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By Heidi Creed
Few destinations so seamlessly combine relaxation, education and adventure all in one trip the way the Galapagos Islands do. I recently had the pleasure of experiencing them with Silversea Cruises on their Silver Galapagos expedition ship. In my opinion, the cruise experience seems to be the best possible way to experience the variety inherent to the destination, and Silversea does a first class job.
Let’s get the quick facts out of the way for perspective:
What do you do in the Galapagos Islands?
Every island has its own unique ecology so your daily activities and sightings will depend on which island(s) you are visiting. With Silversea we visited two islands each day; in the morning you might go for an easy to moderate hike or zodiac (small motorboat) tour then return to the ship for lunch while cruising to the next island where maybe a beach visit, kayak or snorkel excursion is offered. All the while your well-educated naturalist guides will educate you on the geology and wildlife, making it a completely enriching experience.
Is it strenuous?
Guests always have options and the activities aren’t strenuous, however don’t count on a sleep-in or lounge around holiday. It is a full immersion experience and the only way to make the most of it is to be able to get out there and do it!
When does the relaxing happen?
With views and pristine beaches like this…
…And meals like this, for example. (But you don’t have to be a carnivore to enjoy a great meal aboard this ship!)…
…relaxing and enjoying is part of the full Galapagos experience!
What kind of wildlife will I see?
One of the most appealing things about the Galapagos is the close wildlife encounters a traveler experiences. One might swim with sea turtles, sea lions and penguins (which we got to experience all of them almost as if they were on parade on one particular outing), walk right along side gigantic land tortoises, and see an array of birds that are found no where else. Because not all species are found at all islands, cruising is a particularly good way to experience the diversity. You might find sea turtles or penguins at one island, flightless cormorants, albatross or flamingos at another. Sea lions are abundant, and always fun!
When is the best time of year to go?
Since the Galapagos Islands are equatorial, the temperature doesn’t change too much and there really isn’t a “bad” time to go. The peak season is from mid-June to mid-September when the temperature is most moderate.
What do I pack?
Think active meets beach, and don’t expect to look fashionable and glamorous on this trip. You’ll want to bring light layers, including a windbreaker for the zodiac rides. Lightweight trekking pants will come in handy, and water shoes such as Teva’s are essential for the occasional wet beach landing.
Who is this type of trip for?
In closing, how cute is this playful sea lion we hung out with while kayaking in a lagoon one morning?
We would love the opportunity to help you plan your dream trip to the Galapagos Islands. The trip can certainly stand on its own, or it can pair nicely with Ecuador mainland and/or Peru extensions. Please contact us at Town & Country Travel for more information: (805) 495-9888 or submit the form below and we will contact you.