Galapagos Island Cruises from Avalon Waterways®
Discover the Galápagos Islands

Discover the Galápagos Islands

The Avalon Advantage

The Galápagos Islands are home to some of the world's most fascinating animal life, and lovingly called a "living laboratory". Visiting these islands with Avalon Waterways means you'll gain VIP access for sightseeing, most meals included, and specialized attention whether cruising or on-land. In order to offer the most intimate of experiences in this unique ecosystem, Avalon has chosen the 20-cabin yacht, Isabela II. On board, Avalon guests will find delicious cuisine, faultless service and excellent facilities, including a Jacuzzi, fitness room, bar and outside deck for al fresco meals, drinks and sunbathing. The Isabela II offers enriching wildlife encounters whether amid the islands' haunting volcanic landscapes or beneath the waves of its marine reserve, all in the company of passionate, dedicated and expert naturalist guides. The islands' marine life can be appreciated with a snorkel and mask, paddling a kayak or aboard our glass-bottom boat. We also deliver a more enriching experience with Local FavoritesSM, designed to introduce you to the unique stories and wildlife in each destination. An expert Cruise Director and experienced Naturalists accompany you throughout your adventure, ensuring no detail is overlooked. When you embark on this Avalon Waterways small ship cruise aboard the Isabela II, you'll encounter giant tortoises, penguins, sea lions, lizards, and a whole host of diverse bird species. Discover the wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin with the help of Avalon Waterways.

Galápagos Islands Cruises

Experience the Galápagos

Galapagos Islands Cruises

Consisting of 13 large and hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of South America, the Galápagos Islands, a region of Ecuador, are home to some of the world's most fascinating animal life. From Quito, Ecuador, fly to Baltra Island, then board your luxury yacht and cruise from island to island, encountering species found nowhere else in the world. There is no place on Earth like the Galápagos Islands. This archipelago was formed over five million years ago by titanic geothermic upheavals that created volcanic islands, some of which are still in the throes of creation today. As the young islands were cooling off, say, two million years later, some species gradually arrived. They were live organisms riding on "rafts of vegetation" from the shores of Central and South America. Unusual climatic events, like flooding, can take lots of vegetation rafts eventually to the ocean. Therefore, it is pure chance that allows a raft to eventually reach Galápagos. These early immigrants had to adapt to a peculiar new environment, and simply evolved - slowly - in a different direction from their continental ancestors. And, wonders of nature, they developed into species unique to the islands, with features not seen in their past ancestors.

The first man to step on the Galápagos Islands was a Spanish bishop on a mission to Central America who was pushed off course by the currents and winds. He arrived in the Galápagos in 1535, less than 500 years ago. Given the age of the archipelago, humans are some of the newest inhabitants to the islands. During the 17th and 18th Centuries, pirates used the Galápagos Islands as a refuge and to stock up on food, particularly from the large tortoises that could be found here. Later in the 18th Century, the whalers began using the archipelago as a center for its operations. Sadly, the whalers left a devastating impact on the islands by killing tortoises and introducing domestic animals. These events will prove later the reasons for having a strong conservation campaign in today's Galápagos.

It wasn't until 1832 when the Galápagos Islands were officially claimed by Ecuador and named them Las Islas Galápagos after the famous tortoises. When Charles Darwin visited in 1835, he observed a pristine, naturally-isolated living laboratory that would inspire and refine his theories, which he would release upon the world - to shattering effect - decades later. The islands have not lost their ability to inspire: the magic Darwin found over 180 years ago is still thriving in this remarkable environment.

Here you can walk among unique species such as marine and land iguanas basking in the sun, observe the elaborate mating rituals of blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigate birds, and snorkel with playful sea lions and penguins. Unthreatened by predators, Galápagos creatures are undisturbed by visitors, who, one and all, come away inspired and changed by their experience of Nature here. As you explore these remarkable volcanic isles firsthand, you’ll discover the wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin and a living laboratory that serves as your entertainment for entertainment for your 5-day cruise. The delicate biodiversity of this area will astound you and create memories and stories to be retold for years to come.

Your Own Personal Expert

The Isabela's Naturalists are hand selected guides that have obtained the highest level of training and assessment which includes continued education every year. Each day the Isabela's expert Naturalists provide rich narrative about the abundant, natural life you encounter in this archipelago. Your Naturalist will lead you along paths of lava flows from less than 100 years ago, personally show you the fascinating blue-footed booby species, the flightless cormorant, and the great frigatebird along with dozens of others. One of the greatest features of the Galápagos is that every island features unique wildlife. Some islands reveal only certain species of tortoises, birds and even a hybrid iguana that is indigenous only to South Plaza Island. Your Naturalist will also be your guide in the water! The archipelago is a part of the second largest Marine Reserve in the world meaning it’s an amazing place to discover life under the waves. Your experts will add enriching experiences, making the Galápagos truly come alive.

Included is the Name of the Game

At Avalon, "included" is one of our favorite words. Spacious Staterooms with twin beds included. Unique Local FavoritesSM, designed to immerse you in the culture-included. Complimentary wine with dinner-included. Services of one of our highly rated professional Tour Directors-included. The most included sightseeing led by Certified Local Guides-included. VIP entrance into the must-see sites-included. Expansive panoramic views throughout the ship-included. Dining experiences that will amaze you both onboard and on land-included.

Included for Every Avalon Guest:

  • Intimate cruise experience on the Isabela II with no more than 40 passengers
  • Outside cabins
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Individual climate control
  • Internal communication system
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle and water station
  • Private bathroom with shower, eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner, and hairdryer
  • In-room safe
  • Included private guided shore excursions
  • Multilingual Naturalists
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Stargazing Program
  • Welcome cocktail followed by dinner
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner – served in the elegant dining room
  • Complimentary wine with all onboard dinners
  • Complimentary coffee, tea, water, and snacks onboard throughout the day
  • Multimedia natural history lectures

Cruising Built for the Galápagos

Cruising Built for the Galapagos Island

Seeing the Galápagos Islands on board the 21-stateroom Isabela II goes beyond traditional cruising. It's an expeditionary approach that allows you to authentically discover and explore the natural wonders of this region. The Isabela II is built to luxurious standards and features an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy all that the Galápagos is famous for-intimate contact with the wildlife! From penguins and flamingos sharing the same beach, ancient tortoises and iguanas that swim, colorful birdlife that forgot how to fly, and the diverse marine world teeming with life, these dramatic volcanic islands truly are "a laboratory of evolution." Delve into this unique world with the Isabela II’s crew and expert Naturalists, who share their passion for nature and conservation of this mysterious part of the world. Your time in the Galápagos will be filled with shore excursions, lectures, exploration of the marine reserve by snorkeling, glass-bottom boat, or even kayaks—and, of course, relaxation!

Cruising on the Isabela II means you get a first-hand expedition of these islands, but not at the expense of comfort. The elegant, yet relaxed atmosphere, along with friendly and knowledgeable staff, and fully-equipped rooms means you'll be relaxed and able to absorb the magic of the Galapagos on your 4-night cruise. The ship features a Jacuzzi, exercise room, outdoor lounge, and an observation platform for dolphin and whale watching on the top deck. The ship's dining room, lounge, and bar are elegantly appointed, as is the well-stocked library/reading room. All staterooms are outside and feature air-conditioning, private bathrooms, hairdryers, and safety deposit boxes.

Isabela II Features:

  • Expedition team of multilingual Naturalists
  • Expert crew
  • Outside staterooms with air-conditioning, private bathroom, hairdryer, and safe
  • Non-smoking interiors
  • Elegantly appointed common areas
  • Indoor lounge & bar
  • Reading Room & Natural History Library
  • Exercise room
  • Outdoor bar
  • Sun Deck
  • Boutique
  • Observation area for whale or dolphin watching
  • Jacuzzi
  • Complimentary wine with all onboard dinners
  • Open seating throughout dining room for all meals
  • International cuisine & celebrated Ecuadorian specialties
  • Resident physician onboard
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Wetsuits
  • Glass-bottom boat
  • Sea kayaks
  • Hydrophone and "splashcam" for listening to and viewing the underwater world
  • Galápagos Natural History lectures and stargazing talks
  • Business center with Wi-Fi access
  • Radio, telephone, E-mail, and Fax communications

Ship Overview Cabins Photo Gallery

Savory Cuisine

On Board
With Avalon, every dining experience brings your destination to life. Savor fresh, quality ingredients...and delectable recipes that are crafted by culinary experts. Onboard chefs prepare International-style cuisine with a great focus on Ecuadorian flavors, recipes and traditional food, all of which enhance cultural values. The breakfast buffet offers a wide variety of dishes to ensure you start your day off right. The lunch buffet offers a great selection of main courses as well as fresh salads and homemade soups. Dinner is served at your table with a choice of entrees and complimentary wine. Also, occasional "al fresco" dining can be enjoyed on the outdoor deck (based on current weather conditions).

On Land
With Avalon, every dining experience brings your destination to life. Savor fresh, quality ingredients...and delectable recipes that are crafted by culinary experts. Onboard chefs prepare International-style cuisine with a great focus on Ecuadorian flavors, recipes and traditional food, all of which enhance cultural values. The breakfast buffet offers a wide variety of dishes to ensure you start your day off right. The lunch buffet offers a great selection of main courses as well as fresh salads and homemade soups. Dinner is served at your table with a choice of entrees and complimentary wine. Also, occasional "al fresco" dining can be enjoyed on the outdoor deck (based on current weather conditions).

Superior Hotels

Every Avalon hotel has been carefully selected by our regional experts. With high-quality service, desirable amenities, spacious guestrooms, and central locations, each is sure to exceed your expectations. View a cruise itinerary for a full list of hotels, amenities and photos.

Galápagos Islands Cruises

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