How To Pick The Right Galapagos Boat

TheCheese By TheCheese, 15th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>International Cruises & Tours

Right, you’ve decided to take your dream holiday to the Galapagos Islands, but with so many options to choose from how do you decide which boat is going to be best for you?

Choices Choices

Right, you've decided to take your dream holiday to the Galapagos Islands, but with so many options to choose from how do you decide which boat is going to be best for you?

There are over 80 boats that have regular departures in the Galapagos from budget (relatively) to eye wateringly expensive. A little planning beforehand can make finding the right one for you a lot less painful. Travel agents regularly arrange Galapagos cruises here a few of their top considerations when selecting boats.

Size matters

The first thing to think about is the size of the yacht. Boats range from around 16 up to 120 or so passengers. Small is generally better than larger. Smaller yachts create a much more intimate ambience which works well if you enjoy mingling and getting to know the other passengers. Of course, the downside is the risk of getting stuck with people you don’t get on with so well. On smaller vessels you’ll tend to get a more personal service whereas although you get split up into small groups on cruise ships you may feel a little like you’re being herded around.

Type of yacht

There are four main types of vessel in the Galapagos; Large cruise ships, sailing yachts, motor boats and catamarans. Sailing yachts provide a wonderful ambience but in practise due to weather conditions mostly use the onboard motor and typically have smaller cabins. Some motor boats, due to the shape of the hull, rock a little more from side to side so be wary if you are prone to sea sickness. Catamarans are usually a little more expensive, but are much more roomy and steady. Of course, if sea sickness is a really a worry then a cruise ship or land based option is probably best for you.


Another factor which has to be though about is your budget. A lower end eight day cruise will cost around $1,800 – top end you’ll be looking at $6,500 +. Having an idea of what you want to spend can narrow your choices and give you an idea on what’s realistic. Most yachts have a high and low season price which differ so it’s good to check this. When you are budgeting bear in mind the $500 extra dollars for the airfare to and from the mainland of Ecuador and the $110 park entrance fee and transit card.

Cruise length

To give you a rough idea, you can see the majority of the islands in 15 days. Most boats offer two varying 7 night cruises which can be bolted together to see the whole archipelago. However, as the rules and restrictions have changed in the last couple of years some boats have started to offer a whole range of cruise lengths from 3 days upwards using different departure date combinations. Frankly, visiting the Galapagos islands for less than 8 days would be a shame. Remember, the cost of getting there doesn’t change.


The quality of Galapagos boats varies immensely. Always check the credentials of the boat before booking up your cruise. Things to be checking for are safety records, quality of service, when the yacht was last refurbished and any conservation accreditations.

Time of year

Galapagos cruises run throughout the year including over Christmas and New Year (although the price will be higher at this time). Between January and March you’ll enjoy hotter weather although it is prone to rain. It’s the ideal time to visit for diving and snorkelling as the sea temperatures are considerable higher. The cooler season runs from April to December. After the rainy season there is lush greenery and ideal climate. May is the best time to view the famous mating dance of the waved albatross (only on Española island). During August and especially September, the water can get a little choppy so this is the low season. Throughout the cooler season you are more likely to come across whales and dolphins and it’s the best time for seabird life.


Cruise Holiday, Cruise Holidays, Cruise Ships, Cruise Tips, Cruises, South America

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