Amazon River cruise specialists, Rainforest Cruises, have left the jungle for the first time with the launch of a handpicked selection of cruise tours in the Galapagos Islands.
Rainforest Cruises’ range of boutique boats includes catamarans and pirate-style sail ships that are environmentally friendly and exclusive, with space for 16 passengers or fewer.
The Galapagos Islands itineraries range from four to 15-days in length, with knowledgeable crews helping guests spot wildlife and leading discovery tours at various stops throughout the Pacific Ocean archipelago.
10 Reasons to Take a Galapagos Cruise
o truly experience the diverse and impressive Galapagos Islands, a Galapagos Cruise is the ultimate experience for bucket-listers and nature-lovers alike. Considered one of the world’s most extraordinary places, many travelers dream of visiting the mysterious and remote Ecuadorian islands, a preserved and protected paradise of breathtaking terrain and entirely unique wildlife. But if you are still weighing up your options about why you should visit the remote Pacific islands then read on below, and find out why you should take a Galapagos Cruise:
The Galapagos Islands is famous for its entirely unique wildlife, made up of endemic species of sea creatures and land mammals. By taking a cruise to the Galapagos you will have the chance to spot some of the islands’ most definitive wildlife, such as the Galapagos sea lion, the flightless bird, the Blue-footed booby, the giant Galapagos tortoise, the huge Albatross, among others. It has become known as one of the best places for wildlife watching in the world. And because the islands’ creatures are fearless when it comes to boats and even humans, you are able to get up-close to truly one-of-a-kind wildlife in a way you can nowhere else in the world.
While you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the islands at sea level and from the boat, it’s also worth exploring the islands’ impressive in-land landscape. For hikers and walkers, one of the highlights of the islands is to climb the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island, the largest of all of the Galapagos Islands. And if you don’t want to walk or hike then you can take a horse to the giant crater at the top, passing through black and red lava fields on the way up.
From hiking through the wild landscape of the islands to snorkeling in one of the bays, every adventurous activity you can think of can be enjoyed in its own unique way on the Galapagos Islands. And, your experience won’t be like any you’ve had before, where else can you snorkel come nose-to-nose with a sea lion. You can even try your hand at surfing the waves around the islands alongside the Galapagos penguins, the only penguins found in the northern hemisphere.
The Galapagos Islands were visited by Charles Darwin over 170 years ago, and after he labeled the islands a “living laboratory” the UNESCO protected world heritage site has remained a perfect example of a pristine ecosystem. The islands are located 620 miles from Ecuador and have never been connected to the mainland. Their isolated location is almost a world away from the rest of the Earth and so became the place that inspired Darwin to formulate his natural selection theory. If you want to find out more about his time on the islands you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Foundation at Puerto Ayora.
5. Expert Guides
By taking a Rainforest Cruise you will have at least one expert guide on board your boat. This means that you will not only have access to the best information about the islands, but you also have experienced crew members and guides you are knowledgeable about the area and will know exactly what to do if there is an emergency. The guides will also have access to parts of the islands that other tourists won’t know about, and will be able to take you almost exclusively to areas that are even more untouched. Moreover, getting around the islands without a guide is extremely difficult, as is navigating the islands, and a Galapagos Cruise provides both navigation and a guide.
The Galapagos Islands have very strict rules about when you can and can’t visit certain areas of the park, for example the Galapagos National Park’s sunrise to sunset rule means you have to leave the park as soon as the sun starts to go down. But if you are staying on a boat it means you really don’t have to go far to get a good night’s sleep. Head back to your comfortable cabin with all of your home comforts as soon as the sun goes down, and be ready to rise first thing to experience another day on the islands.
The unique and raw landscape of the Galapagos Islands can be very inspiring for visitors. The untouched nature is breathtaking and unlike anywhere else in the world, the animals are content and protected, and there are no large hotels or overpriced restaurants. Unlike some other isolated islands in the world, the Galapagos Islands have been left to continue to evolve and sustain their profoundly unique ecosystem.
The islands are so far away from the mainland that you really feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. What’s more, with a Galapagos Cruise you can visit islands that are rarely visited and get to see what it really felt like for Darwin when he explored the islands back in 1835.
The human population of the Galapagos Islands stands at just 25,000, and while the islands have no indigenous population, the largely South American population on the islands have brought elements of their own culture to the Galapagos, including salsa and food. Their fairly recent arrival to the islands, only a few hundred years ago, however, means the animals remain the prevalent population and the culture of the islands.
The sea surrounding the islands was declared a marine reserve in 1986, and is the second largest reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The marine reserve covers 27,000 square miles of ocean and is also a whale sanctuary. This is a place where you can literally feel like a drop in the ocean.
The Galaxy II Eco Catamaran offers some of the most climate friendly cruising around the islands with low fuel consumption, locally sourced food and energy saving features. A five-day cruise takes in the Galapagos Islands from north to south and includes hikes, dingy rides and snorkelling to see colonies of birds, sea lions and iguanas. Prices start from $2,279 per person, based on a five-day cruise.
An exploration of the Galapagos Islands famously helped naturalist Charles Darwin form his theory of evolution, so for a Darwin-eye view of the islands jump aboard an eight-day cruise on the Mary Anne sail ship, a three-mast boat reminiscent of HMS Beagle, the vessel that carried Darwin. The 12-cabin cruiser has space for just 16 passengers. Prices start from $4,969 per person, based on an eight-day cruise.
The Cormorant Catamaran combines cruises through the wildlife-rich central and south eastern islands – where guests can swim with marine iguanas and hike across Bartholomew Island for some of the archipelago’s best views – with a luxurious boat that features a sun-deck and jacuzzi, stylish suites and state of the art entertainment for relaxing nights. Prices start from $3,949 per person, based on a five-day cruise.
Note to editor: Flights are not included. Prices are based on double-occupancy. Contact Us for more information.