The Galapagos Islands hold an air of mystique and wonderment. It certainly is high on the list of most peoples’ bucket list! The diversity of wildlife and experience is like no other and it truly offers the most fabulous experience ever. Luckily, they also limit the amount of boats, which means with care, if you choose the right boat, you should have a truly individual and quality experience.
The Galapagos offer a large array of boats, to suit most tastes. Some of these are small enough to charter, which, if there is a family or a multi-generational family travelling, this is what we would most recommend.
The cruises tend to be on average for a week. Some are slightly shorter, and others can be longer, but seven days allows one to get a good overview of the region and all its incredible diversity of wildlife.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. There are different itineraries which feature different islands. Attention should be paid to this, as for example, the whales tend to be seen with greater ease during July through to November between Isabella and Fernandina islands in particular.
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What activities are on offer?
The main activity is of course going out and exploring each of the islands, with its vast array of fauna and flora. One does this firstly by a zodiac to reach the island, and then on foot. However, other activities include snorkelling (amongst sea lions) and scuba diving which is simply fabulous. There are also specific boats for scuba diving, with guides who are scuba diving instructors.
We then have our family boats. We can then tailor each trip according to each of the younger family members. We specifically enlist guides who are particularly good with engaging with younger family members. There is kayaking and snorkelling and swimming as well as getting pretty close to the wildlife. See the giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin research station at Puerto Ayora.
What sort of craft are used?
One can choose from a twin hulled catamaran which offers probably the best stability of any sailing boat in this region to a motorised yacht. The catamarans tend to have eight enormous cabins and a wonderful, large entertainment area which houses the sitting room and the dining room with its ceiling to floor windows to allow for maximum enjoyment.
The yacht has ten state rooms with large windows and private bathrooms. Lunch is served al fresco on the spacious sun deck, which is equipped with day beds, chaises longues, tables, hammocks, a four person Jacuzzi, outdoor shower and wet bar. They have an intimate indoor bar which is always open for hand crafted cocktails, wine, beer, sodas, juices, coffee and tea. There is even one yacht which has been accorded the prestigious Relais et Chateaux accolade. Here one has access to chefs with the most incredible cuisine (featuring the fresh catch of the day, or whatever your diet requirement may be), accompanied by fabulous wines. It has a fitness centre with a treadmill, yoga mats etc. It also offers a concierge service.
How many people can they take?
Most of the boats take up to 16 and 20 guests. They each have en suite facilities. We are also happy to provide a professional wildlife photographer to teach you how to get the best out of your wildlife photographs. He can also capture your family for posterity as well, as a keepsake for you to have at the end of your holiday.
Is this type of holiday good for families and are there age restrictions?
Fabulous for children! Of all ages! And we can provide a kids club on certain boats, too. We can also provide a kids’ menu. Certain nights can be designated for watching films and children will be given journals and the explanations will be engaging and inclusive.
Obviously, it depends upon your children and their attention spans, but we normally recommend these trips for children from 7 years and upwards. Children will learn about navigational charts, how to read the night sky, there will be games (and board games too), plus dressing up for the younger ones. There will be talent shows and drawing contests (please note – these are just some ideas – of course, your children do not have to partake in any of this whatsoever!).
When is the best time of year?
The Galapagos Islands are good at any time of year. However, we tend to say that our least favourite month is September as the waters can get really choppy. But it all depends upon what you are interested in seeing! For example, the Albatrosses return from early April where one can see their courtship rituals, and then of course, the whales are easier seen from around mid-July.
What is a typical day on board one of these catamarans or motor yachts?
The days are typically spent exploring different islands and then moving to the next island whilst you sleep, so that you can start early again to explore a new island! Often you will spend the morning exploring one island, perhaps cruise whilst you are having lunch and then arrive at another island for the afternoon’s activities.
A trip like this will keep you busy! Much like an African or Asian safari, it’s about getting up early, having breakfast and then going out exploring with your guide. Of course, with kayaking and snorkelling and diving, there is plenty of diversity in terms of experience!
The yacht can offer stand up paddling and kayaking. The routes tend to follow either a south-western route or a wester-northern route. Highlights can be seeing the whales, diving amongst sharks, swimming amongst sea lions, snorkelling amongst the Galapagos penguins, perhaps seeing turtles hatching. Of course, you will also see the magnificent Frigate birds, Albatrosses and the blue footed and red footed boobies, as well as seeing the marine and land iguanas, just to name a few!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore – Dream – Discover - Mark Twain - You can view clips of some of our own favourite discoveries here.
- Utterly designed and tailored around you and your requirements
- Totally unique every time you travel with us
- The very best hand picked guides which can make the difference between a good and an outstanding holiday
- Established over 30 years ago we have been around longer than most
- Our specialists come from, have lived in or travelled extensively in the regions we cover
- Unparalleled knowledge provides you with the best possible experience
- Philanthropy is our philosophy
- Our founding principle is to always ‘put something back’
- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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