The Galapagos Islands are, for most people, a once-in-a-lifetime destination, and fear of missing out can be a thing when you organize your trip there. No matter how much you research, there is just too much out there to see and too many ways to actually “miss out”.
In this article, we will tackle some of the most frequently asked questions for people wishing to organize their dream journey to the Galapagos Islands, through our very special lens as expert tourism experience providers.
Why should I visit the Galapagos Islands on a private journey?
Private journeys to the Galápagos offer what we like to call “the best of both worlds”, especially when taking into account our view of what a private tour or journey could mean in a place as awe-inspiring as this volcanic archipelago.
Visiting the Galapagos isn’t easy. It sits all alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You need to get there first and then, from there, you need to know what you want to do.
On the one hand, you can stay on an island and “island hop”: in other words, visit different islands on day trips while overnighting on land. You can also overnight in the port towns of different islands as well, soaking up this unique destination from various different perspectives.
On the other hand, there are cruise tours. Galapagos cruise tours take you to farther destinations. They are highly regimented and have you going out early in the morning to walk the sites, experience nature when its most active and pack in as many sightings as possible.
So, private journeys allow you to organize your trip with all possible options.
How long should I stay in the Galápagos Islands?
This is a question that most people treat without the attention it deserves.
Of course, one must take many aspects of this kind of trip into account, including budget, time frame, and, of course, how much you want to actually see and experience.
When building your itineraries, it’s good to know what type of experience you may be more inclined to enjoy.
Many people usually plan their voyages from a time-frame perspective: I have this many days, what can I do during that time-frame? Since the Galapagos is such a unique place to venture to —and it isn’t the cheapest of destinations, either— you will want to make the best of it, and see as much as you can.
To visit the Galapagos for a time-period of less than 5 days makes little sense. By the time you are heading back, you will be craving at least one more day to soak in the sun at one of its spectacular white-sand beaches.
The best, of course, would be to island hop AND take a cruise. That means time and money. And for such an adventure, we should think of no less than 8 days.
That’s just how special these islands really are.
Which islands should I see when visiting the Galapagos Islands?
Every island has its schtick. That diversity is truly the prime “wonder to behold” in an archipelago that numbers some 18 large islands and over 100 smaller islets.
Of course, you won’t get to see it all (not even close). But lets simplify. First, decide if you will be “island hopping” or taking a cruise. For Island hopping tours, there are four islands you can overnight in. Here’s a run through:
Santa Cruz is the main island, smack-in-the-middle of the archipelago. It’s the most central, so basing at least part of your tour here is a smart thing to do. There are tons of activities, both on land and at sea. Visit nearby uninhabited islands, empty coves filled with sea lions, penguins, spectacular snorkeling and more… or head up to the highlands to see the giant tortoises and daisies that have evolved into towering trees!
You can then visit (day visit or stayover) from the other three port cities of the archipelago.
San Cristóbal is the second largest island, and like Santa Cruz, offers many interesting visits both at sea (like Kicker Rock, a haven to swim with sharks, including hammerheads), on the beach or in the highlands (with the only freshwater lake of the archipelagos).
Floreana is a wonderful visit, one of the most isolated communities in the world (only 150 people live here), and you really feel like you are all alone in a planet all too yourself.
Isabela, on the other hand, is the most remote island, with the second-largest caldera crater in the world, penguin spotting, swimming-with-sharks-and-iguanas activities and more.
Should I seek a private journey by cruise or land in the Galapagos Islands?
Organizing private journeys by land is highly recommended. This way you will know you are getting the best of your chosen itinerary. In terms of cruise-based tours, they are already private journeys in themselves and are not as flexible. So if you ask us what’s the best Galapagos experience, we have to say: choosing a knowledgeable tour consultant to create your ideal private journey, while adding on a cruise to get to all those remote corners that make these islands so special.
How much does a private journey to the Galapagos Islands cost?
The price range for private journeys to the Galapagos Islands can cost from around 600 to 1200 dollars for stays from 5 to 8 days, respectively… Evidently, one must take into account airfare and any add-ons, including cruise tours.