What are the options to visit the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands can be visited in different ways; there exist two main possibilities for travel: by cruise or in an island-hopping program.
When going by cruise, you board your yacht or vessel. This vessel is going to take you to every place of interest, but you also stay the nights on the same boat.
When attending an island-hopping program, you stay every night in a hotel on one of the populated islands. During the daytime, you have the chance to go aboard a vessel or catamaran to have excursions to the main highlights of the other islands. This kind of program is also called a land-based tour.
What exactly are the advantages of a land-based tour of the Galapagos archipelago? Are there any inconveniences?
A land-based tour is often recommended to travelers who like to organize their own itinerary in a more flexible way and who prefer not to be bound to a certain tight travel schedule. It is considered a bit more relaxing way to explore the Galapagos Islands.
Some time ago, cruises were of preference to visit the archipelago. However, in the last couple of years, Island hopping programs gained a lot in popularity thanks to improved island amenities. Nowadays you can book a room in all kinds of tourist accommodations such as luxurious, expedition beach hotels (for example Finch Bay Hotel) and international restaurants. A lot of hotels are equipped with an outdoor swimming pool. They are ideally situated on one of the populated islands (Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal Island, and Isabela Island), with easy access to visiting sites such as Tortuga Bay, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and Puerto Villamil.
Choosing to overnight in land-based accommodations is also a more affordable option compared to cruise-based programs, which are often quite expensive.
Regarding the inconveniences of the island-based itinerary, we could say that you have to take in mind that services and meals are not included in an island-based program, while cruises generally are an all-in package. Finally, a Galapagos cruise can reach farther distances within the National Park, because of traveling during the night, tends to be a bit more time-efficient. Nevertheless, island-hopping programs also provide the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of species. All visits to the Galapagos assure an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!
But, how do you know which hotel will suit you best for your holiday?
Here are some important facts to consider when choosing the perfect Galapagos hotel for your complete enjoyment:
- Category: whether you are looking for an indulging experience during your stay or just looking for a clean, basic but still comfortable room, Galapagos has many amazing options to choose from. We offer excellent hotels in all categories: luxury, first-class, superior, and tourist class.
- Location: many upscale hotels/lodges are located in the Highlands of Santa Cruz (35 minutes from Puerto Ayora) and they offer a peaceful and tranquil environment for guests. On the other hand, you will find many amazing hotels in all categories in the heart of the local Towns of the three inhabited Islands.
- Budget: Due to the location of the Galapagos, overall services can be considered expensive, so it's very important to define your budget for lodging, meals, activities, tours, and others beforehand. Hotel nights (with Breakfast) cost from US$ 95 up to US$ 550 per night depending on the category and services provided to guests.
- Comfort: although the Islands are far from Mainland, the infrastructure is quite complete to offer guests a comfortable stay with everything you need to enjoy your hotel's facilities: air-conditioning, good amenities, and excellent food. Also, it is important to be near restaurants, shops, bars & pubs, and local travel agencies that can offer good Galapagos tours, day trips, or packages to complement your Island holiday.