Galapagos cruises

“A top selling tailor made eight day cruise of Galapagos archipelago, with choice of sailing boats according to budget and preference.”

Highlights

Floreana Island | Española Island | San Cristobal Island | Santa Fe Island | Bartolome Island | Santa Cruz Island | Isabela Island | Tower Island | Hiking | Snorkelling

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this vacation or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

Daily departures throughout the year.
Our top tip:
Get sea sick? Go for a posh catamaran.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome, accommodated on boats with single berths with no supplement when possible.
Accomm:
Single, double and bunk berths with private bathrooms.
Included:
Accommodation, most meals, transfers from Galapagos airport, naturalist guide, snorkel gear.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Galapagos cruises

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Galapagos cruises: The Galapagos was the first natural site to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site - 1979. It is also a Biosphere Reserve and Whale Sanctuary. The Galapagos is a worldwide model for eco-tourism. Here you are able to visit an area of great natural beauty and encounter, at close quarters, animal species that have no fear of humans. Strict regulations govern all tourist activities and are rigidly enforced and tourist numbers are restricted.

For every visitor we take on our Galapagos cruises we donate £25 to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (www.gct.org) who work to protect and conserve the Galapagos islands, or choose to take up a free one year membership of the Trust, paid for by us.

We are also now supporting the UK registered chairty Amantani. As this charity is very much in keeping with our ethos of small scale, targetted help which is educational & sustainabale. HuchuyYachaq is the other main Peruvian charity we support by paying a for a full time teacher. A % of all our income goes to support those projects.

The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile environment and the arrival of more and more inhabitants to the islands, as well as tourist have an impact. Please try to minimise your impact:

Take a water bottle to refill, rather than use a new bottle each time;
Recycling your rubbish where possible, not leaving any behind;
Taking batteries back home with you – they cannot be recycled properly in Ecuador;
Saving water where possible; and
Saving energy by switching your lights off when you leave the room. Electricity on the islands comes from a generator, fuelled by petrol. For the same reason, please think about whether you really need to use your air conditioning.

Community

The boats we use are all locally owned and operated yachts, equipped to accommodate 10 - 16 passengers and accompanied by professional naturalist guides certified by the Darwin Research Station.

We work directly with locally-owned hotels on the islands, too, and do the same on the mainland of Ecuador.

For every visitor we take on our Galapagos cruises we donate £25 to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (www.gct.org) who work to protect and conserve the Galapagos islands, or choose to take up a free one year membership of the Trust, paid for by us.

13 Reviews of Galapagos cruises

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 13 Nov 2019 by

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


Encounters with wildlife on land and snorkelling.

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


It was quite an active vacation with 3 to 5 activities a day and to get the most out of it you needed to go on all the walks and snorkelling trips, so be sure your up for that or else find something else to suit you.

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


All the boat staff and the guide were local and so benefited as it provides a relatively good employment opportunity for them but I suspect they benefited me more than I did them. Tourism helps ensure conservation is on the agenda and helps to fund it. They make you very conscious of the need not to interfere with the animals or ecology but I'm sure tourism nevertheless has some negative impacts too, so it's a difficult balance but selfishly, I'm really glad I got to go there

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2019 by

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


We had a fabulous guide. The Yate Aida Maria and its crew were terrific. Each island stop was so cool. The food was great.

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


Go to the Galapago Islands!

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


Yes, I think it benefited the local economies, and I don't think we negatively impacted the environment...

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


One of the best ever!

Reviewed on 26 May 2019 by

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


Visiting two locations I have always wanted to visit, but never had the chance: Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. The sacred valley was also exceptional.

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


Book early and don't worry, Responsible travel did a great job.

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


Yes indeed. The hotels and guides, the Yacht on the Galapagos all were environmentally directed and successful

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


One of the best trips we have ever taken.

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2019 by

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


There were many memorable aspects of our vacation & I'd single out two: 1. Arriving at Machu Picchu in the mid-morning mist & seeing the site for the first time in this atmospheric way. Then the mist cleared & we were able to see the site in its full majesty. 2. A one-week cruise round the easterly islands of the Galapagos. The opportunity to get within feet of wildlife on land, e.g. sea lions & Blue Footed Boobies & to get close to sea life, e.g. sea lions & Eagle Rays.

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


Be mindful that if traveling on a Galapagos cruise involving land based treks, the terrain can be a bit rough, e.g. lava fields. When we were there (March 2019) the temperature was estimated to be 35C & the hikes were tiring. Worth it - but tiring.

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


Yes, e.g. the guides we had were local & were without exception, knowledgeable, excellent & thoughtful. The hotels we stayed in for some of the trip employed local people & used local produce.

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


Overall, our vacation exploring parts of Peru, the Galapagos & Ecuador (Quito) was excellent. We had excellent guides, drivers & accommodation throughout our stay. The only downside was that some of the flights with Iberian Airlines were poor & their on-line booking system is rubbish (my technical assessment). Due to a late departure from Gatwick, runway repairs at Madrid we missed a connecting flight & spend a day in Madrid waiting for the next flight.

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2019 by

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


Isla de san Bartolome

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


Do the trip by land , not by cruise. 6 days are enough to see the worthwile areas.

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


No

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


Nice and interesting . The Galapagos are overhyped and over marketed.

Read the operator's response here:

We're glad you enjoyed a land-based Galapagos trip with us, especially Bartolome. On the ground, we work with an Ecuador-based company and together we help to employ locals on the islands, book locally-owned Galapagos hotels and use guides are from the Galapagos all of which have to adhere to the Galapagos Park regulations in order to operate. Also, as part of the pre-departure information that we send to all our travelers, we include hints and tips on how to help protect the Galapagos - plastics use, saving energy and water, recycling and more - and for every Galapagos booking we receive we donate to the Galapagos Conservation Trust, to help protect this fragile environment.

Reviewed on 26 Dec 2018 by

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


Hard to find one most memorable. The entire trip was great; exceptionally well planned and organized. Ecuador is an amazing country.

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


Buy seasick patches. Made all the difference in the world. The key to a good Galapagos cruise in our estimation is the quality and talent of the guide.

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


Yes. There was a conscious effort to promote responsible travel throughout our trip.

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


Wonderful.

Reviewed on 08 May 2018 by

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


The Galapagos cruise itinerary was a once in a lifetime experience. The islands we visited were each very unique so we really were able to get an appreciation for the biodiversity of the region. Ending our trip in the cloud forest was spectacular -- the hiking was fantastic and the accommodations were comfortable and owned by individuals who were committed to the wellbeing of the environment and the local people.

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


Bring more hiking/outdoor-appropriate clothing for this trip -- you will be spending a decent amount of time being active. Bring plenty of cash for tips and unexpected expenses (shopping, drinks on the boat, etc). Also, be aware that you will spend very little time in Quito unless you extend your trip to make it a point to come back another time and explore the city more. We felt a bit rushed in Quito and wished we had more time to visit the churches and other colonial sites.

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


I feel that the accommodations as well as the local guides and experts in Cotopaxi, the Galapagos, and the cloud forest were dedicated very much to reducing environmental impacts and supporting conservation.

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


All in all, a great vacation. Due to time restrictions, we could only be in Ecuador 9 days so we were limited with the amount of time we could spend in Quito and
Cotopaxi. If I had to do it again, I would have made this vacation longer by another 3 or 4 days. But no major complaints! Great memories were made. Thank you for making this trip possible!

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2016 by

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


Snorkelling with turtles, sealions and penguins. Getting so close to and seeing so many different animals and birds.

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


The sea water is cold you need a wetsuit! Take seasick pills, it can be rough and you don't want to ruin your trip. A cruise is a great way to see so much make the most of it :-)

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


There are a fair number of controls on the Galapagos to limit visitor numbers group sizes etc Wouldn't like to say for sure how much the local people benefitted from the vacation- all those working on the boat were from the islands.

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


Great- the crew on the Angelito really looked after us. Galapagos is a special place to visit...I'll never be able to go wildlife watching get ever again, now I've been spoilt!

Reviewed on 09 Dec 2015 by

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


Quoting my travel diary on the day we were visiting Isabela Island and in the evening had the opportunity to go to the beach on Puerto Villamil:

The aquamarine water is so clear I can easily see my toes digging in the white sand of the seafloor. The water is shallow and warm, and so salty that I can float without any effort. The flavor of the salt is mixing with the taste of the coconut
milk I had on the beach. The sun is setting and the clouds are getting darker. Gray pelicans and blue-footed boobies are flying above me, and frequently diving in the water just next to me for catching fish. I notice a sea lion swimming close
to me. And then a penguin passing by me in the water. I notice there are three penguins. They look so playful but I guess they also are fishing. I float watching the last rays of light turning the sky orange. The birds continue their diving.
The water is so warm. I don't want to leave.

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


Be prepared for a rough sea so don't go if you get very sea sick, or at least bring good sea sickness medication. The weather can change quickly so it is a good idea to bring a rain coat, as well as sunblock with high spf. The days are quite
hectic with hikes and snorkeling which at times may feel a bit exhausting but, then again, you get to see and experience a lot. Get ready for an amazing trip, and don't forget to take your camera!

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


I enjoyed the fact that we had two very professional naturalist guides with us the whole time (also required by the Galapagos National Park) who were not only telling us interesting facts about the environment and the conservation
projects, but also making sure that we were following all of the National Park rules.

All the crew members as well as the naturalist guides were local which was very nice. Also, we visited a few restaurants and shops which benefitted the local community.

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


For me, the cruise was a combination of agonizing sea sickness and the most wonderful trip I ever had. The M/S Galaven was a very comfortable ship with such a friendly and helpful crew and guides. We had a fantastic group of people on board so I had a great time although traveling solo. I was very pleased with the itinerary of the cruise which really made the most of the days. During the week we got to see practically everything which honestly made it feel well worth the investment.
When planning my trip, I was so happy with the quick and helpful contacts from Responsible Travel. I was also very pleased with the operator's knowledgeable, kind and quick service.

Reviewed on 03 Jan 2012 by

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


The first day arriving in Galapagos and seeing the sea turtles, snorkelling, swimming next to sealions.

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


I think it would be better to travel on a slightly larger, quicker and more stable boat as I got very sea sick. Also the journey to Genovesa island is very long and rocky and not really worth it. Some more advice on the best islands to see would have been helpful as it is also an expensive trip.

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


Yes.

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


Good.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for your comments, Dalia. We are delighted to hear you had a good time in the Galapagos. Sorry to hear you had problems with sea sickness and we hope it didn't dampen your spirits! We do offer a large selection of boats (and itineraries) for every taste and generally the more high class boats - especially catamarans - are more stable and less rocky.

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2012 by

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


Seeing and swimming with many of the wildlife including penguins, sea lions, dolphins. Driving through ocean surrounded by volcanoes on all sides.

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


If you want warm water and better weather do not go in November. If the boat you booked does not have full wetsuits bring your own or else you could be too cold to enjoy snorkelling. Make sure you book a boat that has individual thermostats in each room. Get sea bands to stop motion impact on your body.

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


Yes, boat crew and families are supported. The walking trails are very confined and make sure people only travel on very small footprints.

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


I would rate it 2 1/2 stars between OK and enjoyable. The Beluga is NOT A LUXURY BOAT and should not be marketed as such - its misleading to put in this category and candidly dishonest.

The Darwin center was extremely unimpressive - the Park system should spend some of the $100 everyone pays to improve this whole area.

The crew/guide on Beluga were good. We only had the opportunity to kayak for 15 minutes out of 8 days - Very disappointing and make no sense. We paid $50 for a weekly rental including a ripped wetsuit (shortie) + snorkelling gear that did not keep my wife warm and thus we only used it 2x. That was a rip-off and the biggest disappointment as we went on the boat to specifically see all the wildlife from the water. While we went to many places there was too much redundancy - every place had the same animals, landscape, etc. We also did not get that much time on the islands to enjoy beaches, etc.

The coffee was horrible (the one thing I look forward to in the AM). Food quality was good - deserts could use a lot more imagination.

When we booked transfers from Baltra to San Cristobal we found out we paid 2x what the cost would have been had we booked it ourselves. While we are happy to pay a commission 100% of the cost of something seems onerous. In addition, we were not given a flight option (Baltra to San Cristobal - 15 minutes), instead we were told you have to take a taxi (1 hour) and water taxis (2 1/2 hours) which was so crowded there were not enough seats.

For the money spent I don't feel like we got good value and there are many places such as Costa Rica where you can see a much broader range of nature + warm tropical water, volcanoes, etc.

Read the operator's response here:

We are sorry to hear that the Galapagos did not fulfil our clients’ expectations in terms of wildlife. The islands' wildlife and landscapes are fascinating and while there are many differences in subspecies of wildlife from island to island, the main species of wildlife are found on more than one island. We send information on each destination to our customers and recommend that customers read this beforehand to find out whether the destination of their choice can offer them what they would like to see - and therefore hopefully avoid their being disappointed on arrival. The Galapagos Islands are not a beach destination as such and beach time is generally limited in favour of wildlife excursions and snorkelling.

The Beluga boat is classified as a first class boat, which makes it an above midrange boat. We do not sell it as a luxury boat. While emphasis is put on good quality meals, it is important to remember that you are cruising amongst remote islands and food has to be shipped in from the mainland and has to keep for a week long cruise, limiting the selection of food and dessert choices. Sadly, while Ecuador is a leading exporter of coffee, it is not the Ecuadorian custom to drink quality coffee.

We always advise our customers of alternatives to private transfers if there is an option of using public transport, and this customer was advised that a cheaper local bus was available for the transfer from the airport. It was the customer’s choice to book the higher priced private transfer. The option was given. We aim to give all different options in terms of inter-island transport but in this case the customer chose to have free time on Santa Cruz island before moving on San Cristobal island, and for that reason we did not offer the early morning inter-island flight but instead the local boat which leaves later in the day, after lunch, from the town of Puerto Ayora. Numbers on those boats are restricted, and the port authorities control the numbers, but they can be busy. The inter-island flights are somewhat unreliable and you can be hanging around for hours at Baltra airport.


Reviewed on 31 Oct 2010 by

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


Visiting one of the most unique places left on earth, and seeing how protective tour operators and the park authorities are keeping it that way.

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


Book with a small tour group who really cares about the Galapagos.

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


Being on a cruise we spent little time in town, but did have some time to spend in local shops, and to support the Darwin station and to learn more about the park authorities. it was good to learn about the controls the local people have to live and work under in order to protect the park. Recycling etc was encouraged, but perhaps drinks etc could be provided in reusable glass bottles?

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


Amazing and excellent - truly a trip of a lifetime, and one of the few times one can genuinely use the word 'awesome'.

Reviewed on 14 May 2010 by

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


This was a trip on the Aida Maria to Galapagos Islands. Most memorable experience was snorkelling within inches of green sea turtles and sealions.

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


SUN BLOCK you burn in 10-15 minutes under Ecuadorian sun.

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


Galapagos has strict rules but does not seem to limit to number of boats as there were boats like ours everywhere, you could not get a clear photo of any of the bays we visited.

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


I don’t rate the Aida Maria boat, the food was AWFUL and the guide was very poor, I’m sure he must have more knowledge than he passed on, he just sounded so bored and disinterested you did not feel like asking any questions, you felt he was in the job only for the pay check. The Galapagos is an amazing place but don’t expect secluded islands the trips are busy, the islands all have more than one boats attending and the 5-6 groups rotate round the trails at a set pace.

Read the operator's response here:

Unfortunately, on this occasion our usually excellent guide, who has worked with the Aida Maria boat for many years, received some distressing personal news immediately prior to joining the cruise. He is now currently on leave and will be back with us when he is back to his usual good form. His performance has, down the years, always been described as a very professional, responsible and knowledgeable guide. We are confident that this was a one-off. We’re sorry that this traveler missed out on his usually excellent guiding skills.

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