Famous for its unique and fearless wildlife, the Galapagos Islands, just off the coast of Ecuador, are best experienced by cruise. You can swim with sea lions, float eye-to-eye with a penguin, stand next to a blue-footed booby feeding its young, watch a giant tortoise lumbering through a cactus forest and try to dodge the iguanas scurrying over the lava.
The wildlife is truly phenomenal and the scenery, which is barren and volcanic, is hauntingly beautiful. Diving here is thought to be some of the best in the world, but even just by snorkeling or kayaking you will encounter an abundance of endemic wildlife species and come face to face with harmless white-tipped sharks, sea turtles and giant manta rays. Volcanic landscapes provoke explorations on land, reaching crumbling craters and eerie lava fields, mangrove swamps and black sand beaches. Although well geared up to cater to tourists, any visit here will feel as though you are stepping back into a land before time; a truly unforgettable experience.
We’ve found 10 holiday ideas for you
The Finch Bay Eco Hotel
Best for: Eco/ethical tourism, Wildlife, Couples
A charming eco-friendly retreat, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel is located just steps away from the beach on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz, surrounded by fascinating flora and fauna. It works well as an alternative to a cruise or as a beach stay afterwards.
Origin & Theory
Best for: Cruise, Wildlife
Sister ships Origin & Theory are the most comfortable premium-class yachts operating in the Galapagos archipelago, combining modern sophistication with quality guiding and accommodating just 20 guests each. They are both members of Relais & Chateaux.
Galapagos Safari Camp
Best for: Adventure, Eco/ethical tourism, Wildlife, Off the beaten track
A new concept to the Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Safari Camp is a luxury tented camp situated on a ridge in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, bordering the national park offering magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean.
Galapagos Seaman Journey
Best for: Couples, Cruise, Wildlife
Explore the diverse landscapes and habitats of the Galapagos Islands from on board the Seaman Journey, a comfortable 16-passenger catamaran with plenty of deck space for soaking in the equatorial sunshine and stunning ocean views.
Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador
Best for: Eco/ethical tourism, Wildlife
Pikaia Lodge is a luxury eco-lodge set in a secluded giant tortoise reserve, nestled on top of an extinct volcano crater on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos. Pikaia Lodge is a superb alternative to a traditional cruise and is carbon neutral.
Best for: Cruise, Wildlife, Adventure, Eco/ethical tourism
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.