Sailing From The Galapagos To Hawaii (Plan, Cost, Duration)

Sailing via the Galapagos is a common route taken to tour the Pacific. If you plan a vacation, you may consider Hawaii or the Galapagos as exciting destinations. However, if you desire to reach Hawaii from the Galapagos, there are several dos and don’ts. 

Sailing from the Galapagos Islands to Hawaii takes an average of 20-30 days and costs around 300-600 USD daily. These metrics are based on cruise types, not solo sailing. 

When sailing from the Galapagos to Hawaii, remember that both are exciting destinations, and you will never fall short of food. However, there’s more to plan during this cruise. This article throws light on the sailing experience. 

The Galapagos To Hawaii

The Galapagos to Hawaii is a rare route taken by sailors unless there is a need to relax and entertain on the cruise. 

Based on my sailing experience, a yacht or a catamaran is highly preferred due to the nature of the winds. Perhaps, you can customize the vessel size based on the number of travelers and the destination. 

Sailors generally sail from Panama to Hawaii via Marquesas and the Galapagos. The Galapagos Islands are ideally a center place via which sailors reach the destination. The passage between Marquesas and Galapagos is 3,000 miles. Likewise, the Galapagos islands are 960 nautical miles from Panama. The Galapagos and the Hawaiian Islands are 4709 miles apart.

Sailors sail via the Galapagos to Hawaii as the route is shorter than the others. The drift can be way faster than you anticipate. Another fascinating aspect of the Galapagos that can favor the sailing experience is the nice breeze aided by the moderate current. 

The moderate current keeps you safer throughout the journey if you are sailing yourself. However, if you are going down the South Pacific, you can plan a better loop to cover several places and have some extra fun. 

Remember to enjoy popular activities like snorkeling during your cruise from the Galapagos to Hawaii. 

Tip before starting your journey:

If you prefer sailing on cruises offered at the Galapagos islands to travel to Hawaii, there are dedicated cruises like Carnival with huge living spaces. This is an option for those who cannot sail by themselves. 

The winds are warm and wet during Dec-Jun. You can choose the cool and dry times – Jul-Nov. 

Let us look at Hawaii. The ideal time to sail from one place to Hawaii is during June. This is when the breeze is regular and manageable for long distances. 

How are the facilities in Hawaii? It is an excellent destination for adventures. The habitat is quite impressive, and the location leaves none disappointed. Hawaii has excellent eateries and hangout spots. Perhaps, you can rest for a few weeks here to prepare yourself for the return journey.

Coming back to the sailing experience from the Galapagos to Hawaii, here is the checklist to keep in mind. 

  • Plan your trip during June-Jul. Anytime beyond these months can result in exposure to hurricanes or bad weather. 
  • Go for a catamaran or a yacht to better handle the open seas.
  • Remember to stock up on fresh items at the Galapagos Islands, so it lasts for half of the journey. 

It is quite a long journey but is absolutely worth it if you are looking for a great adventure! 

Sailing Routes Across The Pacific 

There are two popular sailing routes – East to West (the milk run) and West to East (roaring forties passage). Still, sailors also reach the North and South by starting at East or West. 

The most significant advantage of sailing across the Pacific is that it connects various countries, and you can set up a well-planned vacation. 

Sailing to the Pacific from the East includes a visit to Panama and then progresses via French Polynesia and the Galapagos to reach the West. This is the famous milk run that takes 23-40 days. 

If you prefer longer routes, you can also deviate from the regular milk run to sail via the Caribbean or Atlantic crossing. Your starting points could either be Ecuador or Mexico. Alternatively, you can choose to start from the United States and land in Australia. This extended route can take about three months. The significant advantage of this route is you can hop between islands and have the longest vacation of your life across the Pacific. 

If you sail from the East to the West, you are more likely to spend a solid month reaching the land. 

Sailing via Polynesia is tropical weather during this time and is usually free from rough weather conditions. If you take other routes, you should be careful about the most famous Pacific hurricanes. These hurricanes are incredibly fierce and pose severe threats to sailors and passengers. 

Prefer a better route? You can sail the Pacific from San Diego in California to Vancouver in Canada. This is less tropical and shorter. Similar to your trip via the Galapagos, this route has numerous destinations to stop by and rejuvenate your body. 

Like the famous milk run to travel from the East to the West across the Pacific, you can also sail from the West to the East. You can choose one of these routes – The northern route, the direct route, and the roaring forties. 

The Northern route contains shorter passages that cross Japan and Southeast Asia. This route is for you if you have expert sailors who can uphold grip during high winds. If your sailors are short of resilience, this route can be rude and leave the entire crew at stake. 

Like the Northern route, the direct route has high upwind and needs immediate action plans from sailors to overcome winds to reach the destination. 

The roaring forties passage is the longest, and you need a well-developed crew that can handle extreme weather conditions. 

Due to high upwind in these routes, several sailors choose the milk run and customize it based on their plans. 

Can Everyone Sail The Pacific?

Sailing the Pacific needs high levels of experience and a proper itinerary in place. Due to unforeseen wind conditions, it is good to be accompanied by another experienced sailor. 

When I sailed from Galapagos to Hawaii, it was an easy thing. However, sailing across the Pacific gave me a unique experience. 

One of my friends who sailed across the Pacific several times stated how the experience could test your confidence and expertise. If you plan a journey during June-Jul, you are more likely to reach the destination without serious problems. However, if you have chosen a different season, remember to evaluate yourself regarding handling the boat, knowledge about the route, and competence to sail with the passengers. 

As a quick tip, I’d recommend having alternate routes planned before to avoid last-minute fusses. 

Is It Dangerous To Sail To Hawaii?

Sailing from the Galapagos to Hawaii is moderately safe. Still, if you are extending your trip beyond Hawaii across the Pacific, it is quite dangerous, considering boat issues, bad weather, and navigation problems. 

Ocean currents are unpredictable as you approach Hawaii. As a result, unpredictable winds can leave you unsure about navigating further. 

With an overboard crew member, managing strong winds and rough seas gets complicated. 

Another tip from my experience is to double-check the condition of your boat. Not all boats work great in these conditions. Your boat has to withstand strong currents and unpredictable external conditions that can potentially break your boat or severely damage it. 

Go for a boat that is at least 30 ft. in length and has enough options for storage. You can also choose a monohull or a trimaran based on the load. 

How Far Is Hawaii From Galapagos Islands?

The average distance from the Galapagos Islands to Hawaii is 4,709 miles. Traveling via plane is the shortest (9 hours) while sailing between these destinations is the longest (weeks to months based on the boat type).

As mentioned earlier, using a well-equipped catamaran to travel between destinations is ideal as it handles upwind and keeps you prepared in emergencies. Alternatively, there are cruises for hire from these regions. All you need to do is hire one of them and begin your journey. 

From my research, I’d say nothing is better than sailing it yourself. Contrarily, if you lack the expertise or amenities to meet urgent needs, hiring a cruise company is better. 

How Long Does It Take To Sail From Panama To Hawaii?

Sailing from Panama to Hawaii via Honolulu takes 30 days (based on the boat type) to cross 4800 miles. 

This is a widely chosen route to reach Hawaii and sail across the Pacific. 

Final Thoughts

Sailing from the Galapagos Islands to Hawaii is an exciting yet daunting task as it calls for experienced sailors and properly equipped catamarans/monohulls/motor yachts to handle the load. 

If you have a bit of time, you can also plan a journey across the Pacific. While it takes over 20 days to cover the Pacific and return to your initial location, the experience is worth it and is mandatory for every sailing enthusiast. 


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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