What is a typical day on a cruise?
A typical day usually looks something like this:
• 2 – 3 hourislandvisitduringmorning
• Return to boat for lunch and brief siesta (to avoid the strong midday sun)
• 2 – 3 hour island visit and chance to snorkel during afternoon
• Briefing of next day by guide
• The boat usually cruises at night so that you wake up at a new island
Obviously this is subject to variation and should be used only to give a general idea.
How long is spent on each island?
It depends, on the large islands you might spend the entire day and visit different landing points, while on the smaller islands you will usually just land once before cruising to visit a new island in the afternoon.
It is best to consult the individual boat itineraries to have a better idea for your particular cruise.
What is the timing of the first and last days?
This is a very important issue that all clients should be aware of in order to avoid disappointment:
The timings are dictated by the flight times of the arriving and departing flights (regardless of which airline and which flight you are on). On day1 the flights arrive to Galapagos mid to late morning and you will therefore have only an afternoon activity on that day.
On the final day the flights depart early to mid morning and therefore you have only an early morning island visit on that day. It is best to consult the individual boat itineraries to have a better idea for your particular cruise.
What is the best possible itinerary?
There really is no “best” itinerary – it all depends on what you most want to see and do during your visit to the islands. As a general guideline there are broadly speaking 6 different types of route that yachts take.
North loop – usually including islands Santiago, Bartolome, Rabida, North Seymour and occasionally Genovesa. This loop is considered best for volcanic landscapes, for the penguins on Bartolome, and for the excellent general wildlife and hammer-head sharks (for divers) of off-the-beaten-track Genovesa.
South loop – usually includes islands San Cristobal, Española, Floreana and Santa Fe. The south is generally considered better than the northern loop for variation in wildlife. Española in particular is a regular client favourite.
Complete loop – usually includes a shortened version of both the north and south loops as well as a complete circuit to the west of Isabela island and Fernandina. Only some of the First Class and Luxury class yachts run the complete loop itinerary which is considered to be the most complete itinerary possible in a Galapagos yacht.
Isabela East – more and more boats are taking advantage of the opportunity to visit the east of Isabelaisland. This area is still considered to be off of the regular beaten tourist path, and some boats offer great adventure activities (biking, horse-riding) to the Sierra Negra volcano here.
Santa Cruz – most itineraries include at least the basic stops at Santa Cruz, that is the Charles Darwin station and the tortoise reserve on the highland part of the island. Both are great visits and always enjoyed by our clients.
Darwin and Wolf – only the specialist dive yachts head as far north as Darwin and Wolf islands. This area is considered to have some of the best dive sites in the world.
Yachts usually combine two or more of the above components together to make their full 8-day itinerary.
What is a “joined” itinerary and why do boats do this?
Boats often join together their 4 and 5 days itineraries to make an 8-day trip. They do this in order to offer 3 different trips within the same week (i.e. 4days, 5days, 8days).
The down-side is that passengers on an 8day tour lose some time by having to return to port to drop off passengers at the end of their 4 or 5 day cruise, as well as pick up new passengers. It is not completely lost time in this passenger switch-over day as each yacht will organize an activity/visit whilst the passenger switch-over is happening, but it is nonetheless an inconvenience.
Generally speaking only some of the First Class and Luxury class yachts that run the complete itinerary loop offer a non-stop 8day tour (i.e. not a joined itinerary).
What happens if our boat is forced to change itinerary?
Boat itineraries are always subject to change. The most common sources of such change are alterations to national park regulations / restrictions and boat mechanical issues.
Usually no more than 1 or 2% of cruises are affected and the impact of any necessary change on the passengers is always minimized wherever possible. In the extreme event that a cruise is affected Travel Galapagos will always represent our clients in registering a complaint with the boat owner (when the boat owner is responsible for the change) or in preparing suitable paperwork for a personal insurance claim (in the event that the change was out of the hands of the boat owner).
What is the difference between wet and dry landings?
In a wet landing the panga (small landing craft) stops at the beach and lets passengers disembark in shallow (up to the knees) water. In a dry landing the panga is able to drop passengers off directly onto a small dock.