25 Nov Galapagos Cruise: 4 Important Galapagos Islands Cruise Tips
It’s important to do research before going on a Galapagos Islands cruise. Keep reading for Galapagos Cruise: 4 important Galapagos Islands cruise tips.
Are you planning on booking a cruise to visit the Enchanted Islands? There are some important things you will want to know before setting sail on your once in a lifetime vacation.
A Galapagos Islands cruise is focused on the beauty of nature and interesting wildlife, so this won’t be your typical luxury cruise vacation.
Keep reading for some important tips for your Galapagos cruise.
1. Choose Your Cruise Line
There are different options to choose from when deciding what type of experience you want to have on your Galapagos island cruise. You can choose from a larger known cruise line or a charter cruise line.
The larger, more well-known luxury cruises will have great amenities such as balconies, lounges, hot tubs and nice cabins even though they are more utilitarian than normal luxury vacation cruises tend to be. These ships also offer Level 3 guides which is the highest appointed guide from the Galapagos National Park.
You will learn a lot from these guides who have degrees that range in biology and tourism and have several years’ worth of experience guiding tourists in the Galapagos.
Smaller, economy class, cruises can be booked up until the last minute at a much cheaper rate but don’t offer as many amenities as the more popular cruise lines. Expect smaller quarters, little to no hot water and possibly no air-conditioning.
Don’t let this turn you off from booking one of these liners, however, because you will not be spending much time on the boat. This could be a great way to see the islands on a budget.
2. Know Your Itinerary
The Galapagos National park has approved a 15-day route for every sailing vessel that travels through the area. The boats will only stop at one site to visit once, with the exception of the Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz.
The different cruise lines can offer portions of this established route with options ranging from 4 days to the full 15 days. Each boat follows the same type of daytime activities with an island visit and water-based activities and then traveling to the next location at night.
Expect to start your trip at one of two islands, either Baltra, a U.S. military outpost from WWII or San Cristobal, the second most populated island in the Galapagos. Both islands have an airport making travel to and from the islands easy.
Determining which itinerary is right for you will depend on what type of activities you prefer. For those who are interested in scuba diving then visiting the northern islands of Darwin or Wolf is necessary.
If you are interested in more land-based options with great photography opportunities there are options to book stops at the Ecuadorian rainforest, or Peru’s famous Machu Picchu.
3. Port Highlights
Each visitor’s stop has something unique to see but you will also be sure to see plenty of the popular marine iguanas, lava lizards, endemic birds or sea lions to name a few.
When you arrive at Rabida you will immediately see the red beach which is rich in iron and very impressive. When you disembark you can head over to the brackish lagoon and witness flamingos indulging in crustaceans and algae.
This home of the famous waved albatross is the southernmost island in the Galapagos chain. These birds are small in stature but boast up to an eight-foot wingspan.
The entire population of the waved albatross in the world returns to this island between April and December for their nesting season and those who have been there to witness it often describe it as a spiritual experience.
If you visit this stop between September and October you will be able to witness the surrounding waters become full of sea life. The waters become rich in vegetation which attracts marine life, such as sea lions, and lots of sea birds.
This is an especially great time for those who like to snorkel and dive. Not only is there plenty to see below the surface but the sea lions will zip in and around you which will be an experience you won’t forget.
This island is known for its unpredictable volcanic eruptions. The most recent eruption happened in 2009 and it is unclear when the next one will be.
Visitors will be able to explore lava flows and watch the many land iguanas that frequent this island while learning how the volcanic eruptions are vital to the origins of these islands.
4. What to Bring
This isn’t an ordinary cruise so your packing list should be a little bit different than swimsuits and flip flops.
You will want to pack essentials such as rugged weatherproof hiking boots or sandals and a large floppy hat that will help protect you from the sun. Quick-drying fabrics are clothing to keep you dry and comfortable while exploring the various islands.
The islands will have a lot of exposure to the sun so you must bring sunscreen to protect your skin and keep you from ruining your trip by getting a sunburn.
Bug spray is also important if you plan on visiting between January and March since the rainy season will be at its worst then. Wasps are also a problem, especially in Post Office Bay, so keep that in mind if you have an allergy.
The waters surrounding the islands can become choppy between July and December which can cause even the most sea savvy to become seasick. Be prepared by bringing either motion sickness medication or a patch that goes behind your ear. Most ships will carry some but they might run out if things get really rough and you don’t want to be caught without it.
Learn More About Taking a Galapagos Cruise Today!
Taking a Galapagos cruise is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With a little research and proper planning, it will likely be a trip you will never forget.
For more travel tips and ideas, be sure to visit our website daily!