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Galapagos Travel Guide

One of the world's top spots for wildlife viewing, the Galapagos Islands are a travel destination like none other. The Galapagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago near Ecuador and is best known for its incredible diversity of animal and plant life, serving as the inspiration for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. With cruise line volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 80% versus the brochure price! Book your Galapagos cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted cruise headquarters.

Galapagos Travel Guide

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Sail Date Cruise Line Ship Destination Departs Length Price You Save Discounts
10 reviews
Itinerary Map/Ship Image
Celebrity XpeditionGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Elizabeth Bay | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Baquerizo, Ecuador | Punta Pitt (san Cristobal) | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island | South Plaza (santa Cruz)$4,499
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity XplorationGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Black Turtle Cove (santa | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Darwin Bay (genovesa) | El Barranco (genovesa) | Espumilla Beach (santiago) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Santiago, Chile | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$6,348
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity FloraGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Daphne Island | Dragon Hill (santa Cruz) | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | South Plaza (santa Cruz) | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$7,999
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
 
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageVikingSanta Cruz IIGalapagosBaltraBaltra14 NightsBaltra, Ecuador | Espanola Island, Ecuador | Mosquera Islet, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island, Ecuador$9,999 

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10 reviews
Itinerary Map/Ship Image
Celebrity XpeditionGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Black Turtle Cove (santa | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Daphne Island | Darwin Bay (genovesa) | El Barranco (genovesa) | Las Bachas, (santa Cruz) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Rabida, Ecuador | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$6,157
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity XplorationGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cerro Brujo (san Cristobal) | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Daphne Island | Dragon Hill (santa Cruz) | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Kicker Rock (san Cristobal) | Los Lobos (san Cristobal) | Mosquera Islet (galapagos) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Villamil (isabella) | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | Rabida, Ecuador | Wall Of Tears (isabella)$5,973
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity FloraGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Daphne Island | Elizabeth Bay | Las Bachas, (santa Cruz) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Baquerizo, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Punta Pitt (san Cristobal) | Rabida, Ecuador | Santiago, Chile$7,999
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
 
10 reviews
Itinerary Map/Ship Image
Celebrity XpeditionGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Elizabeth Bay | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Baquerizo, Ecuador | Punta Pitt (san Cristobal) | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island | South Plaza (santa Cruz)$5,624
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity XplorationGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Black Turtle Cove (santa | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Darwin Bay (genovesa) | El Barranco (genovesa) | Espumilla Beach (santiago) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Santiago, Chile | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$5,973
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity FloraGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Daphne Island | Dragon Hill (santa Cruz) | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | South Plaza (santa Cruz) | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$7,999
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Suite!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageVikingSanta Cruz IIGalapagosBaltraBaltra12 NightsBaltra, Ecuador | Mosquera Islet, Ecuador | Rabida Island, Ecuador$9,499 
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageVikingSanta Cruz IIGalapagosBaltraBaltra14 NightsBaltra, Ecuador | Espanola Island, Ecuador | Mosquera Islet, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island, Ecuador$10,499 
10 reviews
Itinerary Map/Ship Image
Celebrity XpeditionGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Black Turtle Cove (santa | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Daphne Island | Darwin Bay (genovesa) | El Barranco (genovesa) | Las Bachas, (santa Cruz) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Rabida, Ecuador | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$4,499
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
 
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity XplorationGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cerro Brujo (san Cristobal) | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Daphne Island | Dragon Hill (santa Cruz) | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Kicker Rock (san Cristobal) | Los Lobos (san Cristobal) | Mosquera Islet (galapagos) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Villamil (isabella) | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | Rabida, Ecuador | Wall Of Tears (isabella)$6,198
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity FloraGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Daphne Island | Elizabeth Bay | Las Bachas, (santa Cruz) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Baquerizo, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Punta Pitt (san Cristobal) | Rabida, Ecuador | Santiago, Chile$7,999
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Suite!
10 reviews
Itinerary Map/Ship Image
Celebrity XpeditionGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Elizabeth Bay | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Baquerizo, Ecuador | Punta Pitt (san Cristobal) | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island | South Plaza (santa Cruz)$4,499
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity XplorationGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBaltra, Galapagos | Bartalome, Galapagos | Black Turtle Cove (santa | Caleta Tagus, Galapagos | Darwin Bay (genovesa) | El Barranco (genovesa) | Espumilla Beach (santiago) | North Seymour, Ecuador | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Puerto Egas, Ecuador | Santiago, Chile | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$5,973
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Onboard Credit!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageScenic EclipseAntarcticaGuayaquilBuenos Aires29 NightsGuayaquil | Guayaquil, Ecuador$32,966
Up To $1000 Onboard Credit
 
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageCelebrity FloraGalapagosBaltraBaltra7 NightsBahia Post Office (floreana) | Baltra, Galapagos | Cormorant Point (floreana) | Daphne Island | Dragon Hill (santa Cruz) | Gardner Bay (espa¹ola) | Moreno Point (isabella) | Puerto Ayora, Ecuador | Punta Suarez, Ecuador | South Plaza (santa Cruz) | Urvina Bay (isabella) | Vicente Roca Point$7,999
Up To $200 Onboard Credit
Suite!
Itinerary Map/Ship ImageVikingSanta Cruz IIGalapagosBaltraBaltra14 NightsBaltra, Ecuador | Espanola Island, Ecuador | Mosquera Islet, Ecuador | Santa Fe Island, Ecuador$10,499 

Galapagos Travel Guide

Galapagos Cruises Highlights

  • Observe the beautiful birds on North Seymour Island.
  • Hike to the summit of Bartolome Island and enjoy the breathtaking view of Pinnacle Rock.
  • Escape the hustle and bustle with a relaxing excursion to Black Turtle Cove.
  • Get up close and personal with marine life while snorkeling in the Itabaca Channel.
  • Learn more about the area's wildlife and history at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
  • Check out the famous marine turtles on Tortuga Bay.
  • Explore Sierra Negra, the active volcano on Isabela Island which is popular with hiking enthusiasts. 
  • Eat, drink, shop, and unwind in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.

Galapagos Cruises Travel Tips

  • Pack comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, as well as durable tennis shoes to protect your feet. You'll be walking a lot and embarking on tons of outdoor excursions and will want to be prepared.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with plenty of sunscreen (preferably reef-safe) and a hat, and perhaps even an umbrella. Bugs are abundant as well, so bring ample bug spray.
  • You'll be on the water a lot, so prepare for seasickness. Bring seasickness pills or a wristband, eat well while you're on your cruise, and get lots of fresh air.
  • The official currency of the Galapagos is the US Dollar, so keep cash handy on your trip. Avoid using credit cards if at all possible, since credit card fraud is a possibility.
  • If you're considering upgrading your camera equipment, it's a good idea to do so before your cruise. You'll have tons of opportunities to photograph the world's most amazing animals while you're in the Galapagos.

Galapagos Cruises Things To Do

  • North Seymour Island
    North Seymour Island

    North Seymour Island is an unpopulated island that's an incredibly important fishing spot for marine birds. Ornithologists and travelers visit the island for a special glimpse at species like frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, herons, hawks, and more. You can also see other wildlife including sea lions, marine iguanas, sharks, and rays.  

    Best Time To Visit

    While North Seymour Island is beautiful all year long, a visit in May or June will allow you to watch the blue-footed boobies participate in their fascinating courtship dance and witness the male frigate birds flaunt their bold red pouches.   

     

    You Should Know

    North Seymour Island is not a volcano and was formed by seismic activity. The island gets its name from Lord Hugh Seymour, an 18th century Englishman, Royal Navy officer, and member of one of England's wealthiest families at the time. Look for land iguanas while you're on the island! These creatures were brought to North Seymour Island from Baltra in the 1930s because goats were ruining their natural habitat.

  • Tortuga Bay
    Tortuga Bay

    Located on Santa Cruz Island, Tortuga Bay is a favorite destination for those wanting to observe the famous black sea turtles. You'll also find all your standard beach activities here, like swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and more.   

    Best Time To Visit

    You can see wildlife on Tortuga Bay all year long, though it's a bit more abundant during the rainy season of July through October. This season also brings lush foliage to the island and presents better temperatures than the hot season (December through May).   

     

    You Should Know

    The best way to reach Tortuga Bay is by walking or taking a water taxi from Puerto Ayora. It's about a 30- to 45-minute walk that's suitable for all guests, or if you opt for a water taxi, you'll pay $1-2 USD for a quicker journey. Playa Brava is a beach at the end of the walking path, and swimming is prohibited here. If you want to swim, head to Playa Mansa. Playa Mansa offers the chance to kayak and swim near the mangroves. Be on the lookout for marine iguanas, sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and more.

  • Rancho Primicias
    Rancho Primicias

    Though Rancho Primicias is a bit tricky to reach, the journey is well worth it. You'll have unmatched views of the island's giant tortoises in their natural habitat. If you're wanting a whole day full of tortoises, you can also visit El Chato Tortoise Reserve right next door, though this location tends to be more crowded.   

    Best Time To Visit

    Rancho Primicias operates year-round and is a gorgeous destination in any season.  

     

    You Should Know

    To get to Rancho Primicias, the best option is taking a taxi. You can also bike along Santa Cruz Highway to its westernmost point, then ride onto the side street that takes you to the ranch. Rancho Primicias is open daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission costs $3 per person and includes a guided tour and access to all facilities, including an on-site restaurant and lava tunnels.

  • Bartolome Island
    Bartolome Island

    Bartolome Island is one of the younger islands in the Galapagos, but there's still plenty of history on this 1.5-2 million-year-old landmass. The scenery is absolutely stunning, especially if you make it to the top of Pinnacle Rock. The island has a site for divers as well as two main visitors' sites.  

    Best Time To Visit

    Many visitors like to come to Bartolome Island in September to witness the incredibly active Galapagos penguins as they speed through the waters.   

     

    You Should Know

    Bartolome Island was named for Sir Bartholomew James Sullivan, who was a friend of Charles Darwin and worked as a naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle. The Isla Bartolome visitor site is opposite Pinnacle Rock and is near many volcanic formations. The other visitor center is on Pinnacle Rock itself. You can also find a trial from Pinnacle Rock to the southern beach. Bartolome Island is unpopulated, so there are no hotels or restaurants here.

  • Lobos Island
    Lobos Island

    About six miles north of San Cristobal Island, you'll find Lobos Island, an underrated spot that's ideal for divers and snorkelers. One of the biggest attractions here is the sea lion for which the island is named.   

    Best Time To Visit

    While the island is stunning all year long, you should visit between December and May. This is the warmer, drier season which brings gentler currents, better snorkeling conditions, and more wildlife.  

     

    You Should Know

    In addition to snorkeling and diving, you can also take a short hike on Lobos Island. The trail is about 0.6 miles long and gives you an incredible view of the island's wildlife. Of course, you'll see plenty of sea lions, but look out for other animals like rays, tropical fish, turtles, brown pelicans, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies.

  • Black Turtle Cove
    Black Turtle Cove

    Black Turtle Cove is a mangrove sanctuary located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. This hidden gem is the perfect location for those who want a special, serene look at the Galapagos turtles, rays, sharks, and more. It's a protected national park that provides a safe and sustainable environment for some of the area's most spectacular wildlife.  

    Best Time To Visit

    Visitors can enjoy Black Turtle Cove all year long.  

     

    You Should Know

    You can only reach Black Turtle Cove by panga, which is a motorized dinghy. You must turn off your engine when you get into the cove, but this practice allows you to leave the wildlife undisturbed and connect more deeply with nature. When you book your panga, you will head out with a driver and tour guide. Everyone must observe total silence once you reach the cove. On top of the amazing wildlife, you'll also find beautiful red, black, and white mangroves.

  • Charles Darwin Research Station
    Charles Darwin Research Station

    The Charles Darwin Research Station is a key location supporting the efforts of the Charles Darwin Foundation. Here, researchers focus on conservation and restoration projects centered on the wellbeing of the archipelago and its inhabitants. Public areas include a library, native gardens, and an exhibition hall.  

    Best Time To Visit

    The Charles Darwin Research Station welcomes visitors all year long, every day of the week. Their operating hours are from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., then again from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.  

     

    You Should Know

    The Charles Darwin Research Station's facilities were inaugurated in 1964 and currently employ more than 75% Ecuadorians. There is no admission fee to enter this attraction.

  • Puerto Ayora
    Puerto Ayora

    Puerto Ayora is a bustling town on Santa Cruz Island's southern shore. You can find a bit of everything here, from shops and restaurants to calming beaches and natural sites. This is a great stop to get your souvenir shopping done and dine on authentic Ecuadorian food.  

    Best Time To Visit

    Most visitors prefer to explore Puerto Ayora during the dry season from July to November.  

     

    You Should Know

    Almost everything in Puerto Ayora is within walking distance, but you can also flag down a white pickup taxi that charges low rates to take you around town. Some of the most popular restaurants in town include Isla Grill and Garrapata for fresh seafood or The Red Mangrove and La Dolce Italia for international selections. If you're in Puerto Ayora on the weekend, the farmers' market runs on Saturday and is a great place to get fresh fruit and other produce to sample.

Galapagos Cruises When To Visit

Quick Facts

In short, if you're wondering about the best time to visit the Galapagos, the answer depends on what you want to do while you're there. If you're more interested in diving and snorkeling and want to spend a lot of time in the water, December through May is your ideal travel time. However, if you're more interested in observing wildlife and plant species, you should plan your visit sometime between June and November.

  • Warm/Wet Season - December to May

    The Galapagos has two main weather seasons: wet and dry. The wet season, also called the warm season, occurs from December through May. The climate during this time is more topical and features daily rain showers and cloudy skies almost all the time. The water temperature in the wet season ranges between 70°F and 80°F, ideal for diving, swimming, and snorkeling.

  • Cold/Dry Season - June to November

    Alternatively, the dry season, also called the cool season, runs from June through November. As you can probably guess, the water is slightly cooler during this time, with temperatures from 65°F to 75°F. You will see less precipitation during these months, though some mid-day showers might occur. Visitors also report seeing more wildlife during this season.

Galapagos Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Galapagos Ocean Cruise?

Most Galapagos ocean cruises last around 6 to 8 days and will transport you to several of the islands that make up the Galapagos. Most cruises will take you to destinations like Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island, North Seymour Island, and more. You may even be able to find a cruise that ports in nearby destinations like mainland Ecuador or Peru. 

What’s Included on a Galapagos Ocean Cruise?

On your Galapagos cruise, all of your onboard meals and drinks will be included with your booking, as well as premium bedding and amenities in your stateroom. You're also likely to have complimentary WiFi onboard, planned excursions, and experienced guides.

What’s the Best Cruise for a Galapagos Ocean Cruise?

Several companies offer unique cruises around the Galapagos. Some of the most popular companies include Adventure Smith Explorations, Viking Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Oceanic Society, and Backroads.  

How Much Does a Galapagos Ocean Cruise Cost?

The price of a cruise in the Galapagos will vary mainly depending on the company and the length of the cruise. Shorter cruises with more budget-friendly cruise lines can start around $1,200 per guest, while cruises with more luxurious companies may total upwards of $6,000 for the same itinerary. For the longest cruises on the most splurge-worthy cruise lines, you could pay $10,000 or more. Truly, a Galapagos cruise can be as cheap or as expensive as you wish to make it.

Learn More About Galapagos Cruises

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