Latin America

Who needs a lie-in anyway?!


I have just returned from my first visit to the Galapagos and whenever anybody asks me how it was I struggle to put into words what a truly amazing experience a visit to this destination is. In my previous job, I sold holidays to the Galapagos but it was never a destination that had made it onto my bucket list. All I can say is: ‘big mistake’!

I am going to describe a typical day for you on a Galapagos cruise to give you a bit of insight as to what is involved on a day to day basis.

A typical cruise day normally begins with an early wake up ready for your first visit of the day. On my boat the actual departure time was discussed as a group with the guide at dinner the night before. He would always recommend the ‘best’ time to embark on our first adventure of the day. This varied from 6.00am – 7.00am most days.

The Passion

There are numerous reasons why such an early start is important and the number one reason in my opinion is so that you benefit from seeing the wildlife when they are at their most active. I mean the wildlife is the number 1 reason that we travel to these amazing far-flung Islands isn’t it?

So as mentioned, you are up rather early and, on my boat, there was always coffee and biscuits available before we boarded the ‘panga’ (small boat) for our adventure ashore. We were always advised if this would involve a ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ landing. The difference is – wet landings tend to be in a shallow area close to the shore where you will get your feet wet, as you disembark into the water and a dry landing will be either onto a pier or rocks hopefully without getting your feet wet!

You will normally partake in a short walk where you often meet a variety of different creatures. During your walk your experienced guide will fully explain the geology, flora and fauna along with the history of the island you are visiting. Depending on the island and time of year that you visit, you may witness birds doing their mating dances and are very likely to see sealions basking on the rocks or swimming in the sea.

“I can truthfully say that the Galapagos is actually the best destination that I have travelled to so far”

After your visit it is back to the boat where breakfast will be ready and waiting for you. This was often taken ‘alfresco’. Depending on your next destination/activity you may stay moored in the same area or start to motor onwards.

Normally around 11am, your next activity for the day begins. This is often snorkelling or kayaking which will give you a totally different perspective of the area. I was amazed by the variety of fish that I saw along with sharks, numerous types of rays, marine iguanas feeding and lots of sea turtles. In fact, I actually felt like I was swimming in my own personal aquarium.

After this it is back onto the boat in time for lunch. You may then motor on to your next destination and this is a superb opportunity to relax on deck looking out for dolphins and, if you are lucky, whales. I loved watching the frigatebirds following the boat and even taking a cheeky ‘lift’ on the yachts radar.

When you arrive at your next destination your routine is very much the same as your earlier visit in the day. I can honestly say that no two destinations in the Galapagos are the same. The landscapes and wildlife differ considerably from one island to the next and as it is nature at its best you never quite know what to expect.


After your final visit of the day it is back to the boat in time for a shower and dinner. After dinner you then have time to sit and relax with a drink discussing your day’s adventures with your fellow travellers or you can retire to your cabin because you are going to be up early the next day ready to do it all again!

I can truthfully say that the Galapagos is actually the best destination that I have travelled to so far (and I am very fortunate in that I have travelled to quite a few places). I would certainly advise that this special place is added to your ‘bucket’ list. I would also go as far to say that a holiday to the Galapagos would suit families with teenagers (this is not an opinion I held before my trip) and my only observation is that you do need to be able-bodied to negotiate the ‘pangas’ and the majority of landing sites.  I certainly aim to return one day!