What is Island Hopping?
Island hopping in the Galapagos Islands, also known as land-based tours, is the only other way to see the islands if you are not on a cruise. Cruises used to be the only way to visit the archipelago, but now travelers can base their excursions from a hotel on one of the four main islands to which they will return every night. During the day, speedboats and charter planes go from island-to-island.
It allows greater liberty with your itinerary
How you plan your land-based tour is up to you. Many people choose to simply book their hotels beforehand and plan their trip once they get to the islands. This is easy to do if you are staying in Puerto Ayora, as there are many agencies dedicated to daytrips and tour planning.
If you want to set up your itinerary prior to leaving, this is a good way to plan out how you will manage your schedule while in the Islands and see everything that you want to see.
It’s a money saving option
One huge benefit of land-based trips is the fact that they can save you a bunch of money. Although cruises are usually all-inclusive, most cost thousands of dollars. While no vacation to the Galapagos is inexpensive, island hopping allows you to budget your money more, as you can choose which hotels and activities most suit your price range. Hotels and lodges can range anywhere from $15 per night up to more than $400 per night, depending on how luxuriously you would like your lodging to be. Regardless, even at the lower end of prices, you will usually find air conditioning, a private bathroom with hot water and a comfortable bed. The biggest range and selection of hotels are on Santa Cruz, in the main city of Puerto Ayora.
There are also hotels in this price range on Isabela Island, San Cristobal Island, and Floreana Island.
It’s also important to note that many companies and hotels still offer all-inclusive island hopping packages as well, for less than $1000 per person for a five-day tour. These packages are the best deal for island hoppers, and they are almost always negotiable in terms of length of stay, type of lodging, and the activities you choose to include.