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Visiting the Galapagos Islands: By Land or on a Cruise?

This summer, island hop to the Galapagos.
Anyone up for island hopping around the Galapagos this summer?

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Visiting Galapagos is the ultimate getaway to remote locations with abundant wildlife and stunning landscapes. Traveling to this archipelago will take you to a whole new world full of adventure and excitement.

However, you must choose the proper means of transport before booking your flight. The best way to explore Galapagos is via a cruise. Although some people might argue that a land tour is better for exploring the islands thoroughly, a cruise offers more flexibility and efficiency.

In this brief guide, we’ll focus on the perks of traveling on a cruise and taking a land tour to visit the Galapagos. So you can decide which option fits your needs.


Galapagos islands holidays are generally regarded as the best way to visit Galapagos since you can reach a different remote destination each morning and wake up on various islands. The Galapagos archipelago comprises 13 major islands and dozens of smaller ones and covers more than 3,000 square miles.

If you are traveling on an overnight Galapagos cruise, you can visit many parts of the islands that are not accessible throughout the day. Or even explore them via a boat trip in less time. You’d see various Galapagos wildlife, participate in water sports activities like snorkeling, diving, or swimming,  as well as go on guided hikes, etc.

Copyright: Unsplash I License: CC0 Public Domain

Pros of Traveling via a Cruise to the Galapagos

A cruising trip to Galapagos can help you immerse yourself in island life and explore the area via endless possibilities. Traveling via a cruise allows you to unwind and explore the Galapagos at its best, feast on its mouthwatering cuisine, make new friends, experience its culture, and learn new skills. Cruising is an excellent way to unravel the beauty of these islands without the hassle of booking hotels or land tours. Here are some of the perks you get when booking a cruise:

  • You can immediately begin exploring as you wake up on a new island every day; For example, one day, you can explore the island of Santa Cruz, while the next one embarks on a journey to Isabela Island;
  • At least two tours should be reserved for each day; Which means you can take a land tour to visit the Charles Darwin Station and include the tour to Tortuga Bay, where you’ll explore stunning beaches and picturesque landscapes;
  • All-inclusive service regarding meals, accommodation, guides, and activities onboard;
  • Minimal environmental impact since you’ll be traveling on an eco-friendly cruise that recycles more than 60% on average, according to CLIA – the Cruise Line International Association;

Land Tours

Since a land tour is the second option to explore Galapagos, you will organize everything yourself. You should buy a plane ticket, book a hotel, and explore the island independently.

However, you can take an organized, guided land tour and get a different experience from the cruise one. With a land tour, you’ll be exploring the nearby wilderness that is not accessible via a cruise, visiting towns, or going island hopping.

You can find many island-hopping programs on Galapagos and visit islands like Isabela, San Cristobal, and Santa Cruz. Another land tour you can book is the Galapagos Safari, which will take you to a safari-like experience on San Cristobal or Santa Cruz.

These tours are designed to mimic the cruise experience and put you in charge of where to go and what to see.

Copyright: Unsplash I License: CC0 Public Domain

Pros of a Land Tour to the Galapagos

Traveling by land lets you enjoy scenic routes and take pictures whenever possible. Traveling on the ground is also less stressful and more fun, especially if you’re traveling with friends and family, because you can walk and talk with them as you explore the surroundings and take pictures. The pros of a land tour include the following:

  • No sea sickness;
  • Less expensive land packages; You can book a full-day tour to North Seymour Island and Las Bachas for a relatively affordable price; Or visit the Kicker Rock and submerge into one of the most famous bio-diversity spots on the Galapagos;
  • More efficient mode of traveling;
  • Flexible itineraries; For reference, you can book the Giant Tortoise itinerary and visit the sinking volcano holes in Los Gemelos. Or go snorkeling on San Cristobal via a private land tour.

Book Your Cruise Now!

After we’ve discussed the pros and cons of each mode of transportation, it’s safe to say that a cruise is a better option for exploring the Galapagos if you plan to visit far-flung locations and islands with restricted accessibility that cannot be overcome on overland tours. So, make sure to book yours if you’ve been planning on visiting these beautiful islands.

Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.

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