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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

Wildly Luxurious: Preparing for a Galapagos Luxury Cruise Adventure

An expedition to the Galapagos is an incredible adventure and knowing what to pack and how to prepare for the trip can make all the difference. On this journey, you’ll enjoy a diverse range of activities from nature hikes, wildlife watching, kayaking, and snorkeling with sea lions, sharks, and sea turtles. You will dine on fresh and flavorful local cuisine while enjoying the comfort of a luxurious cruise ship.

Packing Tips

Here is a comprehensive packing list for a 7-night expedition cruise to the Galapagos that will ensure you have everything you need to fully enjoy this amazing trip:

  1. Comfortable Walking Shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking on the islands, hiking, and exploring the wildlife. Make sure to pack a sturdy and comfortable pair of sneakers or hiking boots. Pack a few pairs of thin, wicking hiking socks too.

  2. Water shoes: Be prepared for “wet landings”, which means stepping out of a Zodiac boat into sometimes knee-deep water and wading ashore while carrying your gear. Leave the flipflops at home!

  3. Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and Sun Hat: The Galapagos is located on the equator, which means it can be quite hot during the day. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen to protect your skin and a hat to keep you cool. Polarized lenses make it easier to spot wildlife in the water. Invest in a neoprene strap to keep from losing your sunglasses.

  4. Lightweight Clothing: Pack light-colored and breathable clothing, suitable for the warm and humid climate of the islands. Avoid white, as volcanic dust can stain, and black, due to the intense sun. Patterns can attract insects. Consider SPF and insect repellent treated clothing in neutral colors. Think safari chic rather than colorful beachwear. Don’t forget to include swimwear.

  5. Rain jacket or poncho: While it does rain in the Galapagos, it’s almost always warm; temperatures range from around 75F to a balmy 86F. January through June are the wetter months, particularly March and April, so pack something light and waterproof to keep yourself dry on hikes.

  6. Lightweight Jacket or Fleece: Most Galapagos vacations start in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital. At an altitude of 9,350ft, Quito is considerably cooler than the islands so pack a lightweight jacket or fleece. For visits to the city’s many historical churches, women are expected to cover their shoulders and men cannot wear shorts.

  7. Evening Clothes: Evenings in the Galapagos are casual, even on a luxury cruise ship. A few pairs of slacks, polo or button-down shirts for men and dressier tops or sundresses for women work well. There is no need to plan a complex wardrobe for evenings onboard.

  8. Camera and Photography Equipment: The Galapagos Islands are a photographer's dream. You will need a good camera or smartphone with a decent camera to capture all the unique wildlife and scenery. Consider a waterproof case. Pack extra batteries, memory cards, and chargers.

  9. Prescription Mask or Goggles: Quality snorkeling gear is provided on Galapagos expeditions. But if you wear contacts and are worried about putting your face in the water, or if you use glasses and have a strong prescription, consider investing in a prescription mask.

  10. Day Pack: A roll-top dry bag is a good investment on your Galapagos packing list. It’s fantastic for Zodiac tours, wet landings, kayaking, and beach time. Everything fits—camera, water bottle, phone—and is protected from sea and sand when you jump off the Zodiac and wade ashore.

  11. Toiletries and Medications: Bring all personal toiletries and medications. It's important to note that the islands are quite remote, so you will want to make sure you have everything you need in case you can't find it on the islands.

Do not pack valuables or medications in checked bags. Lock your luggage. Double-check with your travel advisor, cruise line, and airline(s) for specific luggage type and weight restrictions.

Reading List

Here are a few reading recommendations for travelers going to the Galapagos for the first time:

  1. The Galapagos: A Natural History by Henry Nicholls: This book provides an overview of the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands and their history, as well as information about the research and conservation efforts that have been undertaken.

  2. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner: This Pulitzer Prize-winning book tells the story of two biologists who study the finches of the Galapagos Islands and their groundbreaking insights into the theory of evolution.

  3. Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott: This book explores the history of the ideas that led up to the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, including the scientists and thinkers who paved the way for Darwin.

  4. The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck: While not focused solely on the Galapagos, this classic travelogue by the Nobel Prize-winning author chronicles a marine biology expedition to the Gulf of California and has insights that may cross over to the Galapagos.

  5. Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World by Paul D. Stewart: This book delves into the history, geology, and evolution of the Galapagos Islands with stunning photography and narratives that are both educational and poetic.

These books provide cultural context and rich layers of historical information to help travelers better appreciate and understand the Galapagos' unique ecosystems and landscape.

Being properly prepared for travel matters, especially for a remote destination like the Galapagos. Most of the islands in the Galapagos are uninhabited and located miles from civilization—needless to say, there are no stores in these pristine spots. The ship may stock a few sundries, but better to pack what you need to be comfortable and entertained on your expedition.

Let's get started planning your Galapagos expedition! Reserve your complimentary consultation call with me to begin!

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