The Galapagos Islands are best visited with a small cruise ship. Almost all ships take a maximum of 16 passengers. You eat and sleep on board the ship during the cruise and usually sail at night. This way you also reach the more remote islands. All ships have one or more professional English speaking guides on board permanently.
At least two sites are visited during the day. You will get up early, have breakfast on board and then go ashore where you will be shown around by the guide. In the afternoon you will go back on board for lunch. The ship will sail to the next site where you will disembark for another visit. Sometimes there is swimming, snorkeling or kayaking, always according to the program.
Only about 80 ships are allowed to circumnavigate visitors to the Galapagos Islands. Their permit is reviewed every year.
The ships are divided into 4 different classes according to comfort and facilities. Beware: Ships of different classes visit the same visitor sites. The difference is in the luxury (the cabins, the food, the facilities) but also in the quality of the guides.
We have made a selection of the best ships for each class.
Sometimes it is more interesting to search according to a different format. Here you will find all large ships (which take more than 16 passengers), all catamarans and all sailing ships in a separate section.
It is best to book a cruise on Galapagos as long in advance as possible: some ships are in high demand and the best cabins on a ship leave first. If you want to book a cruise, send us the following information:
We then check the availability of the ship or ships of your choice and make a tailor-made program around it. A few days after your request, we will send you a fully detailed travel proposal.
When to visit?
As with most holiday destinations, the busiest season in Galapagos is also July, August and the Christmas period. During Easter week (Semana Santa) there is quite a bit of internal ecuatorial tourism. Many cruise ships charge different rates for high and low season. Also look at the climate of the Galapagos Islands.
Every foreign visitor to Galapagos pays USD 120 cash upon arrival at the airport. It concerns 100 USD entrance for the National Park and 20 USD Migration Card (locally called Ingala Card). This cost is usually not included in the price of cruises. The entrance to the National Park can only be paid on site. We can purchase the Ingala Migration Card for you in advance. This way you avoid (sometimes long) queues and loss of time. Keep your receipt with you during your entire stay in Galapagos.
During the cruise you will be permanently accompanied by an English-speaking guide who has a license to guide the Galapagos. The quality and expertise of the guides is permanently evaluated by the shipping companies. It can be said that the quality of the guide more or less parallels the quality of a cruise ship. Cruise ships with an excellent reputation pay their employees a higher salary, which means that you can expect a good guide. With budget boats you will generally also find budget guides.
Flights to Galapagos
All flights depart from Quito and fly via Guayaquil to Baltra or San Cristobal. There are 3 companies that provide the flights: Tame, Lan and Aerogal. A flight ticket to Galapagos is always booked together with the cruise. The owner of the ship that you book, therefore, determines with which company you fly.
Flights Quito – Galapagos – Quito and Quito – Galapagos – Guayaquil cost around USD 550 per person. Guayaquil – Galapagos – Guayaquil flights cost around USD 525 per person. These prices include airport taxes and costs. There is a discount of 30% for children under 12 years old.
Spanish is the main language on Galapagos. But all nature guides speak English. The higher the cruise ship’s price range, the better the knowledge of English. On some larger ships you will find French and German speaking guides.
The time difference between Galapagos and Belgium is 7 hours earlier during the Belgian winter time and 8 hours earlier during the Belgian summer time. If you want to know the exact time in Ecuador and Galapagos, click here
For information about money, telephone connections, security, languages, embassy of Ecuador, information about Ecuador, vaccines and other medical information see the page Practical information about Ecuador
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