Panga rides in Galapagos, or dinghy rides in Galapagos, are the main means of transportation from expedition vessel to visitor sites throughout the archipelago.
They are the “shuttles,” so to speak, of the Galapagos world, taking guests on an open-air and adventurous ride to the specific landing spots found throughout their itinerary.
These relatively small, inflatable watercrafts are perfectly suited to navigate the waters of Galapagos, and have reinforced sides which, in the case of dry landings, allow the panga to get up close to edges of things like docks, rocks and even Yacht La Pinta. The engine rotors have an added metallic “cage” around the rotors themselves to prevent them from harming the sensitive wildlife that exists underwater.
Panga rides not only provide a means of transportation, but are also an activity unto themselves. Panga ride in Galapagos allow our guests to get a relaxing tour of the surrounding coastline and/or “cliffline” of the visitor sites, before or after the first excursion on land (depends on visitor site/itinerary).
Panga Rides in Galapagos: Guides & Eyes
From coves to caves, from mangroves to rocky cliffs that rise up high overhead, panga rides in Galapagos offer both a tranquil and epic way of enjoying the islands’ particular geography and iconic wildlife. These rides are always done in the company of your naturalist guide and the panguero (panga driver). Both of these will use their keen eyesight to help you, our guest, absorb all the secrets that are hidden in plain sight at each Galapagos visitor site.
From the geological history of volcanic cones to the little alcoves that Galapagos penguins hang out in, your naturalist guide is sure to help you reveal the numerous things about each and every visitor site.
It’s also a great place to get some sweet pictures from. We recommend bringing a waterproof camera along with a neckstrap or wristsrap.
With a little bit of luck, one of the biggest highlights of panga rides in Galapagos is getting the chance to glimpse humpback whales, killer whales, dolphins, mola molas (sun fish), sea turtles and even playful sea lions that might even try and get up on the panga itself!
Panga Rides in Galapagos: What to Wear for the Ride
There are two types of landings when it comes to panga rides in Galapagos: wet and dry. Most wet landings consist of sandy beaches, which means guests could technically disembark barefoot fi they wish; however, we recommend that they use Tevas-style sandals or water shoes if you have sensitive feet. After wet landings, guests are more than welcome to put on sturdier, more comfortable walking shoes if they wish. Dry landings, however, will require the use of a sturdy pair of hiking shoes with good grip on the bottom. For the western islands in particularly, we recommend closed-toe shoes due to the fact that guests will trek across uneven terrain that’s occasionally made out of lava rock.
About Christopher Klassen
With parents that worked for the U.S. Foreign Service up until he graduated from high school, Chris was raised to have the heart of a nomad throughout his life. He has resided in Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador throughout his years, and just recently spent the past four up in Canada finishing his Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy & English at the University of British Columbia.