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The Galapagos Islands

One of the world’s greatest natural wonders, there’s a reason the Galapagos Islands are on the savviest travelers bucket lists. Nothing can prepare you for a visit to this exotic natural masterpiece situated only 600 miles off the coast of mainland Ecuador. Just as magical and miraculous as they were when explorers and pirates first landed on their volcanic shores 500 years ago, these “enchanted islands” feel supremely ancient, which means visiting them is like stepping on a newly born Earth.

The Galapagos archipelago is made up of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and more than 100 islets and tiny rock formations that support the creatures that tenaciously cling to them. In the islands, you’ll find dragon-like marine iguanas sneezing seawater after a dip rippling waves where long-cooled lava meet the sea. Meanwhile, Giant Galapagos tortoises roam free, lumbering through the highlands at their own primeval pace. Nature’s incredible generosity has naturally selected distinct species of these enormous tortoises living at the foot of each and every volcano! As coral-colored flamingos soar overhead, flightless cormorants dance their ancient tangos and Blue-footed boobies stare undaunted as fascinated explorers step warily around their nests. Those travelers who are fortunate enough to visit these islands can also delight in the chance to play tag with playful sea lions or snorkel through air-sculpted lava tunnels alongside tiny Galapagos penguins far removed from the Earth’s frozen South Pole.

This is an otherworldly sort of place, for sure, but enjoying its wild pleasures doesn’t mean sacrificing your creature comforts! The Galapagos Islands host to a wide variety of seagoing yachts – from luxury motor yachts to catamarans and sailing ships. All of these will give you an idea of what Charles Darwin and his colleagues must have felt when they sailed these very same waters so long ago.

Then too, for any “land lovers” in the crowd, or those who just like to kick back and relax, the Galapagos Islands are dotted with comfortable hotels and lodges, as well as bars, restaurants and charming boutiques. Indeed, a land-based “island-hopping tour” can be as rewarding as a cruise. It all depends on your preference.

Here’s where Surtrek comes in: we consider you – your interests, desires, tastes, and choices. Weighing your particular interests, we look at which island is perfect for your visit, when it’s best for you to go, what you’ll be able to do, and which yacht suits you best for sailing these enchanting islands. Every detail counts, even down to subtleties like the brand of teabag placed on your coffee table. We consider these as ways to minimize the risk of an unpleasant experience, but also as a means of making every penny count …giving every penny real value.

These are the kinds of factors that need to be harmonized, whether for a luxury cruise honeymoon, trekking through the highlands, or for snorkeling in pristine waters alongside penguins and sea lions...

At Surtrek, we’ve had an intimate relationship with this living laboratory for years (25+ years as a matter of fact). Therefore, we can almost guarantee that your experience meets your expectations and even exceeds them. We try the coffee served on cruises, get to know the guides and crew members, check what kind of stores are available near your hotel, check the water temperature in the showers and even make more pleasurable inspections such as trying out the cocktails served at the bar. What’s more, we’re locals who share what we think is the same globalized mindset, equally good tastes, and inspired curiosity.

We redefine not only the way of experiencing this natural paradise, but the concept of luxury itself. Rather than a routine vacation, your Galapagos travel experience will be a chance to immerse yourself in a meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime mosaic of special moments.

To learn more, on our web pages we bring you the very best of the Galapagos Islands. But before viewing these, consider the more general options of a cruise and a land-based tour:

 

Galapagos Cruises

As a cruise through the Galapagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s most likely that you will want to travel with an experienced, reliable and responsible Galapagos cruise company with high-quality vessels and top-notch guides. Serving as the tour operator for a fleet of expedition vessels sailing the Galapagos Islands, Surtrek’s “Galapagos Cruises” offer the following types of the most renowned yachts and ships:

- Luxury class ships: These are the most comfortable boats sailing the waters of the Galapagos. These top-end yachts and vessels provide plush accommodations, restaurants serving the finest international and Ecuadorian cuisine, and relaxed recreational areas with pools, sun decks and everything you need to make your cruise a sheer delight.

- First-class yachts/vessels: These ships have quite comfortable though with somewhat smaller cabins and social areas; however, their excursion guides are fully certified as Class II or III naturalists, meaning they’re thoroughly knowledgeable of the archipelago’s wildlife as well as the evolution of the islands.

- Tourist-class ships: These offer a great value for those who care more about the itinerary and having a naturalist guide than luxury – an ideal choice for those willing to forego a bit of luxury to discover the enchanted Galapagos Islands.

- Diving yachts: For diving enthusiasts who want to witness the incredible marine life of the Galapagos Islands, these live-aboard diving yachts offer a unique option. Special tours devoted almost exclusively on diving make it possible to observe the marine life of the Galapagos Islands to your heart's content.

Still, no one comes to the Galapagos just to lie out on a deck or dive all day. People come to explore, and on our Galapagos cruises, we do our best to provide excursions that get you off the ship as much as possible. Shore excursions onto the Galapagos Islands include hiking through ancient lava fields where you will encounter prehistoric reptiles such as the iconic giant Galapagos tortoise, endemic land and marine iguanas, and exotic birds such as Blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, Flightless cormorants and the massive Waved albatross – just to name a few.

 

Galapagos Land-based “Island-Hopping” Tours

As an alternative to a cruise, Surtrek’s Galapagos land tours are a combination of boat trips, trekking and snorkeling tours, what we call "Galapagos Island-Hopping Tours." Rather than sleeping on a rocking ship, these Galapagos land-based tours include overnight stays in only the best Galapagos hotels on Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal islands – ones that are ideal for relaxing and enjoying the beach before or after your boat ride to a different island.

On most days you can leave your luggage in your hotel, so you’ll only have to carry a light daypack. All of these land-based tours are guided by experienced multilingual guides. You don’t have to be in a superb physical condition (though they still involve walking on rough, volcanic ground).

Like on a cruise, our Galapagos island-hopping tours include excursion where you’ll be able to admire the striking landscape and scenery filled with varieties of Galapagos land and marine life. There’s hardly any other place on earth where you can trek while observing and photographing animals in their natural environment so well and so close up. Our Galapagos land-based tours will guide you to the most beautiful places in the Galapagos Islands, ones abundant with all types of wildlife. Indeed, you’ll find that many of the different species here are endemic, which of course means that they are found nowhere else on the planet – including a quarter of the species of shore fish, half of the plants and almost all the island´s reptiles.

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Whether taking a cruise or island-hopping, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is an unforgettable experience. If this sounds interesting to you, then join us in this once-in-a-lifetime experience! At Surtrek, we’ve had an intimate relationship with the Galapagos Islands for years, therefore we can ensure that your island experience meets your expectations and hopefully exceeds them. We are committed to exceptional, detail-orientated service. So, fill us in on what you want, what you need, your budget and what your interests are ...then just relax and leave the rest to us. We will find the best Galapagos Islands tour for you.

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