Galapagos Hotel based Tours vs Cruise Expeditions

Apr 25, 2018

Most people who visit the Galapagos Islands, do it by cruise on board a ship or yacht/catamaran. It’s without doubt the best way to get around and see as much of the islands as possible. However, sailing is not for everyone, and with occasionally choppy waters, a Galapagos Islands cruise is not suitable for those who suffer from sea or motion sickness. So, what is the alternative on your Galapagos and Ecuador package?

Galapagos and Ecuador package cruises: pros and cons

The best way to get the views of the Galapagos that made the islands famous is on board a sailing cruise. Many of the islands best sites and incredible natural experiences are only accessible on the water.

Cruises are also best for time efficiency, with many navigating at night, meaning that you get a different spectacular view every morning and rest at night; it also means that you lose less hours of precious daylight sailing and enjoy more time on the hikes or activities.

However, in the choppy waters, sailing is not the most pleasant experience. Some people also find the remoteness of life on board, with no means of communication, slightly unnerving (although for others this is very much in the pros column). Some other people find the close quarters of a small cruise a little too intimate and confined for their liking. 

Here are some sample cruise itineraries, you will notice that every day the boat is visiting a different island:

- 4 day Galapagos North Islands boat trip
- 5 day Galapagos liveaboard expedition ship trip
- 8 day Galapagos West islands cruise tour
 

Land-based Galapagos and Ecuador package: pros and cons

The dates of land-based tours are more flexible than some of the cruise packages and hotels can accommodate more unusual timescales. Other people find the flexibility of schedule more appealing than the rigid itinerary of a yacht cruise.

When staying on land, you can socialize with more people than on an intimate cruise as you will be staying at a nice hotel located in one or two of the populated Towns: Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (san Cristobal) or Puerto Villamil (Isabela).

Check out some of the most popular day tour itineraries:

- 5 day Galapagos hotel based tour from San Cristobal island
- 5 days with base on San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands
- Full day Galapagos tour from San Cristobal to Española Island
 

However, the downsides of hotels mean it’s harder to see more wildlife and the best sites of the islands, something that is always a must on a Galapagos and Ecuador package. With the convenient transit of a boat, you can see more of the outlying islands that give you the real Galapagos experience while taking day-tours to nearby sites, which is very interesting and you see some wildlife, but not as much as you see when taking a cruise.

It is also important that if you are keen to suffer from sea-sickness, consider that Large Luxury Vessels like the Galapagos Legend are very stable and quite comfortable to avoid the effect; but also small catamarans like the Seaman Journey (First class) also provide smoothh sailing. Contact Us and let  us guide you to choose the perfect option for your cruise so you can enjoy a memorable experience!

Andre Robles
Andre Robles
Andre Robles is an expert in everything South America, his passion for the region and exploring off the beaten path makes his travel writing both useful and interesting. He has written for several mainstream publications and you can read his guides on Ecuador, Peru, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. Andre is also an accomplished photographer and has been recognized as one of the best wildlife photographers in the region, his photos have been featured in National Geographic and other journals. As a travel agent Andre specializes in curating unique experiences, crafting tailor made itineraries and helping visitors make the best of their vacation, always putting the experience first
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