Seeing the sites and wildlife of the Galapagos is best done by boat.
Most people book their place well in advance (as the boats are usually full during the high season). Booking a boat tour with a company in your home country is usually the most convenient, but is often considerably more expensive.
Boat tours can also be arranged from Guayaquil, Quito, and even from Puerto Ayora. While it is possible to get a last-minute deal, be aware that many budget tours may spend extra time in Puerto Ayora, might not have the best boats, and may only visit the inner islands.
In either case, when looking for a tour consider the following:
- Number of passengers
Many of the sites in the islands are limited in how many people may visit at any given time, so it is generally best to travel on a boat with fewer passengers (between ten and twenty passengers is ideal).
Fernandina, Isabela, and Genovesa islands are three of the most interesting islands in the archipelago, but many tours skip these islands and visit only the inner islands.
Most of the best cruises are booked up months in advance, so best to book early.
- Level of Activity
Landings are only permitted during the twelve hours of daylight, so try to find a trip that takes advantage of daylight hours. In addition, the aquatic life is the highlight of the trip for many visitors, so be sure to find a tour that includes at least one daily snorkel.
- Additional costs
Many tours do not include the $100 park entry fee or the cost of a flight from the mainland to the islands (apx. $400 from Quito).
Another possibility is the island hopping. There are a few companies that offer island hopping inclusive packages to the Galapagos. This has been described as a more sustainable economic and ecological model for tourism in the islands.
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Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.