Senior Tours in the Galapagos - Best Tours & Trips 2019
Believe it or not, the Galapagos Islands is a great destination pick for senior travelers. For starters, the attractions and activities generally align with the interests of most seniors - from educational geology and biology tours, to soft adventure tours and luxury cruises. More importantly, tours tend to be at a much more relaxed pace. So you can spend more time relaxing, cruising, strolling, and connecting.
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
Impacted by Climate Change
- Discover Quito
- Explore Galapagos see the fascinating wild Galapagos Tortoises.
- Visit a memorable Fernandina Island
- Drive through Rábida Island which is unique because of it's red color rocks and sand
- Visit beautiful Bartolome Island is situated across Sullivan Bay
- Explore Guayaquil
- Explore Quito
- Visit Napo Wildlife Center
- Discover Galapagos an impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove
- Drive through Genovesa Island very interesting panga ride along the cliffs.
- Experience hiking in the El Cajas National Park
- Visit renowned market of Otavalo
- Visit the renowned market of the Otavalo Indian, industrious makers of the handicrafts
- Explore Cuenca
- Experience hiking in the El Cajas National Park, located on the high Andean paramo
- Explore impressive James Island
- Drive through Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit
- Discover Quito
- Enjoy excellent scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands,
- Dive in spots that are famous for schools of hammerhead sharks, giant manta rays, and whale sharks
- Walk the shores and marvel at the volcanic rocks dotted with rare plants, seabirds, and reptiles
- Experience up to four dives in the islands per day on a planned, yet flexible, itinerary
- Live like a native Ecuadorian as you move into your own apartment and explore local cafes, museums and more
- Improve your Spanish during daily language classes and opportunities to practice your new skills as you maneuver through daily life in the city
- Join your Group Leader and fellow participants for weekly field trips and a three-day excursion in the Galápagos Islands to cap your adventure
- Learn about the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos Islands with the most knowledgeable, experienced naturalists
- Use high-tech onboard tools like video microscopes, hydrophones and splash cams to discover the marine environment around you
- Marvel at the mysterious beauty of Machu Picchu, the iconic mountain sanctuary left behind by the great Inca Empire
- Picturesque colonial Quito
- Lush verdant cloud forests teeming with life
- The hauntingly beautiful Galapagos Islands and its unique wildlife
- Vibrant Otavalo market, overnighting in a beautiful traditional hacienda
- Cruise for seven nights aboard 'Xperience' - an expedition vessel that blends stability, comfort and flexibility - in the Galápagos Islands
- Experience some of the most intimate and up-close wildlife encounters in the world, both on land and in the water
- Discover the Galápagos Islands on twice-daily shore excursions that include nature walks limited to 12 guests for more interaction with your naturalist guide
- Choose from kayaking or snorkeling, depending on the location, or simply relax on deck or on shore
- Observe giant tortoises up close, in their natural habitats
- A Young Explorers Guide provides child-friendly programs and activities, such as wildlife photography, scavenger hunts, Spanish lessons and art-making
- Enjoy the convenience of earlier seating and kid-friendly menus at meal times
- Earth Journey
- created with BBC Earth; exclusive 6 night Galapagos cruise aboard Isabela II with expert naturalist guides; scenic rail journey to Machu Picchu; lunch at a Peruvian horse ranch; dinner at a museum in Lima; two nights at a 5-star
- 16th-century monastery in Cusco; visits to Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuamán; daily cocktail hour & all-day soft drinks and house wine with dinner aboard ship
- Visit “Bird Island” home to over 30 bird species
- Climb Prince Philip’s Steps through a thriving seabird colony
- Observe sea lion families and the famed giant tortoises
- Search for the Galápagos Short-eared Owl.
- Admire the antics of Red-footed and Blue-footed Boobies
- Find corals and bones on raised North Seymour Island
- Explore natural underground lava tunnels and hike across lavaflows
- Hike up the sides of an extinct volcano
- See spectacular water-spouting “blowers”
- Swim and snorkel in tranquil, clear waters
- Photograph colourful marine iguanas
- Marvel at the fearless behaviour of wildlife
- Cruise by Zodiac along scenic coastlines
- Learn about conservation efforts at the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center
- Have a good experience on 6 day Galapagos cruise
- Numerous opportunities to swim, kayak and snorkel
- Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
-- Embrace two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the fabled Galápagos Islands and Quito’s celebrated Colonial city center
-- Enjoy two nights at historic Casa Gangotena boutique hotel in Old Quito, voted Ecuador’s #1 hotel by Trip Advisor
-- Stroll Quito’s Old City plazas, churches, and museums—rich with Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian history—and savor a specially-arranged private dinner at the city's premier view restaurant
-- Observe Galápagos wildlife up-close in their natural habitats—giant tortoises, endemic land and marine iguanas, penguins, reef sharks, and playful sea lions
-- Set foot on eight islands and islets on this unique itinerary featuring explorations on two of the archipelago’s showcase islands—Genovesa and Española
-- Unmatched birding opportunities—Red-footed boobies, Waved Albatross, Frigatebirds, Darwin’s finches, storm petrels, nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls, seabirds, shorebirds, tropic birds, and elusive short-eared owl
-- Count the steps to Isla Bartolomé's summit for a sweeping panorama of iconic Pinnacle Rock
-- Snorkel in an underwater menagerie of marine life or view it all from the yacht’s glass-bottom boat
-- Learn about conservation successes and challenges at the Charles Darwin Research Center
-- Certified guides accompany small groups of 12 to provide a more personalized experience
-- Included roundtrip air between Quito and the Galápagos
- Earth Journey
- created with BBC Earth; exclusive 7-night Galapagos cruise aboard Silver Galapagos with expert naturalist guides; scenic rail journey to Machu Picchu; lunch at a Peruvian horse ranch; dinner at a museum in Lima; two nights at a 5-star
- former 16th-century monastery in Cusco; visits to Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuamán; daily cocktail hour & all-day soft drinks and house wine with dinner aboard ship
- It’s the Galapagos!
- Expert Naturalist Guides
- Luxury eco-tented camp
- View Giant tortoises
- Visit Charles Darwin Research Center
- Optional kayaking
- Snorkeling & scuba diving opportunities
- Encounter sea lions and Galapagos penguins
- Island nature walks and hikes.
- Abundant bird life
- Santa Cruz Highlands
- Post Office Bay
- Darwin Lake
- Urbina’s Upheaval
- Charles Darwin Research Station
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Top Senior Tours in the Galapagos Experiences
Exploring the islands and witness all kinds of wildlife on a luxury cruise
Admiring elegant giant tortoises
Walking on white sand beaches and having chance encounters with sea lions and birds
Being immersed in a crowd of penguins
Senior Tours in the Galapagos Trip Reviews
Senior Tours in the Galapagos Tours and Travel Guide
Senior Tours in the Galapagos Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Believe it or not, the Galapagos Islands is a great destination pick for senior travelers. For starters, the attractions and activities generally align with the interests of most seniors - from educational geology and biology tours, to soft adventure tours and luxury cruises for the elderly. More importantly, tours tend to be at a much more relaxed pace. So you can spend more time relaxing, cruising, strolling, and connecting.
The Galapagos Islands were formed by lava, and the Galapagos ecosystem is preserved better than anywhere else in the world - which could be due to it being so remote.
Why Go on a Tour to the Galapagos as a Senior?
Only a few of the fourteen most significant islands in the volcanic archipelago have any inhabitation. Most people who visit these isolated islands start by joining a tour. Most of the tours are via air travel to Quito, Ecuador and then a short flight to a small airfield in Baltra in the Galapagos Islands.
Sustainable Tourism in the Galapagos Islands
With the growing population and number of visitors, it requires more imported food - some of which could present more danger to local species. Sustainable tourism is a high priority and they ensure they conserve water and energy, recycle and treat waste, source locally produced products, and hire local employees with a fair wage.
What to Pack for a Galapagos Senior Tour
A hat and sunscreen - You’ll spend most of your time in the sun or on the water - and the sun can be intense!
Lightweight clothes - The flights into the Galapagos have a 44 pound weight limit for luggage, so try to bring clothes that don’t carry a ton of weight and take less clothing as well. Prepare to hand wash and hang dry your clothes and swimwear.
Clothes pins - For hang-drying your clothes.
Rubber soled shoes, swim shoes, and non-slip sandals - Make sure they’re all broken in and comfortable! You’ll need rubber soled shoes because the terrain on one island could vary greatly from the next, so they’ll give you proper support and won’t give you blisters when you hike up a volcano. The swim shoes and non-slip sandals will be essential for water activities and walking along the boat.
Extra pair of eyeglasses - Just in case you misplace your first pair on the beach.
Prescriptions - Don’t forget medication for sea sickness if you are prone to dizziness on boats.
Ziploc sandwich bags - Great for keeping moisture and sand out of your electronics and wallet.
Wet wipes - The salty air can be sticky! These will help clean your skin, camera lens, bags, sunglasses, etc.
Battery powered alarm clock - Your cell phone is so far from land, so the time on your phone might not update correctly - the last thing you want is to sleep past your morning meet up time because your phone was set to a different time zone.
Birds of the Galapagos Islands
There is an abundance of species variety and number of birds on the islands than any reptiles or mammals - simply because it was difficult for other animals to reach the islands. Birds could easily fly to the Galapagos Islands, while others had to survive for long periods of time at sea. You can see certain bird species depending on what season you go to visit.
1. Mockingbirds: There are 4 types of mockingbird species on the island - each one with a particular black and white coloring. They often band together in large groups of up to 40 birds to claim their territory, and chase away any other birds that come onto their turf.
2. Short-eared Owl: The short-eared owl doesn’t have any actual “ears”, but has strips of white-colored fur where ears usually are. These birds are the most active at night and early morning - when the Galapagos hawk is absent.
3. Blue-footed Booby: Blue-footed Boobies are a traveler favorite of the islands. They’re comfortable with setting up their nests in any open area - even in the middle of a walking trail. Catch the Blue-footed Booby during mating season and you’ll get to witness the bird’s courtship dance.
4. Flightless Cormorant: As hinted by the name, this species of cormorants don’t have the ability to fly. It is one of the rarest birds in the world and a subject of the active conservation program.
5. Flamingo: While not rare, and commonly seen in various parts of the world, these birds are a fan favorite and often seen on the islands. Catch them in the water all year-round on the Galapagos Islands.
6. Frigatebird: Frigatebirds have an incredibly distinct appearance - black feathers, with a red chest that puffs out, and a long black beak that curves downwards at the tip. If you’re looking, you might be able to catch a frigatebird stealing another bird’s food from mid-air.
Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
1. Giant Tortoises: Tortoises were able to evolve and populate here due to no real predators, and an ample food supply. The cool mountainous regions with luscious vegetation and a great deal of mud have allowed them to adapt here.
2. Marine Iguana: Only found on the islands, the marine iguanas are truly one of the most incredible animals on the island. The marine iguanas are much darker in color compared to the commonly known iguanas, and eat algae off of rocks underwater. They dive as deep as 15 meters into the water in order to find algae. You might catch these guys sunbathing on top of a rock - soaking in the heat of the sun in order to warm up their bodies after feeding.
3. Galapagos Land Iguana: These iguanas are much more similar in appearance and diet to the commonly known iguanas. Additionally, they have a symbiotic relationship with the birds - as the birds eat parasites and ticks off their backs for food.
4. Lava Lizard: You’ll be sure to see these lizards all over the island from sticking on rocks to scrubby vegetation. There are over 28 different species - with a different variety on each island.
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