Should I take a Galapagos cruise or a land based tour? This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make as you plan your trip. Here are:
10 Reasons to Choose a Galapagos Land Based Tour
- Free time is on land: Because our free time was on land – we got to explore on our own. For example, one evening after a snorkeling excursion (which our daughter refused to even try the mask/snorkel) Dena took Drew to the beach in front of the Isabela Lodge and taught her to snorkel. It was more relaxed and she loved it. If we had been on a boat, Drew would have left the Galapagos and not have enjoyed snorkeling and seeing the marine life. Now, because of that experience, she can’t wait to snorkel again.
- Enjoy the People of the Galapagos: We really loved being on land during our free time. We walked into Puerto Ayora (the main town on Santa Cruz Island) a number of times. There is a fisherman’s volleyball game worth watching and the theatrics of the fish market. Shopping in town is not limited to a single, dedicated excursion. We were able to get to know local people and businesses as well as enjoy some of the islands’ culture.
- Less Environmental Impact: Help with Galapagos conservation by avoiding water based tours. Land based tours use less fuel and pollute less than a cruise.
- Internet is not only available, it’s free. On both Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands, we used free wireless internet to blog and send email. Although we brought our laptops, both lodges have a terminals setup for free guest use.
- Excursion Choices: We got to choose between snorkeling and island excursions. On Floreana Island, for example, we took a trip into the mountains while other guests went snorkeling. Cruises have a fixed itinerary and you must comply.
- No Wet Landings: Not everyone can handle wet landings (or even a dinghy) in order to go ashore. While this wouldn’t have been a problem for us, someone with mobility issues or younger children could have a hard time. Traveling with Red Mangrove means dry landings every time.
- Kids Are Always Welcome: Many cruises won’t accept children under a certain age. Land based tours accept children of all ages.
- Less Parental Paranoia: As parents, we didn’t need to worry about the safety of our daughter while she played, including the (albeit small) risk of her falling overboard.
- No Rock-N-Roll Dining: Dining at sea isn’t always much fun and can get old fast – regardless of how delicious the food is. Meals can be much more enjoyable without rolls and bumps. Also, on a land based tour with Red Mangrove you will never have to share a table with strangers unless you want to. Some days we dined just the three of us, other days we chose to have coffee or a meal with other guests.
- Privacy & Comfort: Having your own hotel room, private bathroom and room to roam is a luxury that shouldn’t be taken for granted. We enjoyed normal showers and hotel rooms. I’m a big guy and like to be able to get in the shower and turn around. After a day of exploring, a normal shower is an amazing luxury. They will also do your laundry on the same day with zero pollution in the sea.
Red Mangrove offers a wide range of land based tours – for snorkelers, divers and land lubbers.