Paul Schicke
Written by Paul Schicke Senior Expedition Designer

Updated: May 01, 2024
Published: August 28, 2012

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Guests whale watching on bow of Quasar Galapagos Yacht
The choice between staying in a hotel and visiting the Galapagos aboard a yacht is an easy decision once you understand how the Galapagos National Park is set up. 90% of the land and 100% of the maritime area of the Galapagos Islands is within the National Park. The only places not within the Park are the population centers where you will find the hotels. There are over 40 National Park landing sites throughout the islands where you go ashore or go snorkeling to see animals up close in their natural habitat. Only a hand full of landing sites are accessible from the hotels and this is mostly by day boat. All the hotels compete for spaces on the day boats as there are now many more hotels than there are spaces on the day boats because very few day boats are permitted to go into the Park. If you are lucky enough to get a day boat out into the National Park, you start your day by having to take a small power boat to get to the landing site. These can be two hour rides each way. Not pleasant in a small boat and really a waste of your day.
When you are on a yacht based adventure, you wake up at the landing sites and spend all day enjoying the Park. That is why we visit two landing sites in one day and typically go snorkeling twice. The crossings between Islands take place at night when you are asleep. You wake up refreshed with the next visitor site right out your doorstep. On our cruises this means that you get to see both the inner and outer islands and the full spectrum of what the Galapagos has to offer, including many island landing sites off limits to the day boats. You spend the day ashore or in calm waters.
Galapagos Hotel
The cabins on our Galapagos luxury cruise are comparable to, and in most cases better than, what you will find in Galapagos hotels. You have your own private bathroom with shower and your cabin is cleaned at least twice daily. We also have many comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces under shade and the yachts are air conditioned. The main saloon, where your guide gives presentations on the next day’s activity each evening, provides a relaxing environment to spent time with family and friends with a full entertainment center. Our onboard boutique offers both necessities and souvenirs. We always receive excellent comments about our dining experience (all meals are included) and you can enjoy your meals in the dining room or al fresco.
Grace Yacht at sunset in Galapagos
Happy hour is always a highlight from our sky lounge bar as you watch the sun set on a new location every night, often accompanied by leaping dolphins and rays. Did I mention that each of our Galapagos luxury cruise yachts has a sizable Jacuzzi with sun deck? You will have a full crew onboard to serve you at all times; this not only includes the Captain and his staff, but your own cruise director, a chef with kitchen staff, dinghy drivers, cabin staff to clean and finally your top notch Galapagos National Park Guide. Here are just a few things our passengers had to say about our crew:
Luxury Cabin in Grace Yacht
“The staff was amazing and did everything possible to make the stay as fabulous as possible.” — Kristine Finlay. “We thought all the crew were excellent and felt it was a happy ship.” — Sara Westad. “All the crew was very professional, not intrusive and accommodating.” — Brent Elliott.
Photographing a Giant Tortoise on a Galapagos cruise
Of course there are other issues including the fact that the yachts are required to carry insurance but not hotels and yachts are required to handle their garbage in an environmentally friendly manner but not hotels. But the choice really comes down to spending all your time in the National Park experiencing the full extent of what it has to offer from the front seat provided by our yachts, or you can venture out perhaps a few times into the Park in a small boat. I liken this to going to Yosemite National Park and not getting to see the Valley or the Sequoias. We do go to Puerto Ayora and San Cristobal where the hotels are to see the Darwin Station and Tortoise in the Santa Cruz highlands. So you will have time in the port as well for things like shopping.
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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