For most of human history in the Galapagos Islands, visitors have sailed here. It’s how the naturalist, Charles Darwin, made the trip and many pirates did before him. Sailors called the islands bewitched because when enshrouded in mist they were difficult to find, and the gentle winds made it appear that the islands instead of their ships were moving. Because fresh water was intermittent, most of the people who sailed to the Galapagos did so to hide. Some of the most famous pirates and their successors, the privateers, sailed here including Sir Henry Morgan who pirated other countries’ ships sanctioned by the British government.

Darwin’s ship, the 90-ft HMS Beagle, began as a brig-sloop, belonging to the Royal Navy. The two-mast vessel was converted to a three-mast bark before Darwin’s eventful trip. The expedition not only circumvented South America, and visited the Galapagos, it also helped Britain take control of the Falklands along the way.

Then as now, when sailors go boating, they want to sail. In the Galapagos, almost all of the vessels that navigate through the archipelago are motorized yachts, some small, some large, plus the bigger-still cruise ships. For people who want to sail the Galapagos, we have four options for them to consider, that all offer week-long and 10-day itineraries. Passengers should understand that they do not crew on these boats, and the boat itinerary begins in the Galapagos, not on the Ecuador mainland. On Galapagos tours, much of the time a motor is also needed. But when conditions are right, you get to experience sailing in this enchanting place. Whether on a sailboat or motorized vessel, passengers come ashore on small crafts, called pangas.


These four Galapagos sailing vessels are categorized as First Class boats, the smallest, a 72-ft. twin-hulled catamaran, the largest, a 172-ft 3-masted, square-rigger yacht. These sailboats accommodate between 12 and 16 passengers and are appointed with spacious cabins and common areas for a pleasurable onboard experience when you aren’t on the islands. There are less expensive and more expensive ways to travel in the Galapagos, but whether to sail or cruise isn’t really about the money. It’s about the kind of vessel on which you feel more comfortable getting around. Some travelers wouldn’t think of choosing a sailboat for their trip to the Galapagos. It takes all types.


Each of the four sailboats offers a choice of two different itineraries. They all visit the central islands such as Santa Cruz where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located but head in opposite directions for the rest of the trip. In addition to deciding which of the vessels best suits them, people planning to travel to the Galapagos will also want to study the alternative itineraries and what wildlife is likely to be encountered. It helps to know some specifics before making a reservation. Some itineraries sail north and south, others east and west. Because so few of the vessels that visit the Galapagos are sailboats, it makes it all the more important to book early to so the boat you want is available during your vacation timeframe. You’ll have the most competition in the month of December and June through August which are the most popular travel times in the Galapagos.

View our Sailing trip and tour options below:
6, 7 & 10 Days $1,895
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Myths and legends in Chiloe Island, Lake District, Llanquihue Lake and majestic Osorno Volcano
6, 7 & 10 Days $1,995
Wildlife, Birding, Penguins, Hiking, Snorkeling, Sea Kayaking
10 Days $4,195
Wildlife, Birding, Penguins, Hiking, Snorkeling, Sea Kayaking
Amazon Jungle Lodge, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Galapagos Island Cruise