Advantages of Small-Ship Galápagos Sailing
Choosing the right type of cruise for your adventure
once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Choosing from the 85 vessels that make the 600-mile
voyage from mainland Ecuador, however, can be daunting. It’s the difference
between an intimate, 8-cabin yacht and a cruise ship with 100 passengers (the
limit for Galápagos cruises).
Cruise ships are admittedly more spacious, with lots of
onboard amenities like restaurants, bars, and spa services. They’re also
steadier, a plus for those prone to seasickness.
But there are benefits to a smaller vessel. One is a better
passenger-to-tour-guide ratio, which can enhance your trip immeasurably. Another
is a sense of community—you get chummy with the crew and your fellow passengers
pretty quickly on 64-foot catamaran.
Fewer people means a quieter natural experience onshore,
too. You’ll improve your odds of spotting wildlife, like the red-footed boobies
on Genovesa Island. You may have an entire island or white-sand beach to
yourself, and you’ll anchor in areas the cruise ships can’t access.
Small doesn’t have to mean rustic or bare bones. Even a 16-passenger
sailboat might have an onboard chef, luxurious cabins, and a sun deck with a hot
An excellent example of the advantages of small is Ecoventura. It has one tour guide for
every 10 passengers. It’s also a green option—its 20-passenger yachts have
four-stroke engines (which require less fuel and oil than a traditional engine)
and the company offsets its carbon emissions entirely.