Luxury Hotels and Boats in the Galapagos Archipelago

Luxury Hotels and Boats in the Galapagos Archipelago

M/Y Grace

For those who want a dose of ocean-going luxury and fine dining with their Galapagos exploration, the Grace is the boat to choose. Drenched in history and elegance, you'll feel like nothing short of a royal aboard this supremely slick yacht.

With a maximum of 16 people on board, guests can expect immaculate cabins, a spacious sun-deck and a Jacuzzi for wiling away the evenings with a refreshing cocktail in hand.

More energetic guests can set out on sea-kayaks or borrow a mask and snorkel, accompanied by a knowledgable naturalist, to admire the vividly coloured and extensive marine life.

There are nine spacious cabins ranging up to 200 square feet in size, and all with private bathrooms.

As far as foodies are concerned, breakfast and lunch are served buffet style either in the elegant dining room or in the al-fresco decking area. Dinner is a sit-down affair in the dining room. All meals are artfully prepared with fresh produce and local flavours. The little ones can enjoy choosing from the children's menus.

Why We Love It

The Grace has had a pretty glitzy existence. She was once owned by gazillionaire Aristotle Onassis, and hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and Princess Grace of Monaco on her honeymoon - hence the more recent name.

Athala II

The Athala II is a motor catamaran, and is one of the best ways to cruise the Galapagos in style and comfort. The exclusive boat provides luxury cabins and amenities to rival any larger vessel.

There are just eight cabins on board the Athala II, four of which have private balconies. They are tastefully decorated, have large panoramic windows (ensuring that guests never miss a thing), private bathrooms and air conditioning.

There is ample outdoor space on board, including a large sundeck, an open air bar, dining area and Jacuzzi. After a day of activity and adventure, settle in with a drink keeping an eye out for passing whales and dolphins while the staff fire up the BBQ.

The Athala II has anexperienced naturalist guide (and resident of the island) who takes the guests on shore excursions, snorkelling expeditions, and zodiac rides. The small number of guests on board also equals more undivided attention from the guide, and an all round more private experience.

Why We Love It

The guides even know a thing or two about stargazing, and will happily talk guests through the weird and wonderful constellations while on deck.

Finch Bay Hotel

Named after Darwin's famous finches that are abundant in the area, this is an eco-hotel located on Santa Cruz Island, in the centre of the Galápagos archipelago.

The hotel has a private seaside location, surrounded by mangroves and just yards from a sandy beach. There are no roads in the neighbourhood - access is by boat across the bay from Puerto Ayora - so peace and quiet are assured. Finch Bay's ecological credentials include innovative garbage processing and recycling, as well as its own water desalination and purification plant. Thanks to the latter, the air-conditioned rooms have an unlimited water supply (fresh water is scarce in the Galápagos).

Facilities include an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, a bar and a restaurant. Activities include birdwatching, hiking, mountain biking, snorkelling, wildlife viewing with expert naturalists and day trips on the hotel's boat to nearby islands.

Why We Love It

The hotel has a scuba diving centre, enabling guests to explore the world's second largest marine reserve, and is a great option for anybody not keen on a cruise around the islands.


Galapagos Safari Camp

Unique within Ecuador, the Galapagos Safari Camp is a tented camp following the African safari model, in which guests stay in comfort while remaining close to nature.

The camp is set on a 55 hectare farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz, overlooking the National Park and offering magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean, and the western and northern islands.

The tents are elegantly furnished and have electricity and running water, cupboards and a writing desk, plus a fan or heater. They each have an en-suite bathroom with hot showers and flush toilets. All tents have balconies fitted with a hammock and a table with safari chairs.

For families, there is now also a three-bedroom suite right next to the main lodge. The suite sleeps six, with a master bedroom and two twin rooms, all with en suite bathrooms.

The central lodge is perched on a hill with panoramic views. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room, which also has an outside veranda, and there is always a selection of both local and international dishes. The lounge has two seating areas, a fireplace and a well-provisioned honesty bar, as well as an infinity pool.

Walks, horse trekking, diving and day tours can be arranged upon request.

Why We Love It

The farm is rich in birdlife, with tortoises making frequent - if slow - visits too.


Isabela II

One of the most luxurious yacht cruising the Galapagos, with an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere.

The yacht is fully air-conditioned; all cabins are spacious and have private bathrooms. Its three public decks offer the amenities of a larger vessel, including bar-salon, dining room and sun deck. The sun deck has a bar with ample outdoor seating, an observation area for whale and dolphin watching, a Jacuzzi and solarium. As an alternative to snorkelling, the ship's glass-bottom boat offers another opportunity to observe the Galapagos rich marine life. The Expedition Team consists of three Naturalists, who plan the day's programme along with the Captain, and offer natural history explanations and on-deck multimedia talks and presentations.

Why We Love It

The Isabel's library is one of the best on any Galápagos boat, and contains a large selection of reference books on Galapagos and Ecuador, as well as excellent nature and conservation videos.


La Pinta

La Pinta is a 63-metre motor yacht, fully reconstructed and refitted in 2007.

The comfortable, modern cabins have air conditioning, telephones with direct international dialling and bathrooms with showers. The ship's three public decks include a bar-salon, a natural history library, Jacuzzi, gym and sky bar. The dining room serves international and Ecuadorian cuisine, with al fresco meals offered on the sun deck. La Pinta's crew of 25 includes multi-lingual guides who give daily lectures on the Galápagos archipelago's natural history and escort guests on trips to shore to discover the islands' weird and wonderful flora and fauna. A doctor is also permanently on board and the ship has a well-equipped infirmary. In addition to visits to various islands, La Pinta offers whale and dolphin-watching outings.

La Pinta is very well set up for families, with a 'Young Pirates' programme of educational activities for children aged 7 to 12, and six interconnecting cabins.

Why We Love It

The Galápagos Islands are all about keeping your eyes peeled! By day, spot marine wildlife through the ship's glass-bottomed boat and by night, use the stargazing equipment to see the equatorial stars.


M/V Eclipse

A 64-metre motor yacht with a cruising speed of 11 knots.

The vessel has a crew of 30 and the ship's air-conditioned cabins come with double or twin beds and private en-suite bathrooms with showers. The public decks contain the living and dining areas, a library / video room for lectures and films, and a sun deck with a jacuzzi.

All meals are served buffet-style. In addition to the crew, the Eclipse has four on-board naturalists to answer passengers' questions on the ecology of the Galápagos and to accompany guests on shore excursions using the Eclipse's flotilla of hard-bottomed inflatable launches.

Why We Love It

For many, the 'medium' size of Galapagos boat such as the Eclipse offers the best of both worlds; good stability, range of facilities and space, with a yacht-like atmosphere and passenger numbers.


Royal Palm

The Royal Palm in the lush highlands of Isla Santa Cruz is the finest luxury hotel in the Galapagos Islands, and developing something of a reputation as a celebrity haunt, with the Prince of Wales and Brangelina (entourage included) recent guests.

There are 21 casitas and villas in total, all with custom-made furnishings, Wi-Fi, air-con and Jacuzzis. The villas are dotted around the hotel gardens and the casitas form part of the so-called Royal Fountain Circle with verandas looking out over the island to the sea beyond. In addition, the super swanky Villa Escalesia is a private residence with four bedrooms and an additional annex that is perfect for children. The villa has its own walled garden, pool-side bar, infinity pool, whirlpool, steam bath and sun deck.

The hotel restaurant and bar share an elegant conical roofed central building separated by a central fireplace. Guests can enjoy all-day dining and more formal evening dinners with Ecuadorian specialities and an emphasis on fresh fish. The wine list contains many of the best names in Latin America wine-making.

When not exploring the other fascinating islands of the Galapagos, guests can enjoy the onsite facilities including tennis courts and table tennis or explore the best preserved lava tunnel on the island which is on the estate. The hotel can also arrange riding, mountain biking and walking excursions and also diving, kayaking, surfing and snorkelling trips.

Why We Love It

Exploring the Galapagos by boat is a pretty amazing experience, but for land-lubbers or anyone wanting a nice combination, a stay at the Royal Palm dovetails perfectly.


Ocean Spray

Not to be mistaken for the famous makers of cranberry juice, Ocean Spray is probably the slickest of all the luxury yachts in the Galapagos. A large catamaran, Ocean Spray has nine comfortable cabins (eight double, one single) each with a private balcony.

The main deck houses four of the cabins, the dining room, buffet bar and lounge while the upper deck has further seating areas, the main bar, the bridge and the rest of the cabins. Finally there is a large sundeck with a Jacuzzi.

Ocean Spray has an expert crew of 11 including the captain, a Galapagos National Park Naturalist Guide and nine other crew including first mate, chef and sous chef (and - most importantly - a barman) who are always on hand to make your stay on board as comfortable as possible. Ocean Spray only uses the finest guides in the Galapagos to really bring the daily trips to the islands to life. Guests can also borrow Ocean Spray kayaks and borrow wetsuits and snorkelling equipment.

Ocean Spray has several set departure expedition cruises a year, ranging from four-day introductory trips to 15-day mega cruises to explore the Galapagos Islands in real depth.

Why We Love It

Ocean Spray is one of the most comfortable and speedy yachts currently plying the waters of the Galapagos



Cormorant is an extremely comfortable catamaran and one of the best of the new batch of luxury yachts in the Galapagos.

The main deck has two cabins and two further suites, all with private balconies. In addition, this deck has a bar, dining room, lounge and even a library. The upper deck has a further four cabins, another bar and an al fresco dining area. The icing on the cake is the expansive sundeck with a Jacuzzi.

A crew of 11 including skipper, Galapagos National Park naturalist guide and an array of mates, chefs and barmen are always on hand to look after the maximum of 16 passengers and Cormorant only ever works with the finest guides in the Galapagos. Guests can also make use the Cormorant's kayaks and snorkelling equipment to explore the waters of the islands for themselves.

There are a number of set departure expedition cruises on offer for Cormorant, ranging from four-day introductory cruises to 15-day explorations of the entire Galapagos.

Why We Love It

The new luxury yachts in the Galapagos are upping the ante in terms of comfort and speed, and Cormorant is one of the best of a good bunch.


Pikaia Lodge

For the eco-traveller looking to escape, Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island provides an ideal base from which to explore the spectacular Galapagos Islands. Sitting on top of an extinct volcanic crater, the environmentally friendly lodge boasts expansive views of the Galapagos National Park.

While many travellers explore the Galapagos by boat, Pikaia lodge provides a perfect alternative for those without sea legs. The lodge has just 14 guest rooms, with floor to ceiling windows offering scenic views, ranging from arid savannah landscapes to mountains carpeted with tropical forest. The rooms are decorated in calming neutral shades, and are flooded in natural light. Even when soaking in the bathtub, guests have glorious ocean views, providing an 'al fresco' pampering experience. There is even a 'Garden Room' for those with green fingers and a 'Pool Suite' for avid water babies.

The 'Evolution' Restaurant teeters on the craters edge, providing unrivalled views of volcanic cones shrouded in mist. The menu is full of creative dishes which combine Peruvian and Ecuadorian cuisine. For refreshing cocktails, guests can visit the 'DNA' bar where the barmen experiment with champagnes, exotic spirits and tropical juices to create mouth-watering mixes.

Activities and facilities at Pikaia Lodge are wide ranging. For the escapist there is a serene spa, for the animal lovers there is a private Tortoise Reserve on the property, while adventurers can enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving trips in the surrounding marine reserve.

Why We Love It

The lodge takes its name from 'Pikaia Gracilens', which are believed to be the first creatures to evolve into vertebrae 500 million years ago.


Santa Cruz II

Santa Cruz II is a 71 metre vessel spread out over five decks that seamlessly navigates the Galapagos Archipelago, island by island.

There are 50 cabins in total (accommodating for a maximum of 90 guests) suitable for solo travellers, groups and families alike as single, double and family rooms are available. Each cabin boasts large picture windows and the three Darwin Suites on the Panorama Deck interconnect.

The Beagle Restaurant on the Ocean Deck offers fine dining using locally sourced ingredients where possible (think catch of the day) and snacks are served post-expeditions.

Facilities are spread across all five decks with a panorama veranda, bar and lounge on the Panorama Deck, a reading room and library on the Expedition Deck (where guests can enjoy lectures and documentaries) and a solarium, fitness room and lounge chairs on the Sky Deck.

Spend the day following in Charles Darwin's footsteps exploring Galapagos National Park on the lookout for the famous giant tortoises, blue-footed bobbies and albatross. Other excursions include sea kayaking, riding the glass-bottom boat and snorkelling. Return from your expedition and unwind in the hot tub (situated on the Expedition Deck) before retiring to the bar for a tipple.

Why We Love It

The outdoor terrace has fabulous vistas and they get even better after dark when the stars come out.