When you’re in the mood to get out of the city, what’s the first place you think of? Woodstock? Catskills? Long Island? Sure, those are okay destinations. Kind of predictable, though. That’s why we decided to shake things up by visiting the Galapagos Islands—and we fell in love. With the nature. With the stunning landscapes and the perfect weather. With the adorable sea lions that chill on all the beaches and the dolphin pods following our yacht. We loved every bit of the entire Galapagos archipelago!
After a ton of research, we opted to travel with Quasar Expeditions, a family-owned cruise company and tour operator, and they exceeded our expectations day after day. If you’re looking for intel on some much-needed luxury travel to Galapagos Islands, we got you. From when to visit the Galapagos to what to look for in the best Galapagos cruise, it’s all here.
Galapagos Islands? Where is That?
If you’re not an expert (and trust us, we weren’t, either), the Galapagos is a glorious cluster of 13 islands about 600 miles west of Ecuador. All of the islands are volcanic and, yes, they’re active! Since 97% of the islands are part of the Galapagos National Park, they’re mostly uninhabited. This means: no giant hotels or resorts, no strip malls, no crowds. Thanks to their remote location, the Galapagos boast rare wildlife and marine life and untouched nature.
How to Get to the Galapagos Islands
So, there are basically two ways to visit the Galapagos. One is to take a live aboard cruise that visits all of the islands, and the other is to stay at a hotel in one of the Port Towns and take day tours.
When we were looking for the best Galapagos cruise, it was important to us to visit the entire archipelago, including islands that are far away from population centers. That’s why we opted for a live aboard vessel with Quasar, which prioritizes exploring the islands, wildlife encounters, AND plenty of time to chill. After all, luxury travel to the Galapagos Islands should include both adventure and relaxation.
The Best Time to Visit the Galapagos
Short answer: any time. Yes, really. Each month and season offers something unique to see and do in the Galapagos, so there’s really no such thing as an “off season” in the islands. It’s just a matter of deciding what type of weather and experience you prefer.
The warm, wet season lasts from December to June, with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. It’s the perfect time for snorkeling, lounging on the beach, and glimpsing Giant Tortoises lay their eggs while Flamingos and Blue Footed Boobies begin breeding, nesting, and hatching. The best Galapagos cruise will ensure that you see as many animals as possible, and Quasar kept us entertained and informed with fun, helpful nature guides.
The cooler, drier season lasts from June to December. The skies are cloudier, but the weather hovers around a comfortable 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Animals become a lot more active at this time, so you’ll see California sea lion pups and will enjoy plenty of opportunities for whale and dolphin spotting.
What to Look for When Booking Your Trip
If you decide to visit the islands on a liveaboard vessel like we did, there are a few things we recommend looking for in the best Galapagos cruises. Here are our top recommendations so that your luxury travel to the Galapagos is as awesome as ours was:
There are a ton of cruise companies out there that will try to fill their boats with as many tourists as possible (because money talks). We really wanted to get away from the crowds so we could focus on just blissing out in nature. Besides, nothing ruins a glorious sunset over the Pacific Ocean like someone waving their selfie stick in your face.
If luxury travel in the Galapagos is associated in your mind with tranquility and privacy, like it was in ours, then travel to the islands with small groups. When we chose Quasar, we knew that we were getting a cruise company that prioritizes quality over quantity, keeping tourist numbers down. Instead of a ton of guests, there were plenty of nature guides to chat with and learn from, along with expert crew members who had been to the Galapagos often and so they knew exactly what they were doing.
Choose Yachts with Open Decks
When researching the best cruise to the Galapagos, we kept coming across ships that either had minimal deck space or had passengers sitting behind smoked glass. This might be fine if you’re just trying to get from point A to point B quickly, but for us, the point of traveling through the Galapagos was actually traveling through the Galapagos. We wanted to be right there in the middle of the water, in the open air, so we wouldn’t miss a single sea turtle, whale, or bird.
Look for yachts that let you move around the decks freely and look out in all directions. It’s also important that the decks offer plenty of shade because we aren’t kidding when we say it gets sunny. If you can lounge and dine out on the decks, even better¬—that’s what the #cruiselife is all about!
The Galapagos Are a Once in a Lifetime Thrill
The city is incredible, but sometimes, you just have to unplug, immerse yourself in nature, and commune with the wilderness. Our luxury travel to the Galapagos Islands with Quasar left us refreshed, energized, and pumped for the next adventure.