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The best cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands

Find out what’s the best way to visit Galápagos and why. Learn about my five reasons why G Adventures offers the best cruise around the Galápagos Islands – especially for solo travelers.

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5 reasons to choose a G Adventures cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands – especially as a solo traveler

A cruise is the best way to discover the magnificent wildlife and breathtaking nature of the Galápagos Islands. Famous through Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835, the archipelago is a bucket list destination for many travelers today. But when planning your trip to Galápagos, the offer of tour operators, hotels and cruises can be overwhelming. I’ve read a ton of reviews and have done lots of research to find the best cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands. I ended up booking the G Adventures Tour “Galápagos – West and Central Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager”. As a solo female traveler, joining a small group tour by G Adventures was the best way to visit the Galápagos islands. Amazing fellow travelers, amazing guide and an amazing boat. For me, G Adventures offers the best cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands. And here are five reasons why.

Galápagos Best Cruise G Adventures. View of Tagus Cove at dawn with several boats and yachts at bay. Photograph depicts forest hills and a lake with the ocean in the background.

1. Cruise vs land-based Galápagos Island Tour

The first decision you may want to take when planning your Galápagos Island visit is whether you do a cruise or opt for a land-based tour. With a land-based tour you’ll stay overnight in a hotel on the islands and do different day trips. Obviously, on a cruise you will stay on a boat. This means while you take a relaxing break between two activities (or also overnight) the boat will already take you to the next destination around the islands. This is the main reason why I highly recommend a cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands. You are simply able to see so much more different locations around the archipelago, than if you had to travel back and forth to your land-based hotel. If you’re worried about sea sickness, just come prepared with proper medication (not just a little sea sickness patch).

2. Small boats offer the best cruise experience in Galápagos

When you’re decided on a cruise, please – and I cannot stress this enough – consider the size of your boat. Our gorgeous catamaran “Reina Silvia Voyager” hosted a maximum of only sixteen guests. This makes sense because G Adventures specializes in small group tours and is used exclusively for cruises visiting the Galápagos Islands by G Adventures. The boat features two dinghies, one naturalist guide and eight crew. A small boat size is extremely important when choosing a cruise in the Galápagos Islands.

First and foremost, the small boats can go and anchor where larger ones can’t (after all everything is strictly regulated in Galápagos National Park, which makes up about 97% of the entire archipelago). And secondly – this is true for all kinds of expedition cruises- it does take way less time for the group to get on and off the dinghies for excursions. Consider 20 minutes for this procedure on larger boats with at least two excursions a day. This already translates into spending more than one and a half hours of your precious vacation time a day just with waiting. Definitely go for a small boat like the Reina Silvia Voyager catamaran when you visit the Galápagos Islands.

3. A modern, newly built boat with single cabin option

Also when only looking at smaller boats, there are still many Galápagos cruises to choose from. Here is where budget really comes into play. While it’s true that you are unlikely to spend much time in your cabin, a modern boat with certain amenities was still very important to me. G Adventure’s Reina Silvia Voyager catamaran is one of the nicest options out there. It is also a very new boat. I believe it was built 2019 or 2020 and could only start sailing after CoVid had subsided somewhat. Accordingly, it features modern furnishings, a lounge with a huge TV, a bar and an amazing sundeck with BBQ and a jacuzzi on top.

Another huge selling argument for me was that this vessel is one of the very rare options if you want to book a single room. The Reina Silvia Voyager has two single cabins with balconies on the upper deck and seven doubles spread on upper and main deck. All rooms have private bathrooms and almost all of them have their own balcony. I was very surprised by the big size of my single cabin. It had a queen size bed and lots of free square footage. It would even work as a double in my view. So while not the cheapest, it is a very comfortable, modern and beautiful option to visit Galápagos.

Galápagos Best Cruise View from Deck of Reina Silvia Voyager Catamaran of G Adventures showing the ocean a sailing boat and cloudy sky via a black and white photograph

4. Best islands to visit in Galápagos

When decided on the boat, there is still the question of which itinerary to pick. At the time of writing there are two different itineraries with the Reina Silvia Voyager available via G Adventures. One focuses on the West and Central Galápagos Islands, the other on the East and Central Galápagos Islands. So which one to choose for your visit to the famous Darwin archipelago? I recommend going for the Western islands on your first visit to the Galápagos. The very cold but rich oceanic Cromwell Current hits Galápagos from the West. This is very beneficial for most wildlife and hence can offer unique wildlife sightings. For example, you will likely spot the famous flightless cormorant only in the Western Galápagos islands. The Eastern and Central Galápagos Islands itinerary on the other includes the famous Kicker Rock. You can check the detailed itineraries via the links below:

Detailed Itinerary West and Central Galápagos Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager – G Adventures

Detailed Itinerary Central and East Galápagos Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager – G Adventures

5. G Adventure cruises already include flights to and from Galápagos

Lastly, with G Adventures you will have the option of booking the cruise including the flights between Quito and the Galápagos Islands, or really only the cruise. I booked the option including the flights and I would also highly recommend that. There are some special procedures for flights to the Galápagos islands. You will need to have a special tourist control card and have your luggage checked at an additional security check BEFORE you head to regular security. You’ll also have to pay the National Park entry fee on arrival. When you’re well informed and prepared, certainly not impossible to organize these things on your own. I was however really glad this was all taken care of as part of the tour. It gave us peace of mind and more time to focus on the amazing adventure of visiting the magnificent Galápagos Islands.

I hope these tips are helpful in planning your visit to the Galápagos Islands and choosing the best Galápagos cruise for yourself. I had the most amazing time and was very happy with my choice. If you would like to read more about my cruise experience itself, please read my comprehensive Review of G Adventures Galápagos cruise – West and Central Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager.

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