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G Adventures Galapagos Boat Trip Review: Central, south and east islands abroad the Monserrat!

**Spoiler alert** This may be the best Galapagos cruise ever!

Visiting The Galapagos Islands has long been a dream of mine. I’ve always loved getting off the grid when I travel and I feel infinitely more at home with nature than I do in the cities. If my travels allow me to indulge in a spot of wildlife photography, all the better. So when I saw a friend’s Galapagos photos, I knew I had to get there one day.

The only problem was finding a budget Galapagos cruise which was actually affordable!

sealion on the beautiful beach cerro brujo on san cristobal in the galapagos islands, ecuador

I’ve travelled with G Adventures several times before and knew they were a company that I could trust.

After sighing with despair at the outrageous prices of Galapagos cruises, I turned to G Adventures and was pleasantly surprised!

Okay, I won’t bullsh*t. It’s not exactly a cheap Galapagos cruise. They don’t exist. Sorry! But the price was a zillion times more reasonable than the $10k Galapagos luxury cruises and after extensive research, it seemed it was the best value boat trip in the Galapagos.

piles of marine iguanas with red colouring due to eating algae seen on floreana in the galapagos islands

Given it was the fraction of the price, I was expecting The G Adventures boat, The Monserrat, to be pretty basic. I was blown away by how ‘luxury’ it actually was!

So I decided to write this budget Galapagos cruise review to rave about visiting The Galapagos with G Adventures. If I were lucky enough to go and explore the rest of the Galapagos Islands, I’d sail with G Adventures time and time again!

If you want to know more about what to expect from a Galapagos cruise with G Adventures, read on about my Monserrat experience!

baby sea lion in the galapagos

** Pssst, this article may contain affiliate links. If you have no idea what this means, click here and everything will be explained!**

Why The Galapagos Islands may be the best place on planet earth

The Galapagos is such an incredible place. Alongside the beautiful beaches and colourful coral, you will find unique animals and sea life that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet!

Not only that but you will have many more close encounters with the wildlife than you would elsewhere as they have never had reason to fear humans and are relaxed and laid back in your presence. The sea lions will even show off for you and play with you in the water!

sea lion playing in the water whilst snorkelling with sea lions in the galapagos

It is also one of the most natural, relaxing places in the world. So little pollution or crowds – you will feel so far removed from everyday life! If you need any more reasons to go, see my articles about different Galapagos Islands; 

The Eastern Islands; Isla Lobos, San Cristobal and Cerro Brujo

The Central Islands; Santa Cruz, Santiago and Bartolome

The South Islands; Floreana and Espanola

Why choose a Gadventures Budget Galapagos Cruise?

I’ve travelled several times with G Adventures and have never had a bad trip. They are organised, informative, ethical and they support local projects wherever possible.

If you want to read more about the pros and cons of a G Adventures trip, check out my article; G Adventures vs Intrepid

The G Adventures Galapagos cruise boat The Monserrat

Why The Monserat might just be the best Galapagos cruise boat…

There are many much larger boats in the Galapagos with up to 100 passengers. They may have more features such as jacuzzis and larger cabins but they lack the intimacy of a small cruise with just 20 people like the Monserrat. Everyone gets to know each other well and for 1 week, you are family.

The Monserrat is probably the most luxurious boat trip I’ve ever taken but it combines luxury (3-course dinners with table service) with the small cosy feel of a smaller boat.

You will be well looked after by the fabulous crew who work tirelessly and with the utmost of professionalism. Many will make the effort to know you by name which I personally think makes such a difference.

What is life like on a Monserrat Galapagos cruise?

Every evening there will be a briefing on what to expect for the following day. Usually, it’s breakfast at 7 am and the first activity is planned for 8 am. So expect a few early starts!

There are then a few hours onboard the boat for lunch and a siesta and then more activities planned for the afternoon before the briefing and dinner. The sea air and a full itinerary usually leave most people shattered so most will retire early perhaps after cocktails and a game of cards.

Touring the Galapagos islands on a panga boat

What activities will I be doing during my G Adventures Galapagos cruise?

Most days include at least one walk and a couple of snorkel trips. The walks are not long (a few miles at most) but can be quite challenging as often involve scrambling over boulders. I suggest bringing walking poles which makes this much easier. There are a few available on the boat but it’s better to have your own just in case.

The snorkelling may be off the boat or off the beach. Sometimes it’s in calm water and other times more choppy with stronger currents but there’s always someone in the panga there to fish you out if you’ve had enough and I personally never felt unsafe.

In fact, I was usually the last one to get back in the panga as I got lost in the magical Galapagos underwater world! It’s extra special when the sea lions come out to play!

There was plenty of snorkelling equipment and wetsuits for everyone on board but it did get confusing trying to find the right ones at times! You are allocated equipment at the start of the trip and hand it back at the end of the week. I did often think it would have been easier to have had my own with me at times!

You can buy snorkel equipment HERE.

You can find tips for buying snorkel fins here.

What wildlife will I see in The Galapagos Islands?

Whilst nothing is guaranteed, you will see a lot of wildlife. And you are likely to see a LOT of sea lions! In addition to this you may see :

Birds – Blue-footed boobies, frigates, hawks, albatrosses, Galapagos doves, finches, mockingbirds, flamingos, penguins.

Reptiles: Land tortoises, snakes, lizards and Iguanas.

Marine wildlife: Sealions, sharks, dolphins, whales, LOTS of colourful fish such as parrotfish and crown fish.

galapagos orca killer wahle
Galapagos hawk

Wildlife Photography in The Galapagos Islands

One thing you will definitely want to have with you in The Galapagos is an underwater camera! I Love my Go Pro Hero 7 but I really wish I took a floating Go Pro stick for extended reach to help me get closer to the action!

A friend used one and has incredible footage of a sea lion actually putting its mouth playfully around the camera! I was pretty envious of his footage!

baby sealion on galapagos islands

For my land-based photos, I recommend using a good DSLR or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens.

I personally use this camera and this lens.

If you need some wildlife photography advice before your Galapagos trip, head over to my Wildlife photography Tips page!

Will I make friends on a G Adventures Cruise?

Yes! If you are travelling alone you will be paired up with someone of the same gender to share a cabin with and the dining room is set up with tables for 5 and 6 so that you can easily get to know your travel mates!

There are often people travelling alone and on my trip, there was a huge mixture of ages from 27 to 87 mostly travelling alone or in pairs so you are bound to make at least a few friends. The average age is probably between 30 and 40.

What is the food like on a G Adventures Galapagos Cruise?

The food onboard is AMAZING! So much better than I was expecting on a budget Galapagos cruise. I was always pleasantly surprised what they could rustle up in a tiny kitchen for 20 guests and 10 crew!

Breakfast is usually cereals, cheeses, meats, toast and sometimes a frittata or an omelette.

Lunch is a buffet with a few hot options – pasta, rice, meats and salads – always delicious!

Dinner is a 3-course meal starting with homemade soup. The main course is usually meat or seafood with vegetables and is always followed by a tasty dessert.

After each activity, you will be met off the panga with freshly squeezed juices – everything from papaya to strawberry juice! This was always so tasty! There will also be snacks, often something more traditional such and empanadas which are my new favourite thing!

Alcoholic drinks are extras but tea, coffee and mineral water is provided all day. The drinks can be slightly pricey so budget enough if you like a bevvie in the evening. A bottle of wine is $22 and a beer is $4.

What are the cabins like on a G Adventures Cruise?

The cabins are smallish as you’d expect on a budget Galapagos cruise, but there is plenty of storage both under the bed and in a cupboard.

On previous sailing trips I’ve taken with other companies, the beds were narrow bunk beds but on my G Adventures boat trip, I had a normal single bed which was actually really comfy! There was definitely more space than I was used to on most sailing trips.

The bathrooms are compact but are proper bathrooms, not just wet rooms like I’ve had on other boat trips. The showers are warm and much appreciated after coming in from a cold dip in the sea!

Every day your bed is made by housekeeping just like a hotel stay – I was certainly not expecting this after other boat trips I’ve taken in the past!

The accommodation before and after the cruise at Hilton Colon (yes I found that hilarious too) was nothing short of luxury!

Whats the weather like in The Galapagos?

I can only tell you what the weather was like in October but from what I’ve heard, the weather is changeable all year round.

During October, the weather was consistently between 20-25 degrees Celsius which was very comfortable. It can get windy and rainy so pack for all weathers as it changes very quickly!

Wearing layers is the way forward! The hotter months are in Jan/Feb/March which is also the wet season but since temperatures can reach the mid 40’s I’m not convinced it’s the best time to visit!

What were the Galapagos G Adventures guides like?

I cannot rave about Roberto and Adrianna enough. They were always friendly and professional. Roberto is really funny and Adrianna is so sweet. They are both so knowledgeable and imparted so much knowledge about the local flora and fauna. We really couldn’t have asked for better guides/ naturalists. 

So would I travel The Galapagos with G Adventures again?

baby sea lion suckling on its mother on cerro brujo beach in the galapagos islands

Absolutely!  I have no regrets choosing G Adventures. I’m pretty convinced they may be the best Galapagos cruise company! 

After hearing about the other boats where you pay 3 x the price only to travel on larger boats with more people, therefore, having to share those amazing views with 100 other people, I’d choose G Adventures every time.

The prices are reasonable (by Galapagos standards!) the boat was clean and comfortable, the food delicious, the staff helpful and the activities absolutely fantastic! I had an absolute ball and can’t recommend the Galapagos boat, The Monserrat, enough! It may be a budget Galapagos cruise but it was actually kinda luxurious! 

I Hope you’ve found this Galapagos Cruise review helpful and that I’ve persuaded you to book your own trip to the beautiful Galapagos Islands. You won’t regret it!

If your main focus is diving, you may want to choose a company which focusses on this, maybe even visiting the north islands which have the best diving opportunities. In which case I would recommend Live Aboard. Their trips will work out slightly pricier as they don’t include flights like G Adventures but they are still very affordable compared to most boats. Check out Live Aboard here.

As always, I love hearing from you. Tell me about your own Galapagos plans? And if you don’t mind sharing this post with your friends or on Pinterest, I will be eternally grateful – let’s spread the word about this incredible place!

Read More: 

G Adventures vs Intrepid Travel

The Best Group Travel Companies for single travellers

The Galapagos on a budget: Your ultimate guide 

Island Hopping Trips in the Galapagos – which won’t break the bank

A Galapagos Packing List

A Maldives Sailing Trip Review with G Adventures

A G Adventures Sri Lanka Review