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Located in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are a magnet to those who are passionate about wildlife.

The Galapagos archipelago consists of just 19 islands (some large, some small) with many additional rocky outcrops and islets dotted across an expansive 17,000 square miles.  Sometimes known as the Enchanted Archipelago, these island are both renowned and iconic internationally, in equal measure.

Wildlife has evolved and adapted to their remote, sometimes inhospitable environment over thousands of years and these protected islands are now home to some unique and endemic species.

Idyllic beaches continually rank among the world’s best – but be prepared to share with the natives! An immersive journey to Darwins living laboratory is a spectacle that will render you speechless – sights only admired in complete awe.

Before booking, there are a few things you should give due consideration so here are a few questions that you may wish to ask yourself before making any firm decisions.

Would I prefer a cruise or land based itinerary?

If you wish to reach the more remote islands within the archipelago, then a cruise should be your choice however ‘island-hopping’ will give you more time to get under the skin and truly explore each breath-taking location.  Of course, I don’t want to restrict you to an either or – a combination of the two options will afford you the best of both worlds!

How long should I make my stay?

How long is a piece of string?  If you are making the 15+ hour flight to Quito to begin your adventure then a short stay is probably not recommended.

With tailor-made individual arrangements and group tours available to you, itineraries can be upwards of 4 nights in duration, however most don’t stay longer than 12-14 nights (an average stay is usually 7 nights) and either head back home or continue their Latin America sojourn by adding in Peru, Ecuador or other destinations to their trip.  Extentions to the Galapagos are also flexible and can be added before and/or after this integral part of your journey.

A week experiencing the islands is a reasonable time in which to experience and observe a considerable variety of wildlife and visit at least 3 islands.  The longer you stay, the less rushed you will feel and the more experiences you are likely to have.

Which ship/cruise should I choose?

Confusing isn’t it as there is so much choice out there!  From functional to luxury, there is a vessel to suit most tastes and budget, with the latter perhaps being the deciding factor.  Of course, you want to maximise your visit to these unique, beautiful islands therefore the itinerary of each ship should also be a major consideration – you don’t want to miss out!

Is there a better time to visit the islands?

You can of course visit the Galapagos anytime, with cruises operating throughout the year too, however there are generally two seasons in terms of weather and wildlife that you should consider when selecting your travel dates.

Our summer and autumn months (June-November) are the cooler, drier months to travel.  August to November are the peak months to witness sea lion pupping and penguin nesting but the waters are choppy if you intend to snorkel or scuba dive.

The hotter, wetter months of December through to May will entail regular showers of rain but in between, you can expect and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine.  Marine life, iguanas and giant tortoises thrive from February to May and you get to miss some of the atrocious UK winter/early spring weather – joy all round!

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