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The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the most exceptional wildlife destinations on the planet. Unique species of wildlife in such sheer abundance are, quite simply, unmissable. It is one of those destinations that surpasses all expectations. Here you can swim with sea lions, paddle alongside penguins, watch dolphins at play, be entertained by the clownish antics of the booby birds and watch 400lb giant tortoises wallowing in the marshes of Santa Cruz Island. For time immemorial, there have been no land predators on these islands. As a result, the endemic inhabitants exist in blissful innocence. Young sea-lions will look curiously at your face before blowing bubbles at your mask and inviting you to play. You may even find yourself snorkelling over a school of hammerhead sharks many metres below, such is the visibility of the crystal clear waters. Or on land, you will find yourself looking at albatross, booby and frigate birds just a few metres away as they carry out their comical courtship rituals, oblivious to your presence. And while there are guidelines in place to ensure humans maintain an appropriate distance, the creatures of the Galapagos happily flout the rules as they carry on with their charmed lives. Cruising the archipelago is one of the best ways to explore. Every day offers a different island, bay or cove to explore and different species to discover. Whatever the season, there is always plenty of wildlife to see at every landing site: no two days are the same.
Galapagos Islands Holidays with A&K
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. Celebrity Xperience 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 two motor yachts Eric and Letty 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 and Letty, 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.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
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Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Graeme, Charlie, Melissa, Dave, Kerry and Kelly are experts in designing the perfect holiday in Latin America to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of our hotels and resorts featured in our portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout the region, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
To find out more about our Latin America team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 701 or enquire online
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The Galapagos. After Mashpi we were somewhat apprehensive and hoping that the luxury and diversity of the Lodge would not deter from the different experience that was awaiting us on the MV Eclipse. Wow! The whole job lot with the crew, the guides, the food, the other guests and the islands and wildlife . . . . just blew us away. An American lady and her husband that we teamed up with on some trips said to us "How are we going to explain to friends and family back home about this place?" We all agreed that you couldn't! Thanks for organising the holiday Eleanor and thanks to A&K
- RY, Berkshire