Senior Travel Consultant, Sophie shares what a typical day on a Galápagos cruise is like.
The day begins early with a wake-up call and then breakfast is promptly served around 7 am. No complaints - most visitors are keen to get the day started and explore the islands. You’ll either have dropped anchor overnight or will just be arriving at an island; the first shore excursion will leave around 8am on a panga (inflatable speed boat). You’ll be advised in advance what to take (water, sun screen, clothing) and whether the landing will be ‘wet’ (arriving at a sandy beach and wading ashore) or ‘dry’ (arriving at a rocky part of the island to dock and walk directly on the island).
Shore excursions last 2 – 3 hours depending on the site. Regulations restrict the group to a maximum of 16 visitors plus your naturalist guide. There is usually a specific trail you have to follow as the Galápagos National Park has strict rules in place in order to protect the islands’ environment and wildlife. Quite often however you’ll set foot on a beach and be greeted by playful sea lions, marine iguanas wandering about or the bright orange Sally Lightfoot crab scooting along the sand.
The naturalist guides are well informed and have fascinating stories to tell, making the excursion fly by and before you know it, it’s time to say goodbye to the island and return to the boat for lunch. Often there’s an opportunity to snorkel but it depends on where you are and what the National Park allows.
It’s frequently during lunch the boat starts moving on to the next island in preparation for the afternoon activities. There’s time for a siesta or to sit and reflect on the day so far before the afternoon landing. The afternoon’s progress follows a similar pattern to the morning but is every visit is unique – each site sites has its own flora and fauna and varying landscapes. After the excursion you return to the boat to freshen up for dinner.
Most evenings there will be lectures by the guides, or you can chat to fellow passengers over a glass of wine and revisit some of the experiences of the day. Just after dinner is when most boats set sail for the next island - captains opt to do the longer journeys overnight. This is the time to take your sea sick tablets if you’re prone to feeling a bit queasy at sea but it’s all worth it when you wake up the next morning to be greeted by a new island and new adventures.