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Sea Kayaking – Paddling in the Galapagos Islands

Sea Kayaking in Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands has some of the most fascinating endemic and native marine life in the ocean, and sea kayaking in the Galapagos can be a great way to witness the pelagic life up close.


Many of the Galapagos yachts and small ships either include sea kayaking in their itineraries or offer it as a supplemental activity that you can do in your free time while your boat is anchored. However, note that not every Galapagos cruise has kayaking options, so if this is something that’s important to you, make sure that your cruise operator specifically indicates that they offer it. Most luxury and first-class cruises do offer kayaking, while budget yachts may or may not have them, which is why it’s always important to check.

What will I see?

Kayaks put you right on the surface of the water for a completely unique perspective. You’ll witness acrobatic seabirds, flightless cormorants, and quirky penguins plunging into the glassy turquoise water to catch fish; you’ll paddle alongside graceful sea turtles as they glide through the water; you’ll see countless species of sharks patrolling the great blue just below the surface; fevers of rays seem to fly through the water; and rainbows of tropical fish weave through corals and intricate geological formations. During the summer months (from June-September), you might even see mighty humpback whales breaching the water as they migrate through the Galapagos Islands to mate and breed. Other than snorkeling or diving, there’s no better way to experience the marine life of the Galapagos Islands than sea kayaking.

What if I’ve never kayaked before?

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaking pro or if you’ve never been in a kayak before in your life, the Galapagos Islands are a great place for sea kayakers of all experience levels. If you’re on a yacht that has kayaks, your operator will probably let you kayak during any free time whenever your boat is anchored, and you’ll find that the waters of the Galapagos are delightfully tranquil. Unlike many sea kayaking destinations where you might have to navigate choppy or turbulent water, the calm waters of the Galapagos make it easy to navigate the kayaks even for beginners and really improve the visibility in the water.

Are there land-based sea kayaking options in the Galapagos?

If you are planning a land-based trip to the Galapagos Islands, it is much harder to find kayaking options since this is not a typical day-tour that you might find at a local vendor. As land-based Galapagos trips become more common, it is becoming easier to do activities that have traditionally been exclusive to cruises, so you might be able to find one. Even if you do find a land-based kayaking tour, cruises tend to be a better option since they can give you exclusive access to more remote destinations in the Galapagos.

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