Galapagos Island Cruises
Iguanas. Penguins. Sea lions. Manta rays. Giant tortoises. Blue-footed boobies (so cute!). Charles Darwin (maybe less so!).
This is but a sample of the species (or, in the case of Darwin, the leading surveyor of these species) endemic to the Galapagos Islands, the famous volcanic archipelago located some 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.
Given the islands’ layout and distance from the mainland, cruising is, for those with the fortunate opportunity, the best way to explore the world’s most renowned ecological destination.
The Islands’ incredible popularity, however, has resulted in many Johnny-come-lately Galapagos Island tours attempting to capitalize on visitors’ unfamiliarity with cruising in the Galapagos Islands.
Fortunately, this doesn’t describe Andando Tours, whose decades-long history, stewardship, itineraries, and vessels combine for an incomparable offering among the best Galapagos Island tours.
Made hopeful by the thought of a peaceful life away from war-torn Europe, the Angermeyer family sailed away from their native Germany and settled on Santa Cruz Island in 1937. Their early years were marked by rugged efforts to settle an area of the Galapagos Islands that, at the time, had no fresh water supply and a rocky topography.
Eventually, however, this family of fisherman settled what is presently called Angermeyer Point and, combining their maritime knowledge and newfound love of the Galapagos Islands, began offering cruise tours in the 1950s.
Andando Tours remains with the Angermeyer family today, and the personal connection they have to the land is evident not only in the quality of their cruises, but also in their stewardship. Andando Tours donates $100 per passenger to the Galapagos Marine Reserve in recognition that the beautiful land the Angermeyers love sharing with the world can only remain beautiful through concentrated preservation efforts.
Andando Tours currently offers several cruise options catering to a range of tastes, budgets, and itineraries.
- Its luxury cruises sail around the Galapagos Islands on Andando’s modern fleet of luxury yachts and catamarans. The luxury cruises feature 3 itineraries, including the 5-day Northern Galapagos itinerary that includes a visit to Genovesa, one of the chain’s most popular islands that is only accessible via cruise, the 8-day Isabela, Fernandina, and Española Islands iterinary, and – the coolest, at least according to me – a 15-day itinerary that offers a complete circumnavigation of the Galapagos Islands.
- Andando’s sailing cruises are like stepping back in time. Traveling on an imposing three-mast ship that looks like something from Pirates of the Caribbean, you have the choice of enjoying an 8-day itinerary that features either the Eastern or Western side of the Galapagos Islands. Both itineraries feature opportunities to hike (the perfect chance to say hello to the Galapagos Island animals, which are known for being quite friendly!), snorkel, and gaze throughout the Galapagos Islands.
- Andando also offers a variety of other cruises which include budget cruises designed for economical travel, family cruises, and diving adventures. As a PADI-certified scuba diver, I especially love the diving cruises, which of course provide the opportunity to see even more Galapagos wildlife – including giant manta rays and hammerhead sharks!
Andando owns and operates two vessels:
- The M/Y Passion is Andando’s flagship yacht for its luxury cruises. Originally constructed as a private yacht, Andando is the first to operate the Passion for tourism. The Passion features expansive space (holding 12 passengers despite its capacity for 16), private bathrooms in all cabins, panoramic lounges, a sun deck, and a 1:1 crew-to-passenger ratio that ensure all your needs are quickly met!
- The S/S Mary Anne is a gorgeous three-mast barquentine that is the only ship sailing the Galapagos Islands by wind power alone. Sailing without engine noise not only provides a more serene cruising experience, but it is also helpful in attracting dolphins, whales, and other wildlife near the ship! With 6 private cabins, a library, full dining room, and expansive deck located throughout 216 foot ship, the Mary Anne provides the perfect blend of modern comfort and traditional sailing.
You can browse all the cruise itineraries and ship cabins here. Which Andado cruise is your favorite?
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