Galapagos cruise options, tailor made

“Top selling tailor made small ship cruise, you choose from a selection of boats, catamaran to schooner, to take you around a gorgeous selection of the Galapagos Islands for 8 days.”

Highlights

San Cristobal Island | Genovesa Island | Santa Cruz Island | Floreana Island Hispanola Island | Santa Fe Island | Naturalist guide

Departure information

This tailor made trip has a variety of options and can be arranged on a budget and at a time to suit you and adapted to your requirements as necessary.
Our top tip:
Add on some time in Ecuador. Rainforest, cloud forest and the Andes are three mammothly good reasons.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome, with some boats offering single cabins.
Accomm:
On board cabins, on choice of boats.
Included:
Accommodation, flights from Quito to Galapagos, meals, naturalist guide, most excursions.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Tailor made vacations

This trip can be tailor made to create a unique vacation for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. It is a more luxurious trip that will suit those who enjoy immersing themselves in new cultures and environments before relaxing in comfort. As this trip can be tailor made it would be helpful if you could you provide the following information: rough budget per person (stating with or without flights), your address and zipcode, contact phone number, preferred date of travel, length of trip, number of passengers, preferred countries and areas within those countries, specific interests & type of accommodation.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Galapagos cruise options, tailor made

The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile and unique environment. It is a strange concept but were it not for the value of tourism in this area the islands would undoubtedly have been allowed to be plundered and destroyed decades ago.

By supporting responsible tourism in this sensitive area we are actively contributing to the massive conservation task. There is a National Parks tax of $100 per person which goes directly to the islands conservation initiatives. But most importantly, we work with a number of boats that are Ecuadorian owned and whose owners can demonstrate a positive ecological and social responsibility policy. This encompasses the broader issues of the human population on the islands as well as the more obvious wildlife conservation.

We were voted most responsible tour operator by UK NGO Tourism Concern. On average 75% of the cost of your trip with us - excluding flights - remains in the destination.

Flights are automatically carbon offset through The Travel Forest, which plants 10 indigenous trees on your behalf (currently in northern Tanzania). Whilst the primary motivation for planting the trees is to offset carbon emissions, the project also works as a poverty alleviation and environmental improvement scheme.

Reviews of Galapagos cruise options, tailor made

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 28 May 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The luck of seeing a turtles nest hatch in broad day light, though it heart breaking to see none of them make it to the sea.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To make sure they have got adequate currency on them as there is no means of getting cash on the Island of Isabela. There are no cash machines here and the only bank is not International and will not therefore exchange currency. When withdrawing cash on Santa Cruz - you can only use the Yellow international cash machine, by the harbour.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely, our guides were all local and very good at their job.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. The guides, accommodation, food, wildlife was better than I had expected. My only disappointment was the some of the other vacationmakers on the yatch! I had assumed everyone going to the galapagos would be a wildlife enthusiast and was very annoying when they were not - but I appreciate the travel company cannot be responsible for this.

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The Galapagos - the wildlife was just awesome! Even more amazing than we'd expected! The crew were fantastic - really friendly and welcoming and the guides were exceptional.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Plenty of sun screen, good walking shoes and prepare to be amazed. Also remember that although the boat is spacious, cabins can be quite cosy. But itís not a big deal as you really don't need to spend much time in the cabin. And they are comfortable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely - and everyone was incredibly sensitive to the need to protect the eco-system.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I can never say that any one vacation is the best, but this was certainly up there - truly memorable. The location was just fantastic complemented by a wonderful crew and very efficiently and effectively organised via the company in the UK.

Reviewed on 29 Jul 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Swimming with sea lions, but actually it was all brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Look at the boats in detail. We were very lucky as we had a great boat. Some of the others did not look that nice.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, all of our crew were local and the guide made an effort to get us into local shops to spend money which we did not mind.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Yes, five stars. I would not say I was reborn but it was a fantastic vacation.

Reviewed on 07 Dec 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole vacation was fantastic- a once in a lifetime experience. Just the proximity to wildlife was truly amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with this operator if you decide on going to the Galapagos.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It benefited those whom work in the tourist industry and helped contribute to the preservation of the Galapagos. I felt the environmental regulations there could be stricter but excellent progress is being made. I work as an environmental consultant so am probably more aware of the impacts than most from antifouling paints, sunscreens etc. It could easily be made a truly 'green' vacation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


10 out of 10

Reviewed on 13 May 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were too many highlights to pick just one. It was a privilege to be in this unique place, and so close to its wildlife, which was both beautiful and bizarre. Among the highlights would have to be: swimming with sea lions diving and twirling around us; watching the stately cross-eyed dance of the blue-footed boobies; avoiding the salty sneezes of the marine iguanas; paddling silently at dawn, through the mangrove lagoons, seeing a shoal of golden rays or a single turtle gliding through the water.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you get seasick, this could spoil your vacation - ships vary in stability, so ask before you book, and take lots of medication and / or ginger. Take strong walking shoes - preferably with ankle support - as some walks are very rough. Wear lots of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat - you're on the Equator and will burn easily. Pack light - keep it to a minimum, and use a squashy bag, as there's nowhere to put a suitcase on the ship and minimal storage. Take an underwater disposable camera, and your own mask and snorkle, and practise before you go.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Our excellent guide, Juan, ensured that we made minimal environmental impact. Because the cost of living on the Galapagos Islands is so high, most of the crew live on mainland Ecuador. The infrastructure supporting the tourist ships is significant, though it is restricted to small well-defined areas outside the National Park, which seems well protected. We think the National Park has the balance right. Humans have access to a minimal proportion of the whole area, and we had no sense that we were exploiting the islands, but just observing and learning. 'Take only photographs, leave only footprints' - and those only on the designated and discreet trails!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


***** I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on. Finally I have to commend the UK operator, the local operator in Ecuador, and the crew of the Cachalote, who all contributed to our fantastic vacation. All were faultless.

Reviewed on 16 Feb 2007 by

We went to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and in the course of a month had so many magic moments it would be hard to pick out the most memorable. How do you compare sunrise in Amazonas with hummingbirds in the cloud forest or climbing to 4800metres on Cotapaxi with riding on the roof of a train for 7 hours? Then the Galapagos -sailing on a fully rigged sailing yacht, watching mating rituals of blue footed boobies or snorkelling with penguins, sea lions sharks and turtles - how do you choose when every moment was magic?

To anyone thinking of booking a similar trip I would give this advice - go for as long as you can, do as much as you can and if like me and my husband you are in your sixties make sure you are as fit as you can be before you go. We had a month of 6am starts and activities on many days until 10pm so it was tiring and you need to be pretty fit to snorkel from a rubber boat twice a day as we did in the Galapagos.

On a more serious note we were very impressed with the total commitment to environmental ideals of the companies we travelled with. Both the UK operator and the local operator in Ecuador lived up to our expectations in their dedication to the local people and to diminishing any impact on the environment as far as possible. We wouldnít hesitate to recommend both companies.

Overall rating - ***** though Iím not sure about the phrase "I am reborn"! It was definitely one to tell the kids and grandkids about ad infinitum!!

Reviewed on 22 Apr 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


None of us really knew what to expect and one member of the party in particular (my Mum) was quite apprehensive. However, from the moment we were picked up from the airport the whole trip was fantastic. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable as well as being enthusiastic & friendly. He was from the local community so we saw first hand the impact this sort of initiative could have - Oscar had worked in the kitchen & bar before being sent to Lima to learn English (funded initially by the business) in order to become a guide. Having open air rooms was amazing and we've reflected over the last few days how bizarre it was walking through the Amazon jungle in pitch black with only flash lights to guide us but yet feeling 100% comfortable & confident in a guide we'd only known for several hours. It was great that we all sat together with other groups & our guides over dinner to talk about both that day's activities & what was planned for the next day. In fact, even the 15 hours torrential rainfall we experienced didn't dampen our enthusiasm. Our excursion was simply moved to later that day and we spent the morning relaxing (and recovering from 15 hrs traveling 2 days before) and listening to a very informative briefing from Alan, a PhD student conduction his thesis research at the lodge.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Listen to the advice regarding taking a full rain suit - an anorak just doesn't cut it! Also, even if you don't plan to do anything strenuous at altitude don't underestimate the effect Cusco / Quito may have on you. And again, listen to the advice regarding taking huge amounts of film / memory cards. The pictures of Macchu Picchu & the Galapagos you may have seen don't do the real thing justice. Also, don't be afraid to cram in as much as possible. We took 7 flights (14 including each touch down) in 14 days plus hours in cars and we wouldn't have changed a thing. This is the trip of a lifetime (to celebrate my Mum's 50th in our case - a group of 5 of my Mum, my sister & her fiance and myself & my husband) and you should make the most of it. If you are lucky enough to do this at a young age you will want to go back. 4 of our party are late twenties / early thirties and we are already planning our next trip to Macchu Picchu / The Amazon / The Galapagos (and this is from a group that as a rule don't visit places twice - there is too much world out there to see!). A 4 night trip to the Galapagos is enough to see most wildlife - it may not be the most relaxing itinerary but it gave us time to see some of Ecuador and meant we didn't have to make a decision between Peru & Ecuador (a 7 nt Galapagos trip would have meant just using Quito as an overnight stop). I'd also fully recommend doing the trip as a tailor made vacation rather than organised tour - our experience was far more positive than many 'coach trippers' we encountered.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


See point 1. The Peruvian Amazon & Ecuadorian cloudforest in particular seemed to benefit the local community. For example, the presentation by Alan highlighted the fact that Macaw hunting in Peru is limited because the local people understand the value these birds add to the local economy via tourists. The Galapagos demonstrated this to a lesser extent - whilst the guides on our boat (the excellent Coral 1) were local I'm not sure this was reflected across all vessels and I did see a number of western businesses and everything in the area seems more geared to pleasing tourists than to genuinely benefiting the local people & environment.

4. Any other comments?


4* - 5*. The whole trip was outstanding. One of the best I have ever been on and I spent 18 months traveling the world in the late 90s and have spent the last 10 yrs seeking the ultimate vacation trying everything from organising my own basic backpacking trips to luxury trips via top end travel agents. Everything from the assistance & advice I was given in organising the trip (hours of much appreciated help & advice from John to please 5 people with very differing expectations & requirements) to the organisation and range of experiences while we were away (all local agents / guides were efficient, friendly & helpful) to the after sales service have been exceptional and, for once, I feel like I have hopefully contributed to the local economy.

All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this trip to almost anyone I know. And please keep me on your mailing list - I'm already saving up for the next big trip. Africa is next on the list . . .

Please note: This traveler went on a tailormade vacation to the Galapagos that also included Peru and Ecuador in its itinerary, which is a variation on the trip represented on the trip page.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The vacation was one big wow from start to finish, so it is very hard to pick out highlights. Even though you know you are going to get close to the wildlife, it still comes as a shock when you experience it for the first time. With sea lions walking past you within inches and hawks nestling on bushes a mere two feet away unconcerned at your presence, it comes as a shock when you get home and have to remember that wildlife is going to run away from you again. The giant tortoises are the most surreal. These are supposed to be small pets, not these giants walking through the woods!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If your baggage doesn't get to Quito before your flight to the islands (as ours didn't), you need to wait until your cruise reaches Puerto Ayoro before you can be reunited again (took us 5 days). Therefore, I'd suggest that you make sure there is at least one flight from the place you last see your bags to Quito before you leave for the islands.

Go for a small boat over a larger one. For a start, it means that you have fewer people on the island with you. The trails aren't very long, and 100 people at once can feel a bit crowded. Also, the small boats are more flexible, so when your guide realises that everyone is planning on descending onto the island at the same time, he can change your itinerary so you get the island more to yourself. Finally, the small boats can get to all the trails, the big ones can't!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The Ecuador economy as a whole needs tourism, and Galapagos is the obvious jewel in its crown. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the islands without having some impact on the environment. However, the actual areas that you are allowed to visit are an incredibly small so your impact is minimised.

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