Galapagos Tours

What To Expect on Your Galapagos Tour?

Are you overwhelmed by the number of options you have seen for Galapagos? Are you wondering what to expect in the Enchanted Islands? Or perhaps what it is, exactly, that makes the islands so special? The Galapagos is a lifetime experience, and all you need to do to “prepare” is brace yourself for the amazing. With highly unusual wildlife and otherworldly landscapes that aren’t found anywhere else on Earth, Galapagos dazzles with its vistas. Sunsets will cast a golden spotlight over the surrounding beaches and scenery as delectable gourmet dinner is prepared by our world-class chef. On top of this you’ll also get a truly luxurious and remarkably comfortable experience, where every detail has been thought of before you even considered it. Naturalist guides will provide the perfect touch of narrative of information to complement your expedition throughout the archipelago as you snap hundreds of wonderful pictures. In fact, there’s often so many different things to see and do in the archipelago that it is important to receive the advice from a destination expert!

Talking about experts, take it from those who know the archipelago by heart and make sure you read this blog on the 3 Best Hacks to Choose a Galapagos Cruise! From a myriad of options, choosing the right one can be a difficult task. We’ve narrowed it down for you.

Top Galapagos Special Deals for 2019 – 2020

Finch Bay Hotel guests in the Sea Lion and kayaking expeditions.
Kayaking is another activity you can enjoy during your Galapagos trip.
 7 to 9 Days program
Starting at $3,622 USD per person
Family vacations at Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos
Galapagos in a nutshell: Sunshine and fun throughout the entire year!
8 Days/ 7 Nights program
Starting at $5,139 USD per person
Middle of the world monument in Quito, Ecuador.
Be in both hemisphires at the same time!
8 Days/ 7 Nights program
Starting at $4,999 USD per person
The view of Mashpi Lodge hotel in Ecuador.
Explore Mashpi Lodge's unique location.
10 Days/ 9 Nights program
Starting at $6,853 USD per person
Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is a must when you are travelling to Peru.

12 Days/ 10 Nights program

Starting at $7,400 USD per person

Galapagos Cruises – Yachts & Cruise Ships

Santa Cruz II

Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise in the archipelago.

Santa Cruz II cruise in the Galapagos Islands.

  • Small groups – average just 11 guests per guide
  • Medical doctor on board for free consultations
  • 99% of visitor sites are not shared with other vessels
  • Glass-bottom boat, kayaks, snorkeling, swimming, panga coastal exploration (all aquatic activities authorized by the National Park)
  • A Le Cordon-Bleu Gastronomy Director

Yacht La Pinta

Yacht La Pinta in the waters of the Galapagos Islands.

Explore the Galapagos Islands aboard Yacht La Pinta.

  • Upscale design throughout, ideal for travelers who are looking for a luxury experience
  • Features some of the largest cabins of any Galapagos cruise vessel
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows in all cabins and panoramic windows in common areas
  • Medical doctor on board for free consultations

Yacht Isabela II

Yacht Isabela II in the waters of the Galapagos Islands.

Our beloved Yacht Isabela II.

  • Small groups – average just 13 guests or less per guide
  • Medical doctor on board for free consultations
  • Gourmet meals created by a Cordon-Bleu gastronomy director
  • Best itinerary for sensitive guests: The 4-night central islands cruise shows the best of the islands while avoiding long open water travel (less than 20 nautical miles per day, and still showing up to 12 BIG15)

Galapagos Hotels & Island Hopping Tours

Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

The pool at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

Enjoy a relaxing moment in our hotel’s pool.

  • Perfect land & sea holiday: Combination of yacht exploration with a land-based hotel stay
  • Puerto Ayora’s sole beachfront property, located in a pedestrian-only zone
  • A perfect combination for families and groups of all ages thanks to numerous activities including hiking, mountain biking, snorkelling, and surfing
  • The best way to explore Galapagos for guests concerned about seasickness
  • Gourmet meals created by a Cordon-Bleu gastronomy director

Galapagos Islands Hopping

Galapagos Islands view from the distance.

Amazing capture of the Galapagos Islands.

  • Daily Yacht Tours: Take a trip to the nearby Islands of Santa Cruz
  • Finch Bay Gastronomy: a Le Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomic director oversees all operations to offer the best-of-the-best culinary experiences in Galapagos.
  • Isabela Island: One of the biggest and most incredible islands, replete with beautiful beaches and one of the world’s biggest craters.
  • A Luxurious Safari “Glamping” Experience
  • Take to the skies and experience Galapagos from a birds-eye perspective

Galapagos Cruises vs. Galapagos Hotel-Based Tours

Should you choose a Galapagos cruise or sleep in a hotel and take tours during the day? It’s important to know that both options will give you a great experience, but they will provide you with different ways to go about it.

A Galapagos cruise is considered the ultimate way to see most of the islands in as little time possible. Your yacht or cruise ship will travel between islands as you rest on board.

If you are prone to seasickness, have physical limitations, are traveling with small children, or are on a tight budget, then a land-based Galapagos tour or island hopping tour may be ideal for you.

Galapagos Itineraries

Yacht La Pinta

Yacht Isabela II

Santa Cruz II

5 Days Northern
Map of Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Take a look at the Galapagos Islands map.

Tips You Should Consider Before Your Galapagos Tour

  • Choose a multi-guided vessel, as this will allow you to choose from a greater number of different activities.
  • Does your vessel have a doctor on board? This is very important considering that you’re travelling in a remote region.
  • What is the guest-space-ratio of your vessel? It should be more than 26 in order to have plenty of space in public areas.

Things To Do in Galapagos

When Is The Best Time To Travel to Galapagos?

The good thing about the Galapagos Islands is that they can be visited ALL YEAR LONG! During both hot season and dry season, the Galapagos weather is excellent and wildlife is always on display. Choosing a time to go depends on your interests.

  • Warm Season: December through May. Temperatures are hot and humid, and range anywhere from 26ºC-30ºC (79ºF-85ºF), while the water temperature averages 26ºC (79ºF). An average day is primarily sunny, but may experience a short, sharp tropical storm similar to those that dictate Florida summers. At the height of the warm season (March), the islands begin to develop a lush, tropical look. During this season, the waters that surround the islands are much warmer and clearer, with visibility reaching over 30 feet, and; benefitting those who enjoy a more relaxed swim. This season is also marked by increased numbers of tropical fish, as well as the occasional manta ray.
  • Dry Season: June through November. Sea temperatures drop to 20ºC-23ºC (70ºF-72ºF), cooling the air temperatures to 23ºC-26ºC (72ºF-79ºF). This season is particularly popular among professional divers as the cool waters are also extremely rich in nutrients and attract an astonishing assortment of marine life. The rich waters also provide more food for terrestrial life that depends on the ocean for food, such as sea birds and sea lions, providing an excellent time for breeding and reproduction. Mating rituals are commonly seen among several bird species, not to mention the adorable fluffy chicks that begin appearing in the islands.

Galapagos Travel FAQS

General

Where is it located?

The archipelago sits 926 km (575 mi) off the coast of Ecuador and covers an area of almost 8,000 km2 (3,030 mi2). It consists of 19 islands spread out along the equator, 13 of which are major visitor sites and 4 of which are inhabited. Flights to Galapagos from Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador take under 2 hours. Fun fact: As a result of its equatorial location, days in the archipelago are 12-hours long no matter when you go!

What’s the weather like?

No seasons exist in the Galapagos Islands due to fact that they’re along the equator. However, there are two weather patterns that are recognizable every year:
  • The 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 (downpours), but 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. The islands may resemble a subtropical weather pattern.


Which country does it belong to?

It belongs to Ecuador since 1831 and before that it was unclaimed.

What languages are spoken in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?

Eleven languages are spoken in Ecuador but Spanish and Kichwa are the official languages of the country. Kichwa is mostly spoken by indigenous groups in the Andes region and, to a lesser extent, in the Amazon region. Most tourism-related services/providers have multi-lingual staff, particularly in English with some German, French, and Italian speakers.

Which currency is used?

The United States Dollar is the official currency of Ecuador.

What is the time zone?

Galapagos Time is 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): this is 7 hours behind time in the UK, 2 hours behind standard time in New York, and 14 hours behind time in Canberra. The mainland of Ecuador is 5 hours behind UTC.

Who lives in the Galapagos?

Locals of the islands are known as galapagueños and the last census, which was carried out in 2010, estimated their population to be at around 25,000. Most of them have come from mainland Ecuador to live on the islands within recent years. The majority of them are part of the Mestizo ethnic group, and as such are descendants of Spanish and indigenous ancestors. A small minority consists of purely European families.

Are there any indigenous groups in the Galapagos?

Near the end of the century, members of the ethnic group called the Salasacas started migrating from the mainland to the most populated islands of the archipelago and formed small colonies. They keep mostly to themselves in closed communities, in which they have their own schools and speak only Kichwa. However there are no indigenous groups autochthonous to the Galapagos Islands.

Where does the name Galapagos come from?

The name Galapagos is said to come from the Galapagos giant tortoises that are endemic to the archipelago. It turns out the Spanish word for a type of saddle is galapago, and it was often used by the Spanish explorers to refer to the giant tortoises that populated the islands with their iconic saddle-like shell.

Travel Tips

Packing tips?

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Swimsuit
  • Umbrella (for sun protection during island hikes)
  • Waterproof Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight/head lamp
  • Water bottle
  • Dry bags (to keep things from getting wet)
  • Snorkel and mask (if you wish to use your own instead of the boats’)
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Light sweater
  • Extra memory cards
  • Extra batteries


Will I need binoculars? What kind of binoculars is best for Galapagos wildlife viewing?

Our naturalist guides always have a pair of binoculars that they will pass around when there is something interesting to see. Do feel free to bring your own if you are really into wildlife viewing.

What shoes do I need to bring?

A good pair of walking shoes, ideally with a good level of traction and grip on the bottom.

What additional photographic equipment should I bring on my trip?

Batteries, weatherproof camera bags, and extra memory cards will come in handy. Waterproof housings will be necessary if you wish to take your camera underwater. Tripods are handy too if you want to take pictures of the night sky.

Are there any restrictions on photographing or filming the islands?

Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park. Drones can only be used with a special permit.

Will I need my own snorkelling gear?

Snorkelling gear will be provided to you on board all of our cruises so that you can enjoy the aquatic beauty throughout the Galapagos. If you have your own snorkelling gear however, definitely feel free to bring it along.

Can I fish in the Galapagos?

No. Sports fishing is prohibited inside the Marine Reserve. Local fishermen are allowed to fish, however.

Can you recommend at least three-four good books for reading prior to this trip?

Of course! Check out this blog on our Top 7 Galapagos Books.

Is it easy to purchase media thumb drives/digital memory?

Yes. We sell these on our ships and you can find them on the inhabited islands.

Why Travel with Metropolitan Touring?

  • More than six decades of operations in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
  • Pioneers of Galapagos Islands cruises and the industry
  • Environmental and Community Responsibility are an important component of our operations
  • Team of experts who know the area like the back of their hand
  • Owners of 3 vessels and 1 hotel in the Galapagos Islands
  • Owners of Mashpi Lodge, a natural reserve in the Andean Rainforest of the Choco
  • Owners of the most luxurious hotel in Quito: Casa Gangotena
  • Regional offices in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador allow visitors to combine all three experiences into a seamless South American adventure

Need help planning your trip? Talk to our Destination Experts!

(Visited 13,809 times, 22 visits today)