Over the past few weeks, we’ve written about cruise lines that visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Though the area has opened up to more modes of mainstream travel, the Galapagos is still mysterious for some. Over the next few weeks I will break down Galapagos itineraries by cruise line. Before reading about the itineraries, you may find it useful to familiarize yourself with the region by visiting our Galapagos page.
Since we have already looked at Silversea, we are now going to take a look at Lindblad Expeditions. Lindblad has two ships that operate year round in the Galapagos on four different itineraries; two additional itineraries are offered throughout the certain months year.
Lindblad’s Galapagos Experience
Lindblad has been exploring the Galapagos for more than 50 years, with its first tour to the Galapagos in 1967.
Guests traveling with Lindblad will be accompanied by Lindblad’s Galapagos Expedition Team comprised of marine biologists, ornithologists, evolutionary biologists, and more. This diverse group of leaders gives guests the chance to learn about what interests them. Lindblad’s website states: “You are never directed into groups or assigned. You’re free to gravitate to the naturalists whose interests mirror your own.”
Lindblad also opens its Galapagos itineraries up to families. Throughout the exploration of the region, guests under 18 can collect points to become a National Geographic Global Explorer. During the trip, young travelers will snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, connect with nature, and look for certain things in nature to log in their Field Notebook.
According to Lindblad’s website, June through August is the peak season for young travelers, with more than 20 percent of guests aboard being under the age of 18. We also see these percentages in March and December. If you are planning to take a Galapagos vacation with Lindblad during an off time for school, there should be other children aboard as well.
Daily activities may include walking, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding; scenic cruising in Zodiacs or glass-bottom boats; hiking; or simply spending time on the ship.
All of Lindblad’s itineraries start in Baltra, but guests will only be responsible for getting to Guayaquil on their own. After overnighting in Guayaquil, guests will fly to Baltra to embark on their cruises.
All stops on the voyage must be in compliance with the Parks Service, so that is why I use words like “could” or “may” when talking about which islands will be visited.
Galapagos Aboard National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander – Year Round
This 10-day itinerary will start in Guayaquil. Guests will stay one night in a hotel before flying to the Galapagos to board National Geographic Endeavour II or National Geographic Islander.
The sailing could visit North Seymour, Isabela, Fernandina, Española, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Bartolomé, Santiago, Genovesa, and/or San Cristobal.
On day nine of the sailing, guests will return to Guayaquil with free time to explore the city. After an overnight in a hotel, guests will be transferred to the airport for flights home.
Galapagos & Peru Aboard National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander – Year Round
Unlike some other cruise companies that may add land tours as a pre- or post-cruise extensions, Lindblad adds these land tours to some of its itineraries.
This 16-day itinerary will start with an overnight in Guayaquil before boarding the ship.
This trip may include stops in Bartolomé, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, and Española.
Guests will disembark the ship on day nine and fly to Lima, Peru. After flying to Lima, guests will visit the Sacred Valley Of The Inca, Machu Picchu, and Cusco. On day 15 guests will return to Lima for a farewell lunch; guests will overnight in Lima before returning home.
Wild Galapagos & Peru Aboard National Geographic Endeavour II – February, May, July, August, September, November, and December
This 9-day itinerary starts in Lima, where guests will overnight before flying to Cusco. On the second day of the trip, guests will spend time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. On day three, guests will head to Machu Picchu and then return to the Sacred Valley.
On day four of the trip, guests will head to Guayaquil, where they will overnight before boarding National Geographic Endeavour II. The ship will make stops in Sombrero Chino, Genovesa, Plaza Sur, Santa Cruz, and/or Sullivan Bay.
Guests have the option of returning home from Guayaquil on day nine, or staying overnight at no additional cost.
Wild Galapagos Escape Aboard National Geographic Islander – February, April, May, July, August, September, October, and November
This 7-day itinerary starts with an overnight in Guayaquil before embarking National Geographic Islander the next day.
Stops on this cruise could include North Seymour, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, San Cristobal, Española, and Floreana.
Guests will disembark on day seven of the trip and return to Guayaquil. Guests can either fly home on day seven or eight at no additional cost, or add an extension in Quito.
Lindblad has two ships that operate in the Galapagos, the 48-passenger National Geographic Islander, and the 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavour II.