Galapagos Holidays and Galapagos Cruises
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of 13 major volcanic islands located 1,000 km from Ecuadorian mainland, of which 5 are inhabited. Galapagos holidays are very popular amongst nature and wildlife lovers because of the island’s interesting volcanic geology, rich flora and fauna and multitude of wild animals. Scientists are still mystified by how this large diversity of species can develop in such a remote location.
A Galapagos holiday can be taken at any time; the climate is subtropical and is regulated by the warm El Nino current and the cold Humboldt Current. There are two seasons, with the warmest being December to May. Many people take Galapagos trips at this time as the sky is always clear and the sun shines strongly. However, if you are more interested in dive holidays to the Galapagos Islands, the best time to visit is from June to November when the weather is colder but allows you to enjoy the best from the Galapagos’s famous marine reserve.
Those planning a Galapagos trip often opt to explore on a Galapagos Islands cruise. It is worth considering a Galapagos cruise on a small yacht if you prefer a more intimate experience onboard. With fewer people you’re more likely to get to know your shipmates and ask the guide detailed questions. Also Galapagos cruises on small boats generally have less impact on the fragile environment and can access hard to reach parts if the island. For those looking for a more sociable, stable Galapagos Islands cruise, there are large cruise ships which offer more amenities and comfort. This type of Galapagos cruise will often have a buffet style breakfast and more formal dinner. The Galapagos National Park sets a limit of 100 passengers on ships, with Galapagos tour groups limited to roughly 20 people.
If you choose to tour the Galapagos Islands on a 2 week cruise you will allow time to explore the main sites among the eastern Islands as well as the Western Islands, including the largest island Isabela. There are designated visitor sites on each of the islands where boats land for Galapagos tours and there are defined trails to follow.
Tours to the Galapagos Islands and Ecotourism in the Galapagos Islands
There are many Galapagos tours to choose from. Outdoor adventure-lovers will be in their element – you can take a carefully planned multi-activity Galapagos tour that combines snorkelling, kayaking, horse riding, biking and diving.
Or you can document your visit and take one of the many photography trips to the Galapagos Islands. The complete lack of timidity of the wildlife on the Galapagos means you can capture dancing boobies, sun-bathing iguanas, playful sea lions and giant turtles on film.
There are some very good Galapagos trips that are designed for the family – the haunting beauty of these barren islands and extraordinary tameness of the animal population will create a unique memorable experience for you all to share.
For those who prefer exploring on foot, you can choose a Galapagos holiday which focuses on trekking. Isabela is a good place to do this; as the largest island it contains 60% of the flora and fauna of the archipelago.
Like other isolated island groups, the Galapagos Islands face serious challenges in maintaining their marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecotourism in the Galapagos is the only practical way of supporting the Galapagos National Park. It is worth asking the right questions and choosing a responsible Galapagos trip which has a low-impact on its environment.
There are a variety of conservation and volunteering holidays to the Galapagos Islands which work with projects designed to help repair the natural habitat so that endemic species can thrive. Ecotourism in the Galapagos also focuses on the local communities, setting up enterprises to help the indigenous communities improve their living conditions through education and co-operative ventures.
If you choose an eco-holiday to the Galapagos, you are already contributing to ecotourism in the Galapagos Islands and becoming part of the solution. The money you spend on trips to the Galapagos Islands encourages the local population to seek sustainable employment and sends a message to the Ecuadorian government that the preservation of the Galapagos Islands is a high priority.
Want to know more about the Galapagos Islands before going on holiday?
Find out more about going on Galapagos holidays & tours by reading these Galapagos articles.
"During that hour we swam with turtles, rays, penguins, sharks and a multitude of fish. I had never experienced anything like this before and it was something which will remain with me forever." Find out about the Galapagos Islands from soneone who has been. Read this Galapagos travel article