How do our guests experience the Galapagos aboard our Expedition Vessels?
Let’s just put it out there: the Galapagos are the ultimate expedition destination. Their unique and privileged location in the Pacific Ocean offers the perfect environment to shelter a wide range of unique species that manage to coexist together in perfect harmony. Unaltered by the dramatic changes of the modern world, the archipelago offers guests a spectacular and unforgettable encounter with rare wildlife and otherworldly landscapes, all of which have remained virtually untouched for centuries.
Taking all this into consideration, a mere “boat ride” throughout the archipelago might sound like a rather unadventurous way to explore and discover the archipelago, but trust us when we say that it truly is. In fact, there’s no better way to go about visiting the archipelago, really. Especially when you consider that you’re not just traveling aboard any ordinary boat or cruise ship, but an Expedition Vessel.
So, if you’re wondering how exactly we experience the Galapagos aboard our Expedition Vessels, then keep on reading! By the time you finish, you’ll surely want to experience the Galapagos Islands with our exciting, safe, and completely engaging expeditions!
How exactly do our guests experience the Galapagos Islands aboard our expedition vessels?
Expedition vessels offer the perfect combination between your journey and the destination itself. They will comfortably transport you throughout the fascinating archipelago and provide you with all the necessary means to make your trip a truly unforgettable experience. And remember: the Galapagos are an EXPEDITION destination, meaning it’s a place that’s meant to be experienced up-close and personally via a wide array of activities available aboard all of our vessels, listed as follows:
- Coastal Explorations (aboard our inflatable dinghies, otherwise known as pangas)
- Glass-bottom Boat Rides
Put simply: we don’t want you missing out on all of the fascinating wonders that the archipelago has to offer! All of our Expedition Vessels come with, not one, but an entire team of professional and highly knowledgeable Naturalist Guides that accompany you on these activities, so you’ll be learning a lot, too!
This also means that our vessels are multi-guided, which therefore means they offer a wide range of simultaneous activities at each visitor site (a huge perk of having multiple guides). Additionally, all of our Expedition Vessels get exclusive access to certain visitor sites and offer special treats, such as an onboard 24-hour Medical Officer and, in the case of the Santa Cruz II, a professional expedition photographer.
And when it comes to experiencing a destination as spectacular as this in such a unique way, it’s not surprising our guests come to us with questions regarding the experience itself. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get regarding certain aspects of the exciting expeditions that we offer in the Galapagos:
Do/can guests stay aboard our Expedition Vessels the whole time?
First things first, an expedition vessel is not one of those massive cruise ships that include an artificial-wave pool, casino, theatre and a rock climbing wall. Expedition Vessels are all about focusing on their surroundings, and it’s part of the reason for why they’ve been designed to navigate remote waters in a safe and responsible way. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that expedition vessels don’t offer you excellent comfort and amenities. Trust us: ours can and they will.
Our ships are not like those that aim to keep its guests “inside a bubble.” On the contrary, they encourage you to get to know the islands up-close thanks to its beautifully crafted itineraries and expertly-guided excursions. On a daily-basis, guests will disembark at unique visitor sites with many activity options for you to choose from. Feeling adventurous? Take a hike across the otherworldly volcanic terrain or go snorkeling with the underwater marine life. Not in the mood for a walk? That’s ok, you can explore the coast aboard our dinghy or a glass-bottom boat!
So, the answer to this question? A very friendly no. But not because we say so! It’s a no because guests won’t be able to resist the urge to hop off the ship and go on a one-of-a-kind adventure, guaranteed! It’s all a big part of how to experience the Galapagos aboard our Expedition Vessels!
What’s the difference between a wet landing and a dry landing in Galapagos?
Tourism in the Galapagos Islands needs to be sustainable in order to maintain a proper balance throughout its already fragile ecosystem. As a matter of fact, the best thing you can do as a visitor in the archipelago is to get to know it aboard an expedition vessel! Doing so helps lower your environmental footprint.
To keep the islands as untouched as possible, some locations don’t count with a manmade dock or have a natural formation that serves a similar purpose. If that’s the case, then you’ll get to experience a wet landing. This type of disembarking process is commonly made right on the edge of the beach, with the dinghy operator moving the small craft up against the sandy shores to have guests hop off. Consequently, guests will almost always get their feet wet in the process. But don’t worry! The water will never be higher than knee level.
A dry landing, on the other hand, occurs when there is a dock or solid surface available for our guests to step off the dinghy without getting their feet wet. If the idea of disembarking makes you uneasy, relax: you’ll always count on the helping hands of the naturalist guides and/or the dinghy operator to safely disembark at the visitor site.
What type of footwear should I use in Galapagos?
I personally believe that the right (or wrong) shoes can either make or break a destination. That’s why guests need to make a good call when it comes to selecting the proper footwear to explore the Galapagos with. All of our itineraries involve considerable amounts of walking, hiking and direct contact with water. That being said, our recommendation is that you pack a pair of sports shoes (be they running/tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc.) that have good grip/traction and that will withstand the rugged terrain. These will help you explore each visitor site comfortably.
Also, we recommend that you always wear a good pair of ankle socks to avoid falling into the painful world of blisters.
Flip flops are OK when you’re spending time onboard, experiencing a wet landing or hanging out at the beach, but we really don’t recommend you trying to take long walks with them. Doing so would instantly be a one-way trip to Pains-ville!
Do you have more questions? Feel free to ask away in the comments section below! We hope that this brief introduction to how our guests experience the Galapagos aboard our Expedition Vessels allowed you to get a better sense of how we explore this once-in-a-lifetime destination! So start planning your trip and get ready to experience the Galapagos aboard our Expedition Vessels any one of our boats that make up our Galapagos fleet! You’ll get the best memories out of it, we promise!
Isabel Espinoza (1994) was born and raised in the beautiful cradle of mountains we call Quito. She has a degree in Journalism from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. People and their stories have always been her thing (as well as traveling, nature, astronomy, and photography). Her love for Ecuador, Galapagos, and South America is immense and blogging allows her to share a glimpse of this affection with the rest of the world.