While the destination may be the same, exploring the ecological oddities of the Galapagos Islands on a cruise versus taking a land-based tour are quite different experiences.
Consider the best option for you and your travel buddies by asking yourself the following 4 questions:
The Galapagos consist of 6 main islands, 12 smaller islands, and over 40 islets, all teeming with rich natural wonders. To explore the protected regions of this national park, even travelers on a land-based tour must ride in a boat that ferries them from port towns to designated visiting spots with certified naturalist guides. For this reason, any traveler prone to seasickness – may they be on a land-based tour or taking a cruise – should pack some sort of motion sickness remedy. Ask your doctor prior to departure what medication, patch, or wristband would help you best combat seasickness.
The majority of people who take something for seasickness will be good to go. But if you or one of your travel buddies is really prone to getting sick on the water, then a land-based tour might be the safest option. Groups that are gung ho about taking a cruise, yet still concerned about some of their travel companions getting seasick, should consider traveling to the Galapagos between the months of January and May when the waters are most calm: July through September is when the cold Humboldt Current arrives and brings rougher conditions.
Both cruise and land-based tours offer travelers unique opportunities to get within arm’s reach of sea lions, ocean-going lizards, penguins that live in the tropics, 500-pound giant tortoises, and so much more! Though one advantage of booking a Galapagos cruise is that aboard a boat you’ll cover a lot more distance, plus you get to wake up in a new destination each morning. It stands to reason that with greater exposure to more sites throughout the islands, you’re bound to see more wildlife and creatures at the sea.
Sure, you’re excited about following Darwin’s footsteps to the Galapagos Islands, but getting some much deserved rest and relaxation during your dream vacation is also a top priority! Mid-sized cruising vessels, small yachts and sailboats are all-around luxurious, from cabin accommodations down to the services you receive. But all of these sea-based tour options fall under one common setback: limited space.
Staying in a hotel on a land-based tour of the Galapagos gives you a bit more privacy and comfort to sprawl out. The added bonus is that you don’t have to worry about any rocking motion that could make you feel a little queasy. Unlike a cruise, travelers who stay in a hotel in the port towns have the more of an opportunity to experience the cultural side of the islands and check out the local restaurants.
Travelers whose lifelong dream is to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Galapagos can do so on a cruise or land-based tour. Flippers, masks, and wet suits are available to rent and wear at your underwater exploration disposal, but water lovers who want to scuba dive need to plan accordingly. Most, if not all, diving trips in the Galapagos are organized via land-based tour. Strong currents in the Galapagos can make dive sites challenging, so previous experience is an absolute must!
Keeping your own travel preferences in mind, ask yourself these four questions above to decide what is the best way for you and your travel buddies to explore the Galapagos. For help planning your own trip, talk with one of our expert travel advisors today!
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Peru for Less is a group of travel experts who live, work, eat, and breathe all things South America. Their inspiration stems from a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity that make this continent so special.