A:Ecuador's famous islands are at the higher end of the cost spectrum, but they were made for “once in a lifetime” trips—honeymoons, major anniversaries, and so on. I visited them in April on board a Lindblad Expeditions ship, and the cruise was a heady mix of active luxury. We snorkeled, kayaked, swam and hiked, and in the evenings we sipped cocktails and learned about evolutionary biology and the islands’ influence on Darwin’s theory. The wildlife viewing was like nothing I've ever experienced—and I live next door to Alaska.
There are a number of Galapagos-based ships catering to a range of budgets. Another option is to stay at a hotel in one of the islands' handful of settlements and venture out for day trips by boat. Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz, is the largest, most well-equipped town.
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