Ecuador is both a fabulous country, and wonderful holiday destination, offering a wide range of holiday types, including traditional haciendas, mountain climbing and trekking in the Cotopaxi region, a visit to the equator near the capital of Quito, and a visit deep within the heart of the South American Amazon Jungle.
Of course, the jewel in the crown of all holiday destinations in Ecuador, and some might argue the world, is the Galapagos Islands, and cruise holidays in the Galapagos Islands rank among the finest travel experiences in the world. The Galapagos Islands are world famous for their environmental and ecological importance, their unique wildlife, and, of course, as a consequence of Charles Darwin’s visit to the islands on the Voyage of the HMS Beagle. The famous vessel first arrived at the islands in September 1835, a few days after leaving the port at Lima, the capital of Peru.
Today the islands are very well preserved, and protected by the Ecuadorian government, but can be visited in 2 main ways:
A cruise through the Galapagos archipelago is a traditional and wonderful way to experience a visit to these islands. Boats operate fixed itineraries (set by the Ecuadorian government) but nevertheless it is possible to go on a cruise of varying length – anything from 5 days, 8 days or ever longer depending on which itinerary and vessel you choose for your holiday.
The advantage of a Galapagos cruise is that you get to sleep on a boat, close to the islands, and therefore have easy access to many places throughout the archipelago. Many of the cruise ships also use smaller landing-vessels to make landing trips on some of the islands for walks and treks, and also will provide free snorkeling gear to help people spot for sea turtles, rays, beautiful fish and other creatures in and around the islands.
Although the boats follow fixed itineraries, the most popular islands to visit include Baltra Island, Bartholomew Island, Espanola Island, Fernandina Island, Isabela Island, San Cristobal Island and Santa Cruz Island.
Each island has its own unique geology, geography, and wildlife, with many of the islands having unique species.
A cruise through the islands is certainly a wonderful Ecuador holiday experience.
Land-based holidays in the Galapagos Islands mean that you will sleep in a hotel in one of the islands small towns (e.g. the town of Puerto Ayoro) rather than on a cruise vessel, and will set off each day on tours to visit the various destinations across the islands.
These types of Galapagos Holidays tend to visit many of the same places as cruises (although might require further daily travelling by boat) and are often better for people who are on a budget, or who maybe don’t have the stomach for spending a few nights on a cruise vessel on the open ocean.
The wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.