Crystal clear waters teeming with colourful fish, strangely fearless animals and dramatic volcanic landscapes
“To discover the Galapagos we must come in a humble spirit, not to dominate the environment, nor exploit its resources, not to regulate the natural creation but to find a niche in it for ourselves” – so wrote John Hickman in his illuminating book ‘Galapagos, the enchanted islands’, first published 1985. Ever since Charles Darwin first visited the Galapagos Islands with Captain Fitzroy in 1835 and subsequently developed his theory of the Evolution of Species, the archipelago has been a source of wonder and amazement to mankind.
What is it which makes the Galapagos islands so special? To be sure, it is the giant tortoises, marine and land iguanas and many species of bird that have evolved in such a distinctive fashion distinguishing them from their forbears on the mainland, but also the extraordinary volcanic landscapes, the range of climate bio-zones and above all, the endearing tameness of the wildlife.
UNESCO declared Galapagos a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985. Our guests sometimes express concern about the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem and increasing pressure on the natural resources in the islands, but the Ecuadorean government working in conjunction with the Park Authorities have over the years implemented very strict regulations to ensure that the number of boats and visitors is controlled and that any further damage to the unique ecosystems is minimised. This in turn has allowed them to tackle the threat from invasive species such as rats, wild cattle and goats which posed a far greater threat to endemic species and sponsored the work of the Charles Darwin Research station where careful selective breeding projects have rescued species of tortoises and iguanas from the jaws of extinction.
There are more than 100 boats which offer cruises but these do vary in standards and we offer a selection of only the very best. We can arrange cruises for as little as four nights to as much as two weeks on small exclusive motor yachts or catamarans, with a maximum of 16 passengers – or on larger boats for those with less good ‘sea legs’. Alternatively we can offer land-based options, staying in luxurious hotels on Santa Cruz Island, with day trips to neighbouring islands. Or we can suggest the combination of a few days on a boat and a few days in a hotel.
We normally recommend that our guests visit for seven nights and that it is not really worth going for anything less than five days. These extra days give you an opportunity to really explore beyond the main island and take in the less known Western itinerary.
However you do it, a visit to Galapagos is truly something not to be missed. The experiences are second to none: Swimming and playing with young sea lions whilst snorkelling; watching entranced as blue-footed boobies go about their ritual mating dance; getting up close to a giant Galapagos tortoise and being scared as it ‘hisses’ at you; photographing a pair of curious Galapagos Hawks which are gliding in the wind; being shocked about almost treading on a giant iguana that refused to move off the path; being amazed at how bizarre the male frigate birds look with their red throat sack fully inflated…. These are just a few of the myriad of wonderful memories we have from Galapagos.
We could go on, but if a picture speaks a thousand words, take a look at our Galapagos Wildlife Gallery.
We would love to tell you about our favourite vessels or hotels! To discover more about the enchanted Galapagos Islands and how best to visit them, give us a call or send us a message.
Places we love to stay
Launched in 2016, the M/V Origin sets new standards of quality and service in the Galapagos Islands.View details about M/V Origin
Pikaia Lodge is a striking modern building set on top of a hill with panoramic views. The hotel brings a new level of luxury to the Galapagos Islands.View details about Pikaia Lodge
MY Passion has recently been the subject of a complete refurbishment leaving her with a vibrant interior of distinctive Ecuadorian style, replete with rich reds and golds with starburst suns glowing from the ceilings.View details about M/Y Passion
Launched in November 2015, Petrel is the latest addition to the luxurious and fast class of catamarans, joining sister ships Ocean Spray and Cormorant. She can accommodate 16 passengers in great comfort and contemporary style, with a large sun deck with shaded seating area and Jacuzzi.View details about M/C Petrel
Scalesia Lodge opened its doors in October 2015, offering for the first time top quality accommodation on the largest and most dramatic island in the Galapagos, with a population of less than 4,000.View details about Scalesia Lodge
Originally a wedding gift from Prince Rainier to Princess Grace of Monaco, hence the name (and before that, Winston Churchill’s yacht of choice for post war cruises), MY Grace is a boat steeped in tradition and old world class.View details about M/Y Grace
La Pinta is large motor yacht which has recently been completely renovated. In spite of its size, it accommodates just 48 guests leaving ample social areas and a beautiful observation deck towards the bow.View details about La Pinta
Galapagos Safari Camp
The ‘Safari Camp’ offers guests a different way to experience Galapagos: sleeping in luxury tents with excellent meals and bar service in the main lodge.View details about Galapagos Safari Camp
The M/V Evolution left a lasting impression on us. She was fully refurbished in 2012 and is beautifully fitted out with the over-riding impression of being a small, elegant, 1930s ocean liner.View details about M/V Evolution
Royal Palm Hotel
Located in the highlands of Santa Cruz island, Galapagos, the Royal Palm is an exclusive hideaway resort.View details about Royal Palm Hotel