Tell me about Galapagos Islands "wet" landings

Happy new year, everyone.
I'd love to go to Peru and Machu Picchu but I'm not sure I'm too interested in the Galapagos (yes I'm weird) and the idea of a "wet" landing followed by hiking around in squishy/sand-filled shoes does not sound appealing to me, no matter how many new and exciting animals I might find. The only non-Bridges tours to Peru that seem to be offered now include Galapagos. I'm interested in the "nitty-gritty". Pun intended.


  • In my case, my husband wanted to go to the Galapagos and I really wanted to go to Machu Picchu. The trip was better than I thought it would be and the Galapagos was MY favorite! The wet landings were nothing to worry about . Some of them you didn't even get your feet wet, but I also brought my sneakers in a daypack just in case. I only brought inexpensive vented Merrill type shoes and good sneakers, no hiking shoes. (And small flats for on the boat). Great trip!

  • "Wet landings" are indeed usually "wet." The panga (Zodiac) motors up to the beach and is sometimes pulled up a bit. But must usually step out into water that is anywhere from 2" to 10" or more deep. Sometimes the water seemed shallow, but the sand was very soft and you could sink an additional 4" - 6". The landings are all different and depend on the beach, waves, and panga driver.

    Some folks wore "water shoes" during the landing and the nature walk. Personally, from my youth experiences I had no interest in walking with sand in my shoes and between my toes. :o Many people went ashore barefoot and carried shoes. I would have been barefoot too except the soles of my feet are very tender and sensitive to the pebbles and coral gravel present on most of the beaches, so I wore water shoes. However, once we got to a nearby dry, sandy or a rocky area I sat down, removed my water shoes, dried my feet with a towel, and put on socks and athletic shoes that I brought ashore in a small waterproof dry bag. The bag is good for phones and cameras, too.

    FYI, even dry landings are no walk in the park . . . . Case in point:

    And the walks can be "something" else as well:

  • edited January 6

    We did the Peru and Galapagos trip back in 2021. There were a few "wet" landings, but we were warned in advance and most of us had water shoes, and took a small towel, socks and walking shoes in our backpack. After we landed, we changed shoes.

    If you'd like to see my blog of the Galapagos part of the trip, go to

    If you want to see the whole trip, starting in Peru, go to

    The Silver Origin was a very nice ship.

  • Wet landings are “ much ado about nothing “ in my opinion.We went there with a pair of keen sandals with covered toes and changed into dry walking shoes.Takes a bit of time and patience to change and get rid of sand but all the scenery and experience is so worth it.BTW we are not beach or water people but thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

  • Thanks everyone very much for the information and feedback, and I very much appreciate pointing out the terrain and the detailed blogging. The photo of the pair of blue-footed boobies is amazing, Mike! (We just had Marcos in Patagonia and he did such a great job). It does indeed look like a nice trip.

  • I didn’t think the wet landings were a big deal at all. They were really quite easy as long as you’re prepared. Just need to bring a little waterproof bag with you with a towel so as soon as you got onto land, you could just wipe off your feet and put your shoes back on - no problem with gritty shoes if you do that. You can put your dry shoes or sandals in the bag and put them on after drying your feet. We did have water shoes as well as waterproof Keen sandals that we used on certain islands. We wore hiking boots in some others. The Galápagos really is a unique, fascinating place. You have to experience it to really understand; any explanation just doesn’t do it justice. I always heard people rave about it but until I went I didn’t fully appreciate why it was so magical!

  • buonviaggio, we felt that way about Patagonia, that no pictures could do it justice.
    A question for MikeHenderson, you trip was in September, and you had quite a few cloudy skies, did you experience much rain? I'm wondering when is the best time to go.
    Also, if anyone may have used a different tour company to Peru and found it outstanding, please send me a private message. I am still leaning towards a land-only tour for various reasons.

  • edited January 6

    @Wan - I don't remember any rain but the trip was several years ago. I'm sure I would have commented on it in the blog if we were inconvenienced by rain. Take a look at www, for Galapagos - that should give you some idea about the rain and temperature across the year.

  • Wan - If I remember correctly, the rainy season (winter/spring) is when the water is warmer and seas are calmer. That’s when we went (April). The dry season (which I think is the summer/fall) tends to have rougher seas and colder water. So we chose the rainy season for the warmer currents and calmer seas (less wind), but it barely rained - when it does I think it’s more in spurts - not a total washout. I remember only one island where we wore raincoats. Other than that it was sunny for the most part.

  • We have been in March and November, no rain, I think it was hotter in March. The waters can vary in temperature depending on which island you are snorkeling by. I remember one where there were hundreds of turtles swimming around. I had my wet suit on. Jumped in, still freezing, had a quick look around, jumped back in the panga and enjoyed it from there.
    The birds do vary depending on what time of year you go, so do a bit of research to check those you want to see will be around, especially the blue footed boobies.
    Like you Wan, we love Patagonia and already have a different South America trip booked next year that encompasses that area again, can’t wait.

  • Yes, British - you’re 💯 right - it’s the Pacific, so no matter what the water is not warm. We wore rash guards and wet suits to stay warm (or as warm as we could…). The marine iguanas especially like cold water so on those islands the water was especially 🥶. And of course the fabulous sea lions also like cold water - hence the abundance of them. They were so much fun! Good point about the birds - yes, definitely check that out depending on which birds you want to be sure to see. As for Patagonia - yes, what vast, unspoiled beauty! We went on a cruise around Cape Horn and through the Chilean fjords. Just spectacular. We want to go back.

  • The issue with the water temps in the Galapagos is that three major ocean currents converge there. It depends on which current is dominant at a given time at a given island. The water could be a bit chilly or pleasant from one day to the next. Once the layer of water inside your wetsuit warms up, you'll be fine, even if one of the cooler currents is dominant. Visibility and marine life are also affected by the currents. One some dives the water was crystal clear but on others it was a somewhat murky.

  • edited January 8

    If you like cold try Antarctica. (;-). All of the landings are ‘wet’ landings, and the water is around thirty two degrees. I thought that salt water was more impervious to freezing until I did this trip, but it freezes around thirty degrees. This creates a situation where you sometimes see the sea freezing around you with sea ice. That can be a bit concerning, but the guide/boat handlers are quite expert, and most have advanced degrees in ocean studies. Zodiacs are not ‘ice breakers’ so it’s important that the boat handlers know what they are doing. On one occasion we had to try a couple different routes to get back to the ship.

  • I did an Antarctic tour. One thing I'll comment on is that the boots that were provided for us were very well insulated. My feet were never cold. The boots were a bit heavy but I quickly got used to them and didn't have any problem walking in them.

    The freezing point of sea water is between 28.4 and 28.8 degrees, depending on salinity.

  • The Alan S photos are a perfect example of landings. just wear good walking shoes and pay attention to where you walk. Every stop in the Galapagos is unique and amazing. Whether viewing iguana, turtles, frigates, or swimming with sea lions, it creates a lifetime memory. The ship and crew are superb.

  • oops... thought I sent 3 pix

  • last one

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