The Galapagos Islands are like no place else on earth. This archipelago of small, volcanic islands are a World Heritage Site, a biological marine reserve, a national park and a province of Ecuador, which lies about 550 miles to the east.
A cruise is an ideal way to visit these special islands. The islands have two small airports, some small hotels, and a few opportunities for camping; but, a luxurious cruise ship provides easy movement between islands, along with comfortable accommodations and exceptional dining.
The cruise lines that can take you to the Galapagos Islands include Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. The Celebrity Xpedition carries 98 passengers at a time, while the Silver Galapagos accommodates 100 passengers. While both ships are great, the focus of a Galapagos cruise is always on the islands and their incredible flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. The noteworthy island residents include:
· Marine iguanas, the only type of iguana to forage for food in the sea.
· Blue-footed boobies, which have bright-blue feet that they show off when courting.
· Giant tortoises, versions of which used to roam most of the earth; now, you’ll find them only in the Galapagos or the Aldabra Islands in the Indian Ocean.
· Flightless cormorants, the only type of cormorant that has lost the ability to fly.
· Galapagos penguins, the world’s only tropical penguin
· The waved albatross, the world’s only tropical albatross.
Cruise ship routes in the Galapagos are carefully controlled for the protection of the islands’ unique ecology, but there is some variation in itineraries – be sure to compare before you choose.
You can sail to the islands at any time of year, but you may prefer one of the two main seasons. From December through May, the weather is warm (high 80s during the day) and the water is calm. From June through November, a change in ocean currents makes the water and the weather a bit cooler (high 70s during the day). In either season, you can expect a bit of light rain at any time with occasional heavier showers, so pack some lightweight rain gear.
A cruise to the Galapagos, one of the world’s truly distinctive places, is sure to be memorable (and the topic of dinner conversations for many years to come). To find out more about cruising the Galapagos, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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