Brief on time? You are able to do this Galapagos cruise in simply 1 week

Are you annoyed since you assume your dream Galapagos cruise requires extra trip time than you’ll be able to spare?

Do not get your blue-footed boobies in a twist. A brief, comparatively reasonably priced Galapagos cruise is just not a fantasy.

I just lately returned from a Galapagos crusing that may be finished, together with journey time, in only a week. Though I spent solely 4 days on the ship, I noticed a variety of animals and landscapes — which is the aim of most Galapagos vacationers.

Positive, the inclusive cruise bundle was not low cost, nevertheless it was extra reasonably priced than a crusing twice as lengthy.

In the event you’re quick on trip days or desire a Galapagos sampler crusing, a four-night cruise may simply be your ticket to South American paradise.

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The itinerary

An inflatable boat takes passengers on a scenic cruise round one of many Galapagos Islands. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Hurtigruten Expeditions just lately started providing a western loop itinerary known as Iconic Wildlife and Chic Surroundings aboard Metropolitan Touring’s Santa Cruz II cruise ship. The seven-day itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1: Fly from origin metropolis to Quito; in a single day resort keep.
  • Day 2: Switch from resort to airport; early flight from Quito to Baltra within the Galapagos; switch to Santa Cruz II.
  • Days 2-5: Visits to varied islands within the western Galapagos, together with Baltra Island, Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, Fernandina Island and Floreana Island.
  • Day 6: Disembark Santa Cruz II; switch to Baltra airport for flight to Quito; in a single day resort keep.
  • Day 7: Return flight dwelling from Quito.

All resort stays, transfers and flights listed are included within the cruise fare, besides the flights between your property metropolis and Quito and again.

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Passengers can e-book back-to-back sailings to increase their travels and go to different areas of the Galapagos; mixed, the road’s northern, southern and western loops span 15 days.

Moreover, cruisers can tack on pre- or post-cruise stays at a few of Metropolitan Touring’s different properties, together with the Mashpi Lodge, an eco-friendly expedition resort in the course of Ecuador’s Choco Cloud Forest.

Associated: Hilton just opened the first points hotel in the Galapagos — and it has a restaurant in a lava tunnel

For the needs of this text, I am solely discussing the western loop, with no pre- or post-cruise add-on.

What units this cruise aside

Large tortoises within the Galapagos. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

This itinerary is new for Hurtigruten and contains 4 days and 4 nights on the ship, crusing the western a part of the Galapagos Islands.

Most different cruise strains within the area concentrate on the southern and northern loops, which take longer to go to. The shortest voyages provided by these strains final at the very least seven days as an alternative of 4, and that does not embrace journey to and from the ship, which provides one other two to 3 days.

Regardless of the shorter period of time required to finish Hurtigruten’s western route, your crusing will help you see a menagerie of animals. Recognizing blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, fur seals, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, land and marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, blue herons and a number of different critters will make even the shortest of stays worthwhile.

In truth, it is attainable to see 12 of Hurtigruten’s “massive 15” animals in these 4 days, together with what our information mentioned is essentially the most uncommon: the Galapagos hawk.

The ship


Owned by Metropolitan Touring and operated by Hurtigruten Expeditions (which holds a 25% stake in Metropolitan Touring), Santa Cruz II was in-built 2002 and holds as much as 90 passengers. The teams can usually be smaller; fewer than 40 folks had been on my crusing.

What I really like concerning the ship is that it is carbon impartial. It operates in such a method that my go to did not create a detrimental affect on the fragile Galapagos surroundings.

On every voyage, passengers pay a small price as a part of their cruise fare. The quantity goes towards preserving land within the Choco Bioregion, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which permits for the restoration of land that absorbs carbon dioxide.

The ship is shiny and cheerful however naked bones. In the event you’re used to extra mainstream cruise ships, you will possible discover the no-frills loos and the dearth of TVs in passenger cabins.

Relating to facilities, the ship does not have a pool or spa. It does have a small film and recreation room, a primary bar and lounge space, a library that additionally serves as a lounge, laundry amenities which are free to make use of, a compact health heart with a few machines, two scorching tubs, a solar deck and a small store that sells restricted sundries, in addition to Galapagos-themed jewellery and equipment that passengers may want.

In the end, the ship exists to maneuver passengers from place to put in consolation, however the focus is squarely on the vacation spot.

The fee

Hurtigruten’s Santa Cruz II cruise ship within the Galapagos. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

A four-night crusing departing June 27, 2023, begins from $6,237 per particular person for essentially the most fundamental ocean-view cabin. (The ship does not have windowless inside cabins or rooms with personal balconies.) For a similar itinerary and lodging on the Feb. 6, 2024 departure, fares begin from $6,587 per particular person.

That is a median of $916 per particular person per day, based mostly on the seven-day itinerary with three days of transit and 4 days of cruising. The value contains all meals on the ship, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, crew gratuities, transfers and two nights at a resort.

In the event you dine by yourself throughout your pre- or post-cruise keep, you will be accountable for these prices. Nevertheless, factoring in some meals by yourself and round-trip flights to and from Quito, it is a journey you are able to do for lower than $10,000 per particular person.

Backside line

The blazing solar on a seaside within the Galapagos. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

If the Galapagos tops your journey want record however appears out of attain, a shorter choice just like the western loop provided by Hurtigruten Expeditions on Santa Cruz II could possibly be the proper compromise.

The journey continues to be dear, and it’d seem to be a whole lot of time in transit for under 4 days within the Galapagos. Nevertheless, it is cheaper than longer sailings, and you’ll be dwelling and again inside every week with out burning an excessive amount of trip time.

Your Galapagos desires could also be inside attain, in any case.

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