Stay at the National Geographic Islander
A mid-sized Galapagos vessel carrying the trusted National Geographic name, operating an expedition itinerary that encompasses the best of the archipelago. Not particularly luxurious but a solid choice for exploring above and below the water. Amazing for families.Walk among giant tortoises. Follow marine iguanas. Marvel at frigatebirds and watch blue-footed boobies guard a nest. Now paddle along with some seals, snorkel with sharks and take a zodiac boat past some penguins. This is a National Geographic expedition and the itinerary is exemplary, taking you all around this unusual archipelago in the Pacific. Note the word expedition because the experience is really about exploring and you shouldn’t expect too many luxuries on board. Which makes Islander ideal for some but not recommended for others.
What to do
The week-long itinerary is one of the best we’ve ever seen, as it includes the most complex variety of islands and wildlife experiences. If you want the complete Galapagos in only a week then this is it, from red-footed boobies on San Cristobal to snorkelling in the dolphin territories of Isabela.
Bring your sense of adventure not your sense of luxury, because other than the two largest cabins on the upper deck, accommodation is pretty cramped and not very stylish. It’s varnished dark wood and old-world furnishings, nothing fresh or modern. However, the ship does benefit from a great observation deck with a pool and comfy seating, plus a covered deck with the restaurant and cafe. So you do have good places to hang out and will only likely use your cabin to sleep.
Who is it for
A superb choice for families thanks to the National Geographic Global Explorers program. It’s the best itinerary we’ve seen for kids and teens, as they learn through wildlife observation and varying activities. There are better boats out there but the National Geographic name and excellent itinerary will be a strong pull for explorers.
Amenities & Activities
Zodiac cruises, nature hikes, biking, kayaking, snorkelling, walking on black lava and even swimming with penguins. This is the largest boat we recommend and the advantage of 48 passengers is there will be a choice of activities at almost every stop, so expect a program tailored to your daily mood.