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Galapagos Cruises in 2020: Guide to the Best Boats

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Galapagos Cruise Boats Off Bartolome

 

Want to know the best Galapagos cruises for 2020?

Read our guide to itineraries, wildlife and trip length with Galapagos travel expert Tom Shearman, and navigate your way to the best boat tour for you.

Galapagos land iguana, Galapagos Islands

Land Iguana

 

How to choose a Galapagos cruise in 2020

At first, the choice of Galapagos boats can feel bewildering. Yacht, schooner or catamaran? First class or superior tourist?

It’s true there are many factors to consider, and a travel expert can help to narrow down the options easily for you by thinking about these essential areas:

 

How long?

Boats have two, week-long itineraries and typically offer cruises of 4-8 days. You can stay for longer by joining an 8-day with a 4-day to make a 12-day trip and so on.

We recommend at least 5 days; days 1 and 5 are for arrival and departure, giving you 3 full days to enjoy Galapagos.

mary anne east itinerary galapagos

8 day East Itinerary, Mary Anne

 

What do you want to see in the Galapagos Islands?

Make a list of any specific wildlife you wish to see; many animals live across all the islands, but some animals only live on specific islands.

If you must see a penguin (Isabela Island) or a Red-footed Booby (Española or Genovesa island), or hike up a volcano – we need to know.

Anyone who wants a general Galapagos wildlife experience won’t be disappointed. Almost every cruise will get you close to giant tortoises, sea lions, iguanas, Blue-footed Boobies, sharks, rays and of course, Darwin’s famous finches.

red footed booby in tree Galapagos

Red-footed Booby

 

Which Galapagos islands to visit

There are 21 islands, so we cannot list everything. Certain islands cannot be visited and others have specific highlights so think about your bucket list:

Isabela – penguins, hike up a volcano

Genovesa – birds like Red-Footed Boobies, owls, hawks, frigates

Española – sea lion colony, iguanas

Fernandina – Untouched by man, remote, marine iguanas

Swimming with sea lions Espanola Galapagos

Espanola

 

Budget for Galapagos

Neither you nor your agent likes to talk about money up front but it’s the quickest way to save time.

There are almost 100 boats to choose from, ranging from USD 2,500-15,000 per person, per week. Think about how much you want to spend and what that gets you.

Here is a rough guide, based on 8 days (1 week), sharing a cabin with a private bathroom, without flights:

 

Price                                   Synopsis

USD 3,000-4,000:              Superior tourist, bunk beds, yacht.

USD 4,000-5,000:              Moving towards first class. Twin/double beds, yachts, some catamarans, more space.

USD 5,000-7,000:              Moving towards luxury. Same as first class, bigger cabins and social areas, jacuzzis, kayaks, fine dining

USD 7,000 upwards         Luxury. Some cabins have balconies. Focus on details – wines, food, cabins, guides.

Galapagos Legend Balcony Suite

Galapagos Legend Balcony Suite

 

 

Some of our favourite Galapagos Cruises for 2020

These are our top Galapagos cruises for 2020; we have selected a wide range of boats to cover as many travel styles as possible.

All these cruises offer spectacular Galapagos wildlife for a once-in-a-lifetime 2020 holiday.

 

Eco Galaxy

This spacious and new catamaran built in 2015 with eco-travel at its core, the first of its kind in Galapagos. There is a top end, eco-finish throughout, from the cabins to the bar area and sun deck. The Eco Galaxy offers kayaks, flexible itineraries, stable sailing and a luxury experience at a fantastic price.

Ecogalaxy, GalapagosCruise, Exterior

Eco Galaxy

Solaris

Brand new to Galapagos, the Solaris first-class motor yacht is perfect for single travellers as it features five single cabins with no supplement to pay.

Add in large and bright with panoramic sea view windows, great guides and comfortable social areas and we think this will be a hot seller in 2020.

Solaris Galapagos Yacht Exterior

Solaris

Angelito

A favourite, the Angelito is top in the superior tourist range and offers ensuite twin and double cabins – rare in this bracket. It is always captained by one of its owners ensuring attention to detail and vastly experienced guides. Recently refurbished, making it one of the best yachts in its class for value and service.

Angelito yacht Galapagos

Angelito

Endemic

The Endemic is one of a new breed of luxury yachts taking Galapagos cruises to a new level in 2020. There are eight suites, all with a private balcony, king-size or twin beds. The professionally-trained chef feeds you daily delights, and guests can enjoy the Endemic’s expansive, airy sky deck with its Jacuzzi, lounge chairs and cocktail bar.

Endemic Galapagos Catamaran Exterior

Endemic

Aida Maria

Aida Maria is our entry level boat and a cherished member of the Galapagos family. The yacht was handmade in the Galapagos, using local farm timber, and owned by a local family that has run

Galapagos tours since the 1960. This is one of the best value superior tourist yachts; bunks with ensuite bathrooms and air con.

aida-maria-boat-galapagos

Aida Maria

Origin & Theory

The Origin & Theory sister ships are new yachts offering luxurious amenities while minimizing environmental impacts. Sleek sailors, they spend less time traveling between islands and have more time for actual exploration. Expert chefs use fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and there is a jacuzzi, an open bar policy complete with wine, local beers, and a variety of spirits. Kayaks, snorkels and paddleboards complete the all-round offer.

Outside sailing shot of Theory, Galapagos Islands

Theory

Nemo II

We call the Nemo II the catamaran for the adventurous. It’s a small vessel compared to other catamarans and makes up with its personality and itineraries. Of course, it comes with home comforts, kayaks and great food and various cabin arrangements and houses 14 people for an intimate experience. The itineraries are its strong point – Nemo II is one of the few boats to visit the remote west and north in the same week-long itinerary.

Nemo 2 sailing Galapagos

Nemo II

Treasure

The Treasure of Galapagos is one of the catamarans that started to change how cruises operated in the islands. Its eight spacious cabins all come with private balconies. It’s fast and stable and offers one of the best 7-day itineraries going. The Treasure also carries smaller zodiacs (8 people max.) to get you closer to wildlife than on other boats. Large communal areas with whirlpool baths, great food, top guides and itineraries make the Treasure exactly that.

Treasure of Galapagos external view

Treasure

Mary Anne

For the romantics, the Mary Anne is a beautiful sailing boat with space for 34 but sails with 16 people, with no single supplements for single travellers. This elegant, three mast Barquentine is unique to Galapagos and offers the chance to sail without motors like sailors of yore. The steel hull, tall masts and deep draft make the Mary Anne a stable and stylish vessel.

Mary Anne sails up Galapagos

Mary Anne

Legend

Popular with families or people who suffer seasickness, the Legend is a big boat for up to 100 people. It is the fastest boat in Galapagos, whisking you from highlight to highlight. There are a wide variety of cabins, some with private balconies, to suit every traveller’s needs. If you want to take it easy, there is glass-bottomed boat from which to view the wildlife, transparent kayaks, snorkelling equipment, swimming pool and more.

Galapagos Legend boat

Legend

 

These are just some of our Galapagos cruises for 2020. Contact us for more.

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