The rich and varied life on the islands inspired Charles Darwin when he visited the Galapagos in 1835 were the basis for his ideas, which eventually lead to his theory of the evolution of species. The creatures that are unique include the Galapagos giant tortoise, the marine iguanas, whales, dolphins, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, cormorants and many species of finches. Darwin described many of them and their characteristics in detail and these are still used as examples for biologists learning about evolution today.
The majority of the visitors choose an organized cruise and it is the most recommended way to discover the Galapagos island: you can choose your ideal boat and itinerary according to your budget and individual interests and you get to see a maximum of the islands as you are doing the majority of sailing night and visit the different islands during the day. Generally you visit two sites per day: a walk early in the morning with snorkelling afterwards, you have lunch as you cruise to the next site, snorkelling in the afternoon and a walk at the second site.
Even the economic boats offer great service and food, the luxurious ones sometimes even have a jacuzzi on board – you don´t have to organize anything and can just enjoy your stay!
Changes of cruise itineraries in 2012
Since January 2012, there are new regulations in the Galapagos National Park for cruises between the islands: a vessel cannot visit the island more than once within a 15-day period on their itinerary. Any change bears advantages and disadvantages, but the fact is that islands that were less featured in the past, but are highly recommended (Genovesa, Isabella or Fernandina) can now be visited.
Each boat has been assigned a 15 day itinerary, which they can split into different shorter ones:
- Two 8 day itineraries (mostly Northern and Central Islands on the first 8 days and Southern and East islands on the next 8 days), which can be combined to a 15-day itinerary
- Depending in which days they make port on San Cristobal or Santa Cruz (the islands that have airports), the vessels offer 4, 5 or 6-day itineraries – generally any combination of itineraries as long as they abide to the 15 days regulation.