Planning the Perfect Galapagos Cruise Holiday: Duration, Best Season & Travel Options

Galapagos is one of the most beautiful places to spend a holiday. Although it is not often spoken of compared to Greece, France, and other getaway destinations, it has plenty to offer and is a stunning place to visit. Galapagos has about 18 islands with about 100 small islets. This holiday destination offers rich experiences, exquisite adventures, and beautiful sights you won’t forget in a hurry.

Native to Galapagos are sea lions, giant tortoises, attractive landscapes, and clear waters that offer dazzling views of beautiful flora. Visiting Galapagos in the wrong season can take away all the fun from your holiday. In this article, we will consider the best season, duration, and travel options when planning the perfect Galapagos cruise holiday. 

The Best Season for a Galapagos Cruise Holiday 

Galapagos Copyright: Masha Buschujewa iStock / License: CC0 Public Domain

As you will see here, Galapagos has all-year-round warm weather because of its location on the equator. However, the weather patterns and wildlife activities differ monthly, and the difference between its two primary seasons – rainy and or dry season, is identified below. 

This information will help you decide on the perfect season for a Galapagos cruise holiday. 

Rainy Season 

The rainy season starts from December through May, and although it is often accompanied by warm water and air temperatures, this season is prone to more rainfalls. During this period, there will be an expanse of green foliage in the highlands, but marine activities will reduce, although you can still take part in activities such as snorkeling. The rainy season, however, is not devoid of all forms of fun because you can catch sight of birds and sea lions mating, but the sea turtles use this season as their nesting period. 

Dry Season 

The dry or garua season, on the other hand, runs through June till November, and although it is generally dry, there are still light showers on some mornings. The garua season graces vacationers with brighter and sunny days with cooler air and water temperatures. Divers native to Galapagos consider the garua season the best time to witness the beauty of marine life, underwater adventures, and the beautiful flora species that add color to the underwater world. During this time, the chances of sighting humpback whales, albatrosses on the Espanola Islands, and blue-footed boobies during their mating period are high. 

Ideal Duration for a Galapagos Cruise Holiday 

The ideal number of days to cruise the Galapagos Islands depends on your preference, budget, and personality. If you are an extrovert who enjoys spending time with others, you might enjoy the longer cruise itinerary like the 15 or 16 days options. On the other hand, introverts might prefer the 3 to 4 days cruise itinerary. Also, you should consider your budget. Longer cruises are more expensive and could be on the high side. 

So, you have to find a balance between your preference and your budget. Ideally, a 5-7 day trip is recommended if you are on a budget but still want to explore most parts of the Galapagos Islands. 

The Best Travel Options for a Galapagos Cruise Holiday 

Copyright: Rod Long on iStock / License: CC0 Public Domai

You can opt for a land-based tour or a boat cruise to explore the Galapagos Islands. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both options. 

Advantages of Land-Based Tours

Land-based tours are; 

  1. Open to changes in schedules. You’re free to choose the tours you want to go on, and on the days when you just want to relax on the beach, you’re free to do that too. 
  2. Easily customized. Land-based tours let you determine how long you want to stay in Galapagos, your preferred lodging option, and the activities to engage in. 
  3. No issues for vacationers with motion sickness. 
  4. Flexible when it comes to restaurant options. 

Disadvantages of Land-based Tours

  1. Land-based tour guides do not always have a good command of the English language or degrees in ecology for individuals who will be coming in from different countries. 
  2. Sometimes, land-based tours cost more than cruises, especially if you opt for independent activities per day or eat at the best restaurants. 
  3. Limited access to remote islands and sites that can only be reached by boats. 
  4. Apart from the hotels offering complete packages, individuals have to plan themselves to decide on their itinerary. 

Advantages of a Boat Cruise

  1. With cruises, you can visit remote islands and other sites that are only accessible by boat. 
  2. Evenings and downtime are often used to explore some tourist sites. 
  3. Cruises have an all-inclusive itinerary option, including meals, tour guides, activities, and accommodations. 
  4. Several options exist, like gourmet chefs, yachts, and five-star lodgings. 

Disadvantages of a Boat Cruise

  1. Cruises tend to be more expensive because of the lodging options made available to people. 
  2. Itineraries are planned one year ahead and, as such, are not as easily customizable as land-based tours. 
  3. Cruises are not ideal for people who suffer from motion sickness.

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Ready for Your Galapagos Cruise Holiday? 

Whether you explore by land or boat, Galapagos still boasts beautiful sights, adventures, and activities that will make your holiday worthwhile. Remember that you should check the season that would suit you better and plan your itinerary to match your holiday needs. Have a great time in Galapagos! 

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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