american airlines offers service from â­miami to quito and to guayaquil, both in ecuador. from there, travelers can take a local airline to the galã¡pagos â­archipelago.
see for yourself
the best way to see the galã¡pagos archipelago is by tour boat; your decision is whether to go large or small. larger boats often offer the most experienced guides and move from island to island faster. smaller vessels offer intimacy and a bit more flexibility.

the aggressor and scuba iguana
(800) 348-2628, www.aggressor.com; 011-593-5-252-6497, www.scubaiguana.com
with its confluence of currents and resultant explosion of undersea life, the galã¡pagos offer some of the world's best diving. over seven days, the aggressor fleet's two 100-foot, 14-passenger yachts make at least 10 stops off various islands, including the famed shark dives at the remote islands of wolf and darwin (from $2,995). few know the local waters better than the operators of scuba iguana in puerto ayora (on santa cruz island). they'll organize a live-aboard trip or take you out for a day of diving (single-day, multi-dive trips start at $80).

explorer's corner
(510) 559-8099, www.explorerscorner.com
sail aboard the catamaran ahmarã¡ with eight other passengers, exploring the islands for seven days by land and by kayak. from $3,550.

lindblad expeditions
(800) 397-3348, www.expeditions.com
travel the islands for 10 days aboard the 80-passenger ms polaris or the 48-passenger ms islander, which offer, along with exploration,

added tweaks like massages administered on a glass-bottomed pontoon. from $3,650.

outdoor adventure river specialists
(800) 346-6277, www.oars.com
explore the islands intimately over 10 days, via catamaran and sea kayak; guests are also accompanied by a sea kayaking guide and an onboard naturalist. from $3,550.

tauck world discovery
(800) 788-7885, www.tauck.com
tauck offers "bridges†trips, eight-day excursions geared toward families with kids, to the galã¡pagos and ecuador. bridges trips start at $3,015; 10-day adults-only galã¡pagos adventures begin at $4,290 per person.

wavehunters surf travel
(888) 899-8823, www.wavehunters.com
world-class waves break off some of the islands in the galã¡pagos (though many breaks are closed by park service decree). you can try to catch one while staying at the canoa surf resort on san cristobal island. canoa allows no more than eight surfers per week. from $1,443 per nine days, with two days in guayaquil.