at Imagine Travel we offer a number of island hopping programs around the Galapagos Islands, which are perfect for the slightly more adventurous. Itineraries range from four nights to eight nights, where you can visit up to four different islands and actively explore the Galapagos. On these itineraries time is spent walking, hiking, snorkelling and kayaking your way around the archipelago, and interacting with the abundant endemic wildlife species. Exploring the Galapagos is totally dependent on your preferences and what you desire to get out of the experience. If you’re going for the wildlife, and want to see the variation within species on the different islands, then a cruise is the best option. If you desire the flexibility and want to have a mix of seeing some wildlife and relaxing, then a land-based option would be better suited. We have personally travelled to the Galapagos and send hundreds of our clients every year, and so let us help you plan this once-in-a-lifetime trip according to your preferences.
Take a look at one of our favourite itineraries that includes island-hopping to get a better idea of what this Galapagos experience entails: Active Ecuador and the Galapagos