Land-based Tours vs. Cruises in the Galapagos - AdventureTripr

Land-based Tours vs. Cruises in the Galapagos

Marjorie Geling · January 12, 2023
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The Galapagos Islands are a unique archipelago full of wildlife diversity, stunning beauty and plenty of amazing opportunities for exploration. With its combination of volcanic islands and pristine beaches, the Galapagos is the perfect place to escape. In addition to its abundant wildlife, the Galapagos Islands also boast stunning landscapes ranging from deserts and beaches to mountains and forests.

There’s a reason why the Galapagos Islands have become such a popular destination, cruises have made the experience easier however, for a more authentic and sustainable experience we highly recommend land-based tours. Read on to discover why this way of seeing the islands might be best for you.

A land-based tour is the best way to explore the Galapagos Islands
A land-based tour is the best way to explore the Galapagos Islands

Exploring the Galapagos Islands can be done in a number of different ways. The most popular way is to take a cruise, but there are also land based tours and independent travel options that allow you to explore several islands at once.  

While taking a cruise is sure to be a convenient option, it will also limit the amount of time that you have on land to view wildlife, cultural sites or engage with the local population. 

We recommend doing a land-based tour for the following reasons:

Explore different parts of the islands: A land-based tour allows you to explore different islands extensively, including some of the remote areas that are not easily accessible by boat or near the coast. Staying on the islands and taking day trips to visit others is a really great way to as many islands as possible during your stay.

Hike through breathtaking landscapes: The Galapagos Islands are home to some truly stunning landscapes, from white sand beaches to lush green vegetation and rugged volcanoes. A land-based tour will provide you with ample opportunities to explore these areas on foot, offering you a truly immersive experience of this natural wonder.

Environmental impact: Cruise ships are significantly worse for the environment than land-based tours. Not only do they burn through massive amounts of fuel, but their size and unregulated nature means that they produce a huge amount of carbon emissions, as well as toxic waste. In addition, the sheer size of modern cruise ships can cause major disruption to marine wildlife and coastal ecosystems. Land-based tours are far more eco-friendly as they use much less energy and don’t cause any pollution or disruption to wildlife.

Effect on local businesses: Cruises, typically owned by large international / foreign companies, don't benefit the local economy as much. Cruise ships typically bring in passengers who stay on board, eat on board, and purchase goods from the ship's stores. This means that none of these purchases are going to local businesses, like restaurants and shops. 

Additionally, cruise ships often hire crew members from abroad, meaning that there is a lack of job opportunities for locals. Land-based tours, on the other hand, bring in visitors who stay in local hotels and patronize local businesses. This results in jobs being created for locals and more money being pumped into the local economy.

Get up close and personal with incredible wildlife: The Galapagos Islands offer some of the most unique wildlife encounters in the world! A land based tour of the islands will give you plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with the incredible creatures that inhabit this part of the world.

Go island hopping: With its many islands and islets, the Galapagos offers plenty of opportunity to explore and discover new places. A land-based tour will give you the chance to hop from one island to another, allowing you to fully appreciate the diversity of this archipelago and the many sights it has to offer.

Meet the locals: The Galapagos Islands are home to a vibrant and diverse community of locals, each with their own unique culture, customs and stories to tell. A land based tour will give you the opportunity to meet these locals and learn more about their way of life.

Try out some delicious local dishes: With its abundance of fresh seafood and tropical fruits, the Galapagos is a gastronome’s paradise! A land based tour will give you plenty of opportunities to sample some of the locals’ most delicious dishes instead of eating the same cruise meals every day. A cruise may have chefs whipping up local cuisine but the variety and spread on offer cannot match the several restaurants on these islands offering various styles, budgets and cuisines. 

Save money: Land-based tours are often more affordable than cruises or flights, making them great for budget travelers or those who want to save money on their vacation.

As you can see, we are convinced there's no better way to explore this incredible archipelago than with a land-based tour. We partnered with local tour operators to bring you the best of the Galapagos. So don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to get an up-close and personal experience with the island by joining our Galapagos Highlights Trip!

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