Travelling to the Galapagos Islands. For many, it is a once in a lifetime experience. This experience has to be right and completely in line with your wishes. We are happy to help you with this and will give you 6 tips in preparation for a trip to the Galapagos.
1. When do you want to travel?
One of the questions that probably first comes to mind is when is the best time to visit the Galapagos. Good news, because it is possible to visit the archipelago all year round. Each month has its own unique advantages, opportunities and natural events.
If you have specific reasons to go to the Galapagos, it will be good to check if you are bound to a certain month of the year. If you are not, it can be attractive to go outside the school holidays. We have more extensive information about the best time to travel and what you can expect per month on our website.
2. Island hopping or a Cruise?
There are roughly two ways to discover the Galapagos archipelago;
- You stay in an accommodation on one of the three inhabited islands. From here you will be taken on several day excursions and discover the secrets of this special place.
- You will board a cruise ship and sail from island to island.
Although both experiences are unforgettable, we prefer a Galapagos cruise. The main reason is that with a cruise you can see more of the archipelago than you can see when staying in a residence on an island. Some islands cannot be reached within a day. If you are travelling on an expedition cruise it is possible to visit these remote islands. Moreover, you can stay longer on an island during the day, because the cruise ship also sails in the evening and at night. If you opt for a day excursion, you will have less time because you will also have to make the outward and return journeys in one day.
Of course, there are also good reasons to stay in a residence on one of the islands. For example, it is advisable to do this if you would like to go diving. During a cruise, this is difficult to realise and it means that you will have to miss a day of the cruise programme. In addition, some cruise programmes do not offer this as a possibility. It is also a nice addition to a cruise. Stay a few days before or after your cruise on one of the islands. And of course, it might be possible that you get nauseous on a ship or that you simply do not want to stay on a cruise ship.
If you don't want to stay on a cruise ship, but still want to see different islands, you can also opt for island hopping. In a programme of several days, you will be taken on an excursion during the day and in the afternoon you will go back ashore on one of the three inhabited islands.
3. The differences of a cruise
Cruise ships come in many different shapes and sizes. In order to better understand the differences, the Galapagos authorities have divided the cruise ships into 4 categories. The ships are assessed according to the quality, the size and capacity, the quality of the crew members and guides, the service and what is and what is not included.
We do not offer all cruise ships, because we are critical on the quality and atmosphere of the ship. For example, we only work with small-scale cruise who are classified in the highest two categories, the first class and the luxury class (this is the highest class). In this way, you will experience the Galapagos at her best. You will find some examples of cruise ships we like to work with on our website.More about Galapagos cruises
4. How many days to visit the Galapagos?
As mentioned before, a trip to the Galapagos is a once in a lifetime experience for almost everyone. We, therefore, recommend that you take enough time to visit the archipelago and make the experience worthwhile. For example, keep in mind that the first day you arrive and the last day you leave will be taken up by travelling and you will see virtually nothing of this magical place.
There are possibilities to make a cruise of 4 days. This means in practice that you will actually be on the Galapagos for two days. For a complete and unforgettable experience, it is therefore perhaps better to choose a 7 to 8-day cruise.
5. The best experience with the right guides
Another aspect that is crucial to the experience of the Galapagos is the level of the guides you are travelling with. This concerns not only their diplomas but also their hospitality, sense of service and their passion and love for the Galapagos. We mainly work together with parties who understand the importance of good guides. These guides share their unconditional love for the Galapagos and strive to offer their guests the best possible experience. This means that they will take you to the most special places on the Galapagos. Introducing you to the animals that live there, but also making them feel what you as an individual need. Whether it is about a warmer wetsuit while snorkelling or an extra explanation about a bird passing by. In this way, they make the difference between a beautiful and unforgettable journey.
6. No beach destination
Finally, be aware of where you are going. The Galapagos Islands are very special. There are animals there that you won't see anywhere else in the world. This is beautiful and unique, but this also makes it very fragile. If we treat this unique ecosystem the wrong way, it will have devastating consequences. For example, this means that you should not see the Galapagos as a beach destination. If you are looking for a beautiful place in paradise to relax, we have beautiful destinations that are much better suited for this. If we want to keep this place accessible for the next generation, it is important to treat it with respect. This is another reason why we take a close look at which parties we work with.
One of these people is Dolores Gangotena de Diez, owner of Quasar Expeditions. After Dolores travelled with her husband and a couple of friends on an old sailing boat through the Galapagos archipelago near Ecuador, she decided to offer trips to this until then barely discovered archipelago. She made this decision with her husband in 1986. The trip she made was an experience that changed her life and because she wanted to offer this experience to other travellers as well, they started Quasar Expeditions together. From the beginning, they realised that their people would make a difference and put a lot of time and energy into the training and development of their team. During our Gente Magica interviews, Johan talked to Dolores about her love for the Galapagos, about the cruise opportunities for the Galapagos she offers with Quasar Expeditions and her view on the world. Watch her story on our YouTube channel or listen to our podcast on Spotify or Itunes.
Please note that the introduction is in Dutch. The interview itself is in English.
Would you like to visit the Galapagos Islands yourself and are you curious about the possibilities? Then take a look at our page about the Galapagos. Here you will find, among other things, travel itineraries that we have put together for inspiration. You can book these trips directly, but we also like to put together a personal programme based on your wishes and ideas.
Do you have a question? Feel free to contact us. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +31 73 610 62 04. We are happy to help.