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Sea lions, helicopters & sunset cocktails: A luxury guide to Galápagos

Galápagos Islands cruises take you to a unique and isolated destination. Sail in luxury and you can explore the beauty of evolution in style and comfort.

Words by Triona McBride

Things have come a long way since Charles Darwin spent his days observing the wildlife of Ecuador’s most isolated islands, as you might expect in nearly 200 years.

Twenty-one Galápagos islands still stand tall in the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean boasting white sands, rolling green volcanic hills, and unforgettable scenery. Their seas, lands, and skies are also still filled with a rich diversity of breathtaking wildlife and unique indigenous flora.

Today, however, this far-flung outpost also offers luxury living and incredible unique boutique experiences for visitors from all over the world.

Of course, as an island territory, the best way to travel the Galápagos is by cruise and, with luxury providers like Silversea launching specially designed Galápagos ships such as the Silver Origin, there is never a need to compromise in style or comfort to do this.

The luxury of the Galápagos doesn’t end on the sea, and there are plenty of opportunities for high-end adventure that would have Darwin green with envy.

San Cristobal and its port town of Puerto Baquerizo used to be considered simply the way in and out of the Galápagos, but not today.

For food lovers, Muyu on Calle Charles Darwin beside the island’s beach is one of the most highly recommended restaurants in South America. Chef Marco Salamanca serves sustainable, organic cooking that brings fresh produce from the farm, forest and ocean.

Dining while local sea lions loll on the sands beneath is just one of the unique luxuries these islands offer. Sipping fine cocktails at sunset is a must while in this mesmerising doorway to the islands beyond.

On the central island of Santa Cruz, visitors wander the colorful Avenida Charles Darwin in Puerto Ayora in search of jewels and rare art from the town’s many boutiques and galleries; an opportunity not many might expect from the world’s most famous nature islands.

You wouldn’t be making the most of the Galápagos if you didn’t spend some time right amongst the blue waters which surround the islands.

Whether it’s scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, or chartering a yacht, there’s no feeling quite like being amidst the manta rays, green turtles, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, and humpbacks that inhabit these sparking stretches of sea.

Staying in luxury on the Galápagos is easy too. The five-star Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is an exclusive waterfront boutique where every guest is treated as a celebrity when they rest on the Punta Estrada Waterfront, beside the legendary Gus Angermeyer caves.

For those wanting to stay closer to nature, Pikaia lodge sits atop two extinct volcanic craters and offers outstanding luxury with panoramic views, pool suites, a Sumaq Spa, and its own private wild giant tortoise reserve, and that’s just one of many luxury lodges across the Galápagos isles.

Finally, for a truly elevated experience of these magical islands, private helicopters can be chartered for flights starting at just thirty minutes offering a once in a lifetime view like no other and creating a memory for life.

The world has known about the unrivalled array of nature offered by the Galápagos for two centuries, now it’s time to discover their incredible luxury experiences too.

Set Sail

San Cristóbal, Galápagos to San Cristóbal, Galápagos with Silversea Cruises

Duration: 6 nights
Where: San Cristóbal, Galapagos | Prince Philips Step’s, Genovesa | Darwin Bay, Genovesa | North Seymour | Sullivan Bay (Santiago) | Punta Mangle, Fernandina | Punta Moreno, Isabela | Santa Cruz Highlands | Isla Santa Fé | Gardner Bay, Española | Punta Suarez, Española | Rodriguez Breeding Centre, San Cristóbal | Cerro Brujo, San Cristóbal | San Cristóbal, Galapagos
Ship: Silver Origin
Price: From £8,900 pp door-to-door (based on two sharing a classic veranda suite. All flights, transfers, and hotels included)

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Published 03.09.22