How to Tour the Galapagos Islands Like an Explorer

When traveling to the Galapagos, you don’t have to limit yourself to the activities available on the islands. When you choose a cruise through the island chain, you can take advantage of a wide range of activities that are sure to please you. If you want to have a more active vacation and live the Galapagos Islands like an explorer, be sure to take advantage of all that an expedition yacht/vessel has to offer. In other parts of the World, cruise travelers are attracted by the various amenities and non-active features of a cruise (relax, movies, sun bathing, sleep, lavish buffets, etc). Everything about a Galapagos cruise is about being active, motivated and with great learning involved. Galapagos exploring is quite a thrill.

Galapagos Islands Cruise Trip.
Enjoy The Galapagos Islands Like An Explorer!

Planned Excursions Are Included

People who travel to the Galapagos Islands like an explorer, are typically interested in learning something new, and expedition yachts/vessels are ready to honor your adventuring spirit with guided tours and nightly briefings. Natural history lectures are also part of a responsible expedition. Carefully planned outings allow visitors to see the most interesting areas of the islands while also meeting with Naturalist Guides who can answer their questions and provide them with more information.

If you’re not interested in guided tours, you can still head off on your own to take pictures and see the terrain, although it is hard to find value in such loner activity. Vessels travel between areas overnight, so you can have more time to explore harbors, bays, inland volcanic features, and cliffs. Top experiences in the region include Darwin Bay, Volcan Sierra Negra, the Charles Darwin Research Station, the giant tortoise reserve, Fernandina Island, and more. You can stop in at Post Office Bay to leave a letter for your friends, and relive the human history of the islands.

Naturalist Guide On A Tour At Gardner Bay.
With A Naturalist Guide, Your Galapagos Expeditions Will Be More Engaging And Interesting.

Galapagos Islands Like an Explorer on a Glass-Bottom Boats and Water Excursions

Snorkelers get full views of the underwater world, but in case you don’t snorkel at all there will be plenty of water exploration with our glass bottom boat. Look down on the coral reefs and keep an eye out for a Galapagos penguin shooting by or a sea turtle. You’ll get up close and personal with the wildlife without having to don a wetsuit.

Guests Aboard A Glass-Bottom Boat.
Enjoy A Fascinating Experience Discovering The Diverse Marine Life On One Of The Glass-Bottom Boats.

If you’re dreaming of getting out into the water of the Galapagos Islands like an explorer, take advantage of the main activity in these waters: snorkeling. Travelers who choose to stay on land will have to make special reservations for snorkeling or kayaking, unless they have an island exploration program like the one at Finch Bay Hotel, but you’ll have those activities right at your fingertips with the right expedition yacht/vessel. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy these activities at different islands so that you can take advantage of how diverse the marine realm really is.

Snorkeling is amazing throughout the region because of the highly active aquatic life. Rather than learning how to snorkel while you’re there, sign up for classes ahead of time so that you can suit up quickly and spend more time getting up close and personal with the marine iguanas and penguins.  If you swim, you can snorkel.

Snorkeling In The Galapagos Islands.
Are You Ready To Dive Into The Waters Of The Galapagos Islands?

Incredible Views, Day and Night

Most cruise ships have cabins with tiny portal windows, but true adventurers want a better view. With massive panoramic windows, you can enjoy great views of the islands, oceans, and wildlife. This allows you to feel more in touch with nature as you cruise through the area, and you may just find that the cabin will shift course slightly to provide guests with better views of a school of dolphins or whales. Expedition vessels have ample public areas that can bring the visual experience to a whole new level.  How to know which option works best for you? Read here.

Kicker Rock At Sunset View.
Day Or Night, You Will Always Have Amazing Views.

Stay Longer and Do More

There are 13 major islands and 7 smaller ones in this archipelago, so you can easily travel the area for two weeks and still feel like you haven’t seen it all. You can choose shorter trips initially to see how you like the excursions, but you’ll probably wind up booking another vacation to return. Allow yourself plenty of time and make the most out of your travels by choosing a longer excursion and visiting more places. There are 145 approved visitor sites (70 on land and 75 marine) where you can observe wildlife and stunning landscapes. Expedition vessels will take you to at least two different visitor sites every day.

Treat yourself to an incredible holiday by taking the time to fully explore the Galapagos. Charles Darwin was fascinated by this area, and you’ll soon see why. You can see amazing endemic species like Giant Tortoises, lava lizards, and Galapagos albatrosses. Whether you’re out on the water or exploring the caves and cliffs on land, be sure to take your camera so that you can capture the images and share your experience with your friends and family back home. You’ll learn something new and feel closer to nature when you embrace your adventurous side in the Galapagos.

Blog Reviewed & Edited by: Francisco Dousdebés
All Images: Francisco Dousdebés


Updated:May 9, 2023

Published:November 29, 2016


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



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This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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