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The Ultimate Luxury Galapagos Cruises

For the most discerning travelers, Surtrek’s travel experts have handpicked a selection of the supremely luxurious Galapagos yachts and small cruise ships. Outstanding in their unrivaled level of service and style, these luxury-class yachts, catamarans, and ships can confidently boast the most spacious and well-appointed accommodations, gourmet-class cuisine, clearly superior crews, the best itineraries, and the highest-ranked naturalist guides. Though luxury is often a relative term in the Galapagos, there’s no question that you’ll find the travel experiences of these ships absolutely “luxurious” in the full sense of the word.

 

If this is the standard you seek for your Galapagos getaway, contact a Surtrek travel specialist so that we can start planning your island experience today!

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Highlights

 

  • Ships and crews that set the gold standard for luxury cruising in the “enchanted” islands
  • Sumptuous gourmet meals, comparable to those at any big-city 5-star restaurant
  • Cabins featuring silkier sheets, premium toiletries, plusher carpeting, and rainfall showerheads
  • The most experienced, knowledgeable, and personable guides, each who speaks your language with ease
  • Thorough tours of an astounding ecosphere bursting with exotic wildlife found nowhere else
  • High crew-to-passenger ratios to help ensure indulgent pampering throughout your cruise

 

What you’ll experience at on a luxury-class Galapagos cruise

 

To protect the fragile Galapagos environment, the sizes of the 80+cruise ship are limited – ranging from 16 to 100 passengers. Among these smaller, more intimate vessels are less than 20 that Surtrek has identified as truly “luxury class.” These — the most outstanding Galapagos vessels — all possess cabins unmatched in terms of their spaciousness and appointments …think posh Pratesi linens, marble-accented baths, private ocean-view balconies, and pillow menus.

 

Similarly, the onboard amenities are awesome, with work-out machines and weights in the fitness center, where you can also get a massage to die for before schmoozing it up in a six-person outdoor Jacuzzi. Alternatively, you can catch some rays on the sun deck or hit one of the ships’ bars before or after dinner.

 

There, in the ships’ restaurants, sumptuous gourmet-class buffets are served at breakfast and lunch, while dinner is a delicious multicourse sit-down affair, served also alfresco.

 

Throughout your cruise, these ship’s high crew-to-passenger ratio helps ensure that you’ll receive the most pampering, as these expert attendants see to you every whim.

 

Notwithstanding, the main goal of your travel is to experience the islands themselves, which is where luxury-class tours also excel. As a Galapagos guide is what drives the tour experience, luxury ships hire the most experienced, highest ranked, and knowledgeable one, particularly those who speak excellent English and can enthusiastically and compellingly share their knowledge.

 

In short, these Galapagos yachts have been designed to meet the highest standards and cater to the most demanding tastes. 

 

Are cruises through the Galapagos Islands safe?

 

Passengers on a Galapagos cruise should know that the yachts and ships sailing the waters of the archipelago are operated by trained and experienced professionals. These are teams of highly-skilled crew members and guides with first-aid and CPR training; and, as you’ll see, each cruise begins with a comprehensive safety briefing to familiarize you with all of the ship’s safety equipment and protocols.

 

The ships that Surtrek selects are all outfitted with the most up-to-date safety equipment, as well as satellite phones for emergency calls, life vests for all passengers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and lifeboats. In addition, all of our boats are regulated and checked in dry-dock for maintenance, with regular safety and performance assessments to ensure the boats are completely secure. 

 

Therefore, when cruising through the Galapagos islands, safety should not be a major area of concern, as the vast majority of trips occur with no problems whatsoever.  In fact, most safety issues are those related to protection from sunburns, taking common-sense precautions around animals (e.g. male sea lions), safe swimming and diving practices, and perhaps overdoing it at the ship’s bar.

 

Concerning crime, the few towns and villages in the Galapagos are known to be safer than those on mainland Ecuador. Still, to prevent opportunistic wrongdoing, levelheaded measures should be taken, such as keeping an eye on your belongings, not flaunting valuables, etc. – the same precautions that should be taken when traveling anywhere in the world.

 

When passing through the big cities of mainland Ecuador en route to the islands, you’ll be accompanied by experienced local guides during any time spent here. In any case, travelers should avoid going out alone at night, take registered taxis, and walk in groups – just to be sure.

 

All of this being said, Ecuador is a relatively safe country overall, especially its Galapagos Islands. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the slight potential for crime keep you from enjoying all that this amazing county has to offer.

 

Best Time to experience the Galapagos Islands

 

Whenever you visit the Galapagos Islands, the adventure is sure to be unique and eye-opening, as there’s really no “bad” time to visit the islands.

 

With that said, the sunny season extends from January through May, and is generally considered the best time to visit the Galapagos. This season has warmer air and water temperatures, though the period is also characterized by frequent but brief afternoon rains.

 

From June to December, cold ocean currents from the south bring cooler weather and the “Garua,” an almost perpetual light mist and fog. The upside is that these cold currents bring in large quantities of plankton that attract hungry marine life, making this time especially great for snorkeling and diving experiences. Also, for land excursions, you won’t have to worry so much about rain during this drier season. Read more about the best times to travel to Galapagos.

 

What should I pack for traveling to the Galapagos Islands?

 

When packing for a cruise in the Galapagos Islands, keep in mind that you’ll be visiting not just those tropical and semi-arid islands, but also the South American continent. With no direct flights to the archipelago, you’ll touch down first on the cooler Ecuadorian mainland, where most travelers choose to spend at least a day or two in Quito to arrive in the Galapagos fresh and ready to hit the ground running.

 

Dressing for the spring-like weather of the Andean city of Quito means you’ll need to wear and pack a few warm and water-resistant items (e.g. a jacket, long-sleeve fleece or sweater, and long pants, as well as bring along a travel umbrella). 

 

Later, when landing in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll have to dress for warmer weather and geographies that range from sandy beaches to cactus-dotted deserts and volcanic-rock-strewn fields. In any case, for your daily land expeditions, pack a wide-brimmed sun hat or a cap with a strap, short-sleeve breathable T-shirts, long-sleeve expedition-style shirts, convertible cargo pants, comfortable walking shoes and open-toe sports sandals with non-slippery soles (which are great for “wet landings,” where you’ll have to step directly out of from your dingy into angle-deep water and sand on the beach). Don’t forget shorts, swimwear, and some reef-friendly sunscreen for your ship’s sundeck and the shore, and if you’re prone to motion sickness, bring some Dramamine.

 

For the cool evenings on the water, some of the warmer items that you packed for the mainland will serve you well. Also, most yachts don’t have a formal dress code, so casual clothes are fine, even at dinner time.

 

Since you’ll sometimes be traveling to uninhabited (meaning store-less) islands, be sure to pack plenty of memory cards or film, batteries, recharging cords, and personal toiletries. Then too, though most ships provide wetsuits and snorkeling gear, you may want to bring along your own equipment if these are special-sized items or simply preferable.

 

Worried about leaving anything out? Don’t fret – after you book your tour, you’ll receive a detailed packing list from Surtrek as a part of your information packet.

 

How to get to the Galapagos Islands?

 

As there are no direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands (an Ecuadorian province), you’ll fly into mainland Ecuador*, choosing to land either in Quito (which is the county’s capital and located in the Andes) or in the hot and steamy coastal Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil.

 

While flights to both cities are plentiful, Quito is generally considered a more compelling stopover option. With its stunning colonial center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s easy to spend a couple of fascinating days here in the Ecuadorian capital. In either city, you’ll be welcomed at the airport by Surtrek representatives, who will assist you with your luggage and privately drive you to your upscale hotel.

 

From the airports in Quito (UIO) and Guayaquil (GYE), there are three daily flights to the Galapagos Islands, landing at the airport on Baltra Island (GPS) or San Cristobal Island (SYC). These take approximately 3 hours and cost between $300 to $500 USD per person for a round-way ticket, depending on the time of year you fly.

 

Like with your stay in mainland Ecuador, from the moment you touch down in the islands and until it’s time to leave, you will be accompanied by experienced, bilingual, Surtrek representatives and guides who will accompany throughout your cruise and when traveling to and from your boat.

 

Therefore, during your Galapagos experience, you’ll be welcomed upon your arrival at each airport, assisted with your luggage and checking in at all domestic and international airports, provided ground transportation to your boat, and finally seen off on your flight home or onward.  So don’t worry – Surtrek’s soup-to-nuts services make travel and getting around a breeze.

 

(*) Note: Direct non-stop flights fly to both Quito and Guayaquil from several US cities, including Houston, New York, and Miami. Likewise, such flights arrive from European cities such as Madrid.

 

Why go on a luxury-class Galapagos cruise with Surtrek?

 

We here at Surtrek have over 25 years of experience helping travelers find the best upscale Galapagos cruise that suits their specific needs and preferences. We personally inspect the quality of each yacht, catamaran, and cruise ship that we recommend, in addition to confirming that each boat meets our exacting standards and our environmentally friendly Green Philosophy. In fact, before we give any boat the thumbs up, we have previously traveled on that ship – sleeping in its beds, rating the coffee, tasting the cuisine, getting to know the guides, and yes, even doing the “heavy lifting” of sampling the cocktails on board. For assistance in planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands, contact one of our expert Galapagos trip planners.

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“The trip to the Galapagos was really fantastic! Although it was quite short, the trip itinerary made time for us to do quite a lot of things. Everything went very smoothly, too.”Maggie Clark

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