Off the Beaten Track: Galapagos Cruising
Situated in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 973 kilometres off the west coast of South America, the Galapagos Islands is one of the world’s most alluring and exotic destinations. Famous for its wide range of unique fauna, this archipelago of volcanic islands attracts thousands of visitors each year. Cruising is a wonderful way to hop from island to island, getting to experience all the magic this destination has to offer.
What to see
Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and observe local wildlife in their natural habitat, after all, it's what the islands are most renowned for. Noteworthy species include the Galapagos land iguana, Galapagos tortoise, Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant, the marine iguana, the Galapagos sea lion, the waved albatross and a variety of finches. Due to the islands’ isolated location, the resident animals are often more curious than afraid when approached by humans, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures.
The islands’ stunning landscapes are another tourist drawcard. From volcanic craters and cactus forests to lava fields and towering cliffs, be prepared to be wowed from start to finish on your cruise.
What to do
With the islands’ local fauna being the main attraction, tourist activities largely involve exploration and discovery in the great outdoors. Walking, hiking, snorkelling, diving, kayaking and riding zodiacs around the small inlets – you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in island life and get active at the same time. Just be sure to always have a fully charged camera on hand!
For an educational element, head to the island of Puerto Ayora where travellers can visit the National Park Service tortoise-breeding centre and the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about the island’s wildlife and its history.
When to visit
The Galapagos Islands is regarded as a year-round destination, with pleasant weather on most days throughout the year. The peak tourist season tends to be between June and August, as well as from mid-December to mid-January. From June till November, the temperatures are cooler and the waters are colder, attracting higher levels of fish and birds. While the seas are also rougher during these months, there is a greater chance of seeing various shark species such as whale sharks.
The rainy season is between December and May when air and water temperatures increase, meaning snorkelling and swimming are popular activities. While there are less fish in the sea, you will get the chance to witness the breeding season for land birds, sea lions and tortoises.
How to get there
Several cruise lines, such as Celebrity Cruises, National Geographic and Silversea, offer itineraries that extensively explore the Galapagos Islands. Many cruise itineraries begin in Ecuador’s mainland and include a flight to Baltra, the islands’ main airport.
Want a unique cruising experience? Craving an adventure of epic proportions? Contact us on 1300 954 661 now and speak with one of our friendly consultants about booking a Galapagos Islands cruise. We can answer all your questions and arrange flights, travel insurance and accommodation before and after your voyage.
Images courtesy of Getty.