Happy Earth Day everyone! Look after it and go see it.
After highlighting last week that Greece will reopen on May 14th, the country went ahead and surprised everyone by having their protocols in place to open earlier! France also now has a target of early Summer to reopen to vaccinated American citizens, so it feels like travel corridors are slowly expanding and this summer will be possible for a range of international travel. That is not to say I think the world has Covid beaten, and J5Travel remains happy to only recommend travel to clients who accept the remaining risk and to destinations that are clearly putting safety first with their regulations.
One destination that I have failed to mention thus far that is in the process of reopening is Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. I've been attending and was honored to also present at RepFest this week, a virtual conference featuring luxury brands from all over the world. One session particularly caught my eye and ear from Quasar Expeditions, an incredible family-run company that focuses on Galapagos and Patagonia. They assured listeners that EVERY person in Galapagos, including all cruise and hotel workers, guides, chefs etc will be Covid - vaccinated by the end of June. That is a commitment that will really bring tourism back quickly. Whilst the holiday season for 2021/22 down there is just about fully booked, this summer remains an amazing opportunity to visit the ecosystems of Galapagos. We were informed the wildlife has never been seen so abundant and full of life. There is no better destination to highlight on Earth Day than these islands where there are unique natural wonders at every turn.
Top 5 Galapagos Experiences
1. Quasar Expeditions The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s most remarkable destinations and every day is filled with bucket-list moments. With a focus on Galapagos immersion, Quasar's Grace yacht (above) is named after Princess Grace of Monaco who was gifted the ship as a wedding present and took her honeymoon on the vessel. Now beautifully refitted, this 16 Guest yacht offers expanded deck space, stabilizers for smooth cruising, naturalist guides with 15+ years of experience, and itineraries crafted for maximum wildlife encounters. For an extended family this is an amazing opportunity for a full royal yacht charter in the most amazing waters on the planet.
Click on the iguana to see the Grace video
2. Celebrity Flora Celebrity Flora is the first ship of its kind to be built especially for the Galápagos Islands. This 100 passenger all-suite mega-yacht features an innovative outward-facing concept—designed to ensure the destination remains the center of attention during your sailing. Inspired by the islands and built with natural materials, the ship merges seamlessly with the surroundings, giving you a feeling of total immersion. To bring you an even more in-depth experience, certified naturalists from the Galápagos National Park are on board to guide the journey.
Click on the sea turtle below to see the Flora video
3. G Adventures One of our favorite global adventure travel supplier has several small ships in the Galapagos and with 22 different land and ocean itineraries ranging between 7 to 17 days, there is something for everyone in the options, from active 18 to 30 year olds to luxury end family tours. Their newest and most luxurious ship is the Reina Silvia Voyager (above), with just 10 well appointed cabins. Deckplan is below.
4. Pikaia Lodge There are very few hotels on the islands, but there is one that is extraordinary. Hidden in a secluded giant tortoise reserve, nestled on the edge of an extinct volcanic crater, Pikaia Lodge provides the highest level of comfort and services and a fantastic alternative for exploring this pristine paradise on Earth in a truly sustainable yet luxurious, land-based stay. Pikaia is designed for the eco-adventure traveler, who seeks close contact with the incredible wildlife, stunning views, and natural beauty surrounding this UNESCO World Heritage site. Pikaia Lodge offers all-inclusive three- to seven-night packages, complemented by half- and full-day land and marine explorations aboard an exclusive private yacht (below).
Click the Pikaia yacht below for video
5. National Geographic Islander (above) Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic partner in several areas of the world to bring explorer level experiences to the common traveler. This particular ship is right in between the 100 passenger Flora mentioned above and the more intimate yachts of Quasar and G Adventures and has a maximum capacity of 48. She is a common sight, almost an institution, in the bays of the islands, regularly hosting scientists, writers, and local teachers aboard.
Click on the crabs for full brochure
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts.
Be social and follow us on our travel adventures.
Want our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox? Enter your email below to subscribe to our newsletter.