With thousands of miles of rocky shorelines and secluded coves, the archipelago's waters are ideal for exploring via kayak. Kayaking is a great activity during your trip, as it allows you to get up close with the wildlife and see remote spots that cannot be reached any other way. Do not be surprised if you find a curious Galapagos penguin darting by as you paddle.
Of course, the Galapagos National Park Service supported by the Charles darwin research Station carefully regulates optional activities for yacht passengers, such as sea kayaking in the marine reserve, so you’ll need to make sure you have booked your tour with a company that has been granted special kayaking permissions within the park.
Convinced? How to choose the right Galapagos liveaboard adventure
When booking a Galapagos cruise, you’ll first need to think about what type of vessel suits your needs. Do you want to have an intimate experience on a sailing catamaran or monohull sailboat? Or would you rather be on a spacious yacht with fancy staterooms and fine dining?
If you’re worried about seasickness or are traveling with small children, you may enjoy a luxury vessel. These wildlife tour yachts divide guests into small groups for hikes and activities. A small luxury liner is a great way to experience the isles without the giant hordes of people you’d find on a larger ship.
Onboard a luxury ship you’ll usually have a larger cabin, sometimes with your own private balcony. The cabins are usually en suite and are compact in their design so that they can maximize living space. However, even on the smallest of vessels, you’ll usually find a sun deck where you can stretch out and relax and watch wildlife, as well as a dining area and lounge.
All Galapagos yacht layouts remain fairly small. The National Park prohibits cruises with more than 100 guests on board. Most Galapagos yachts carry around 16 passengers.
Another factor to consider when booking the best Galapagos cruises ships is how much time you want to spend diving. If you’re a certified scuba diver, there’s much to behold beneath the surface. Luckily, there are several dive-oriented liveaboard programs to make your booking. These boats are built to accommodate diving gear and bring passengers to amazing locations to swim with whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays. It is important to know that dive vessels carry a maximimum of 16 - 20 passengers.
How much do you want to pay for your Galapagos Islands vacation?
Price is a big consideration for people looking to make a booking on a Galápagos Islands cruise. How much you’ll pay varies on the size of the vessel and the amount of luxury.
Here are a few guidelines to consider when booking the best Galapagos islands excursions for you.
Economy yachts cruises offer more rustic accommodation and basic amenities. You’ll find a very good price point with this type of cruise, which brings it within reach for a variety of people.
Midrange motor-yachts cruises will usually offer private quarters but they will often be small with private bathrooms.
First-class Cruising yachts offer spacious cabins with en-suite, top quality English speaking guides and better communal facilities.
Finally, top-of-the-line Luxury Galapagos cruises and expedition ships have everything you would expect and more from a high end liveaboard experience, including exquisite food, private balconies in your cabin, ample sun decks, and a Jacuzzi to enjoy after a day of hiking or swimming.
What time of the year should you Plan to visit?
The great part about taking a Galapagos Island cruise is that any time of year works. With a location close to the equator, the islands have a mild and warm climate.
What you should consider when booking a Galapagos vacation is which animals, and behaviors, you want to see. Some species are migratory, which means they only call the archipelago home a few months out of the year.
In December and January, you’ll be able to see the giant tortoise eggs hatching on Santa Cruz Island. In February you can watch the penguins migrating to Isabela and Fernandina from Bartolome. In March you can see the marine iguanas making their nests on North Seymour. May is blue-footed booby mating season, so you’ll be able to watch their unique courtship dance.
If you are interested in seeing humpback whales while on your expedition trip, June is the best month to spot them. July and August are ideal for sea lion watching, as this is when they will be breeding and giving birth. If you visit during September and October you’ll have a chance to spot adorable sea lion pups and blue-footed booby chicks – and in November you can see whale sharks in the northwest.
When it comes to weather, the warmer season from December to June is ideal for a relaxed enchanted isles smaller boat based trip, as you’ll have sunnier days, calmer seas and better underwater visibility.
The June to November season sees the islands transform from green, lush tropical lands to a more barren, desert-like climate.
As you can see, the best time of year to take a Galápagos trip is totally up to you.
We are confident you will have a life changine experience on a Galapagos liveaboard tour
By now, your heart might be set on taking a multi-day cruise to see all the marvels of these islands that Darwin visited so many years ago.
There are so many options for you to make your booking. You can take an economy cruise with bunk-style sleeping arrangements, or a luxury cruise with your own private balcony.
Visiting the Galapagos archipelago is a bucket list item for so many people. We hope you make the most of your limited vacation time by booking a Galapagos Islands package that is boat-based.