Paul Schicke
Written by Paul Schicke Senior Expedition Designer

Published: October 31, 2023

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Galapagos Sea lions swimming together

Let’s face it: the cold, gray northern latitudes can often get a little depressing, frigid, and they can be as much of a bummer as the post-winter-holiday blues. Unless you like to do winter sports, it can sometimes feel like you’re trapped in a frosty purgatory with a coffee maker and a blanket until spring thaws things out and the birds finally return. But this is where you live, right? What can you do?

Follow the birds! If you’ve never heard of “snowbirds” before, you may realize you’ve been one all along and just haven’t spread your wings. Every year, thousands of Northerners flock South towards the equator to find warmer climates, enjoy tropical experiences, and explore a balmier hemisphere while their friends tough it out in the temporary tundra. Some are content making it to Florida or Texas, but the truly boldtake the winter solstice as a cosmic call to adventure.

Are you tired of waiting for your life to reanimate while hibernating in January and February? Then we have two words for you: the Galapagos! If exotic isles and warm ocean breezes sound enticing, it’s time to start planning your escape from those ubiquitous snowflakes. You can relax in a place where the warm sun is always shining overhead and every weather report is the same as the wave-kissed lifestyle:


Tell. Me. More.

Of course! The Galapagos is located at 46° S latitude and 91° W longitude, which places it roughly 600 miles west of Ecuador and a sea lion’s whisker south of the equator. To get there, you’ll first need to take an international flight to the cities of Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. Once in Ecuador, you will connect on a domestic flight from either city out to Darwin’s famous archipelago.

You won’t need to pack heavy gear because the Galapagos weather temperature hovers between 70-85° Fahrenheit in the winter months (remember why you left the northern hemisphere?), and the crystal blue Pacific water you’ll be sailing through is a refreshing 75 degrees. But if you think that’s divine, wait until you arrive. Your destination is positively magical.

Airplane flying over the Galapagos

The Galapagos: Like Nowhere Else on Earth

The Galapagos offers one of the most pristine and unique ecological environments on the globe. Its awe-inspiring array of flora and fauna will greet you at every turn as you explore the twists and turns of the coastline. 20% of the wildlife and 30% of the plants are found nowhere else in the world except within this tiny 17,000 sq/mi paradise. When you’ve had your fill of the giant tortoises and marine iguanas, you can don your snorkel and slalom your way through the dramatic coral ecosystems beneath the waves. The best part? You’ll be snorkeling with sea turtles, penguins, sea lions and even wild dolphins, in waters so warm between December and May that you may not even need a wetsuit.

Bartolome Island viewpoint

Traveling in Style with Quasar

Of course, you can make this trip on one of the many run-of-the-mill boats that sail there every year, but this is your retreat. You deserve to travel in style, and Quasar is here to deliver the absolute pinnacle of style and relaxation. We can curate the perfect tropical excursion for you and your partner or your family aboard our Grace or Evolution luxury yachts, and our expert consultants will ensure the only limit to your experience is your imagination.

We offer 8 or 15-day luxury cruises that provide ample time to dine on the waves, wander the islands, and re-energize your soul all the way from the ends of your toes to the tip of your frozen nose.

Evolution yacht next to Kicker Rock

What About the Rest of the Winter?

Great question! Catching a flight to the Galapagos with Quasar is an absolutely unforgettable experience, but once you’re down where the weather is glorious, why head back until you confirm the groundhog has seen his shadow? The Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador, a marvelous country to while away the long non-winter nights (text your friends the temperature now and again with a few pics…) and few countries can offer you the depth of its natural beauty and diversity.

Birds flying over the San Francisco Church in Ecuador

The Coast

If your dream vacation is sitting on the beach with horchata or a cocktail, you can easily stick to the coastal region in the west. There are multiple four and five star resorts and restaurants to enjoy along the coast, and if you want to make an excursion into the rainforest, it’s the perfect home base for a well-curated trip. Ecuador’s largest city also has a swashbuckling history of pirate raids and Spanish galleons, so if you spend some time looking, you’re sure to find some cultural treasure hiding around every corner.

Ecuador Beach Coastline

The Andean Region

If you like the mountains, the central part of the country is a fantasyland of colonial plazas, geographical eye candy, and archeological intrigue. And if you’re feeling luminous, you can spend some time at Mashpi Lodge, a 5-star hotel nestled deep in the Mindo cloud forest among its dazzling array of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Ecuador’s capital Quito is a UNESCO world heritage site renowned for its architecture and historical richness, and it offers unlimited possibilities for day trips and weekend excursions while you wait out the winter.

Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador

The Amazon

The easternmost part of the country is situated on the western flank of the largest and most diverse rainforest in the world: the Amazon. A 45-minute flight from Quito brings you to Coca on the Napo River, where you will launch your way up upriver towards one of the most extraordinary ecosystems on the planet. Along the way, you’ll brush elbows with the Finger Monkey—the adorable pygmy marmosets just large enough to wrap around your index finger—blue morpho butterflies, toucans, scarlet macaws, and many more of the Amazon’s secret creatures awaiting you beneath the dusky canopy.

Ecolodge Ecuador in the Amazon

Follow the Sun to the Galapagos

Make this the year you break free of the cycle of freezing and thawing, and travel to lands where the sun warms your cheeks and sets your spirit aglow. Quasar’s 37 years of experience turning summer dreams into reality make us uniquely qualified to chauffeur you to a winter refuge. Our team of guides, experts, and captains are ready to escort you through the equatorial waves of the Galapagos within the wild and wonderful wilderness of their parent nation.

Sea Lion on a Galapagos Beach

Quasar’s Galapagos luxury cruises and safaris can be crafted to match any family’s thirst for adventure or dreams of relaxation. When you’re back, we’ll be ready to create bespoke experiences, tours, and trips to support your mainland days in any region of Ecuador you’d like to stay.

Spread your wings, snowbird: it’s time to head south with Quasar.

Paul Schicke
By Paul Schicke
Senior Expedition Designer

Hello! My name is Paul. I am a photographer, traveler, teacher and writer. I have extensive experience in travel to Galapagos, Peru, Patagonia and the western seaboard of South America specializing in ways travelers can experience these once-in-a-life destinations like locals on the road. Lover of wine, chocolate, travel, coffee, and helping others plan vacations of a lifetime!

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