Galapagos: By Land, Boat, or Both? – The “Great Debate”

By ~ Eric-Sheets 

17 Years of Custom Trip Planning to the Galapagos

There are many truths and myths about this controversy that can be found on the internet. The information cited below is compiled from more than 17 years designing custom trips to the Galapagos. I use the term, “custom” because travelers can actually create their own fully-personalized trip to the Galapagos when planning with Latin Excursions. Although some companies offer trips that sound “cookie cutter” in design, there are various ways to personalize your trip in order to maximize your excursion around your interests.

Here are a few questions one should ask when considering between different types of trips to the Galapagos:

  • Do you want to incorporate some relaxation on your adventure?

    – For example, would you enjoy having a long walk on the beach and being surprised by how close animals approach you? Every animal in the Galapagos thinks you are their best friend! This is one reason that makes staying on land quite the unique experience.

  • How much time do you see yourself in the water?

    – Galapagos is world-famous for swimming up close with sea lions, penguins, turtles and more! Watch our Marketing and Sales Specialist, Turney Maurer, snorkel with a sea lion gracefully along Isla Daphne Minor.

Galapagos Tour: Snorkel with Sea Lions and Dolphins from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

  • How active would you like this trip to be?

    – This is a big question one must take in consideration, if you would like to remain more land-based. Most Small Ships definitely have more relaxed day-by-day itineraries.

  • Are you or anyone in your party prone to motion sickness?

    – This is important to consider when entertaining large amounts of time on the water.

What month can you travel?

– This determines which islands you should consider or if you’re better off choosing a land-based stay or extension.

Boat Options: Pros & Cons


More exposure and viewing of islands, better snorkeling opportunities, and the fact that you travel to new islands while you are asleep.


Costlier in general and less exclusive unless opting for private yacht charter. It can feel regimented with strict National Park rules on the timings of the itineraries. Also, dependent on the time of year, if prone to motion sickness, boats can be more challenging than other months of the year.

Celebrity FLORA from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

Island Options: Pros & Cons


More flexibility with active adventure, more space and privacy, and depending on selected island, you can stay an unlimited amount of time exploring without being limited, compared to a boat itinerary.


Less areas covered and less diversity of nature if you have little time

SUP & Snorkel Galapagos

Pro-Tips from Latin Excursions to Maximize Your Galapagos Experience

Boat/Island Combination:

If you want a good mix of the two, the combination is arguably the most thorough way to visit to get the full-bodied experience of the island to fully sense all it has to offer.

Private Villas:

Ideal for multi-gen families wanting privacy and time together. Villas we partner with come equipped with speedboats, fishing experiences, a chef and the ability to select from a variety of tours depending on the activity and age level. This option can also be added as an amazing downtime ending if coming off a boat option.

Make sure to check our Private Villas and contact us for inside access to specific ones in the Galapagos that we exclusively work with.

Private Yachts:

Lastly, this option offers full privacy and exclusivity to the consumer and their guests. Although not inexpensive, if the group size is right (12 passengers or more) the cost can ultimately be less than being on a larger vessel . We provide our years of guide expertise in matching the right guide with the right traveling group to make for one of the most unforgettable experiences.