Book a Tour to Visit the Galapagos Islands National Park

The volcanic archipelago located about 600 miles off the western coast of Ecuador is known as the Galapagos Islands. It is world-famous for its scenic beauty and iconic animal species, not to mention its place in history as Charles Darwin’s living laboratory. If you’ve added it to your travel bucket list, you aren’t alone. The number of visitors the islands receive has grown significantly in recent years, but this isn’t the type of place you can get to know by wandering about at your leisure. The amazing and unique treasure that is the Galapagos is best explored on an arranged trip in the company of knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Book a tour to visit the Galapagos Islands.

What Is the Galapagos National Park?

In 1959, Ecuador designated most of the archipelago’s land area as belonging to the newly created Galapagos Islands National Park. The Ecuadorean authorities manage and monitor all tourist activity to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the park’s wonders. Officials have prepared a list of sites where visitors are allowed; you can venture to less than a quarter of these places without a certified guide, so most of the islands are inaccessible without the naturalists that are part of all reputable tours. Visitors to the Galapagos can opt for a land-based hotel stay with or without day trips to see other islands, or they can choose a sea voyage on a vessel that travels between the islands. This will be the first decision you’ll have to make when thinking about what tour you would like to reserve for your vacation to the Galapagos.

Galapagos National Park: Floreana Island
Floreana Island Is One Of The Islands Of The Galapagos National Park

Where to Stay When Visiting the Galapagos

Vacationers who choose to stay in a hotel are assured of sleeping on land every night even if they choose to visit other islands by day. Although the archipelago is comprised of 19 islands and hundreds of islets, lodgings are only available on Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana, and San Cristobal Islands. Santa Cruz has the widest variety of choices. Of the top three TripAdvisor 2016 Traveler’s Choice Award-winning hotels in the Galapagos, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island was ranked highest. It has also won several years in a row, as the Leading Green Hotel by the World Travel Awards. One of the advantages of staying at the Finch Bay is that the hotel has its own yacht staffed with expert bilingual guides. This makes booking day trips much easier as it can be done directly with the hotel staff. The hotel also offers packages that combine daily outings on the yacht with nightly lodging at the hotel. In mid-2016 the Finch Bay Eco Hotel launched a Top-Notch Island Hopping program with a partner lodge in Isabela Island, Scalesia Lodge- guests can tick-off 12 of the BIG15 species of Galapagos on this hotel-based package.
Ideal for travelers who´d rather avoid vessels.

Live-aboard Cruises

Santa Cruz Environmental Compliance
In Galapagos, The Size Of The Boats Determines Its Environmental Footprint. In The Galapagos, This Means That The Bigger The Ship, The Less The Footprint.

The distance between islands may limit the number of places you’ll be able to visit on a hotel-based tour. For this reason, live-aboard cruises are how many visitors choose to see the islands. The National Park administrators have set a 15-day travel route that all tour operators must follow in order to limit the number of people who set foot on the islands at the same time. Anyone who follows this 15-day itinerary is guaranteed to see practically every sight the Galapagos has to offer, so if you have the time and budget for such a trip, you should take one. If not, five, six or seven-day voyages are available but likely won’t travel to every single island of the Galapagos. Even with these limitations, visitors rarely leave the Galapagos disappointed. On any tour, you’ll see many natural wonders and be able to get close to astounding animals.

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When to Visit the Galapagos

Galapagos Climate
The Galapagos Islands Have Two Seasons Throughout The Year: Hot Season And Dry Season

There is no offseason in the Galapagos, but if you want to avoid a certain weather condition such as rain or tropical heat, the hot season in this area goes from December to May; the cooler season is June to November, and the rainiest months are from January through April. Strange enough, you will experience more hours of blue skies during the rainy season. Mating seasons and times of the year when baby animals can be spotted also vary. If you have your heart set on seeing sea lion pups, for example, you’ll be limited to tour excursions that can include these sights.

Booking the Tour

Some times of year see more crowds in the Galapagos simply because many visitors can only travel during holidays such as Christmas or when most schools have their summer breaks. These dates often sell out a year in advance. With the islands’ growing popularity, booking early is becoming necessary even at other times of the year. This is the vacation of a lifetime for most people, so it warrants plenty of research and as much advance planning as possible. Contacting an established, respected company is important if you’re considering combining a cruise with a hotel stay, an increasingly popular option.

Updated:May 5, 2023

Published:June 20, 2016


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



Galapagos Islands Endemic Animals: Blue Footed Boobies

Blue-footed Booby Chicks!

Are you into cute and fluffy baby birds? Then get ready to learn about blue-footed booby chicks in the Galapagos and how they’re fledged!


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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