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When Charles Darwin first explored the Galapagos, he did it by boat. He didn’t have any other choice.

Today, Galapagos visitors have a decision to make. There are two options for exploring the Galapagos: Land or water based.

  • A water-based tour (cruise) means that you will eat, sleep and rest on-board – either a yacht, catamaran, sailboat or cruise ship. Only land based excursions are off the ship.
  • A land-based tour mean you will eat, sleep and rest on land. You will be on the water only during scuba/snorkeling trips and travel between islands.
There are a number of factors that are often overlooked when planning a Galapagos trip. There are comfort and environmental considerations.
galapagos-land-based-tour-group-isabela-island

6 Things to Consider When Planning Your Galapagos Adventure

  1. Seasickness: This is the obvious one. If you have trouble with sea sickness, you’ll want to think twice before booking a week at sea.
  2. Cruises Consume More Fuel: Constant idling and motoring of cruise ships consumes significant volume of fuel.
  3. Greater Environmental Impact: Greater impact is made to the islands with the hundreds of passengers that cruises may host, when compared to smaller land-based tour groups.
  4. Limited Destinations: Larger boats cannot even send groups to certain locations, like Isabela Island.
  5. Ocean Pollution / Dumping Grey Water: Pollution possibilities such as disposal of grey water at sea or garbage being thrown into the sea are present on cruise ships.
  6. Limited Economic Benefits: Cruise ships tend to operate inside of a bubble – buying their supplies from a single location and often hiring mainlanders. Money is seldom spent at the locations visited. In contrast, a land based tour ensures that money spent by visitors ALWAYS benefits the local communities. Red Mangrove Lodges support local sustainability on 3 different Galapagos islands through employment and advancement through education, training and sponsorships.
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Its worth taking the time to think through your plans, and make sure that it is going to be best for you – and for the Galapagos. Taking a land based Galapagos tour limits environmental impact and increases your exposure to wildlife.

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One Response to Should I Choose a Galapagos Cruise or Land-Based Tour? 6 Things to Consider

  1. Rosa Elena Amavisca says:

    We will be in Quito in June and would LOVE to go to Galapago Islands for @ 6 days.  What do you recommend?
    rosaelenah@h@hotmail:disqus Thanks!!
    otmail.com

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