Our style of luxury travel in small groups means you get to have the islands, animals and guides more to yourself
360-degree unrestricted views & lots of outdoor space under shade. Ideal for whale watching, photography or taking in your surroundings.
They make the difference between a good adventure and the trip-of-a-lifetime. Quasar guides are entertaining hosts with top leadership skills & university level knowledge.
Galapagos Luxury Cruises
The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s most remarkable destinations and every day is filled with bucket-list moments. Onboard our Galapagos luxury tours everywhere you turn there are opportunities to see the thriving wildlife and nature and with each new encounter, your sense of awe increases. Looking beyond the sheer beauty of the islands lies the mass of culture and history; it was these islands that Darwin studied in great detail to develop his ‘Theory of Evolution’. There are a number of ways to see the islands but the best way is onboard our Galapagos luxury cruise. The large number of islands are best visited by boat as many are uninhabited and Quasar Expeditions; having won Travel and Leisures #1 Best small ship Cruise Company award for 5 years running, are an excellent choice. We focus on taking our guests’ experiences to the next level and turning an exceptional vacation into the trip of a lifetime.
Why tour the Galapagos with Quasar Expeditions?
Built on a young couple’s dream of showing the islands to the world, Quasar Expeditions was founded in 1986 and continues to be a family run company with thousands of success stories. We are the oldest and most experienced small luxury Galapagos island tour company in Galapagos and truly consider the islands to be a second home. We focus on providing sustainable travel and are a Global Compact Partner and Zero Waste Project Partner. Our passion is to preserve the environment so future generations can enjoy the same experiences and Galapagos tours as us today.
Galapagos Islands Luxury Cruise
The archipelago’s wildlife-rich islands are best accessible by boat as they are usually more remote and so booking a Galapagos luxury cruise is a good decision. Most of the islands remain uninhabited meaning that many of the sights that you will see are completely unspoiled. Dense forests, untouched beaches, and large groups of wildlife are all on the agenda! Having won awards for our small ship cruises and sustainable tours, it is clear that we have the knowledge and experience to really deliver the best luxury Galapagos cruise.
Why we have the best Galapagos Luxury Cruises & Island Tours
What better way to relax, unwind and reconnect with nature than cruising around one of the Earth’s most remarkable archipelagos? Quasar Expeditions offer luxury Galapagos tours on small ships cruises to ensure access to the more fragile islands that large ships are unable to visit. Quasar Expeditions truly care about the experiences of our guests and provide high quality, luxury trips with world-class naturalist guides. Our company was built upon the desire to show the treasures of the Galapagos Islands to the world and we are committed to that on every trip. Key elements of our tours are; Small ships - we know the difference that a small tour group can make. Being away from the crowds makes the trip a lot more personal and enables deeper connections to be made with the rest of the group and the Earth. Plenty of wildlife encounters - everywhere you turn there are opportunities to encounter wildlife; sea lions, seals, flamingos, tortoises, and iguanas are regularly found roaming the islands. There are plenty of snorkel spots and whale watching opportunities on our cruises and large numbers of birds roam the skies. World-class guides - our testimonials often refer to our guides as being one of the main factors in their success. All of our guides are friendly, passionate, and have a genuine love for the environment and their job. Our guests always comment that it’s our guides that make Quasar Expeditions one of the best Galapagos tour companies!
Enquire About Your Galapagos Cruise & Island Tours Today
Quasar Expeditions also specializes in Galapagos luxury charters, Galapagos honeymoon cruises as well as Galapagos Islands vacation packages. Awards and ratings do not lie; join our five-star success stories and speak with a consultant today to book one of the Best Galapagos Cruise tours.
Experience the Galapagos in spacious comfort and privacyaboard two luxury yachts from the Golden Age of Travel.
Timeless elegance with royal history. Cruise the Galapagos Islands aboard Grace Kelly’s honeymoon yacht.explore the grace
Experience the Galapagos in spacious comfort and privacy aboard a luxury yacht that retraces the footsteps of Darwin.explore the evolution
Travel to this natural wonderland as Darwin once did: personally and privately, but with the comfort and elegance of today. We invite you to be enchanted by the Galapagos Islands.
Experience Galapagos in the company of your loved ones. Travelers of all ages enjoy incredible wildlife encounters, vibrant scenery, and excursions designed for family bonding.
Relive your cruise of a lifetime for years to come. Photo departures give you insider access to top professionals, who will guide you in capturing the best of Galapagos from every angle.
What better way to begin the story of your marriage than a bucket list trip with your soulmate? Experience a romantic island getaway, with tailor-made itineraries to fit your interests.
On Your Galapagos Luxury Cruise
Islands Luxury Cruises
There are three things to consider when choosing your ideal month to visit the Galapagos Islands: Weather, crowds and the wildlife. Weather As opposed to many wildlife sanctuaries around the world that are found at the extremes of our planet, the Galapagos Islands are conveniently located right at the center of our globe, on the equator. Areas near or at the equator receive high amounts of sunlight due to the inclination of the earth. Because more amount of sunlight is received in these areas, there are only two seasons in this part of the world as a result, and the Galapagos Islands enjoy very stable air and water temperatures year-round. This makes them a great year-round destination for travelers from all over the globe and there really is no “better” or “worse” time to travel to the Islands as it refers to the weather. In all our years offering Galapagos luxury cruises, we have never had a Guest return home saying they wished they would have visited the Islands during a different month than the one they did. You can visit our Galapagos climate and weather page for a detailed table on air and water temperatures for every month of the year. Crowds The high season for tourism tends to be from mid-December to January and from June to August, which coincides with the general holidays and vacation months of the Northern Hemisphere. If you are planning your Galapagos cruise during the "popular" holiday months, we recommend you book your trip at least 6 months prior to your desired travel date and when possible, even sooner. If you are looking to travel during Christmas or New Year’s weeks, you will want to book at least a year in advance, if not two. For those who are flexible with their travel schedules, we highly recommend traveling during the months of January, February, September and October. These months fall right after the “popular” holiday months, meaning you will see less visitors around the National Park but still enjoy amazing weather and spectacular wildlife encounters. Wildlife Regarding the wildlife of the Galapagos, there is also no “better” or “worse” time to go to see the animals that are considered “the main attraction” of the Islands. Because almost all of the animal species you will see on the Islands arrived because they floated there on logs or beds of plants, or they were blown in, they made the islands their permanent home and they do not migrate. This means that iconic ‘must-see’ species like the Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, marine iguana, land iguana, blue footed booby, Galapagos hawk, fur sea lion, California sea lion and many others spend the entire year in the Galapagos and can be seen regardless of the time of year you go. A few species in the Galapagos are migratory, meaning that they are not present in the Islands year-round. These include whales, the waved albatross and some petrels and tattlers. To see these species we recommend you travel between the months of August – October. You can continue reading our page on ‘when to visit Galapagos’ for a detailed month by month weather and wildlife breakdown.
From the time the Galapagos was declared a National Park in the late 50’s and all the way to around 2010, all ships in the Galapagos Islands were run by local Ecuadorian companies (although some operated through international cruise brands). In case you didn’t know, the Galapagos Islands belong to the country of Ecuador. However, around 2010, larger international cruise lines started to gain interest in the Galapagos and companies in the likes of Celebrity, Silversea, Disney and Hurtigruten have now started offering cruises in the archipelago. All these major cruise lines operate 100 passenger ships, which is the largest ship size permitted in the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. For those of you who have cruised with the major cruise lines before, 100 passengers may sound like a very small number and it may seem like an intimate experience but, in Galapagos, these ships are the equivalent of the 1,000 passenger ships in other popular cruising destinations. To get the best experience in the Galapagos, we highly recommend choosing yachts with 36 passengers or less.
Galapagos cruises leave from 3 places within the archipelago: Baltra Island, the port town of Puerto Ayora (on Santa Cruz Island) and the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (on San Cristobal Island). No Galapagos cruises leave from mainland Ecuador. You must first take a domestic flight from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos. If you book your cruise with Quasar Expeditions, you do not need to worry about the logistics of getting to the Galapagos and to your cruise. We will make all the arrangements for you and take care of everything from the moment you land in mainland Ecuador until the moment you depart. As a reference, however, for those who want to understand where and how Galapagos cruises departu from, this is how it works. If your cruise departs from Baltra Island or from the port town of Puerto Ayora, you must fly into Baltra Airport from the mainland (airport code GPS). Most Galapagos cruise ships today depart from Baltra Island, and your guides are normally waiting for you at the airport to take you on a short bus ride to the bay where your zodiacs await to take you to your ship. For ships that depart from the port town of Puerto Ayora, to get to here from Baltra airport you must take the airport bus (free) to the Itabaca Channel, cross the channel on the ferry ($1 per person) and then take a bus ride ($3 - $5 per person) to Puerto Ayora or a taxi ($25) for the remaining 1 hour ride to port. If your ship departs from the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (often referred to as just San Cristobal Island), you must fly into San Cristobal Airport (code SCY) and then take a very short bus ride to the dock in town to board your zodiac that takes you to your ship.
We often get asked what the cost of a Galapagos Islands cruise is and the answer depends on the type of accommodations and experience that you are looking for. Getting to Ecuador Regarding flights, there are no direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands. Anyone visiting the archipelago must first fly into the cities of Quito or Guayaquil in mainland Ecuador, and then connect to the Galapagos. Many major airlines offer international flights to Quito and Guayaquil, including Copa Airlines, Aeromexico, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Jet Blue, Avianca, Latam and Iberia. Please check with each airline for the best possible flights to Ecuador, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to up to $800 if flying to Ecuador from the US, and between $900 and $1500 if flying from Europe. In addition to the international flights you also have to book domestic flights to the Galapagos from either Quito or Guayaquil. Depending on where you are flying from (Guayaquil or Quito), flight prices range from $470 to about $530 for adults and $360 - $400 for children. Please note flight prices are constantly changing so it is best to always check with airlines like Latam and Avianca that currently have daily flights out to the islands. Children under 12 normally get an important discount on domestic air. You also need to pay a mandatory transit card (used to track visitors and make sure they don’t stay more than 3 months in the islands) and it costs $20 per person. Spending a Few Days in the Mainland before flying to Galapagos For anyone interested in cruising the Galapagos, it is strongly recommended to add a minimum of 2 nights in Mainland Ecuador on the front end of your trip to accommodate for flight delays, cancellations or baggage issues. How much you spend in your travels on the mainland will depend on the type of hotel you stay at and if you choose to do any tours while in Ecuador. But it’s always best to consider at least a couple of days in Mainland Ecuador as part of your overall Galapagos trip budget. Entering the Galapagos National Park Once in Galapagos, non-Ecuadorians must pay a Park fee of $100 for adults and $50 for children under 12. There are discounts available for Ecuadorians and for some Andean countries that are members of Pacto Andino. Galapagos Cruise Prices Galapagos is considered an expensive cruising destination, regardless of the type of traveler you are. As a general rule of thumb however, you can use the guidelines below to book the best Galapagos cruise to fit your budget. Galapagos cruise offers are available from time to time.
- Budget Cruises: In terms of accommodations, these cruises are the equivalent of 1 and 2 star hotels, and can cost anywhere between $250 - $430 dollars per person, per day. This normally includes accommodations, meals, excursions and all non-alcoholic beverages. A week long budget cruise can cost anywhere between $1800 to about $3,000 per person.
- Tourist Superior Cruises: Cruises in this category are the equivalent of a 3 star hotel and start at around $450 per person, per day and go up to about $600. A weeklong tourist superior cruise can cost between $3,100 and $4,200 per person.
- First Class Cruises: First class cruises are the equivalent of a 4 star hotel and they cost between $610 to about $780 per person, per day. A weeklong tourist superior cruise can cost between $4,300 and $5,500 per person.
- Luxury Cruises: These cruises are the equivalent of a 5 star hotel in terms of accommodations and service. Luxury cruises in Galapagos start at around $800 per person for the day, and go up all the way to around $1,700 per person for the day, depending on the suite category you choose. A week long luxury cruise can cost between $6,000 to around $12,000 dollars per person.
Finally, you should always consider some budget in your trip for extras like bar consumption, laundry, items of personal nature and tips to guides and crew. Drink prices are high in Galapagos, mainly due to the import tariffs on alcohol in Ecuador and the cost of getting the alcohol to the islands. With tips, you can expect to pay about $10 per person, per day for crew and for guides on budget ships and about $20 - $30 per person, per day on the luxury ships. You can also learn more on Galapagos travel in our Frequently Asked Questions on the Galapagos page.
Over 97% of the Galapagos archipelago is a national park, completely off limits to human establishments. Only 3% of the islands are human-inhabited, where hotels can be built. If you think about it, exploring the Galapagos Islands on a cruise is really the only way to explore this 97% of the archipelago that is off limits to human establishments. Therefore, for those asking if a Galapagos cruise is worth it, the answer is, absolutely! The Galapagos are a natural paradise that simply cannot be missed. They are the best place in the world for children and adults alike to safely get close to and interact with animals in the wild. Although it is considered an expensive cruising destination (please refer to the question on cruise costs above), a Galapagos cruise is ranked among the top cruising experiences in the world.
There are two different ways to visit the Galapagos Islands: On a liveaboard cruise that navigates around the archipelago, or by staying at a hotel on one of the Port Towns and taking day tours from there. 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. 97% of the Galapagos Archipelago is a National Park and is off limits to human establishments. Only 3% of the archipelago are human-inhabited areas, where hotels can be built. The only way to access the great majority of the visitor sites around the islands is on a live aboard vessel that takes you on a cruise throughout the entire archipelago. Hotels are found in the population centers which are the only places not within the Park. From here you can only access visitor sites that are nearby, when the best ones are far away (due to the lesser presence of humans throughout history). There are over 40 National Park landing sites throughout the islands where travelers are permitted to go ashore or go snorkeling to see animals up close in their natural habitat. Over 70% of these are not accessible when staying in a Hotel. Only a handful 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. If you are lucky enough to get a day boat, you start your day by having to take a power boat ride to the landing site. These can be 2 hour rides each way. Not that pleasant and really a waste of a good part of your day. In contrast, the permitted live aboard yachts arrive at your first landing site before you wake up and you will have the opportunity to go ashore and visit two different sites for up to 2 1⁄2 hours each, along with snorkeling, kayaking and panga/zodiac rides. 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.
Unlike many Island cruising destinations like the Galapagos, cruises in this part of the world do not depart from the mainland and then sail to the Islands. The Galapagos are located 600 miles (1000 km) from the mainland, meaning it takes around 2 to 3 days to get there from the mainland. This distance makes sailing from the mainland unviable for a cruise, which means all Galapagos cruises depart directly from the Galapagos Islands. You must first take a domestic flight to the Galapagos from mainland Ecuador before boarding your ship. If your ship departs from Baltra Island and Puerto Ayora, you must fly to either Baltra Airport (code GPS) or to San Cristobal Airport (code SCY).
Knowing that you have all the clothing and equipment you need before you go, that it works and that it fits, will ensure peace of mind during your once in a lifetime Galapagos cruise adventure. Remember to pack as light as possible, so that you can travel with ease around Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. To see a full list and to download a packing checklist - Galapagos Packing List
To answer this question, you must first understand how the Galapagos park handles cruise itineraries. Before 2012 Galapagos tour vessels all visited the same sites week in and week out. This led to environmental impact, with multiple boats visiting the same sites at the same time. Thankfully the Galapagos National Park came up with the idea of requiring all ships to wait 2 weeks before returning to the same site. This not only reduced environmental impact and dispersed boats evenly throughout the Islands, it reduced the amount of crossovers and passengers at each site. Today all permitted Galapagos vessels navigate a two week voyage through the islands, which they divide up into different length itineraries that are 3, 4, 5, 8 and up to 15 days. This leads to the question: How many days should you plan for your Galapagos itinerary? If you have the time and wherewithal, you can stay on the same yacht for the full two weeks and see almost all there is to see in both land and sea. Most travelers can’t do that though, so here are the alternatives. At the other end of the spectrum the chief mistake traveler’s should avoid is not allowing enough time to experience the islands. It’s a long way and a fair expense just to get there. Much of the first and last days of any itinerary are spent traveling between the mainland and Galapagos and once you arrive you’ll want to make sure you can get into the Park where all the animal action is. As an example, we refer to a 3-day Galapagos trip as ‘the airport tour’. The reason to visit Galapagos isn’t airports or even port towns, it’s to encounter all those amazing animals inside the National Park. If you don’t leave enough time, just when you are beginning to relax and realize the wonderful wildlife experiences the islands have in store for you…you will have to leave! Our 36 + years of cruising in the Enchanted Islands have shown us that an 8-day safari style yacht experience is ideal and gets great reviews. It provides plenty of opportunities for peak animal encounters and relaxation. For more information on this and related subjects read our blog: Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Galapagos Islands Cruise.
Top 9 Places To Visit In The Galapagos Islands
This is the year for you to finally take that Galapagos Islands cruise! Picturing yourself in Darwin's archipelago is the perfect way to start in planning your trip, but you need to make sure you see the very best these majestic islands have to offer. If you are not sure which Galapagos Islands cruise itinerary to choose, check out our top 9, traveler-tested, Quasar-approved visitor sites and make sure to visit as many of these as you can.
- 1Rabida Beach, Rabida Island
- 2 Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island
- 3 Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
- 4 Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island
- 5 Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island
- 6 Darwin Bay Beach, Genovesa Island
- 7 Punta Suarez, Española Island
- 8 Post Office Bay, Floreana Island
- 9 Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island
1. Rabida Beach, Rabida Island
A surprise among Galapagos’ pristine white sand beaches is a mesmerizing sight you simply can’t miss: the rusty-red sand beach on Rabida Island. At first glance, you may feel like you’re experiencing an optical illusion. How could a sandy beach be so vividly red? The iron content of Rabida Island’s volcanic rock is so high that the rock rusts when exposed to air, turning the beaches, soil, and rocky cliffs red.
2. Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island
This is one of our favorite visitor sites because of its abundance of wildlife. Wildlife regularly spotted on this unique point include Marine Iguanas dodging Racer Snakes, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, California Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Hawks, and 3 types of Herons.
3. Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
Some travelers say hiking Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island feels otherworldly, as if you’ve been transported to the face of the moon. While traversing the unique volcanic landscape, you will navigate lava formations and fissures that reshaped the island just over a century ago, with viewpoints that gleam like a giant obsidian sculpture in the equatorial sunshine.
4. Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island
Elizabeth Bay, a tranquil inlet on the east coast of Isabela Island, is one of the most beautiful sites designated for kayaking by the Galapagos National Park. Quasar guests of all ages enjoy zig-zagging through turquoise shores and wildlife-filled coves at a pace that allows for Kodak moments amidst unforgettable scenery.
5. Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island
Punta Vicente Roca, located on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island, is one of the archipelago’s most interesting and diverse snorkeling sites. The nutrient-rich waters and the upwelling of cold water currents here attract a diverse array of rare creatures, making it a Quasar traveler favorite.
6. Darwin Bay Beach, Genovesa Island
Darwin Bay Beach is found on Genovesa Island, which is also known as “Bird Island”. This bay, more than any other in the Galapagos, is truly a bird watcher’s delight. The bustling activity of Great Frigate Birds, Red-Footed Boobies, Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons, and Swallow-Tailed Gulls stands out against the bay’s white coral sands and calming ocean waves.
7. Punta Suarez, Española Island
One of the oldest of the Galapagos Islands, Española seems to be the choice gathering place for some of the world’s most rare creatures. On Quasar Expeditions’ photo safari cruises, travelers can interact with naturalists who guide the discovery of wildlife that includes tiny sea lion pups and red-and-turquoise-marked marine iguanas. Your camera memory cards will fill up in no time.
8. Post Office Bay, Floreana Island
Floreana Island is a traveler favorite not only for the beauty of unique lava caves and awe-inspiring beaches, but also for the bewildering presence of it's famous mail box and its history. To this day, the stampless system is quite effective.
9. Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island
While touring the six different vegetation zones of Santa Cruz Island, you will have the coveted opportunity to observe the out-of-this-world creatures and cosmic terrain that first captivated Charles Darwin, leading to studies that would change the course of evolutionary science forever.
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Galápagos Islands: What to Know Before You Go
The Galapagos Islands
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|Month||Average Low||Average High||Avg. Water Temperature||Avg. Rainfall (In The Highlands Only)|
|JANUARY||72°F / 22°C||86°F / 30°C||76°F / 24.5°C||1.0 in / 2.5 cm|
|FEBRUARY||75°F / 24°C||86°F / 30°C||77°F / 25°C||1.0 in / 2.5 cm|
|MARCH||75°F / 24°C||88°F / 31°C||77°F / 25°C||2.0 in / 5.1 cm|
|APRIL||75°F / 24°C||88°F / 31°C||77°F / 25°C||1.5 in / 3.8 cm|
|MAY||72°F / 22°C||82°F / 28°C||76°F / 24.5°C||0.75 in / 1.9 cm|
|JUNE||70°F / 21°C||79°F / 26°C||73°F / 23°C||0.25 in / 0.6 cm|
|JULY||68°F / 20°C||79°F / 26°C||72°F / 22°C||0.5 in / 1.3 cm|
|AUGUST||66°F / 19°C||79°F / 26°C||71°F / 21.5°C||0.25 in / 0.6 cm|
|SEPTEMBER||66°F / 19°C||79°F / 26°C||72°F / 22°C||1.3 in / 2.5 cm|
|OCTOBER||68°F / 20°C||79°F / 26°C||73°F / 22.5°C||0.25 in / 0.6 cm|
|NOVEMBER||70°F / 21°C||79°F / 26°C||73°F / 23°C||0.5 in / 1.3 cm|
|DECEMBER||72°F / 22°C||81°F / 27°C||73°F / 22.5°C||0.5 in / 1.3 cm|
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Trip Extensions in Mainland Ecuador
& The Amazon Basin
and activity levels