What is your ideal way to explore the Galapagos Islands? Is it to kayak against the tide, warming your muscles as you cruise past lava rocks covered in marine iguanas? Or carefully photograph every marquis species that left Charles Darwin wide eyed? Or snorkel among green turtles and sea lions?
We offer six different ways to explore the islands. This primer will help you decide which itinerary is right for you.
Ideal for: Those seeking the quintessential Galapagos experience.
Why go: This tour hits the highlights of the islands, allowing you to check off the most popular species and sites from your bucket list while still enjoying isolation from other tourists.
Don’t miss: A visit to the Darwin Station, to see wiggly baby tortoises bred specifically to help bolster the islands’ depleted tortoise populations. This is a key goal at the facility, in addition to researchers’ collaborative projects with other conservationists, including staff from WWF, to preserve the islands.
Consider another trip if: You want to work up a sweat. While this trip is active, it’s not as sporty as other offerings we have in the Galapagos. Also, if you’re big-time susceptible to seasickness, you might want to consider our land-based Galapagos journey instead.
Ideal for: People who like to stretch out at night when they sleep.
Why go: Creature comforts are a primary consideration for this adventure. Rather than spend time aboard a ship, which is how most travelers visit the Galapagos, you’ll get to keep your feet on terra firma, staying overnight in roomy lodges instead of cozy shipboard cabins. You’ll commute between islands via speedboat, so you’ll still have opportunities to see different animals and landscapes.
Don’t miss: Spending the night at an exclusive Galapagos Safari Camp. It’s just like being on safari in Africa, snoozing in well-appointed canvas tents surrounded by the sounds of nature. Keep an eye out for wild giant tortoises sauntering through the grounds.
Consider another trip if: You want to experience a greater variety of ecosystems. This trip covers four islands, whereas other journeys take you to more.
Ideal for: Adventurous spirits; energetic, athlete types.
Why go: Nat Hab is one of the few travel companies in the world with kayaking permits for the Galapagos. And what a way to check out the islands! Kayaking brings you even closer to wildlife — could you imagine a seal hopping on your bow to hitch a ride? It’s happened quite a few times. So this adventure definitely allows you to see wildlife in a way few others get to experience.
Don’t miss: Climbing to the highest point of Bartolome Island for 360-degree views. During the trek to the top, you’ll pass by such intriguing geological formations as spatter cones, tuff cones and lava tubes.
Consider another trip if: You’re not looking to be ultra-sporty. All of our Galapagos trips are active, but this one is especially so.
Ideal for: People with FOMO (“fear of missing out”).
Why go: This itinerary hits a whopping 12 islands, making it the most comprehensive tour of the Galapagos available on the market today. Visiting the Galapagos is a once-in-a-life experience; this itinerary sets you up to see everything there is to be seen.
Don’t miss: Exploring Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach considered one of the most spectacular in Galapagos. The beach is on the island of San Cristobal, which is home to great blue-footed and Nazca boobies and a colony of sea lions.
Consider another trip if: Eighteen days (plus travel time) is way too many to be away from home or work. Some of our shorter itineraries may work better with your schedule.
Ideal for: Experienced photographers; novice shooters who are enthusiastic learners.
Why go: Superbly trained naturalists who also work as professional photographers lead these expeditions. While all of our Galapagos trips feature small groups, the photo tours have even fewer guests, to ensure enough elbow room to take the best shots, space for your gear and the utmost in flexibility to pursue photo opportunities as they arise.
Don’t miss: Rising early with the sun to capitalize on the best light. Could you imagine waking up early on Genovesa Island to photograph great frigatebirds and red-footed boobies against the golden light? Also, many of the animals here are nonchalant about human presence, making exciting close-up photography very easy.
Consider another trip if: You get restless easily. Photographers like to linger in one place to get that perfect shot.
Ideal for: Moms, dads and their always-curious children; grandparents and grandchildren.
Why go: A dedicated children’s guide leads activities especially designed for children; even teenagers will find the goings-on suitable. You’ll share wondrous nature encounters with a few other families who share your passion for nature—and not with head-shaking grownups who’d rather not be on a tour with kiddies.
Don’t miss: Kids love water, and there is no more exciting aquatic activity than snorkeling with the friendly creatures of the Galapagos. Snorkeling off the coasts of Isabela and Fernandina islands brings encounters with green turtles, marine iguanas and sea lions.
Consider another trip if: You have older teenagers. They could easily handle the activities of our other adventures.