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Samba Galapagos Cruise

Samba Galápagos Cruise

For the best itineraries in the islands, look no further

A Galápagos Cruise on board the Samba

12 Reviews


What we love about the Samba

Very active itineraries

Family-owned for over 30 years

Environmentally responsible vessel

Local crew, local guides, local produce

Only 14 guests on board

Samba Galapagos Cruise
Samba Galapagos Cruise
Samba Galapagos Cruise

This family-owned Dutch-built motor sailer offers, in our opinion, the best excursion and activities itinerary in the Galápagos. If you are into snorkelling, book a trip on the Samba because you'll get to jump into the sea at least 3 times every day. Captain Jose is in charge, and chef Ángel will keep you very well fed. All while operating as environmentally responsibly as possible.

The Samba is a wonderful, dutch-built yacht, owned and managed by the Salcedo family of Galápagos. The Salcedo’s have been involved in Galápagos tourism for over 30 years and have a reputation for excellence in everything they do. Walk down the streets and mention Juan, the incredibly knowledgeable guide and you will hear nothing but great respect for his outstanding work as one of Galápagos’ best guides. Samba is the jewel in their crown and is widely considered to be the best ship in this class sailing in Galápagos waters. Because it is owned and operated by people with such a long and close connection with the islands, everything about Samba reflects their deep respect and love for the island and their wildlife. Their passion is evident in the number of excursions they take you on, making sure you’re “hand on” with the Islands more than most.

Experience Galápagos, don’t just see it The yacht, its itinerary and its guides have a unique philosophy - they all want you to absorb some of the magic that is Galápagos and to blend in with the wildlife and the surroundings, not be an alien visitor who rushes through the terrain trying to “see everything”.

Chief guide Juan Manuel Salcedo says that Samba’s main objective is to motivate people to be more ecologically aware. “The interpretation practices on board the Samba will help you understand why the Galápagos Islands are so different from other oceanic tropical islands. The learning of every detail of what makes this Archipelago so special, the driving forces that shaped and are shaping the fauna and flora, their complex and unique volcanic genesis, will enrich your experience.” A trip on Samba will elevate your visit from a mere vacation to something much more unique.

We think Samba provides some of the best activities of any boat in these waters. If you are looking for a truly active adventure then look no further. With up to 3 snorkeling activities every day and 2 land excursions, Samba’s team provide you with one of the most hands-on adventure cruises in the archipelago.

Sustainable comfort Samba is an unashamedly green ship, and is spearheading sustainability and social responsibility amongst the Galápagos small ship fleet. This extends to careful sourcing of ingredients for Angel the chef to turn into wonderful dishes. All the beef, pork and poultry served on board is organically grown by local Galápagos producers. Fish are only procured from local fishermen well known to Salcedo and who use only sustainable methods that don’t damage the marine ecosystem. International and Ecuadorian cuisine will be presented to you, and with advance notice all dietary requirements can be accommodated.

Accommodation Samba is a light, airy and relaxing place to be. Decorated in neutral creams and whites, with natural wood furniture and fittings hand made in the Galápagos from local cigar box cedar to provide a warm, natural contrast. With an indoor lounge salon and dining area giving plenty of opportunity for mixing with your like-minded travellers, Samba is a sociable and yet intimate yacht.

Sleeping a maximum of only 14 guests (2 fewer than standard craft of this class) Samba allows for a very special, more connected and personal experience. Cabins all feature private bathrooms with hot showers, decorated in sympathy with the rest of the yacht. For your comfort, Samba is air conditioned throughout. Comfortable outdoor seating and dining areas make for pleasant al fresco meals or you can head to the expansive open foredeck to simply enjoy the sun, or the magnificent views of the stars appearing in the clear night skies.

Personal service All the crew members onboard Samba are Galápagos residents, and all of them treated very well by the Salcedo’s who have the same philosophy towards their staff as they do towards their islands - look after them and they will look after you. You’re therefore assured of a particularly friendly and warm welcome onboard Samba from Captain Jose and his crew and from Juan Manuel and his guides.

Our comments We believe that this is a trip that the true nature-lover should take. The Salcedo’s unique outlook and their wonderfully understated and ecological yacht make this trip something far more fundamental in its impact than many of the other boats in the Galápagos waters. We can’t think of a better memory than sitting quietly with Juan Manuel while all around us marine iguanas and sea lions act as if we were simply not there. A magical itinerary and a wonderful vessel, perfectly suited for those who want the most time actively exploring in the sea and on land.

Dates & Prices on board the Samba

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Amenities on board the Samba


All meals


Transfers to and from ship


-30% for children ≤ 13


Snorkel gear (free of charge)


Travel for good: Your Each booking contributes to Ventura’s Conservation Project.


Kayaks on board

air conditioning

Air conditioning & private bathroom


Standup paddle boards

shared bedroom

Single travellers can share cabin


Water, Coffee, Tea & fresh juices



EN guide

English guide

Food & Drinks on board the Samba

The food on our Galapágos Cruises is among the very best you will find in South America. Most of the on-board chefs are internationally trained and have prior experience working in the best hotels and restaurants in Ecuador and indeed around the world.

You can expect a first-class selection of food, including a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally sourced poultry and fish/seafood, rice and pasta dishes. Most boats will always include some typical Ecuadorian dishes on the menu during your cruise. If you have specific dietary requirements then these can usually be accommodated by the chef providing you have given advance notice. Please make sure you tell us about any allergies or dietary requirements you have at the time you book with us. If you leave it until you arrive at the dockside, then it may well be impossible to accommodate your needs.

Most boats serve a range of options at meal times in a relaxed buffet-style. At the first class and luxury end of the market, some boats have more formal dining where you will be served at your seat. However the atmosphere is always relaxed on board our cruises, and never stuffy or formal.

Sustainable Tourism

At Galapatours we love and respect the pristine ecosystems and fascinating wildlife of the Galápagos Islands. To protect the archipelago, all vessels in Galápagos must have sophisticated water filtration systems, modern, efficient engines, and strict maintenance schedules to minimize pollution. Furthermore, The Galápagos National Park authority defines exact cruising routes that dictate which ships can visit which highlights at what day and time, as well as limiting passenger numbers.

Our commitment extends beyond the mandatory environmental standards for cruise vessels in the region: A portion of your trip price now contributes to our Conservation Project. This initiative empowers local communities to protect their territory, engage in reforestation, and prepare for long-term environmental stewardship. This way, your trip contributes to environmental protection and truly shows how travel can be a force for good! You can also play your part by traveling responsibly and following our Eco Guidelines during your stay. Click here to find out more about these guidelines, our commitment to sustainable tourism, and the Galápagos National Park rules.

Cabins categories on board the Samba

Double matrimonial
Standard Double



Max. occupancy:


More about this cabin

Technical details of Samba

Motor Sailboat
78 ft (23.77m)
110 V
Cruising speed
8.5 kt
18 ft (5.48m)

Reviews of Samba

Berth Keddie, USA

Samba Galapagos Cruise


Juan war ein unglaublicher Guide und die Samba ist ein großartiges Schiff Wir hatten eine tolle Zeit auf den Galapagos Inseln, danke für die Organisation und die Betreuung. Juan war ein unglaublicher Guide - es war nie zu hektisch. Jeder Inselbesuch war ein Highlight. Nochmal vielen Dank - wir werden euch und den tollen Service weiterempfehlen an andere Ecuador Abenteurer!


Samba Galapagos Cruise


Cannot say enough good things My husband, teenage daughter and I travelled on the Samba North West trip in August. I cannot say enough good things. Our guide, Jan Post, was not only extremely knowledgeable, but able to keep everyone happy. His talks on physics of flight, ocean currents, geology and volcanic activity, Darwin were fascinating and kept everyone interested. Accounts of historical scandals were entertaining as well. The crew is so friendly and caring. It is impossible to see how the chef can prepare the variety of delicious dishes in the kitchen. Meals are terrific. All your equipment needs are met: snorkels, fins, masks, wetsuits, towels to dry your feet. They think of everything. Of course, the reason you go is the wildlife, and the opportunity to see wildlife on land and in the water is incredible. You are swimming with sea lions and turtles, lots of turtles. You are standing in arms reach of nesting frigates and watching blue footed boobies court and mate 7 feet away. You walk across a lava flow and there are 3 spectacular flamingos in a small pond. You can watch flightless cormorants dive and hunt for fish a few feet from your snorkel, and see eagle rays, parrot fish, etc. Watching a flock of boobies herd small fish, and then plunge dive to catch them. Feedback from:


Samba Galapagos Cruise


It was amazing! Just got back from a 8 day trip on Samba (North & West itinerary), it was amazing! Best trip ever (except for the boat rocking and some sea sickness!- but this is to be expected). This boat is small and is able to travel to some places that most 1-week cruises do not. It goes to Genovesa, Marchena (the only non-diving boat to do so!!), Fernandina (which is also not a usual stop), Isabella in a few locations, and then down to Floreana before returning to Santa Cruz. We saw every animal we wanted to! Feedback from:


Samba Galapagos Cruise


Spectacular My girlfriend and I spent 8 days on the Samba in November and it was absolutely spectacular. Amazing ship, amazing crew, amazing guide and amazing itinerary. 1. The Ship: The ship itself is about 40 years old, originally designed as a fishing boat in Holland then later turned into a private yacht and finally into a cruise ship in the Galapagos. It's not the biggest boat out there by far, but it's big enough. We found our room a bit small, but there were huge drawers under the bed to store all our stuff and the crew was willing to stow any unneeded luggage in one of their many hidden compartments. Our room might have been slightly smaller though because we were at the front of the boat where it starts to narrow. However, we didn’t spend much time in our room so it wasn’t an issue. Every room had a private toilet, shower and sink, and we never had any problems with the plumbing or hot water. For a boat, especially this size, the accommodations were great. The public areas on the boat consist of the dining room (also where the daily briefings were held), two decks out back and a large deck on the front with benches and reclining chairs. Most of the long sailing trips were done at night and you knew it. Rooms at the back are fairly loud since they're right next to the engine room. At the front, you feel the full force of the sea and get thrown about in the waves. The boat is small and moves a lot! Both of us got a bit seasick, but I would say the rest of the benefits more than made up for it (but I would bring seasickness medication even if you don't usually get seasick). My girlfriend felt really bad a few times, but she keeps saying how she would do it all again in a heartbeat if she could. Also, once you are lying down, the motion wasn’t nearly as bad, and most people found that their seasickness went away (if not immediately, it got better after the first sail for sure). 2. The guide: Our guide was Juan Salcedo. Before booking our cruise, we looked at what others had to say about him and were sold. Let me just say that he is just as good (if not better) than what the reviews say about him. Very knowledgeable about the history, plants and wildlife and speaks fluent English. He speaks with what I considered to be a very slight accent, but I don't think there was a word he said that I couldn’t understand during the trip. After listening to him talk for a while, you can tell he has a great understanding of English based on the vocabulary he chooses. Juan is very passionate about his job and ensuring every passenger gets the full Galapagos experience. He is committed to making sure you are the first guests on the island each day and the last ones off (I think there was only once where another ship reached shore before us). We watched many times as other ships arrived after us and left before us. When you're with Juan, you spend a significant amount of time just watching the wildlife to the point that you begin to blend in and the animals come right up to you. 3. The itinerary: As mentioned in pembaben's reply, the Galapagos National Park has changed its rules regarding how frequently ships can visit the same sites and the Samba will now be running two itineraries, one visiting the Southern and Western islands while the other does the Eastern and Northern islands. My itinerary was very similar to their new South and West trip. We saw essentially everything we went to see and then some: turtles, tortoises, blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, flightless cormorants, sea lions, sharks, penguins, pelicans, and the list goes on. The only thing I can think of that we couldn’t see were the red-footed boobie. The itineraries are designed to truly show you as much as they possibly can. Feedback from:


Samba Galapagos Cruise


Samba I was on a 7 night trip on the Samba in January 2010 and had a fabulous time - excellent itinerary, food, crew, guide, etc. I can highly recommend it. However, the cabins are very small (although you spend very little time there) and those prone to motion sickness need to be aware of the fact that this boat is not as stable as some of the newer catamarans, or larger boats. Feedback from:

Similar Ships

Beagle Galapagos Cruise


- A traditional motor sail experience; - Exclusive wildlife excursions; - Wide-ranging itineraries; - Perfect for romantic celebrations; Named after the famous ship on which Charles Darwin arrived at the Galápagos Islands, The Beagle is a magnificent 105ft steel-hulled brigantine with wonderful teak decking originally built in England. This Galápagos family-owned and run vessel is a true sailing experience and will provide you with an unforgettable cruise in the islands. Classic and romantic The moment you step on board The Beagle you are immersed in a romantic and classic maritime experience. It starts in your cabin. Below deck are six beautifully-appointed air conditioned cabins with solid wood fixtures in a timeless style, each with a double lower bunk and a single upper, and a private en suite bathroom with full size hot water shower. A smaller seventh cabin, also air conditioned and with en suite facilities, can accommodate one or two more passengers in its single bunks. All cabins have 110V power, and there is a 220V supply with UK plug adapter available on the bridge. Relaxing ambiance Communal areas on board are warm and richly inviting. The cosy salon features beautiful teak furniture and fitting and comfortable sofas. There’s a ship’s library and a selection of games for guests to enjoy. At the other side is the dining room with lovely picture windows and a big sociable tables perfect for dining with new friends and sharing experiences. Outside the wide decks are liberally sprinkled with comfy places to sit and relax, and meals and snacks are served both in the salon and on-deck. Food is a lovely mix of Ecuadorian and international flavors, and all dietary requirements can be catered for with advanced notice. Exclusive excursions The 6 crew will make sure you’re well looked after, and the professional bilingual naturalist guide will ensure that you leave at the end of your cruise having experienced the real Galápagos, and learning much about its unique wildlife and habitats. Beagle offers two distinct itineraries, between them covering almost the entire archipelago. Thanks to their excellent reputation The Beagle’s owners have earned some special privileges and permits - for example she is the only vessel with permission to snorkel in Fernandina, Punta Espinoza. If you don’t wish to bring your own gear, masks, fins and snorkels are available on board. The Beagle also carries four double kayaks for guests to use, and she has recently been granted permission to carry up to eight double kayaks and to schedule special kayak tours with prior arrangement. Our comments We think The Beagle is perfect for a “special occasion” Galápagos cruise. With her romantic “days of sail” style, beautiful teak fittings and intimate feel The Beagle would be great for anniversary or birthday celebrations. With her exclusive snorkeling permissions and extras like kayaks The Beagle will give you a real Galápagos experience in a unique and classic yacht.

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