Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:01 pm
The Galapagos Islands aboard the M/V Galapagos Legend
Since my fifth-grade science class, I have been amazed by the Galapagos Islands and their incredible wildlife. Everything I read about the endemic species found in the middle of the ocean made it seem like an out of reach destination only accessible in my daydreams. Luckily, the Galapagos Islands are only 563 miles off the western coast of South America. So, they are easily accessible by taking a short flight from mainland Ecuador. I recently had the opportunity to combine a trip throughout continental Ecuador with a 4 Day/3 Night cruise experience aboard Go Galapagos’ M/V Galapagos Legend Cruise. Read on to learn more about my experiences onboard and on the islands!
Getting to the Galapagos Islands
There are direct flights daily from Quito and Guayaquil to Baltra and San Cristobal’s airports. Flights are typically included in the cruise package, so everything lines up seamlessly, and you’ll be exploring the islands in no time.
Galapagos Legend Cruise Ship Amenities
The M/V Galapagos Legend was completely renovated in December 2016 and includes accommodations for 100 passengers. The Legend is considered one of the larger boats in the Galapagos, offering many places to relax. In addition to the 53 ocean view rooms and 3 interior rooms, the ship boasts a lounge, a lecture room, a library, a restaurant, two bars, two sundecks including a pool and Jacuzzi, a gym, and a kids entertainment center. The ship also offers fun activities including a trivia night, photo contest and ice cream social so you will feel at home on the open water.
View more: Galapagos Cruises
Cabins on the Galapagos Legend Cruise
The M/V Galapagos Legend features five different cabin categories ranging from Standard to the Legend Suite. The Standard cabins are the only rooms without ocean views while the Standard Plus cabins include porthole windows. I recommend staying in a Junior Suite, which comes with two full-sized windows so you can enjoy the impressive views of the ocean and islands. If you are looking for a private escape, I recommend booking your accommodations in a Balcony Suite cabin so you can read and relax on your private balcony.
Food on the Galapagos Legend Cruise
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style while dinner offers a choice of soup, entree and dessert. One evening you will enjoy a barbecue buffet dinner atop the Legend’s Moon Deck. Be sure to stick around after the dinner for a fascinating stargazing lecture.
Excursions on the Galapagos Legend Cruise
Although the ship is an important part of your Galapagos adventure, odds are you are visiting the islands to experience the outstanding wildlife that teems on land and underwater. The Legend offers small group excursions no larger than sixteen passengers per one naturalist guide. There are two main excursions each day plus an opportunity to snorkel (gear is included, and wet suits can be rented at an additional cost). The Galapagos Islands are one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world so put on your fins and hop in the water to see another side of the islands.
Note: This list of excursions serves as an overview of the Legend’s 4 Day/3 Night C-East itinerary. The ship offers 4, 5, 8, 11, 12 and 15-day cruises, designed with unique, island-filled routes. Speak with a travel consultant today to learn more about different cruise options aboard the Galapagos Legend.
Your first stop is Bartolome Island, an otherworldly volcanic landform with little vegetation and wildlife. The ascent of 372 steps takes a little less than an hour as you learn about the different volcanic parasitic cones that make up the island. At the summit, experience breathtaking panoramic views and the chance to see the Pinnacle Rock at sunset. The Pinnacle Rock was also one of my favorite places for snorkeling!
South Plaza Island
South Plaza Island is an easy hike and offers you a chance to see some incredible wildlife. There is much more vegetation than Bartolome, here. And the Opuntia Cactus serves as a primary food source for land iguanas during the dry season. The rocks and cliffs are popular sunbathing and nesting places for sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and Nazca boobies.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour Island is another easy hike. The island is one of the best places to see two of the most famous birds of the Galapagos: the great and magnificent frigate birds and the blue-footed boobies. I was lucky enough to travel in May during the blue-footed boobies’ mating season. Their brightly colored feet, curious personality, and unique mating ritual earned them the nickname of “bobo” or fool/silly, from Spanish explorers. After seeing the species in person, I now understand how they earned this peculiar name.
Pitt Point is probably the most challenging hike on the cruise itinerary. Make sure you speak with your guide and know your capabilities before arriving on the island. Although the hike is strenuous, this excursion gives you the opportunity to see red-footed boobies (all three varieties of boobies roam this island) and stunning mountain views. Here, I was also able to snorkel with sea lions. This was one of the highlights of the cruise and my entire trip throughout Ecuador.
Cerro Brujo is home to one of the best beaches on the islands. Its crystal blue waters and white sand beaches make it the perfect swimming spot after three days of excursions. Here you can find marine iguanas basking in the sun on the beautiful volcanic rock after a long morning of eating algae in the cold ocean.
David Rodriguez Tortoise Reserve
On the final day of the cruise, say goodbye to the Galapagos Legend and its world-class crew. Before flying back to the mainland, visit one of the most talked about species found on the islands, the giant land tortoise. The land tortoises were nearly brought to extinction due to hungry explorers and their goats. However, several reserves around the islands have been created to protect the future of the species.
Still curious about the Galapagos? Download our New Ecuador Travel Guide! This e-book is full of packing lists, travel tips, tour ideas and more. After reading this, you’ll be ready to start customizing your Ecuador Tour!