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The Galapagos Archipelago lies 1,000 kilometres from Ecuador's coastline in the Pacific Ocean. Each of the thirteen islands and countless smaller islets has a unique ecosystem of its own, a living laboratory that inspired Darwin to write his Theory of Evolution while on the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Never connected with the continent, the islands contain many endemic species - only here will you see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas, and the giant tortoises that give the archipelago its name.
Most expeditions with your expert naturalist guide are by panga - inflatable rubber craft with outboard motor. Snorkels are available for you to explore the fascinating underwater world, a myriad of colourful fish, playful sea lions, dolphins and sunken volcanic craters.
On your Galapagos Island cruise, you choose the style of vessel you wish to cruise on. Galapagos Eclipse carries just 48 passengers but has all the amenities of a larger ship. Alternatively choose an even smaller vessel of around 20 passengers - such as one of the three motor yachts Eric, Letty and Flamingo that sail in flotilla.
Different ships may also offer varying duration of itineraries from 3,4,5 and 7 nights to fit in with the rest of your itinerary. You can easily combine your Galapagos cruise with some time exploring the Andean landscapes and Amazon forests of Ecuador or the Incan treasures of neighbouring Peru.
With our selection of Galapagos Islands holidays there are a fantastic selection of cruises that can be taken through and around the Galapagos Islands, including Eric, Letty and Flamingo, Galapagos Journey I, Integrity, La Pinta and Santa Cruz. There are also some magnificent accommodations, including Royal Palm and Villa Escalesia.
All boats operating in the Galapagos Islands are, essentially, expedition vessels. Whilst several describe themselves as 'luxury', and are certainly very comfortable, it is important to make this distinction. No boat in the Galapagos operates to the high specification of international luxury cruise liners or upmarket river boats operating elsewhere in the world. All cruisers and yachts in the Galapagos leave the Islands for dry dock on a 24 month cycle. In order to protect the marine reserve and the fragile ecosystem, there are many restrictions in place which the boats must adhere to, such as the use of certain types of paint. A&K use the most comfortable and responsible boats available in the Galapagos - those which offer the best experience and are most sympathetic to the unique Galapagos environment - but it is essential that you expect an expedition vessel first and foremost.
Best time to be thereThe Galapagos are best from April to August - not too warm and plenty of animals in their breeding seasons.
Fly toQuito - LAN Airlines, daily via Madrid flying time 13 hours
time differenceGMT -5 hours
VisasNot required for UK passport holders
Health RequirementsYellow fever certificate required if arriving from an infected area
Suggested accommodation in Galapagos Islands Holidays
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Save up to £930 per adult on Galapagos Cormorant
Observe the amazing wildlife and get up close and personal with the Galapagos' many amazing creatures when staying on the elegant and stylish Cormorant. Valid for travel on the 12th November, 6th December and 10th December 2014, or until 30th June 2015. Subject to availability, excludes international flights and any additional touring.
Single Supplement offer: Save up to £905 per adult with no single supplement
Set sail with last minute availability for 2014 or book in advance for next year on the stunning Ocean Spray, a new catamaran designed with speed and style in mind. Kick back in the sun deck Jacuzzi after an exhilarating day exploring Darwin's 'living laboratory'. Limited spaces for 2014, valid from 23rd October, 15th November and 29th November, or the 4th April 2015. Subject to availability, excludes international flights and any additional touring.
SPEAK TO A TRAVEL CONSULTANT ON 0845 485 1473