galapagos cruise on the Isabela ii in march 2024.

Hi all. Been reading about the daytime clothes etc for the daily hikes but what about the ship? Food, room, activities, clothing for evening etc Any info appreciated especially clothing as I don't want to overpack


  • Hi Beachgirl. We have taken this tour twice on the Isabela 11.
    You have to realize it is an expedition ship, so it is basic but we love it. There are 20 cabins which are smallish but absolutely fine. There are no locks on the doors, but don’t panic, the crew are wonderful. There is no need to dress up for dinner, the dining area is small with a number of communal tables and buffet meals with several choices of what I would described as home cooked food, very tasty.
    There is no entertainment on the ship, there might be a couple of lectures. There is a small hot tub. There is a drying area for wet shoes and a dryer for wet clothing but no washing machine for use. All you need for clothing on the ship is what I describe as safari clothing. You are on the equator so the sun is intense and it can be hot, so it’s wise to cover up to protect yourself from the sun. Mosquitoes are sometimes around but not always
    You can wear the same clothing for dinner or shower before dinner and put on fresh clothes you would wear for the next day. Be mindful of suitable shoes as some landings are wet landings in shallowing water while others have you climbing over very sharp lava rock. You’ll also be dodging sally light foot crabs and marine iguanas on some islands. Some people find a hiking pole useful.
    That’s all o can think of right now. We would go on this prior again, it’s different each time. We did one circuit the first time and it was March. The second time, only one day was a duplicate of the first trip, we visited other areas.

  • beachgirl: Here are a couple of pictures from our trip.

    On the boat:

    On shore:

  • We have done the Galapagos three times with another company. Other than for travel or our time in Quito, we brought clothes that we intended to throw away. The shoes were not going back in the suitcase, and we left other clothes on the ship as well. This was probably our most ‘casual’ dressed trip … even more so than Africa.

  • edited February 16

    I think Smiling Sam's last photo above pretty much says it all! I would up load a few similar, but site it not working properly.

  • An attractive motley crew are they not?

  • thanks everyone for your comments and pics (love them) especially British for the detailed info. Makes me rethink the packing. Very very helpful

  • Is there a best time to go…or not go to Galapagos?

  • We did the "Hidden Galapagos and Peru" May 20 to June 4.  The weather was really great and there was no rain.  In the afternoon it would warm up.   We did not go on the Isabella  and we decided the Silver Origin looked way nicer.   We have travelled with Silversea a lot and enjoy them.

  • edited February 17

    Great pictures, Noreen. We did the same trip, but back in 2021, and we were on the Silver Origin, also. It was a brand new ship that year and really nice. We chose that trip because the ship looked nicer than the Isabela.

    You can see our trip at

    My pictures are not as good as yours.

  • No question the Silver Origin is newer and fancier. The trade is it has more passengers and can’t get as close to shore (longer tender rides) as the Isabella II. There isn’t that much ‘cruising’ on the Galapagos trips. The boats relocate during the nights. The boats mainly are platforms for snorkeling and shore excursions.

  • edited February 18

    Baltra was a military base in WWII. The airfield was built by the Army Air Corps to defend the Panama Canal. The airfield was turned over to the Ecuadorian government after WWII. I don’t think there are any docks in the Galapagos that can handle large ships, so they never dock. They are always anchored out.

  • edited February 17

    I guess you mean Baltra.
    I think you have to choose what type of ship you go on and of course it’s much more expensive on the big ship.
    We’ve taken a trip on one large ship…for us a nightmare. We’ve taken threeTauck/Ponant cruises and they are the biggest we can stomach. That’s why we loved the Isabella II ….. which I believe was the only choice both times. The last I think was 2019. If I took the tour again that would remain my preference.

  • Sam, maybe Isabella would have worked better for me as I am not a water person.  However, the Silver Origin has 51 cabins and I think they can accommodate up to 100 people.  Our ship was not full and if I remember correctly only had 61 people. 
    Mike, your blogs are the reason that I have taken some Tauck tours that before reading your blogs I had no interest in visiting some countries.  One that comes to mind is Morocco which I absolutely loved and thank you/

  • edited February 18

    I believe that Ecuador restricts ships in the Galapagos to no more than 100 guests. Also, the crew has to be Ecuadorian.

    The year I went the Silver Origin was not full, either. There were only 10 Tauck guests and the rest were Silversea (Tauck contracts with Silversea for a certain number of cabins). I think we had maybe 60 to 70 guests total on the ship.

    The Silver Origin was a really nice ship. The cabin was very well designed - lots of room and lots of storage space. It had a "horizon window" instead of a verranda. And the shower was to the outside of the room, with an electrically opaque window. So if you were worried about some of the wildlife seeing you shower, you could opaque the window :) One of the nicest ships I've ever been on.

    It was my first exposure to Silversea and we've used them since.

  • We did not have rain in a March. Rainfall is low in the area. Always be prepared, but you probably won’t need them and it can be very hot.

  • I don’t remember what month we went, but we had rain on Santa Cruz at the “turtle ranch”. I think an umbrella would be useless. We had rain suits and they provided boots. Among other issues, like maybe poking a hole in the panga, umbrellas would block views and drive the photogs nuts. There may have been people on our trip with umbrellas, but they were few. Of course, we would rather be wet than encumbered by an umbrella in ‘most’ cases. We actually often bring an umbrella on our trips, but very rarely us it.

  • Hello All,
    My husband and I are signed up for the March 7 tour of Galapagos. We received notice lastnight that, due to Avian flu, on Day 3 we will visit Cerro Brujo, instead of Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island. We will start our tour with a zodiac ride along the coast and will then visit Cerro Brujo beach, offering walking, snorkeling and swimming activities. On Day 4, when we visit Espanola Island, there will be no landing or hiking allowed at Punta Suarez. Instead, we will explore this particular area by zodiac. I am very disappointed. Do you believe this will make a significant difference on our journey?
    Thank you for any comments.

  • Yes I do, there have already been tours affected by this, it is not new. Without going on the islands you will miss a lot. So sorry, we love it there. I bell there is flu in Antarctica now too.

  • edited March 1

    Before canceling, check or see what your insurance covers, the ship insurance is not as generous as on land tours because Tauck is contracted with Ponant , whoops it’s not Ponant but you get my drift

  • It’s complicated, the rules for bird flu restrictions can change at any minute, just like Covid rules have.

  • British,
    Thank you for your comments.
    Yes I have been reading about the avian flu problem and respect the situation. Feeling fortunate to be going to Galapagos at all.

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