Life Aboard a Galapagos Cruise

When Charles Darwin first explored the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he did it by boat; back then, there was no other choice. During his explorations, Charles Darwin observed a pristine, naturally-isolated living laboratory that would inspire and refine his theories, which he would release upon the world -to shattering effect- decades later. The islands have not lost their ability to inspire: the magic Darwin found over 150 years ago is still thriving in this remarkable environment.

As of today, exploring the Galapagos Islands by cruise is by far your best option: Traveling on a Galapagos cruise combines comfort, adventure and nature in a single trip!

While you experience our Galapagos cruises, you can walk among unique species such as marine iguanas basking in the sun and observe the elaborate mating rituals of blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigate birds. Unthreatened by predators, the Galapagos Islands creatures are undisturbed by visitors, who, one and all, come away inspired and changed by their experience of nature here.

Before embarking in one of our Galapagos Holiday Adventures vacation packages, we invite you to learn about the life aboard a Galapagos Cruise:

When exploring the Galapagos Islands aboard any of our Galapagos ships, you will enjoy two visits per day to the islands, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Our naturalist guides will take you directly to the most fantastic and emblematic locations on each island and introduce you to the mysterious and wonderful secrets of its flora, fauna and geology, either walking, hiking or snorkeling.

Depending on the itinerary, you will also alternate these activities with swimming on colorful sand beaches, watching sea lions on a rocky shore, taking a tour of the Darwin Research Station (on Santa Cruz Island), and souvenir shopping.

To get to the various sites, there are two types of landing:

  • Dry Landings: Passengers step directly from a dinghy onto rocks or a dock. We recommend walking shoes, sunblock, hat, drinking water, insect repellent, and a light jacket. Special care is highly recommended when walking on wet rocks.
  • Wet Landings: The dinghy edges toward the beach, where you step into knee-deep water assisted by our crew members and guides. We recommend swimming suit or shorts, walking shoes or strap sandals, towel, sunblock, hat, insect, repellent, plastic bag, well-insulated cameras and a windbreaker for windy or rainy days.

Unlike the usual cruise, your visit to the Galapagos Islands offers a variety of activities, so you must come prepared. The main leisure interest is admiring the wildlife and the amazing topographic features. Various hikes along well-marked paths have been chosen to offer you the best views and sites. Hiking may involve various degrees of difficulty (easy, moderate or hard).

While hiking, you will be able to bird-watch, take pictures, stroll on the beach, visit museums and naturalist parks, as well as trek up mountainsides. Other activities include snorkeling and swimming, so for each activity you wish to participate in, you must take appropriate clothing and gear with you.

The degree of difficulty gives a general idea about what to expect. Most hikes are all right for the majority of people and the degree of difficulty should not be a deterrent to take part in them. Only if you have some major handicap should you consider staying aboard for the hardest hikes. Sometimes, even going ashore without taking part in the hike can be an interesting experience. You can always ask your guide if you have any questions. The levels of difficulty are divided in three categories:

  • Easy:Flat terrain without any climbing. The surface can be rocky, though usually it means sand or dirt. The hike doesn’t last more than one hour.
  • Moderate:Flat terrain or with some slope. The surface is mostly rocky and/or slippery. The hike lasts about one and a half hours.
  • Hard:A hike on steep surfaces, mostly comprised of rocks and broken up lava flows. The hike lasts between two and three hours.
Our master chefs will tend all guests’ needs offering succulent dishes for everyone. We can cater to vegetarian and other people with specific dietary needs. All the menus include international and local cuisine including exotic dishes with lobster, scallops, different types of meat, exotic tropical fruits and vegetables, offering a wide array of possibilities to please every palate.

All of our Galapagos vessels and yachts count with security systems that are backed up and controlled under the strict norms of local and international certifications. All of them are built for maximum stability and are ecologically friendly and equipped for noise reduction and fuel efficiency.

Considering that the Galapagos Cruises are nature-seeking cruises which include long walks, swimming, wet/dry landings, and other physical activities, we recommend you to bring comfortable breathable clothes, shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, and good hiking shoes.

During the rainy season (from June to November) it is common to have a light rain, so a raincoat or a light jacket might be necessary for the evenings.

To fully enjoy one of the sunniest and warmest spots of our planet, you should protect yourself with an effective sunscreen, a good hat with a brim, sunglasses, insect repellent, lip balm, eye drops, and plastic bags for electronic equipment. Don’t forget your camera, plenty of film or a large capacity memory stick, and binoculars.

This is a very sensitive matter. Over the years, we often have been asked what amount of gratuity is appropriate for the crew and guides. The quality of service should determine the amount of any tip. Another important factor to consider is the length of your cruise and the type of accommodations. Based on common practice, our suggestion per person is from $10.00 to $20.00 per day. In any case, give what you feel to be appropriate and do not feel uneasy if giving less than it is suggested.

For more information about the Galapagos Islands, don’t forget to visit: