Pangas are inflatable, motorized dinghies which are used for shore excursions and the exploration of coastlines on many Galapagos cruise itineraries. They normally carry up to around ten passengers and serve as the main transportation means for getting passengers on and off cruise vessels.
Pangas provide a completely different perspective on the islands from large yachts or catamarans, with the ability to get up-close to wildlife and access sites that large vessels cannot. They also provide fantastic photographic opportunities for visitors, with each guest having a front row seat for unique wildlife spectacles and ocean vistas.
Panga excursions include exploring mangrove estuaries to spot green sea turtles, golden rays and sleeping reef sharks, as well as birdwatching along high cliff faces, rocky outcrops and islets. Pangas are also used for excursions into the Bolivar Channel to spot orcas, humpback whales and playful dolphins, as well as to access coves and bays where sea lions and marine iguanas can be seen basking in the sun.
Panga excursions include both dry and wet landings (where you may need to wade through shallow water) and some snorkeling excursions are also conducted from these dinghies, with a ladder extended over the edge. Visitors are encouraged to bring water resistant or dry bags to carry any valuables (such as cameras) during panga excursions, particularly when crossing rough or choppy waters.