Cruise the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands, Charles Darwin’s wonderland of discovery, are home to the weird and wonderful of the animal kingdom, and attract travellers looking for a destination unlike any they’ve ever seen. The best way to explore this volcanic archipelago of 19 islands off Ecuador’s coast is by boat. Set sail, or board a yacht, on San Cristobal Island and begin your journey through this surreal and breathtaking terrain. Be one with the massive Fausto Llerena tortoises on Santa Cruz Island, enjoy wet landing onto the green sand beaches of Floreana Island, while keeping an eye out for greater flamingos, sharks, and rays, then sail on to Isabela Island where a historic pirate hideaway and land iguanas await.
After crossing the Bolivar Channel to Fernandina Island you’ll be met with a menagerie of flightless cormorants, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and hawks, sooty-colored marine iguanas, and bright red-orange Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Cruise on to Santiago Island and Genovesa Island, where you can swim in crystalline grottos, investigate fresh pahoehoe lava formations, and snorkel with white tip reef sharks. You’ll leave this society of one-of-a-kind ecosystems with an enhanced appreciation for our incredible planet.
Part of the beauty of the Galapagos Islands is the remoteness, but it does require some extra legwork when it comes to getting there. Because it’s not possible to fly directly into the Galapagos Islands, travelers first need to fly into the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, or the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil, all on mainland Ecuador. From there, you can fly into San Cristobal or Baltra Island where you can book transport to the departure site of your cruise, or hotel. Those flying in from North America can access direct flights to Quito or Guayaquil from Houston, Miami, New York, Montreal, Toronto, and other major cities. European residents can fly to Quito from Madrid, London, Amsterdam, or Paris.