A Unique Ecosystem
Named after the shape of giant tortoise shells, the Galapágos Islands are a treasure trove of marine and animal life some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the Pacific coast of Ecuador. A trip to this remarkable archipelago of 35 volcanic islands is a truly unforgettable experience, a real, close encounter with extraordinary creatures that have no fear of man.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is believed that these islands have never been connected to the continent, hence the animals here have evolved in their own unique way over many hundreds of thousands of years. Charles Darwin observed this during his five-week trip here in 1835 — a trip which changed the way we view the world forever.
Over many years we have carefully hand-crafted visits to the Galapágos Islands conscientious of preserving this fragile eco-system while ensuring your comfort and enjoyment. The best and most considerate way to explore the Islands is by boat, and we have a selection of excellent yachts to choose from, each manned by knowledgeable, bilingual guides – trained biologists and experts in the ecology of the region.
Luxury Galapagos Cruises are generally eight days long, although some yachts offer five, four and even three-day itineraries. Though it is an option, we do not recommend the shorter cruises because you will be traveling a long way to the Islands without adequate time to truly see the place.
Each different boat has a particular set itinerary throughout the islands that is approved far in advance by the Galapagos Park Authority. However, if you have a particular preference and wish to request your own itinerary, this is also possible if you charter a boat and apply well in advance.
Most cruises are “Naturalist” cruises, that is, they are aimed at the generalist traveler that comes to learn about the wildlife in the Galapagos islands. In all the vessels, guides are excellent; they are all biologists and experts in the ecology of the region who must pass stringent exams to be licensed. Their language skills are also superb. The ratio of guides to travelers is generally 10:1. Visits to the Galapagos Islands are highly regulated due to the fragile ecology of the area. This does not in any way detract from the experience. It is a magical experience for all who visit. That it remains that way is up to all of us and the respect we have for the fragile environment.
Galapagos Diving Cruises, Occasional Diving and Family Cruises
There are also diving cruises aimed at experienced divers that visit Darwin and Wolf, two islands at the far North of the archipelago where the most varied underwater wildlife is found. This is one of the richest marine reserves in the world, covering 133,000 square kilometres (100,000 square miles). Three, key oceanic currents combine with the islands’ volcanic geology to create a nutrient-rich environment that is full of life. These itineraries also involve some naturalist visits but are mainly geared at divers.
‘Occasional diving’ itineraries, mean that the balance between diving and naturalist visits is equally split, and special ‘family departures’ are available in the larger boats, where small children have a special guide and activities geared to their age groups, which will keep them (and their parents) happy. We organize diving cruises that visit the islands Darwin and Wolf.
Stay in a Beautiful Galapagos Accommodation
If you prefer a land-based experience, we have selected the best villas and hotels on the Islands. Choose the Finch Bay Eco Hotel a small but all-encompassing accommodation, which is only accessible by boat. Alternatively, for something a bit more luxurious, the Royal Palm Hotel or the brand new Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island offer maximum comfort and elegance during a land-based tour of the islands. If you want to escape into the pristine nature, try the Galapagos Safari Camp with its 9-luxury tents or the Red Mangrove Lodge, with its rooms set on the bay of Puerto Ayora or right within the mangrove. And if you are desirous of an exclusive Galapagos experience, the Villa Escalesia is a private residence that can sleep up to twelve guests with its own walled garden, pool, bar and in-house staff. Please mention your lodging preference when you contact us.
Getting to the Galapagos Islands
Flights are from Guayaquil or Quito and they take approximately 4 hours. There are airstrips in Baltra and San Cristobal, and from there you are collected and transferred to your boat or hotel.
- Animal Lovers
Experiences to Consider
- Galapagos cruise