So how much does it cost to go to the Galapagos Islands?

Guide to the Galapagos


Ever since they appeared out of nowhere several million years ago, the Galapagos Islands have been showing travellers from across the world just how special they are. Today the islands are home to one of the world’s most unique eco-systems where wildlife roam free fascinating travellers from across the world. From the giant tortoises, birds, seals and penguins that occupy the land to the whales, turtles and fish that call the waters home.


Visiting the Galapagos Islands on an adventure cruise is a truly special experience that is sure to live with you for a long time and perhaps even be the start of many visits to the islands to uncover their mysteries even more. Adventure style Galapagos cruises are designed to get you up close with the islands and make sure that your time is spent exploring. Galapagos boats range from just 12 passengers up to a maximum of 100 and each ship has its own unique features that make it great for exploring.


Whichever boat you choose to see the Galapagos, you are sure to have an amazing holiday to the Galapagos Islands and you can be sure you are in expert hands.
On the following pages, you will find our guide to the Galapagos which should help answer some of the questions you may have to help find the right adventures cruise for you.


A Typical Cruise
Each cruise is different and individual to the ship. It is our recommendation to take a cruise of 8 days, which will mean you get to see a fantastic variety of sites and wildlife. Shorter cruises work for those with less wildlife interest, less time available or those that want to combine the Galapagos into a wider holiday to South America, they still offer a great flavour!


Below you will find some typical prices for the different levels of ship that operate in the Galapagos. However, the exact price will depend on the ship, itinerary and time of year.


5 Day Cruise from £3000 – £4950 per person to include international flights from London and internal flights.


8 Day Cruise from £3550 – £6950 per person to include international flights from London and internal flights.


Lowest prices shown are for budget ships rising to highest prices shown are for luxury ships.


Most Cruises Include
• Accommodation
• All meals
• Landings on the Islands
• Naturalist guides (normally 1:16 guests)
• Snorkelling gear
• Luggage handling
• Taxes
• Transfers in the islands
Most Cruises Do Not Include
• National Park Entrance Fee (US100.00 per person payable locally)
• Ingala Card (US20.00 per person payable locally)
• Drinks
• Tips (around $10-$15 per person, per day recommended)
• Wet Suits (around $25 per person)
• Shop purchases or items of a personal natures
(Please note the inclusions and exclusions above is not an exhaustive list)

Big Ships vs Small Ships


Small Ships
Most are typically 16 passengers or less, which only requires 1 National Park Guide. (This is the maximum ratio of guests to guide set out by the National Park) So your cruise will operate like a group tour with everyone doing the same thing,.
Pros
• 16 Passengers means you can get on and off the ship very easily
• Maximum time to explore
• The most popular type of ship
• The most options available from budget to luxury and caters for a range of budgets
• Access to all the sites in the Galapagos National Park including the smaller ones
• Can get closer to the wildlife
Cons
• The whole ship will be doing the same thing, at the pace of the slowest
• Less facilities and space on board
• Need to be sociable as you will live in close proximity to your fellow passengers
• Smaller ships feel the movement of the sea more for those nervous about sea sickness


Big Ships
The maximum ship size permitted is 100 which is still a very small ship! However more passengers means more National Park Guides which allows the ship to be split into groups for activities and offers a choice of what you would like to do.


Pros
• More passengers means more guides
• Landings can be split into groups giving you a choice of what you would like to do on land
• Ship will have more facilities including perhaps a second dining option, jacuzzi and additional lounges (dependent on ship)
• More space to find a quiet corner and often more deck space to observe wildlife
• More stable for those nervous about sea sickness


Cons
• More passengers means getting on and off the ship takes a little more time (but often very well organised)
• Larger ships can’t access some sites with very restricted visitor numbers
• Time exploring will be less taking into account the logistics


When to Go
There is not bad time to go to the Galapagos! But there are differences depending on when you go. Here is our guide;


Jan
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 22C and 30 C)
• Beginning of the rainy season in highlands (average 2.5cm)
• Warm Water Temperature (Average:24.5 C)
• Land Birds start nesting
• Sea Turtles nesting
• Marine and Land Iguanas mating season (bright colours)
• Flightless Cormorants, Penguins and Greater Flamingoes breeding and nesting (year-round, depending on food supply)
Pros: Ideal month for snorkeling, colorful iguanas, more tourists
Cons: Strong Sun, rainy season (but more downpours rather than sustained periods)

Feb
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 24 C and 30C)
• Rainy Season (Average 2.5 cm in highlands)
• Warmest Water Temperature (Average: 25 C)
• Magnificent and Great Frigates nesting
• Marine and Land Iguanas nesting
• Flightless Cormorants, Penguins and Greater Flamingoes breeding and nesting (year-round, depending on food supply)
Pros: Best Water Visibility, highest water temperature
Cons: Strong Sun, rainy season

Mar
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 24C and 31C)
• Rainiest month (Average 5.1 cm in highlands)
• Warm Water Temperature (25C)
• Green Sea Turtles nesting
• Marine and Land Iguanas nesting
• Magnificent and Great Frigates nesting
• Tortoises laying egg
Pros: Best Water Visibility
Cons: Rainiest Month in the highlands, strong sun, high humidity

April
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 24C and 31C)
• Rainy Season (Average 3.8 cm in highlands)
• Warm Water Temperature (25C)
• Green Sea Turtles nesting
• Marine and Land Iguanas nesting
• Magnificent and Great Frigates nesting
• Waved albatross mating and nesting
• Tortoises laying egg
Pros: Rainy season ending, the islands are quite green and full of life, turtles and tortoises hatching Cons: Strong sun

May
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 22C and 28C)
• Dry month (Average 1.9 cm in highlands)
• Warm Water Temperature (24.5C)
• Green sea Turtles nesting season ending
• Marine and Land iguanas nesting
• Waved albatross nesting
• Tortoises laying eggs
Pros: Beginning of the dry season, offers one of the most pleasant weather of the year, the islands are green, courtship of blue-footed boobies, hatching of sea turtles, hatching of iguanas,

June
• Warm Air Temperature (Between 21C and 26C)
• Dry month (Average 0.6 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature cooling (Average 23C)
• Red-footed boobies and masked boobies breeding and nesting (year-round)
• Waved albatross nesting
• Magnificent and Great Frigate birds nesting (year-round on North Seymour Only)
Pros: good weather, humpback whales migrate to the Galapagos
Cons: end of nesting season

July
• Cooler Air Temperature (Between 20C and 26C)
• Dry month (Average 1.3 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature cooling (Average 22C)
• Blue-footed boobies start to breed
• Waved albatross nesting
• Start of California sea lion breeding season
• Humbolt Current strengthening making marine wildlife more active
• Dolphin and Whale Spotting
Pros: marine wildlife abundant, whale season
Cons: Stronger winds and currents, cooler water, more tourists


August
• Cooler Air Temperature (Between 19C and 26C)
• Dry month (Average 0.6 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature cooling (Average 21.5C)
• Blue-footed boobies nesting
• Waved Albatross Nesting
• California sea lion breeding
• Fur sea lion begin breeding
• Tortoises lay eggs (Santa Cruz only)
• Dolphin and whale spotting
Pros: marine wildlife abundant, whale season
Cons: Stronger winds and currents, cooler water, more tourists


September
• Cooler Air Temperature (Between 19C and 26C)
• Dry month (Average 1.3 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature cooling (Average 22C)
• Blue-footed boobies nesting
• California Sea Lion breeding
• Fur Sea Lions breeding
• Appearance of the Brown Pelican
• Dolphin and whale Spotting
Pros: marine wildlife abundant, whale season, very active bird nesting and sea lions
Cons: Stronger winds and currents, cooler water


October
• Cooler Air Temperature (Between 20C and 26C)
• Dry month (Average 0.6 cm in highlands)
• Cool Water Temperature (Average 22.5C)
• Waved Albatross nesting
• California sea lion breeding
• Fur sea lions breeding
• Tortoises lay eggs
• Dolphin and whale spotting
Pros: good snorkeling as green turtles are easier to spot, whale season, sea lions puppies can be seen
Cons: Days are not always sunny and rains can be expected, mist in the morning


November
• Warming Air Temperature (Between 21C and 26C)
• End of Dry Season (Average 1.3 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature warming up (Average 22C)
• Blue-footed boobies nesting
• Waved albatross nesting
• Green sea turtles begin mating
• Fur Sea Lions and California sea lions breeding
• Dolphin and whale spotting
Pros: pupping of sea lions, seas are calmer, great weather, good visibility for snorkelers
Cons: winds are still present, some occasional drizzling

December
• Warmer Air Temperature (Between 22C and 27C)
• End of Dry Season (Average 1.3 cm in highlands)
• Water Temperature warming up (Average 22.5C)
• Blue-footed boobies nesting
• Waved albatross nesting
• Green sea turtles mating
• Marine and Land Iguanas begin mating
• Fur sea lions and California sea lions breeding
Pros: start and the end of breeding season making wildlife encounters very attractive, blue skies, greening of the islands
Cons: stronger sun, more visitors

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michellestammers

I have worked within the travel industry for over 30 years and now run my travel business from my home town, Sutton Coldfield. Running my own business allows me to offer impartial and truly independent travel advice, whatever your requirements might be. Whether it’s the trip of a lifetime, a honeymoon or a family holiday, I’d be delighted to help and will listen to your needs to create a perfectly tailored itinerary and make suggestions to enhance your trip. Would you like more time to discuss your plans and hear my suggestions? Please email or call me to arrange a free private consultation (within 10 miles of Sutton Coldfield). All holidays are ABTA and ATOL bonded via my preferred travel suppliers, so you have peace of mind that your holiday is in safe hands. Email - travelgenius@brillianttravel.co.uk ABTA - 13759 ATOL - 5346

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