This article outlines everything you need to know about a Galapagos expedition cruise, including docking locations and popular excursions that are not to be missed.
6 Things to Know About a Galapagos Expedition Cruise
The Galapagos Islands are on the bucket lists of many seasoned travelers. People travel to this archipelago off the coast of Ecuador for its pristine natural beauty and abundant wildlife, and many visitors choose to take a Galapagos cruise because you can see all that the islands have to offer in one affordable and luxurious package. Metropolitan Touring, which has been offering Galapagos cruises for nearly 50 years, is an ideal travel company for those who want to learn about the islands’ unique biodiversity while also enjoying some sun and sand. Here are six things you need to know if you are considering a Galapagos Expedition cruise with Metropolitan.
How to Get There
The Galapagos Islands are rightly known for their remote location, but that does not mean it is difficult to get there in the 21st century. U.S. residents can easily arrange a flight to Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. From there, Metropolitan staff will arrange a flight to one of the two airports on the Galapagos archipelago.
The Weather of the Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands have a mostly sunny subtropical climate with two distinct seasons. If you are taking a cruise during the Galapagos “summer” from December to June, expect average temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit with humid weather and occasional thunderstorms. If your cruise is booked from June to November, expect cooler weather with average temperatures in the 70s.
What to Pack
Your clothing choices largely depend on the season, but it is recommended that you bring a good pair of walking shoes and/or sneakers for hiking and a pair of sturdy sandals for walking on the beach. Other necessary items are a camera for capturing your visits with local wildlife like the Galapagos giant tortoise and the Galapagos fur seal. You will also need binoculars so you can get close-up views of the many local bird species, including the cute-as-a-button Galapagos penguins and the rare blue-footed boobies. If you are a beach bum, do not forget some sunscreen, a beach towel, and a good book to enjoy on the many pristine white sand beaches dotted across the islands.
If you have heard only one thing about the Galapagos Islands, it is probably about the archipelago’s unique biodiversity that supports an abundance of wildlife. There is no question that you will get up close to nature during a cruise around the islands, but what kind of animals you encounter will largely depend on what you want to see. Most vacationers get their pictures taken with the Galapagos’ unofficial symbol, the Galapagos giant tortoise, but you can also watch the colonies of Galapagos sea lions sunning themselves on the volcanic rocks or spend some time with the red and black marine iguanas who usually hang out on the beach. The Galapagos are also an ideal destination for avid bird watchers. You will have the chance to view many species that are found nowhere else on earth, like the flightless cormorant, waved albatross, and Galapagos petrel.
What to Expect Once You Are on Board
A Galapagos Expedition Cruise is not a one-size-fits-all vacation. Metropolitan Touring, which operates three vessels that tour the islands, has a cruise experience that will suit all types of travelers. If you are a science nut, you will get plenty of information about the archipelago’s unique biodiversity, which offers shore excursions and natural history lectures. Those who love aquatic pursuits might consider kayaking, snorkeling, and glass-bottom boat rides, all options offered on board Metropolitan Touring vessels. The Santa Cruz II boasts an experienced staff and many amenities like a natural history library, fitness room, and 24-hour coffee station. How to know what’s best for you in Galapagos?
If basking in the sun and lying on the sand are your essentials for a relaxing holiday, you can stay at the Metropolitan-run Finch Bay Eco Hotel for all or part of your Galapagos vacation. This beachfront hotel offers a four-star experience on the isolated Santa Cruz Island with a freshwater swimming pool, delicious cuisine from Cordon-Bleu-trained chefs, and plenty of access to sports like kayaking, scuba diving, and cycling. Plus, you can take all-day yacht excursions to the National Park islands and then return to your comfortable hotel room for a good night’s sleep on linen sheets.