Galapagos Islands Cruises


A Galapagos Islands cruise is so many things rolled into one – a relaxing holiday, an adventure, and foremost, a wildlife extravaganza. It truly is the experience of a lifetime, not only for birdwatchers or wildlife obsessives but for every traveller who has any interest in seeing the incredibly diverse and often unique species of birds, reptiles and mammals. The isolation of the islands and the minimal contact with humans has made the wildlife almost totally unafraid and allows visitors to see them at closer quarters.

On a luxury or first-class Galapagos cruise you will visit many of the islands where you will participate in short walks, snorkelling, Zodiac (Panga) cruising and kayaking as well as visiting the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre.

At Galapagos Cruise Travel Centre we will create a unique, tailor-made itinerary specifically for you including a Galapagos Island cruise and any additional exploration in Ecuador that suits your interests. This may include the Amazon rainforest, the cloud forest or a perhaps trip down the avenue of the volcanoes. Our expert travel consultants have firsthand experience and will create the perfect Galapagos holiday for you and your travel companions.

A Selection of Accommodation


Coral II

Coral I

Galapagos Legend



Cormorant II


Galaxy Sirius

Grand Majestic

Natural Paradise

Ocean Spray

Sea Star




Isabela II

La Pinta


Aqua Mare

Galapagos Angel

Galapagos Elite

Galapagos Endemic

Galapagos Horizon







National Geographic Endeavour II

Silver Origin


If you’re really not a sailor, there are a small number of high quality hotels that offer a bed that doesn’t move and day trips to nearby islands.  Many guests also choose to extend their stay in the Galapagos by adding a few nights at a Galapagos hotel at the end of a cruise – quite literally experiencing the best of both worlds.






  • Beginning of the rainy season.
  • Land birds start nesting.
  • On Española Island, the adult male marine iguanas become brightly coloured.
  • The Green sea turtle arrives at the beaches of the Galapagos Islands to lay their eggs.
  • Land iguanas begin reproductive cycles on Isabela Island.
  • Both water and air temperatures rise and stay warm until June.
  • Ideal time for snorkelling.


  • On Floreana Island, flamingoes start nesting.
  • Bahamas pintail ducks start their breeding season.
  • Nazca boobies on Española Island are at the end of their nesting season.
  • Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz Island.
  • The highest water temperature reaches 25°C.  This temperature remains until April.
  • Very few penguins are sighted on Bartolomé Island.
  • The nesting season of the Galapagos dove reaches its peak.


  • The rainy season reaches its highest precipitation.
  • Sporadic tropical rains, intense sun and hot climate.  Air temperature can reach 30°C.
  • Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina Island.
  • March 21, the beginning of the summer equinox, signals the arrival of the Waved albatrosses on Española Island.


  • Massive arrival of Waved albatrosses on Española Island.  Their amazing courtship begins.
  • End of hatching season of the Giant tortoises.
  • The eggs of the Green sea turtles begin to hatch.
  • The eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabela Island.
  • Good visibility in water for snorkellers.
  • Excellent month for weather, animals and water temperature.


  • North Seymour Island’s Blue-footed boobies begin their courtship.
  • Sea turtles are still hatching at Gardner Bay on Española Island, Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island and Puerto Egas on Santiago Island.
  • Most of the marine iguanas’ eggs hatch from nests on Santa Cruz Island.
  • Palo Santo trees begin to shed their foliage.
  • Waved albatrosses on Española Island start laying their eggs.
  • Ban-rumped Storm petrels begin their first nesting period.


  • Beginning of the garúa (cold) season.
  • Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places.
  • Beginning of the nesting season of the Giant tortoises.
  • Many male Magnificent Frigatebirds displaying red pouches on North Seymour.


  • Sea bird communities are very active, especially the Blue footed boobies on Española Island.  Flightless cormorants court and nest on Fernandina Island.
  • It is possible to find American oyster-catchers nesting on Puerto Egas Island.
  • Lava lizards initiate mating rituals until November.
  • Whales, dolphins are more likely to be observed, especially off the western coast of Isabela Island.


  • The Galapagos hawks court on Española and Santiago Islands.
  • Nazca boobies and Swallow-tailed gulls nest on Genovesa Island.
  • Migrant shore birds start to arrive and stay on the Islands until March.
  • Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
  • ‘Pupping’ season of sea lions has begun, with western and central islands common for sightings.


  • The peak of the cold (garúa) season.
  • The air temperature reaches its lowest – approx 19°C.
  • Penguins show remarkable activity on Bartolomé Island until December.
  • Sea lions are very active, especially in the western and central areas of the Archipelago.
  • Most species of marine birds remain active at their nesting sites.


  • Lava herons nest until March.
  • Galapagos fur seals begin their mating period.
  • Boobies raise their chicks on Española Island.
  • Giant tortoises still lay their eggs.


  • Sea lion ‘pupping’ continues.
  • Sea lions are sexually active on the eastern part of the archipelago.
  • Breeding season for Brown Noddies.
  • Band-rumped Storm petrels begin their second nesting period.


  • Hatching of the Giant tortoises’ eggs begins – lasts until April.
  • Green sea turtles display their mating behaviour.
  • The rainy season begins, all of the plants of the dry zone produce leaves and Galapagos “turns green”.
  • The first young albatrosses begin to fly.

NOTE: Due to changes in the strength and the limits of the ocean currents that can affect the weather in Galapagos, some of the events described above may differ or fail.


To help you appreciate this amazing Galapagos Islands, we have compiled this information on the various islands that form the archipelago.

Placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, the Galapagos Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean over 1,000km from the continent of South America. The 19 volcanic islands contain a vast array of unusual and rare animal life – such as land and marine iguanas, Giant tortoises, and a vast array of bird species.

Over the course of your tour, you will have the opportunity to observe the wildlife up close. Swim with the sea lions, snorkel with penguins and observe the activities of life underwater, or come eye-to-eye with a Flightless cormorant. Perhaps you will see fur seals basking on the rocks, surrounded by a sea of dolphins, whales, rays and sharks. Take in the unique scenery of lava flows and rock formations created by the centuries of seismic activity in the area, while kayaking through mangroves.

The numerous activities and sights available to you in the Galapagos make for a fascinating journey you will never forget.


Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a small bayside village with a growing artistic and surfing community, is the capital of the Galapagos and the oldest settlement in the islands. The Interpretation Centre conducts entertaining presentations and displays, which offer the opportunity to learn more about both the natural and human history of the islands. A trip through several vegetation zones and farming communities into the highlands leads to El Junco Lake, where you may view the resident bird life – stilts, White-cheeked Pintail ducks and Common gallinules.

Created by erosion and jutting up almost 152 metres out of the ocean, the characteristic shape of Leon Dormido can be seen on the west side of the island. It is home to Blue-footed boobies, Frigatebirds and sea lions.

Along the trail on the long, white sand beach of Cerro Brujo, you may view sea lions, pelicans and Blue-footed boobies. Nearby, at Isla Lobos, walk over the rugged terrain to observe the crazy courtship dance of the Blue-footed boobies.

For relaxation, a short trail leads to the crystal waters of Playa Ochoa, where you can swim while observing the Galapagos bird life flying overhead.

Santa Cruz Island – (Indefatigable)

With the greatest population in the Galapagos, Santa Cruz houses the headquarters for conservation, research and breeding in the small town of Puerto Ayora- the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park Office. A journey to the lush highlands provides a stark contrast to the scenery of the smaller, arid islands. Visit the lava tunnels and Twin Craters (Los Gemelos) after ascending through seven different vegetation zones, with the chance to see Vermillion flycatchers, Large-billed flycatchers and Darwin finches.

At Black Turtle Cove, Reef sharks, Golden rays and Pacific sea turtles rest (and sometimes breed) surrounded by red, white and black mangroves. Head further west to visit the amazing Cerro Dragon, where you may see Pink flamingoes feeding at the saltwater lagoon. Along the trail, observe the successes of the Darwin Station breeding program in the presence of a number of nesting Yellow land iguanas.

The soft, white sand of Bachas Beach is made up of decomposed coral and is a favourite nesting site for sea turtles.

BartolomÉ Island

Featuring Pinnacle Rock, an eroded tuff cone, this island is home to the small Galapagos penguin. You may also see Lava lizards, Galapagos grasshoppers and sea turtles. For a great view, climb thirty minutes to the highest point on the island, where the panoramic landscape of lava formations is breathtaking. On the southern beach, take a walk through the mangroves or snorkel from the beach, perhaps catching a glimpse of Galapagos sharks roaming close to the shore.


A favourite with bird-watchers, this island is host to many species including Nazca boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed gulls, Lava gulls, marine iguanas, Storm petrels, Short-eared owls, Brown pelicans, Yellow-crowned Night herons, Galapagos doves and Large Ground finches.

At Darwin Bay, colonies of Great Frigatebirds and Red-footed boobies nest in salt bushes, surrounded by the cliffs of a partially eroded volcano. The calm bay offers the opportunity for swimming, snorkelling and exploration by kayak.  From the base of the cliffs, it is possible to climb the trail up Prince Philip’s Steps to view birds nesting in the branches of the Palo Santo trees and the lava fields of the island.

SANTIAGO ISLAND – (James, San Salvador)

Covered with arid vegetation and lava flows, the dramatic island of Santiago was once a popular location for pirate anchorages and the base of a salt-mining enterprise. Today, wildlife dominates, under the shadow of Sugarloaf Volcano.

At Puerto Egas, Marine iguanas graze on exposed green algae, only minutes from the black sand beach. The grottos are deep pools of crystal water, home to the fur seal. You may also observe Galapagos hawks, Sally Lightfoot crabs, American oystercatchers, Great Blue herons, Lava herons and Yellow-crowned Night herons. On the other side of the island, at Sullivan Bay, view a recent lava flow, barely a century old. Afterwards, snorkel and swim with the playful sea lions at the coralline beaches.


With no introduced species to date, Fernandina Island is the most pristine of the Galapagos group. It is inhabited by hundreds of marine iguanas along the shore, while the Flightless cormorants build their nests on the point and sea lions tussle for territory. Follow the inland trail to see recent lava flows and catch sight of the Galapagos hawks soaring overhead.

ISABELA ISLAND – (Albemarle)

Created by six merged shield volcanoes, Isabela Island is the largest in the Galapagos and home to a Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. You may see whales and dolphins in the Bolivar Channel and at Tagus Cove, as well as the Blue-footed boobies, Frigatebirds, Audubon shearwaters, Noddy terns, Mockingbirds and Galapagos hawks. A short climb through dry vegetation will lead to stunning views of the saltwater Darwin Lake, located in an extinct volcano crater.

Along the western side of the island, swing past Cape Berkeley, where a large volcano has dropped away into the sea. At the foot of the Alcedo Volcano, Urbina Bay is home to colourful land iguanas, huge marine iguanas, pelicans, Galapagos tortoises, Flightless cormorants and, occasionally, Galapagos penguins. Elizabeth Bay is comprised of an extensive mangrove ecosystem from where you may snorkel and take panga trips.

You may visit Los Humedales (marshlands), a series of elevated wooden trails which create an ecosystem of tide lagoons.  At Sierra Negra Volcano, you can witness smoking fumaroles and recent lava flows near the 10km crater.

BALTRA ISLAND – (South Seymour)

Connected to Santa Cruz by ferry, Baltra is the hub of civil and military airport activity. The port is used by the Ecuadorian Navy and is the site of an airforce base.


A small flat island, North Seymour is the best place to see the Blue-footed boobies nesting along the rocky coast. Numerous Palo Santo trees are homes to Frigatebirds, who also build their nests of twigs on the salt bushes. You may sight sea lions basking on the black lava rocks near the shore.

From this island, you can see the eroded tuff cones of Daphne Mayor and Daphne Minor. Landings on this crater are restricted to protect the nesting site of hundreds of Blue-footed boobies.


The isolated island of Espanola sustains the most varied and impressive colony of sea birds in the Galapagos, including the Waved albatross, Blue-footed booby, Galapagos dove, Swallow-tailed gull, Red-billed Tropicbird, Large Cactus finch and Galapagos hawk.

You may arrive at Punta Suarez, where sea lions surf in the waves and marine iguanas soak up the sun on the beach.  Soaring cliffs on the southern shore lead to views of the blowhole, created by a fissure in the lava. At Gardner Bay, you may snorkel and interact with the Hood mockingbirds or relax on the unspoiled beach.


The remarkable red colour of Rabida Island is the backdrop for flocks of pink flamingoes resting on a lagoon near the beach. Pelicans build their nests in the mangroves that surround the lagoon, which is great for snorkelling, especially after a trip to the observatory to take in the unique view.


A nesting area for the Green sea turtle, Punta Cormorant is on the Northern tip of Floreana Island. In the shallow water along the coral sand beach, you may glimpse stingrays and Black-tipped sharks. Over the hill, a trail leads to a flamingo-filled lagoon surrounded by Palo Santo trees.

Head south to visit the historic site of Post Office Bay or north to experience one of the best snorkelling sites in the islands. Devil’s Crown is situated in a sunken crater; the submerged volcano offering the perfect home for a variety of colourful fish and sea lions.


South Plaza’s main attraction is its unusual vegetation, comprised of Opuntia cacti and the succulent red Sesuvium spread across the grey rocks. Iguanas nest all over the hill, while the sheer cliffs of the southern shore are a perfect bird habitat.


Most Islands in the Galapagos have a number of the Islands endemic species.  That said, not all Islands will have all species.  In part this is why we recommend voyages of at least 4 nights; so you get to see a greater variety of what the Galapagos has to offer (that’s in addition to the fact that the first and last days of all cruises are getting to and from the airport to the boat (and vice versa).

All voyages should have the opportunity to view Galapagos Giant Tortoise, either at a breeding Centre or on farmland on Santa Cruz.

There are several species that are either Island specific or found on certain Islands or in specific areas of the Galapagos Islands.  They key species which are site/island dependent are:

Red Footed Booby

Red Footed Booby

Genovesa ONLY
Galapagos Albatross

Galapagos Albatross

Espanola ONLY
Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Penguin

Fernandina and Isabela
Galapagos Flightless Cormorant

Galapagos Flightless Cormorant

Fernandina and Isabela
Santa Fe Iguana

Santa Fe Iguana

Santa Fe

Planning Your Trip

Galapagos Cruise Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.

We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation (it can be a combination – for example you may wish to celebrate a special occasion while you’re away by staying in a very special property or place). Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.

Please book early. Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small. For example, the Petrel accommodates just 16 guests. This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.

If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.

Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands. You will be required to pay entrance into the Galapagos National Park (US$100). You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival.

It is strongly recommended that all travellers to Ecuador be vaccinated for yellow fever before commencing their trip.

Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza.

There are no compulsory vaccinations.

We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.

We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines and QANTAS Airlines. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.

Flights from Quito or Guayaquil (Ecuador) to the Galapagos Islands are usually booked by the ship operator (to ensure all guest arrive on the same flight).

Year-round. Despite their sub-tropical location on the equator, the cold waters of the Humboldt Current surround the islands keeping temperatures pleasant.

The Galapagos has two main seasons:

December to June – warm (becoming hot and humid January to March)

July to November – more wind, cooler, mainly dry, with some misty drizzle