Galapagos yachts are among the best ways to explore the islands if you’re looking to take a boat tour during your trip. Unlike with the larger Galapagos cruise ships, experiencing the archipelago on a Galapagos Islands yacht gives you a superior level of service and privacy, enabling you to enjoy a customized, exclusive visit to the islands. When looking for Galapagos yachts, you will want to decide whether you want to join other groups on a yacht tour, or if you prefer a Galapagos yacht charter, which allows you and your family privacy and freedom on a fully-staffed and guided yacht tour.
When you book a tour with a Galapagos Islands yacht, the total price usually includes meals and accommodation, as well as drinks and snacks, as well as a guided tour throughout the islands. While the price of Galapagos flights are usually not included in tours with Galapagos yachts, the tour operator will provide transfers between the airport and the boat. Usually there will be additional recreational equipment provided, such as snorkeling gear, but you may wish to bring your own as well.
As well as choosing between Galapagos yachts of varying rates—there are usually tourist, first-class, and deluxe yachts available depending on your budget—there are also special yacht tours you may wish to consider. If you are hoping to go scuba diving in the Galapagos, you may want to join a diving yacht tour, as many of the underwater areas in the islands are restricted and only certain yachts are allowed to go there. There are sailing yachts available also, and these boats look quite impressive with their sails unfurled, making them particularly pleasant when relaxing on-deck. Be aware, however, that winds in the Galapagos are not consistent, and even a sailing yacht will depend on its motor most of the time.
Tourist class on a Galapagos Islands yacht usually offers a quality of accommodation slightly beneath what you would expect on a typical cruise liner. Bunk beds are common, air-conditioning may or may not be available, and food will be basic. However, tour guides and nature interpretation are always provided, and this may be an excellent option for those traveling on a budget. First-class offers similar quality to a good cruise liner, with a greater range of gastronomic offerings, and more spacious, luxurious cabins. Deluxe class offers superior services - with special perks like satellite TV, spas and hot tubs, top-of-the-line dining and well-trained guides, often with more in-depth knowledge of the area and greater fluency in English. You can also arrange a Galapagos yacht charter with any of the above levels of quality.
If you are planning to join a yacht tour, be sure to book early as many of the tours fill up quickly. Most yacht tours depart once a week for four- to seven-day tours. Of course, if you want more input into your itinerary and greater flexibility with time, booking a Galapagos yacht charter may be your best option. Surprisingly, chartering a boat can actually cost your group less than booking tours individually, if you can manage to fill up most of the capacity of the yacht. This is a great option for family reunions, school or club trips, destination weddings, and other groups.