Galapagos holidays, Ecuador

“This sailing trip was made for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history and geology; if you love all four, you won’t want to come home”


Quito | Baltra | Charles Darwin Centre | Plazas Islands or Chinese Hat | San Cristobal or Isabela Island | Gardener Bay Beach | Floreana Bay or Tagus Cove | Dragon Hill or Punta Espinosa | Genovesa or Santiago Island | Turtle Cove or North Seymour

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700


Check dates, prices & availability

05 Dec 2016
£ 3885
including UK flights
02 Jan 2017
£ 4399
including UK flights
20 Mar 2017
£ 4349
including UK flights
10 Apr 2017
£ 4349
including UK flights
01 May 2017
£ 4349
including UK flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 01 May 2017 departure
19 Jun 2017
£ 4349
including UK flights
16 Oct 2017
£ 4349
including UK flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 16 Oct 2017 departure
Our top tip:
There are lots of opportunities to snorkel on this trip, so take your own gear if you have it.
Trip type:
Small group tour. 4-16 adults (min. age 16) with a tour leader.
Activity level:
Leisurely. Relaxed walking.
7 nights on board a first-class schooner, 3 nights hotel
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available.
All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
Accommodation, all transport, listed activities, tour leader, flights and transfers (if booked), snorkel equipment.
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
“My wife and I like to go travelling. But after Galapagos, honestly, it would be hard to find a better place.”

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Galapagos holidays, Ecuador

Accommodation & Meals:
The majority of the trip is spent sleeping on a first class, small schooner boat with only two nights in a hotel. The Cachalote is an environmentally aware vessel with a smart voyager certification from the Rainforest Alliance organisation. There are tight regulations in place to prevent ecological damage such as: restricting use of electrical products, use of biodegradable products (like shampoo, detergent, soap), recycling of contaminants (oil and fuel) which are sent back to the mainland for disposal and water treatment. Staff are also employed locally both in Quito and the Galapagos, therefore providing benefit to the community.

The Galapagos is renowned for its incredibly unique wildlife and conservation efforts. We try to make as little negative impact on the environment and wildlife as possible, but also to leave a positive impact in terms of community and local economy. We hire guides and drivers from the area, meaning that the state of local employment and economy benefits. Although much of this tour is spent on board the boat or in nature, wherever the opportunity arises clients are encouraged to use local businesses and to engage with people they meet in order to promote positive cultural exchange.

We visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island after driving to the highlands to look for wild tortoises. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the ecology of the islands and carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Our entry fees help contribute to all the work going on here by improving demand, facilities and creating employment opportunities for scientists. We are also careful to adhere to National Park guidelines, which, amongst other things, ask that we keep a safe distance from wildlife at all times.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Reviews of Galapagos holidays, Ecuador

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with giant sea turtles and being woken up at 2.30am to watch a volcano erupt!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you take closed walking shoes and suitable walking attire(shorts/lightweight trousers). Also take sea sickness tablets, even if you think you won't suffer! I'd also recommend an underwater camera. Also, pack light, there is very little room in your cabin to store much more than a holdall.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Although the places we visited were largely uninhabited when we did visit towns the guide did try to direct us to local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely amazing!

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Plenty camera space and underwater camera.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good.

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

For me, each new encounter with an animal/bird/sea creature I had not seen before - or only in a zoo/at a distance - was exciting. I also enjoyed snorkelling from some beaches and seeing the wealth of fish/creatures below me(the turtles especially)
The sulphur mines were also fascinating - if smelly!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring your own snorkelling gear and check it fits well. (There is far more snorkelling on this trip than I had realised.)You can hire it but it is difficult to get quality products that fit. A wet-suit is also a good idea as the sea can be quite cold, especially if you are a wimp like me!
Don't expect gourmet food! Its fine, but 'basic' most of the time.(A lot of tinned peaches...!)
The volcano trek involves lots of mud. Bring old clothes - and gaiters!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, to some extent. We spent money in local restaurants etc. and our entry fees to tortoise centres (etc.) helps their conservation work.
The authorities limited the number of people allowed at any site at any time, so we rarely felt like 'tourists'!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Aspects were absolutely wonderful, but I was disappointed by a couple of things. The time spent in Quito at the start of the holiday was enough. It is attractive in parts but not a great city and the area around the hotel is quite rough at times so it was a shame we went back there at the end. An extra day on the Galapagos would have been much better! The 'market' and birds of prey visit from Quito - although OK - was really not worth the three hours journey on our last day. Also, on the negative side, walking in the rain in THICK mud for several hours on the volcano trek was not fun - especially as we had to then retrace our steps to the camp-site! As it was not far from there back to the hotel, we all wondered why we were camping at all...
On the positive side, the guide was knowledgeable and the beaches/sea/wildlife is awe-inspiring - never to be forgotten. Our group was friendly too. For these reasons, I would recommend the holiday.

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