While our passengers usually do not experience seasickness, many of our guest’s number one question before cruising is "how do I avoid getting seasick in the Galapagos Islands". Seasickness is the reaction of your body’s inner ear balance system to the unfamiliar motion of the yacht. The yachts movement can cause stress on your balance system. Understanding that you aren’t really sick, just out of balance, is the first step to fully enjoying the Galapagos Islands.
The seas of the Galapagos are amazingly calm for being 600 miles off the coast of South America in the Pacific. You will easily encounter much heavier seas during a 20 minute boat ride off the coast of the USA or the UK than you will during an entire trip through the Galapagos archipelago. That’s because the Galapagos doesn’t experience the peaks and troughs of the type of swell created when waves compress against a continent. Waves tend to go around the islands on their way across the ocean. We spend up to 5 hours a day on shore visiting the Galapagos National Park landing sites. During the rest of the day we tend to anchor in coves or cruise in calmer protected waters near to shore. Our crossings typically take place late at night while you are asleep and this is the time when we may encounter heavier seas. The seas start to get a bit rougher in late summer and through the fall. The calmest seas run from late January to May.
Of course people can and do get seasick on occasion. We carry Dramamine in our boutique and of course it is a good idea to bring some along as part of your personal medical supplies.
- Over-the-Counter Medication: Dramamine. A lot of people have also talked about using Bonine. The upside to these tablets – they’re easy to get and they work for preventative measures of getting seasick in the Galapagos. The downside – you need to remember to take it each day until you get your balance. I recommend leaving it out on the desk next your room's door to take it on the way to breakfast each morning.
- Prescriptions: Patches (Scopolamine): These seem to be the way to go if you’re extremely worried about motion sickness. The passengers that did have these didn’t feel an inkling of seasickness. The small, circular patches are placed inconspicuously behind the ear. They can be worn for up to 3 days (which means much less remembering) and provide time-released doses of the medication. The only downside I see is you have to make a trip to the doctor to get them. 99% of travelers visiting the Galapagos won’t need to go to such lengths to quell their nausea.
- Natural Remedies: The sea-band is a skinny, wristband that has a plastic stud out of it. The stud is to be placed on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on each wrist. I noticed, some people just wore these for more of a mental thing during their entire cruise. I would not recommend them as a way to ward off feeling sick, but as a 2nd precaution.
- Traveling on a large vessel in the Galapagos is no more a guarantee against sea sickness than traveling aboard other yachts and that is because some of the largest vessels in the Galapagos have a shallow draft bottoms to allow them to better navigate without mishap in the islands compared to their size. This means they roll side to side more than you would guess.
- he Galapagos is a true year-round destination with calm waters and near to perfect weather. Download a seasonal guide detailing each month to help you plan the best timing to visit the Galápagos Islands..