Choosing the Right Galapagos Islands Vacation

The Galapagos Islands, a tropical zoological paradise in Ecuador, opened its doors to tourists in the 1960s. In the past five decades, the area has become a top destination for adventure travellers. About 170,000 people visit the islands every year to enjoy the fabulous beaches and explore the incomparable wildlife, requiring a fine balancing act by Ecuador’s government to protect the delicate ecosystem.

The Galapagos Islands are a dream destination for today’s eco-travellers, as it offers an unparalleled opportunity to interact with the near fearless wildlife, and delve into a wealth of natural wonders. Check out the following information before planning your Galapagos Islands getaway.

Unique bird life on the Galapagos Islands.
Blue-footed booby of the Galapagos.

Timing Your Trip
Veteran Galapagos Islands travellers would say there’s never a bad time to visit, but some time periods are better than others, depending on what you want to do and see. For example, if watching the courtship rituals of the blue-footed boobies is a priority, it’s best to visit in May. The most visible island wildlife changes month by month, so be sure to check a Galapagos Islands wildlife calendar before planning your trip.

Peak season for Galapagos travel is mid-June through early September, and again in mid-December through January. Experienced divers say visiting between June and November is best for seeing various fish and marine life. The Humboldt Current brings cool weather from South America, driving cooler water, rich in plankton, to the islands. The plankton attracts a multitude of fish and birds, so if diving the Galapagos is an important part of your Ecuador vacation package, brave the cooler weather.

Suggested Itinerary:
8-Day Diving the Galapagos

Spotting a whale shark during a Galapagos diving adventure
Spotting a whale shark during a Galapagos diving adventure

Getting to the Galapagos
Most Galapagos tours begin with a flight into either Quito or Guayaquil, where travellers board a LAN, TAME or Avianca Ecuador flight into Baltra or San Cristobal. Once there, travellers can customize a hotel package that appeals to their personal travel tastes. The Galapagos Islands have a number of hotels, such as the Hotel Silberstein for the budget conscious, or the Red Mangrove of Finch Bay to appeal to even the most discerning travellers.

For many tourists, a Galapagos cruise is a more attractive option. The luxury Yacht La Pinta offers multi-day itineraries around the most popular islands in the archipelago including Rabida, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Espanola, and Baltra.

Suggested Itinerary:
4-Day Cruising Galapagos (M/V La Pinta)
5-Day Cruising Galapagos (M/V La Pinta)

Expedition cruise ship vacations are some of the most popular Ecuador vacation packages. Individualized outings such as diving can be arranged, and the water-based experience is very similar to the land-based one. Most vessels provide guests many water and land-based options, depending on their preferred budget and level of comfort and amenities.

M/V La Pinta vessel
M/V La Pinta vessel

What’s Included?
When you plan your Ecuador vacation with us, all airfare to and from the Galapagos Islands is included. In addition, tourist card fees and the $100 mandatory Galapagos National Park fee are included in your Galapagos travel package. In addition, Goway travellers have access to excellent local guides to help them navigate the most popular natural and wildlife attractions.

For land-based Galapagos vacations, guests can choose to stay at one island hotel and arrange day trips to surrounding islands. They also have the option to island hop and stay at the network of Red Mangrove lodges as part of their package.

Red Mangrove Lodge
Red Mangrove Lodge

Galapagos Island Must-Sees
The Galapagos Islands are a very family-friendly destination, offering a variety of sights and experiences that appeal to visitors of all ages. For a truly unique Galapagos getaway, don’t miss these island must-sees:

  • The National Park Tortoise Reserve offers visitors a chance to see giant Galapagos turtles in their wild habitat. There is a small restaurant across from the church in Santa Rosa that occasionally rents horses you can ride around the reserve.
  • Hike the 3,600 foot Volcan Alcedo on Isabela Island for stunning views of the archipelago. This excursion isn’t for the faint of heart – there’s a rugged six-mile hike before you begin your climb.
  • Explore the stunning underground lava tubes near the village of Bellavista. The village is just north of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. The caves and tubes are mostly located on private lands, and the owners often collect a small fee before you enter.
Galapagos Islands iguana
Galapagos Islands iguana
Giant tortoise
Giant tortoise

Check our website for more information when you’re ready to plan the perfect Galapagos Islands vacation package.

Share with friends and family
Don Forster
Don Forster

General Manager, Central & South America -
Born in Australia and raised in Canada and Papua New Guinea, Don took his first solo trip to Bali – aged just 13. Since then, Don’s travels have taken him to every continent. He’s been a backpacker in Asia, Europe and Egypt, an overland adventurer in East and Southern Africa, and an overland driver in South and Central America. He is especially fond of Peru, Patagonia and Namibia, though his longest adventure to date has been a London to Kathmandu run via the Middle East.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get the latest travel trends & hear about the best deals on vacations around the world.

If you’re a Globetrotter, these are the newsletters for you!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x