The Galaxy is a new Galapagos cruise boat, designed with all the modern conveniences the archipelago demands.
Itineraries lasting 4, 5 or 8 days give optimum choice and flexibility while visiting the best visitor sites in the islands.
Each cruise focuses on different islands so you can pick the right trip for you – wildlife, snorkelling, volcanoes or all three. Read our own expert review of life aboard the Galaxy.
There are nine beautiful and comfortable double cabins and ocean views – with a choice of twin or double beds.
All also feature private bathrooms, cold-hot water showers, air-conditioners, safety box and a hairdryer.
These well-appointed cabins are complimented by large communal areas. Watch the Galapagos and its wildlife float past while relaxing on the sundeck or with a cocktail in the bar.
Galaxy also offers a spacious dining room and lounge.
Galaxy sails with 16 passengers but has room for 18, making it very spacious.
All cabins have private bathrooms, cold/hot water; air conditioned, hair dryer, telephone for internal communication on board, safe box, and high speaker.
Variety of itineraries: 4, 5 and 8 days available, making the Galaxy flexible to meet your needs.
Kayaks available for those who want to gaze at the wildlife from above.
Three meals served daily, after-excursion snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Barman serving cocktails!
Modern ship with all the comforts added in.
I would really like to thank you & Andean Trails for just superb arrangements.
The Galaxy was just superb. The yacht was very comfortable. Our en suite cabins just great. And food superb. Please make special mention of the crew. They were so courteous, helpful and friendly. The cabin attendant....I don't know how he managed to do up our cabins ...literally before you could blink. And the snacks after each outing....And the dinners...I couldn't even muster up that on land in a full fledged kitchen.
The crew of the Galaxy were very very special. I did thank the Capt for a week of safe sailing. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't even consider an alternative.
J. Bangara, Galaxy
Itinerary A (5 days) Tue-Sat
San Cristobal airport reception at airport, transfer to yacht, welcome on board Galaxy Cruise. Welcome drink and lunch.
Lobos Island – Panga Ride, swimming and snorkelling.
This place is the habitat of seals, frigates, finches, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the small endemic Galapagos snake.
Next we head to Leon Dormido, two rocks thrusting up from the sea.
We sail the narrow channel between the rocks (snorkelling and swimming Leon Dormido not permitted on Galaxy).
Yacht for dinner and briefing.
Breakfast early in the morning, followed by a visit to Gardner Bay, an expansive white sand beach and one of the longest in Galapagos at 2 km.
Wet landing, followed by a short walk, swimming, snorkelling and observation of a seals colony. On Gardner Bay, we are going to find many seals relaxing in the beach, enjoying of the sun. We snorkel with them, as well as sea turtles, tropical fish and maybe even marine iguanas.
We return to the ship to continue our sail to the Gardner & Osborn Islets.
In the afternoon, dry landing at Suarez point and walk. Meet the Blue-footed Boobies – at the right time of the year you can observe their spectacular parade of entourage.
Between April and December Española is also home to the Waved Albatross which, with a weight of three to four kilograms and a wingspan of more than two metres, is one of the largest birds of the islands. Around twelve thousand couples have their nests on Española Island and the species is considered endemic to here.
Return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.
Our first visit today is Post Office Bay. Short walk, swimming, snorkelling … and visiting the quirky post box of course!
It was here that Capitan James Colnett set up an empty barrel of rum to be used as a post office for the whaling fleets that passed by. You can send some postcards from here to your friends and relatives or take a letter home with you to deliver it on your return.
In the afternoon we visit Cormorant point – wet landing, snorkelling and short trekking.
This point is located at west of Floreana Island and it is famous for its dark green beach created by a large quantity of olivine crystals. You can see many marine invertebrates, as well as sea lions, marine iguanas, frigate birds and pelicans.
We then continue to Devil’s Crown for a panga ride and optional swimming. This place is a satellite islet of Floreana island and one of the best places to go snorkelling, with excellent visibility and a great variety of marine life.
NOTE: There is often a current at Devil’s Crown.
Wet landing on Santa Fe for a walk, swimming and snorkelling.
Here you will find an incredible bay with turquoise water, protected by a natural barrier of rocks from which you can observe colonies of seals and hawks flying over.
It is home to one of the two species of Galapagos land iguanas. Crabs, nocturnal herons, marine iguanas, cucuves and land doves are seen frequently.
The bay is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Turtles, rays, sea lions and tropical fish are waiting to impress.
Lunch and navigation to South Plazas Island, two small islands created by a land uplift. Our hike goes along an extraordinary cliff where sea birds nest.
We take our breakfast very early in the morning, allowing time for one last visit before we return home – the Charles Darwin Station.
Here we can find out more about the research programmes, as well as seeing the resident giant tortoises and land iguanas that are kept here in breeding programmes, in an effort to preserve their endangered species.
Transfer to Baltra airport and return flight to mainland Ecuador.
Itinerary D (8 days) Sat-Sat
Variations B + C further below
Itinerary B (6 days) Sat-Thu (days 1-6 of itinerary D)
Itinerary C (6 days) Thu-Tue (day 7 of itinerary D to day 4 of itinerary E).
Arrive Baltra Island and your guide will be waiting for you. Transfer to Santa Cruz, we cross the Itabaca Channel then take our private bus to Puerto Ayora.
Once we arrive to Puerto Ayora, we head to the Galaxy, settling into our cabin accommodation and take lunch.
After lunch, our first visit is the Highlands where we trek to find the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. For this visit we recommend to use sport shoes, long trousers, raincoat, hut and sun block.
We head back to Puerto Ayora and the yacht, and at night we have a welcome cocktail and the formal presentation of our crew.
Briefing for next day.
After breakfast, we will disembark at Moreno Point which is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools, green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted.
After the panga ride, we enjoy a snorkel where we hope to see sea turtles, cormorants and many species of fish. Look carefully in the long seaweeds and you might find a sea horse.
After lunch aboard the Galaxy, we head to Elizabeth Bay. This bay is visited in the panga (zodiac) and the boat takes us right up to the tallest red mangrove trees in Galapagos.
The entrance is through a very narrow channel, and once through, we’ll turn the motor off and drift/paddle towards “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and giant marine iguanas are found. As we bob noiselessly in the water, keep an eye out for marine turtles.
Dinner on the yacht completes our day.
Alcedo volcano on Isabela island erupted in 1954 and the result is exposed in dramatic fashion at Urbina Bay – our afternoon visiting site. Four miles of coastal seabed was uplifted and exposed after the eruption and marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach.
This steep beach landing can be tricky when there are big waves. Once on the trail leading inland, look out the colourful land iguanas and Galapagos tortoises on the pathway. You may also encounter penguins while snorkelling here.
Return to the yacht for lunch.
Tagus Cove is a protected cove on the western side of Isabela and was a favourite anchorage site for the early pirates and whalers who, over the centuries, carved and painted their names in the high cliffs of the cove.
In the zodiac or kayak (if available), we can explore the coves here and look for Galapagos Penguins, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. There is a hike here too, and it’s a dry landing, then heading uphill and the scenic hike to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. At the end of the trail there is a wonderful view over the lava fields of the Darwin volcano.
If the water is clear, Tagus Cove is a very interesting snorkelling spot – look out for marine invertebrates on the walls, cormorants, penguins, sea turtles, and many species of fish.
Return to the yacht for dinner and briefing.
Espinosa Point is one of the highlights of a cruise in Galapagos.The dry landing is, depending on the tide, on lava or on the landing platform in the mangrove forest – and can also be a wet landing if the water is lively!
Fernandina is the youngest and most pristine of the Galapagos Islands, with no introduced animals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. We head off on a hike that showcases huge marine iguanas in big groups. Take care to stay on the pathway because the sand dunes are nesting areas for the marine iguanas.
Our snorkel here gives us out best chance to see marine iguanas feeding on seaweed.
Return to the Galaxy yacht for lunch.
We head to a wildlife and historical site in the afternoon; Albemarle Point. During WWII, the Americans built a radar base in order to detect the presence of Japanese war ships approaching the Galapagos. You can still see a few remains of the radar.
The area is barren and surrounded by endless lava fields, but along the coast you will find some of the largest marine iguanas in the islands, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and shorebirds.
A couple of sheltered coves offer great opportunities to snorkel to look for cormorants, penguins and many species of fish.
After a wet landing on a black beach, we stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, Santiago Island (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools.
At low tide, you can catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great Blue Herons, Lava Herons, American Oystercatchers and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction, and a great place to snorkel. Dolphins are often spotted here, too.
One of the main attractions of Espumilla and Bucaneer’s Cove is a Palo Santo wood, the beach and landscape; the beach is a very important site for tortoises because they use this place for nesting. Once time, the pigs were the main predatory of tortoise’s eggs; pigs were eradicated with the creation of Isabela Project.
Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.
The visitor site at Dragon Hill is located in the northwest of Santa Cruz Island, and consists of a trail that runs through three different ecosystems at just 1,600m long. We visit some lagoons at this site full of shrimps which are of course the favourite food for flamingos – so we can see those lovely pink birds here.
After the hike, there is the chance to snorkel in shallow sheltered water where you will see large schools of surgeonfish and parrotfish, as well as reef sharks, rays and a large diversity of tropical fish.
Itinerary B (6 days) travellers leave the Galaxy and transfer to Baltra airport (lunch not included).
Itinerary C (6 days) travellers land at Baltra and transfer to the Galaxy for lunch.
Itinerary D travellers return from Dragon Hill to the boat for lunch.
In the afternoon, we jump into a panga (dinghy) and then into a mangrove cove called Turtle Cove.
There are many coves and inlets to explore, and your guide will often turn off the motor so you drift along. Keep an eye out for pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays, as well as eagle rays, golden rays and young Galapagos sharks.
Return to the boat for briefing and dinner.
The visitor site today is located on the east coast of Rábida, and consists of a red sand beach, a coastal lagoon behind the beach, and a loop trail. The approximate distance of the trail is 1.1 kilometres.
The colour of the rocks and sand on the beach is due to the very porous volcanic material, which with the help of environmental factors (rain, salt water and sea breeze, has acted as an oxidising agent.
The main attraction of the place is the red sand beach, scenery, aside from the vegetation of the arid zone and the presence of native and endemic species.
Return to the boat for lunch.
So-called because of its resemblance to a Chinese Hat, this is a small, attractive island separated from the larger Santiago Island (also called James) by a narrow 200m channel. We’re into the pangas for a wet landing on to small white coral beach, often with sea lions to greet us.
On North Seymour a trail passes through bushy vegetation and colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas and sea lions on this island, formed by a series of layers of sediment lifted up by tectonic activity.
Thanks to a very early breeding project in 1932 which saw land iguanas being introduced from Baltra to North Seymour we can still see some of these creatures here today.
Itinerary D travellers, alas, it’s time to say goodbye. Your guide accompanies you to the airport and you fly back to the continent.
Itinerary C (6 days) travellers return to the boat for lunch to join those arriving on Itinerary E.
Itinerary E (4 days) Sat-Tue
Arrive Baltra Island and your guide will be waiting for you and transfer you to the Galaxy yacht for lunch.
After lunch comes your afternoon visit. Mosquera Islet is only 160 metres wide but that hasn’t stopped it housing one of Galapagos’ largest populations of sea lions and shore birds. It is also well known for the multitude of Sally Lightfoot Crabs. It was created by a geological uplift and is fairly flat as a result.
Sullivan Bay is a young island and is inhospitable to most plants and animals and many visitors say walking here is like stepping into a different world. Along the way, we pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones.
We also aim to hike to the top of Bartolomé, a once active volcano. The summit trail and stairs lead us on a 30 minute climb. From the top of the wooden stairs, we can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and Pinnacle Rock, an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins or take a zodiac ride to spot them.
Return to the yacht for the evening briefing and dinner.
Genovesa is considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in Galapagos for bird species and is home to the red-footed booby.
It’s a dry landing here at Prince Philip Steps (El Barranco), a nesting site of the Red-footed Boobies and a great place to snorkel. You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters or for those with experience, there may be the chance to snorkel in some deeper waters.
The Prince Philip’s Steps themselves offer an easy trail that leads first through a small nesting colony of Masked Boobies and then crosses a low and dense forest of palo santo trees. It’s here that the Red-Footed Boobies have their nests.
On both sides of the trail there is a big Nazca Booby nesting colony. In an open lava field, we find Storm Petrels in large numbers. If you are lucky, we will see the elusive Short-eared Owl.
After lunch aboard, it’s a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where Swallow-tailed Gulls and Lava Gulls gather near the tide pools. A trail leads us through red mangrove and salt bush, then we enter a forest of Opuntia cactus where colonies of Great Frigate nest. The males of this species inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. A few Nazca Boobies nest on the ground, and the trail leads along small tide pools up to a cliff with a spectacular view over the caldera.
At low tide there are thousands of Galapagos Fiddler Crabs to see on the sandy shore.
Dinner on the yacht completes your day.
San Cristobal is home to the capital of the province of Galapagos, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the southern tip of the island.
Our last visit is to the Interpretation Centre & Galapaguera, which was opened in 1998 and aims to inform visitors about the natural history, human history, and conservation of the island.
The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. This is our last visit and it’s time for our transfer to the airport and flight back to the mainland.
Itineraries E and C end here.
Prices From $5,060 / £4,291 per person
Enquire about booking
Accommodation, Programmed visits to the Islands with a certified naturalistic guide, on board accommodation, snorkel gear (mask, snorkel and flippers), kayak, all meals on board, transfers in the Islands between the airport and dock, all meals plus purified water, tea and coffee
International flights, Round trip flights to the Galapagos Islands, Galapagos National Park fee, Galapagos Ingala fee, soft and alcoholic and bottled drinks, personal items, souvenirs, tips, wetsuit hire, travel insurance, personal items, Ecuador services
Galaxy has 9 beautiful and comfortable double cabins for 16 passengers; 3 cabins are located in the upper deck, 3 in the main deck and 3 in the lower deck.
Each cabin has private facilities: private bathrooms, cold/hot water; air conditioned, hair dryer, telephone for internal communication on board, safe box, and high speaker.
Galaxy offers a spacious sun deck with a large area to enjoy Galapagos’ landscapes, dinner area, lounge, bar and small library.
The boat provides free snorkel gear (mask, tube and fins) and kayaks.
You will find a bottle of water in your cabin the first day; you can use it and carry on when you land. This bottle can be refilled with fresh water from the dispenser placed in the lounge.
The crews are “Galapagueños”, guides, captains and crew members were born and raised in the Galapagos Islands.
They know the area well and are prepared to show you the islands only like a native can do it.
The Naturalist, English-speaking guides have studied and been trained at Charles Darwin Scientific Station, and have long years of experience guiding at the Galapagos Islands.
The boat uses as much locally sourced produce as possible, including fish, coffee, eggs, fruits and meat farmed in Galapagos, to reduce carbon footprints and make sure the best ingredients are used.
The chef prepares three main meals a day, with snacks and drinks available after activities.
All dietary requirements can be catered for, vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerant and more.
Breakfast usually features a juice, tea and coffee, toast, jams, eggs and pastries.
Lunch will include soups, then a main meal of rices, pastas, fish, omelettes and many more options, and often a small pudding.
Dinner will again be a hearty affair, with a starter, main meal and pudding, with water, teas and coffees available.
There is a bar with beers and cocktails available at extra cost.
Every visit to each island involves an easy or moderate walk, which can last between 2 to 3 hours, and are not considered strenuous. On these walks you will be led by an expert naturalist guides in a small group along clearly marked trails. They will explain in great detail all the wonders of each of our carefully selected itineraries. Most days there are two guided walks on a specific island where you will be able to walk and hike on beaches, lava fields, alongside cliffs and around mangrove estuaries.
Snorkelling in the Islands is the highlight of the Galapagos cruise for many of our guests. You have the opportunity to go snorkelling almost every day – snorkelling with marine iguanas and with playful sea-lions are some of the highlights, as well as with green sea turtles, penguins and an incredible variety of colourful reef fish. On the western islands the water is a little colder but teaming with life. There are beach snorkels for beginners and deeper waters.
Dinghies, or “Pangas” as they are known in Galapagos, are inflatable zodiacs that serve as the main transportation method from our Galapagos yachts to the visitor sites. At several times during your week-long Galapagos travel adventure, you will have the chance to enjoy dinghy (or panga) rides in shores, mangrove estuaries, coves and caves.
Lots of different itineraries of varying lengths, meaning great flexibility.
Still a relatively new boat – modern and comfortable.
These magical islands comprise of 50 volcanic islands of varying shapes and sizes, which lie 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador.
Here, unlike anywhere else on Earth, you can enjoy a thousand close encounters with a weird and wonderful variety of ‘friendly locals’, including giant tortoises, fur seals, sea iguanas, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies.
Read our Galapagos Islands Guide and more about diving.
In 1535, Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, floated into this archipelago and named it Galapagos after the giant tortoises he encountered. Pirates used the islands for refuge and to bury their stolen treasure after that.
The islands’ most celebrated visitor was Charles Darwin, who arrived aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. The rare life forms he encountered helped him formulate his theory of evolution, which he published in The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
It wasn’t until 1959 when it became part of Ecuador’s national park system that this fragile ecosystem with its rare and endemic species came under protection.
In 1979 the Galapagos archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When to visit Galapagos Islands: weather and wildlife
There is no real ‘best’ time to visit Galapagos on holiday as there is always wonderful wildlife and weather to enjoy. Read our blog for more.
Most animals – tortoises, sharks, sea lions and boobies – are found year round and many of the species here are non-migratory.
The Galapagos Islands are located right on the equator so air and water temperatures do not vary by much.
Having said that, there are two recognised seasons, and each months brings natural marvels for the visitor to enjoy.
Below is our quick guide to the weather and wildlife you can find on the Galapagos Islands.
General weather information
The warm season (Jan-Jun)
Sea temperatures: 22-25°C / 72-77°F
Land temperatures: 21-32°C / 72-90°F
The dry ‘garua’ season (Jun-Dec)
Sea temperatures: 15-22°C / 60-72°F
Land temperatures: 18-24°C / 65-75°F
Air and sea temperatures in Galapagos, month-by-month
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
Galapagos – general advice
Galapagos is warm and humid, and you will need t-shirts (moisture wick-away or breathable t-shirts can be very useful, it can get very hot in the day), shorts, lightweight skirt or trousers and bathing suits.
One or two cotton shirts can be used to protect you from sunburn, especially when snorkelling (not very elegant worn in the water over a swimsuit, but practical – and Galapagos is NOT an elegant place!).
You may want to change into different clothes for the evening, but don’t take anything dressy or smart – there really is a very relaxed atmosphere on board.
Pack something warm for going on deck in the early morning or evening a fleece, maybe, and a sweatshirt – and a waterproof for the Highlands.
Strong sandals, trainers, or light hiking boots are ideal footwear – you may like to have something suitable for easy walks and another for tougher terrain – your guide will advise you daily what the walking will be like. Most boats ask passengers not to wear heavy shoes on board.
Do take a hat!
Seasickness tablets if you think you will have problems – i.e. Sturgeon, or Mareol if you buy them in Quito. The sea can be choppy, so it is recommended to take them as a precaution.
Galapagos – detailed kit list
The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile environment and the arrival of more and more inhabitants to the islands, as well as tourist have an impact.
Please try to minimise your impact by:
Pleasantly warm during the day, but can be quite chilly during the morning or at night when you might want a jacket or a fleece, plus a waterproof.
You may want to dress up a little more in the evening here, depending on where you are staying, and what sort of restaurant you like.
Conditions here are similar to Galapagos – hot and humid. T-shirts and shorts in the day, and like Quito, something smarter for eating out in restaurants at night.
Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.
Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.
We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.
We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.
With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.
Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.
01st Jan 2024 - From $5060 / £4290.88
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
2024 price, per person
8 days (Sat-Sat) USD 5,060 per person
6 days (Tue-Sat) USD 3,610 per person
5 days (Sat-Tue) USD 2,890 per person
Cabin upgrades available
Single supplement 50% - ask about cabin shares
$5,060 / £4,291
Enquire about booking
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What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $4,995 / £4,236 per person
Dates: From January 2024 to December 2024
Capacity: 16 people
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Prices From $4,320 / £3,663 per person
Capacity: 14 people
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $5,300 / £4,494 per person
Prices From $10,745 / £9,112 per person
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