The Beauty of an Intimate Galapagos Vacation 

The Extra Space Makes All the Difference

Not many people like the feeling of being cramped in a small space. Even less when they’re on vacation and they want to have space to let their minds run free and let their bodies relax. When it comes to travelling, space is a determining factor that can greatly affect how much you enjoy a place or a situation. Some circumstances are beyond our control. Planes, for example, make us feel like sardines cramped in a can and sometimes even push us beyond our acrobatic abilities to try and stretch our legs just a tiny bit. However, when planning your vacation to the Galapagos there are numerous factors that you can keep under your control and these are factors we recommend you always use to your advantage. Case in point: boat space.

Breaking Misconceptions

At first thought, it might make logical sense to go with a single-guided ship with capacity for 16 passengers if what you are looking for on your Galapagos vacation is intimacy. But the reality in the Galapagos is the exact opposite. In the Galapagos Islands, National Park regulations limit group sizes to 16 people per guide. This means that many small vessels will only take the maximum of one group of 16 people on board and hire just one guide. This not only limits the number of activities guests can participate in simultaneously, but makes explanations take longer as well (if they need to be translated into several languages back-to-back). As is also regulated by the National Park, all activities at visitor sites must be supervised by a guide at all times. So if you want to go snorkelling, but other people in the group want to go kayaking, one of you will have to wait until the other is done before going ahead with your desired activity.

Santa Cruz Ii Galapagos Cruise Kayaking

Intimacy: The True Meaning of Luxury

Single-guided boats are small vessels, and even though 16 people might seem like an easy to handle group of people, the actual feeling is much more akin to feeling cramped. The amount of space a person can enjoy aboard a vessel is measured as the Guest Space Ratio or GSR. This measurement was designed by the cruise industry to show how much space each individual guest has on any boat. This number can therefore be compared easily from ship to ship. To get this ratio, the ship’s gross tonnage is divided by the total guest capacity. To give you an idea on how to interpret GSR, anything above 20 is considered comfortable. With this in mind, it is easy to see on which sort of vessel you are going to find more space – and therefore more intimacy. For example, a single-guided boat has an approximate GSR of 14. An expedition vessel or yacht, has an average GSR of 28.

According to the dictionary, one of the many beautiful meanings of intimacy is “the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.” In other words, intimacy is the feeling of having space to unwind, to be alone with your thoughts, to have a quiet moment with a loved one, to read a book or just enjoy the sunset. That is what luxury really is. And aboard the Santa Cruz II cruise, that is exactly what you will get.

Watch this video on 3 Main Tips that will come in handy when planning your Galapagos vacation!

Updated:May 30, 2023

Published:June 2, 2017


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



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

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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