based on 7 nights
per person for 2 nights in Quito at the Casa Gangotena and 7 nights cruising staying in a cabin with picture windows including all meals, excursions and Galapagos entry taxes.
At a Glance
Small enough to feel intimate but large enough to offer plenty of facilities - two bars, gym and Jacuzzi, a library and a sundeck
Just 12 guests or less per naturalist guide
All cabins have picture windows, iPod docking stations and air conditioning - high level of services onboard
They offer a 'young pirates' programme for children, teaching them about the fascinating flora and fauna, six cabins can interconnect making it a superb boat for families
Renowned as one of the most exclusive of the boats sailing the Galapagos and for its excellent guiding
Spacious, bright and airy with a contemporary décor
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January. The national park limits the number of visitors to each island and coordinates each ship's itinerary, so the Galapagos will never feel like Disney World. But if you visit in the summer, you are less likely to feel a sense of solitude and isolation.
From December through to May the water and the air are warmer, but this is the rainy season. It drizzles almost daily for a short period of time. Ironically, this is also the sunniest time of year.
June through November, the Humboldt Current makes it way up to the Galápagos from the southern end of South America. The current brings cold water and cold weather, but it also brings water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. During this season there always seem to be clouds in the air, but it rarely rains. It's also quite windy, and the seas tend to be rougher.
To start planning your holiday to La Pinta
La Pinta is one of the finest mid size expedition yachts sailing the wildlife rich Galapagos Islands with 24 spacious cabins with large picture windows, ample deck space and superb guiding. The ultimate wildlife adventure perfect for couples and families.
A discovery trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard La Pinta allows for exciting encounters with unique flora and fauna, including giant Galapagos tortoises, land and marine iguanas, flamingos, penguins, blue footed boobies and famous Darwin finches to name but a few.
A Swedish firm, experts in marine architecture and design, have transformed La Pinta into an exclusive expedition vessel. The elegant 207ft yacht can accommodate up to 48 guests in 24 outside facing cabins with a contemporary, fresh decor and fantastic floor to ceiling windows. The clever design of the yacht means that guests can enjoy fantastic views throughout the boat, whether relaxing on deck in the Jacuzzi, enjoying a delicious meal in the dining room or browsing through the books in the natural history library.
La Pinta operates a 7 night in-depth itinerary round the Galapagos, with countless opportunities for wildlife viewing on daily explorations to the islands with the on board naturalist guides, who will share their enthusiasm for this unique destination with you. There is also the opportunity to take a trip on the glass bottom boat, snorkel and swim with the marine life and if you’re lucky you may spot whales and dolphins whilst cruising from island to island.
Families are particularly welcome on board La Pinta and are well catered for, with the option of triple and connecting cabins and a special kids program for children aged 6-12 years.
La Pinta has 24 outside facing, air conditioned cabins with private bathrooms and picture windows for great views. The cabins are decorated in a fresh modern style and have a sound system with iPod/MP3 dock, fine cotton bed linens, down duvets and a choice of pillows. Double cabins have two twin beds that can also be made into a queen and triple cabins have the same, with the addition of a sofa bed. There are also four interconnecting cabin options, ideal for families.
Children from the age of 6 years are very welcome on board La Pinta and there is a special "Young Pirates" program for children 6-12 years old, featuring special children's activities, kids menus and educational materials. Jack Sparrow-wannabes can also visit the bridge to spend time with the Captain and navigators. Triple cabins are available on board La Pinta and six cabins are interconnecting, making ideal family accommodation.
La Pinta has an expert crew of 24 plus four bilingual naturalist guides and a medical officer. All are highly qualified and will ensure you have a safe, fun and informative cruise.
There is ample public space on board La Pinta. The Boat Deck has an outside Sky Bar, Jacuzzi, natural history library, exercise room and observation lounge and bar, whilst the Main Deck has a small boutique and a dining room. If the weather is fine, meals may be served al-fresco on the covered sun deck. La Pinta also has a glass bottom boat, sea kayaks, snorkel equipment and wet suits for guests.
Cruises on board La Pinta are carefully designed to include interesting and varied daily visits to the islands, lead by the ship's expert bilingual naturalist guides. There is also plenty of opportunity for guests to enjoy swimming and snorkelling with the wildlife, glass bottom boat trips, kayaking and stargazing. Natural history talks and presentations are given by the guides and are a chance to learn more about the fascinating flora and fauna of the islands.
Since the length of cruise varies and the visits to the islands are strictly regulated to ensure minimal impact on the wildlife, it is important for us to know if there are any particularly animals that you would like to see because they are not on all of the islands.
Katie Aston (Staff)
La Pinta is an excellent choice for guests who want the stability of a larger boat in the Galapagos with spacious light-filled cabins and a professional and highly experienced crew, including a doctor. Decor is a little old fashioned, however all of the 24 cabins were really ample and there are four pairs of connecting cabins and four triple cabins so she is a great option for families as well as couples. They all have windows as opposed to portholes and private ensuite showers. As with most cruises in the Galapagos, guides are hand picked and exceptionally knowledgeable and there is a permanent cruise director and Expedition leader on hand. Guests are divided into four groups, each with a guide (she takes a maximum of 48 passengers) La Pinta has masses of space, whether in the library (which also has a basic internet connection) the large bar and sitting room, dining room (eating onboard tends to be buffet style for breakfast and lunch and dinner is a la carte with free seating around smaller tables) or on the covered open sided deck, there are only a handful of sun-beds. Snorkelling equipment is available for every guest and for those who don't enjoy swimming, there is a glass bottomed boat and kayaks. La Pinta offers 3, 4 and 7 night sailings. She even has a couple of tumble driers on board so that guests can dry damp clothes.
The best way to see the Galapagos is by boat and there is no better boat than La Pinta. The yacht offers conclusive proof that evolution extends beyond living creatures and includes ships: HMS Beagle, Darwin's vessel, was 28m long and was among a class of ship nicknamed 'coffin brigs' because of their tendency to sink; by contrast, La Pinta is a gleaming beauty, 60m long, with three decks, panoramic lounge bar, library, gym and hot tub.
Before I began my adventure I was nervous about who the other passengers might be; I suspected that luxury cruises attracted the overprivileged and obese - not so much survival of the fittest as arrival of the fattest. In fact, they were nothing like my stereotype, and since there were only 32 of us, we socialised in a way that would have been impossible on a larger ship.
The majority were retired - possibly because one would need a sizeable pile in the bank to be able to afford this cruise. It made me think that, if I were in charge, I would offer some heavily subsidised places for younger holidaymakers just to help liven up the atmosphere on board. Although the group were mostly Americans and Britons, there were also Italians, Dutch and a German couple whom I found particularly intriguing. The man was in his late sixties and wore an eyepatch, while his wife was younger and always wore something gold. His amiable smile and one twinkling eye convinced me he was a Bond villain scouting for a base from which to plot ruling the world. The other option - that he was simply an older fellow from Cologne on holiday with his wife - seemed too fanciful to be credible.
The Spaniards who visited in the 16th century called this place las Islas Encantadas - 'the Enchanted Islands' - ships drifted out of sight of the islands because of the strong currents, and the sailors assumed it was the land that was vanishing and not the ships that were moving. It was those currents and the remoteness of the islands that made the environment unique, because they forced the species arriving by air or ocean currents to adapt to the special conditions of the various islands of the archipelago, which was formed by volcanoes rising from the sea bed.
Today it isn't buccaneers who come visiting, it's lawyers specialising in intellectual property; but as we clambered off our yacht on to pangas - motorised dinghies that sliced through the turquoise brine - we felt less like privileged tourists and more like free-spirited explorers.
Ecuador & Galapagos for the Family
Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, Galapagos Islands
from SGD $13200 pp 10 nights
- Snorkel, kayak and hike on the Galapagos Islands with fearless and unique wildlife
- Stay at Mashpi Lodge in the cloudforest and enjoy adventures up in the canopy on the lodge's sky bike
- Highly qualified naturalist guides make for an awe-inspiring and educational experience
Location & directions
La Pinta operates 3, 4 and 7 night cruise, departing Fridays or Mondays. The Galapagos archipelago consists of 19 volcanic islands and 40 islets, 600miles off the coast of Ecuador.
- 100% financial protection
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Firsthand knowledge
- Renowned service
- Award-winning tour operator