Galapagos Cruises With Experts – Pioneers in Galapagos Island Cruises


Pioneer in Galapagos island cruises

Metropolitan Touring pioneered travel to the Galapagos Islands in the early 1960s. We pride ourselves on the quality of our trio of expedition Galapagos island cruise tour vessels and our eco-hotel, our safety standards, our loyal and outstanding staff and our commitment to giving our guests an incomparable experience of the Islands while preserving their riches for future generations.

There is no place on Earth like the Galapagos Islands. Far out in the Pacific Ocean, this archipelago was formed by titanic geothermic upheavals that created volcanic islands, some of which are still in the throes of creation today.

When Charles Darwin visited in Galapagos in 1835, he observed a pristine, naturally-isolated living laboratory that would inspire and refine his theories, which he would release upon the world – to shattering effect – decades later. The islands have not lost their ability to inspire: the magic Darwin found over 150 years ago is still thriving in this remarkable environment.

While you experience our Galapagos cruises, you can walk among unique species such as marine iguanas basking in the sun and observe the elaborate mating rituals of blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigate birds. Unthreatened by predators, Galapagos island cruise creatures are undisturbed by visitors, who, one and all, come away inspired and changed by their experience of nature here.


Galapagos Cruises

Four Reasons to Cruise with Metropolitan Touring

From the relaxing, informal atmosphere of the Santa Cruz II to the flawless service on Isabela II, there really is something for everyone aboard our irresistible ships. What are some of the best reasons to cruise through the Galapagos with us? Discover the perk that suits your personal style here.

A Passionate and Knowledgeable Staff

Our captains, naturalist guides and expedition leaders are all dedicated to one thing: making sure that your trip of a lifetime is surrounded by safety and comfort. Not only do we employ naval-ranked officers, but we also staff our ships with experts in the field so that you can experience the region from an enriching point of view. Whether you’re taking in a natural history lecture on the Santa Cruz II or simply enjoying the delicious cuisine aboard the La Pinta, everyone who serves you is passionate about providing the best possible experience.

The Most Unforgettable Itineraries

Want to explore the white beaches of Las Bachas? Prefer to get your kicks at the Charles Darwin Research Station? No matter what sort of getaway you’re craving, we have an itinerary destined to take your breath away. Escape on a five-day jaunt through Floreana, Española Island and San Cristóbal. Spend a full week uncovering the enchanting sights of the northern region. You can even hop aboard an eight-day cruise that introduces you to everything the Galapagos’ western area has to offer. The only limit is your sense of adventure.

A Bevy of Luxurious Benefits

You may be channeling your inner wanderer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few five-star perks. Our ships are designed to provide varying levels of upscale fun, so you’ll always find exactly what you need. The Santa Cruz II offers the ultimate pampering in her three Darwin Suites, La Pinta’s atmosphere is punctuated by sun decks and wraparound windows, and Isabela II dazzles with an outdoor area ideal for al fresco dinners. Getting the royal treatment has never been more exciting.

Options for Every Type of Trip

Whether you’re heading out with the entire family or cozying up for a memorable honeymoon, you’ll have access to a world of incredible versatility. The Santa Cruz II, for instance, features an array of alternative activities so that everyone in your party can create their ideal adventure. Isabela II, on the other hand, boasts an intimate atmosphere that makes exploration the shining star. Plus, La Pinta offers large suites that can connect to accommodate families. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted right here on the water. Bon voyage!

Yacht La Pinta Galapagos Cruise

La Pinta accommodates 48 guests, with ample social areas, an observation deck towards the bow, wrap-around windows, Jacuzzi, cardio-gym, kayaks, glass-bottom boat, sun deck, sun loungers… ideal for travellers looking for a sophisticated, upscale experience of the islands. Cruise prices start from $ 2,955 pp.

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Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise

The Santa Cruz II, accommodating 90 guests is our newest expedition ship, and the finest ship in her class to sail the archipelago today. She’s versatile, flexible and fun, with an excellent crew committed to making her guests’ experience truly extraordinary. She has decks and cabins to suit a range of tastes. Cruise prices start from $ 3,196 pp.

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Yacht Isabela II Galapagos Cruise

The Galapagos Islands are special and you want a special yacht in which to explore this living laboratory of evolution. Our Yacht Isabela II, accommodating 40 guests, promises an intimate experience of this unique world. Cruise prices start from $ 3,236 pp

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Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel + Yacht

The award-winning Finch Bay Eco Hotel lies just steps from the beach in a secluded location, across the bay from Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. Guests cherish the hotel´s privacy, natural surroundings, swimming pool, fine dining, private tours aboard its own yachts within the National Park, and superb service.

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Please find below a raft of practical information about travelling to the Galapagos Islands. Please also see the section Galapagos Information for more general background on the islands.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries!

  • 1 Small backpack (waterproof)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sneakers with rubber soles and/or "Teva" type sandals
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long- and short-sleeved shirts
  • Wind breaker
  • Bathing suits – a wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months is recommended
  • Socks
  • Hat or cap
  • Toilette kit (biodegradable please)
  • Lots of strong sun block!
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera & video recorder
  • Any medicine you may be taking
  • Book/ Notebook
  • Chargers for electrical equipment
  • Plug adaptor
  • Next of kin/Contacts/Insurance numbers
  • Passport
  • Use the hashtag #happyingalapagos when posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Ecuadorian law stipulates that all checked baggage going to Galapagos must be inspected in order to prevent the introduction of alien organisms to the Islands which could cause serious damage to the unique ecosystems of the Archipelago. Each passenger is allowed one bag of up to 20 kg (44 lbs.) each, plus carry-on luggage, photo or video camera and binoculars. Professional film equipment and oversized scuba diving gear require special permits and prior arrangements.

For travel in the Galapagos, clothing ranges from informal to very informal. Essentials include sneakers, shorts, long- and short-sleeve lightweight shirts, bathing suits, a wide-brimmed hat, long trousers/pants, light fleece/sweater, and a wind breaker or light jacket for evenings. Be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses and apply your sunscreen. For evening activities, casual attire is suggested. Footwear should give your feet protection, comfort, balance and grip. For this we suggest tennis shoes or mid-ankle hiking boots. The use of sandals, flip-flops or Tevas, may give you practical freedom, but remember your feet will be directly exposed to a rugged outdoor environment.

The Galapagos Islands are located on the equator. The tropical heat, however, is tempered by Pacific breezes.

There are two seasons in the islands: the rainy, hot season from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures are in the 80s F (26°-30° C). There may be occasional showers, but the days are generally hot and sunny.

From June to November, you can expect cool winds, occasionally bringing with them a light misty-type drizzle called "garúa." Temperatures average in the 70s F (20°-24° C) during the day and lower at night.

Passengers must travel to the Galapagos with their passports.

  • Galapagos National Park Entrance fee: $ 100 per person.
  • Migration Control Card: $ 20 per person.
  • Rates are subject to change without notice.
  • The Galapagos National Park authorities charge an entrance fee of $ 100 for all foreign visitors, and the Galapagos Provincial Council charges $ 20 for a migration control card. These fees must be paid in cash (unless pre-arranged). Traveler checks and credit cards are NOT accepted. These fees are subject to change without previous notice.
  • The procedures for registering for entry to the Galapagos are due to change, so please consult us regarding these. A pen to fill out forms is useful!

110/AC. Electric shavers and hair dryers can be accommodated.

GMT minus 6 hours in the Galapagos Islands. GMT minus 5 hours on mainland Ecuador.

In Galapagos, everyone always takes far more photos than they thought they would, so bring extra memory cards! Waterproof, underwater cameras are fun and recommended.

US dollars may be used to pay for extras such as beverages, souvenirs, boutiques items, tips, etc. Credit cards (Visa, Master Card and American Express*) are also accepted aboard the Santa Cruz, Isabela II, La Pinta and the Finch Bay Eco Hotel

*AMEX is not accepted in the Finch Bay Hotel.

Changes in National Park policies, seasonal fluctuations, safety reasons and weather conditions may occasionally require schedule changes in itineraries without prior notice. These decisions are taken with guest safety in mind and in the interests of the islands' conservation.

For Metropolitan Touring, the health and safety of our guests and crew is a top priority in all aspects of our operations. Our vessels undergo a number of strict internal and external control inspections. They comply with both international and Ecuadorian regulations, ranging from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 74), Smart Voyager best environmental and social practices, the Ecuadorian Merchant Marine Office (DIRNEA), among others.

On all of Metropolitan Touring's operations, the competence of crew members is verified, the quality and state of vessels' equipment and materials checked, periodic maintenance and training performed, and safety procedures and equipment constantly monitored.

A deposit of $ 500 per person is required at time of booking, refundable on cancellation with at least 60 days' notice. Full payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Special policies apply for groups.



Metropolitan Touring, All About the Galapagos, our Company and our Products
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People Like You. (Experience) Galapagos Islands Ecuador
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People Like You. (La Pinta) Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Frequently Asked Questions

UCT (GMT) – 6 hours. One hour less than the Ecuadorian mainland.

You fly by plane to one of its two airports (Baltra or San Cristóbal) from either Guayaquil or Quito on mainland Ecuador. There are no flights from any other airport.

Some people take their private yachts into the Marine Reserve and National Park, but it's extremely rare and very expensive. There have also been a couple of visits by cruise ships, but they are also rare.

Endemism = species are found here and nowhere else virtually unchanged, pristine natural environments haunting volcanic landscapes disconnect from the world!

The entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park is currently $100, and the migration control card (to help regulate immigration to the islands) is $20. Per person.

We would always encourage you to spend 7 days in the islands, to get a real feel for each island's different character and to immerse yourself in their special magic. Four-day expedition cruises will give you an idea of the islands, but much of the first and last days are spent travelling.

It depends on the time of year. There are two pronounced seasons in the islands.

The rainy, hot season from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures are in the 80s F (26°-30° C). There may be occasional showers, but the days are generally hot and sunny.

From June to November, you can expect cool winds, occasionally bringing with them a light misty-type drizzle called "garúa". Temperatures average in the 70s F (20°-24° C) during the day and lower at night.

No, sports fishing is prohibited inside the Marine Reserve. Local fishermen can practice fishing however.

Yes, but due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.

Of course! It's part of the second-largest Marine Reserve in the world. It's an amazing place to discover all that lives beneath the waves. Snorkeling and swimming make up an important part of the Galapagos experience.

There is no best month to aim for in Galapagos, but you can view our Calendar to get a better idea of what is going on climactically and with wildlife.

There is a quite a debate regarding this theme, and as the operator of three vessels in the islands, you would expect us to answer that live-aboards are best. Much depends on your personal tastes and predilections. But, we would say that most people will get the most out of the islands by taking a live-aboard expedition cruise, experiencing the islands as Charles Darwin did in the 19th century (albeit more comfortably!) and spending more of your time relaxing and enjoying the landscapes rather than travelling by boat, bus or car from one place to the next. Many people now combine time on a live-aboard and time at one of the Islands' towns, such as Puerto Ayora (staying at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel afterwards, for example), or Puerto Villamil.

This depends on personal taste. Some people like traveling on a larger ship with more people, others on small sailing boats of only 16 passengers. There are a range of yachts between these two extremes.

Metropolitan Touring has three vessels: two 'medium' yachts of 40 and 48 guests, and the Santa Cruz for 90. The smaller are more intimate; La Pinta offers inter-connecting cabins. The Santa Cruz, on the other hand, has larger and more varied social areas, and a more family-friendly infrastructure and feel.

Things to consider when deciding the size of your Galapagos cruise vessels:

  • What rank and experience does the Captain and first officers have?
  • Only larger vessels have Captains and First Officers who are either Ecuadorian Navy or Merchant Navy qualified, with at least 12 years' experience.

You should have good walking shoes/trainers, and a pair of Teva-type sandals.

We recommend using 'shorty' wetsuits from May to December, when the waters in Galapagos are colder and it's more comfortable for snorkelers to remain longer in the water.

600 miles/1,000 km. About an hour-and-a-half flight from Guayaquil, 2 hours from Quito.

Very nearly. 97% of the archipelago's islands is designated a national park. Human settlements are concentrated on the remaining 3%. There are strict rules about visiting the areas on islands that have been designated as visitor sites by the national park authorities. The Galapagos is also part of a huge Marine Reserve, which ranks among the largest in the world.

No, since this would imply that they had been tamed by humans, or domesticated, if you will. They are simply fearless because their ancestors did not have to perceive humans as a threat, so nor do they.

No, although marine iguanas can get surprisingly big! Nor are giant tortoises endemic to the Galapagos. The elephantine sub-species developed in other parts of the planet, too. In Galapagos, the interesting aspect to note is the speciation of the tortoises once they arrived on the islands, evolving in time into different species – unable to reproduce between island species.

From the medieval/Renaissance Spanish term for a type of saddle that was raised up at its front. The Spanish sailors who came across giant tortoises – of whom various subspecies have 'saddle back' shells – named them "galápago" after these saddles.

The finches on Galapagos are special because they are the bird species that has been used to illustrate Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. The work of the Grants on Daphne Major is an excellent case study of finch populations and their variations over a short period of time clearly proves that – Darwin argued, "species are not immutable", and that adaptations can occur rapidly in populations in order to exploit ecological niches. There are 13 species of finch in all in Galapagos, some very similar in size and coloration: anyone who can identify all of them in the wild at a glance is a liar!