The Galapagos are a series of Islands about 1000 kilometers west of Ecuador. World famous as the islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the islands are home to an incredible assortment of animals. You can find giant tortoises the size of small cars, blue-footed booby birds, ocean diving iguana, Darwin’s finches, sea lions, and an incredible variety of marine life.
The best way to make the most of this fascinating area is to enjoy a luxury cruise of the islands to visit the different areas famous for their individual wildlife. We will suggest three top rated luxury Galapagos cruises below. See the Charles Darwin research center to enjoy the giant tortoises, visit areas inhabited by marine Iguanas, and enjoy some beautiful white sand beaches. You will also have the opportunity to kayak, swim, and snorkel to see some of the amazing marine life.
The most comfortable of the luxury Galapagos cruises are catamarans, which offer more stability as you cruise from island to island and include land visits in the itineraries to make the most of this incredible area. Walk the islands scouting for wildlife and visit the many interesting island features.
Luxury Galapagos Cruise Itineraries
On the following luxury Galapagos cruises, you can enjoy itineraries from as short as 4 days focusing on specific areas, right up to a 15-day mega cruise to make the most of the islands. There are 18 different islands in total and also some smaller islets, which themselves can offer some superb wildlife sightings. Certain areas of the rocky outcrops are the best places to see sea lions or young hammerhead sharks. To explore the marine life, the cruises have kayaks and snorkel equipment to see the colorful fish and other animals.
Ocean Spray 5 Day Galapagos Cruise
For a 5 day itinerary aboard the exquisite Ocean Spray vessel, you will first arrive in Baltra Island airport for a quick briefing aboard the vessel. We will then visit Bartholomew Island, which offers the most famous view of the Galapagos and snorkeling opportunities for those interested in getting in the water. The next day, we will visit Genovesa and Darwin Bay. Here we can enjoy a trail to see different seabird colonies and a beautiful coral beach.
The next morning we will head to Santiago and Espumilla Beach, which is where we will see the famous marine iguanas and also sally lightfoot crabs. We will then see Buccaneer Cove, which was once a refuge for British buccaneers. After this, we head to Puerto Egas for its black sandy beaches. Here we can see Galapagos hawks and the fascinating lava lizards. The trail here leads to a tide pool and grottos home to a variety of wildlife, such as the Galapagos fur seals.
The next day, we head to North Seymour Island to explore the rocky coast for blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. This is also a great place to see sea lions. Here we can go snorkeling to spot reef shark, fish, and garden eels. After this, we get a new perspective and head to the highlands of Santa Cruz. This is where we will see the famous giant tortoises, but also mockingbirds and Darwin finches.
On the last day, we explore Mosquera Island with its long stretch of white sand and tide pools. The island has the largest population of sea lions on the Galapagos and is also where people report occasional sightings of orcas drawn in by abundant prey.
The Luxury-class Ocean Spray Galapagos Cruise
The Ocean Spray Galapagos Cruise was designed to offer both top performance and luxurious comfort. Enjoy the jacuzzi, large sundeck, and comfortable cabins with private balconies.
On cruises from 4 days to the 15-day mega cruise option, you will be accompanied by some of the best naturalist guides on the Galapagos Islands to show off the incredible wildlife and island features. The vessel is also equipped with kayaks and snorkeling equipment to let you explore the marine world around the islands.
The Luxury Cormorant Cruise 4 Day Itinerary
The Cormorant 4 Day Cruise Itinerary begins on San Cristobal Island where we will have a briefing on the Cormorant Cruise before your cruise. We will first cruise around San Cristobal to see the different sea birds that call the rocky outcrops around the island home, such as the blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. You can also snorkel to see sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and fascinating rock formations.
Day two is where we explore Espanola and Gardner Bay to enjoy trail walks to spot many different birds, such as Nazca boobies, Blue-footed boobies, and albatrosses. The area is also home to large blowholes where water spurts into the air for fantastic action photos. We will also explore the turquoise waters for kayaking and snorkeling opportunities where we will find a colony of sea lions.
We will later explore Floreana and enjoy a trail overlooking a lagoon where we can see many flamingos visiting the saltwater. The island is also home to the Green Beach where the wonderful color is produced by the sand’s olivine crystals and the Four Sand Beach made of white coral. We will also visit Post Office Bay where sailors used to leave their mail and we will hear some fascinating stories from the island’s past.
Day four is spent on Santa Cruz at the Charles Darwin Station where we can see giant tortoises and learn about research on these remarkable islands. You will also see the hatchling ‘giant’ tortoises, which can be as small as three inches long.
The Luxury-class Cormorant Galapagos Cruise
The Cormorant Cruise uses the best of Galapagos catamaran design to optimize comfort, stability and cruising between the many different Galapagos Islands. Your accommodation includes a jacuzzi, private balcony, and sun deck for each of the very comfortable staterooms.
The Cormorant Cruise itineraries range from the 4-day cruise right up to a 15-day mega cruise to explore each side of the Galapagos. Choose from a 4-day, 5-day, two different 8-day itineraries, and the 15-day option.
The Luxury Petrel 8 Day Galapagos Cruise
The Petrel Luxury Cruise 8 Day Galapagos Itinerary ‘B’ offers a fantastic experience to see the island’s iconic wildlife and best geological features. Begin the cruise on San Cristobal Island where you will arrive to explore the area and to see iconic giant tortoises.
The next day, we explore Española Island and Gardner Bay to enjoy trail walks to a fantastic beach with turquoise waters. This bay is a fantastic place to see the much-loved sea lions and we can enjoy great opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. After this, we head to Osborn Islet and Suárez Point on Española for the sea lions, snorkeling, and wildlife. The areas are great places to see blue-footed boobies, lava lizards, and waved albatross.
On day three, we head to Cormorant Point on Sun Floreana to enjoy a walk to spot the visiting flamingos at the lagoon. You can also spot many other birds and enjoy the fascinating beaches. Visit two distinct areas of the magical green beach, which is colored by the high amount of olivine crystals in the sand and a white beach colored by the sand of white corals.
We will also visit Floreana’s Devil’s Crown, which is home to the best snorkeling on the Galapagos. Enjoy snorkeling to see different colorful fish and other marine life, such as sharks, and different rays. While near Floreana, we will head to Post Office Bay, which was established in the 18th century for sailors to send their mail.
The next day, we will visit Santa Cruz to see the Charles Darwin Research Center and listen to the conservation and research work they are doing on the islands. You will also see more of the iconic giant tortoises. Not only see the adult giants, but also get a glimpse of their hatchlings which are only a few inches across.
We will now visit the Bartholomew Island to see the lava fields and the patterns of the trees and plants that once grew here. This is also the place for the most famous view on the Galapagos Islands and you will have ample time to capture incredible photographs.
On day 6, we venture to Genovesa and will enjoy visiting Darwin Bay, which is a coral beach and is home to a trail to see different bird colonies, such as the iconic red-footed boobies. This is also a great place for snorkeling to spot different colorful fish.
After this, we head to Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island, which was once a safe place for British buccaneers and is home to fascinating black sand beaches. The island is also a great place to see the iconic marine iguanas and the sally lightfoot crabs.
On your last day, enjoy a visit to Mosquera Island followed by Santa Cruz and Carrion Point. This is another great place to see a variety of colorful fish, rays and also the white-tip reef sharks.
The Petrel Luxury Galapagos Cruise
The Petrel Luxury Cruise is the newest of the luxury catamaran cruises on this list and offers a first class experience of the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy up close wildlife tours to see iguanas, giant tortoises, whales, and the iconic red and blue footed boobies. The Petrel Cruise is specifically designed for comfort, performance, and stability to keep you focused on the incredible islands and wildlife. Enjoy spacious cabins, a comfortable lounge, and jacuzzi. Aboard the elegantly designed Petrel, you will be accompanied by some of the best naturalist guides on the Galapagos who are eager to share their love and respect for the natural history of the islands and wildlife.