Imagine a wildlife extravaganza, a place on earth where mother nature has put on a show unlike anywhere else! Here you are met by a spectacular wild life both under and above the surface, every corner is teaming with life. The combination of fish, mammals and reptiles separates the Galapagos from other marine reserves. Here you share the water with penguins, sea lions, ocean iguanas, turtles, sperm whales, humpback whales and hammer heads. You also get the opportunity to trek the islands, meet the locals and learn about life in Galapagos.
Enjoy fabulous days and starlit skies at sea in this amazing part of the world!
Day 1.Saturday: Arrival in Guayaquil and transfer to the hotel for the first overnight in Ecuador. Dinner on your own.
Day 2.SUNDAY: Arrive to San Cristobal, the crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served. We travel to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals. Along the trail, we find the San Cristobal mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Join your fellow yacht mates this evening for your first briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our well-trained chefs.
Day 3.Monday: We spend the entire day on TOWER (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species. We have a wet-landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where Swallow-tailed and Lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of Great Frigate birds nest. The trail leads through a rich inter tidal zone where we find a wide diversity of wildlife. After lunch, we have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca Boobies. In an open lava field, we find Storm Petrels in large numbers. If you are lucky, we will see the elusive Short-eared owl. You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters or for those with experience, we offer snorkeling in deeper water. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner before we cross the equator.
Day 4.TUESDAY: Today we visit Las Bachas, which is the Spanish translation for “barges”. There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where we find the Greater Flamingo, pelicans, white-cheeked pintail ducks, stilts and iguanas. There is also a wonderful chance to take a stroll along the beach or swim from the shore. At Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra) we have a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you can view pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Along the trail, we find Darwin Finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs, were once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. We find pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds; stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, we enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, we sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the third time.
Day 5.WEDNESDAY: We have a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza, FERNANDINA, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos with no introduced mammals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of Marine Iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless Cormorants build their nest on the point and Galapagos Hawks fly overhead. There is a chance to snorkel here with sea turtles and marine iguanas. After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Chanel where we often spot whales and dolphins riding the bow wave.
We disembark at Urbina Bay, ISABELA, where we find four miles of its coastal seabed, with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises and Darwin Finches. Brown Pelicans and Flightless Cormorants also nest here. Giant Marine Iguanas are seen along the coast. You may encounter penguins while snorkeling here. At Punta Vicente Roca, a Zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls, we can enter the wave-sculpted cave and find sea turtles and penguins, flightless cormorants and fur seals who frequent this area. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.
Day 6.THURSDAY: We visit Elizabeth Bay, ISABELA by zodiac starting with a visit to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Here, turtles, rays, and shore birds can be seen. We motor to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and giant Marine Iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos. Today, lunch is served out on the sun deck in a calm bay. We have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of ISABELA and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the Coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling site is offered from the zodiac or take out a Kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy while crossing the equator for the last time.
Day 7.FRIDAY: We stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, SANTIAGO (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a snorkeling opportunity. After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here. We disembark on RABIDA (Jervis), located near James Island. Rabida is considered the geographic center of Galapagos because this island sports the most diversified volcanic rocks. The dark red sand beach originated from the high content of iron in the volcanic stones. While strolling along the trail, you may find marine iguanas, mocking birds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin Finches leading to a salt water lagoon. After the walk, there is not-to-miss snorkeling option with tropical fish, white tipped sharks and sea lions. We return to the yacht for dinner and a briefing.
Day 8.SATURDAY: We travel by bus to the highlands of SANTA CRUZ Island. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, we visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias” one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. After lunch, we will have our last briefing. Today we visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (Charles Darwin Research Station). See all three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. We stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits. Visitors can see the tortoise and land
iguana corrals. Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000 inhabitants. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and dinner. Zodiacs will be provided for those who chose to return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet café.
Day 9.SUNDAY: We visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Here we gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, we spend an hour in port before heading to the airport for our flight back to the mainland departing before noon time.
The yatchCruise features
7-night expeditions depart every Sunday from San Cristobal
20-guest superior first-class motor yacht
10 fully air-conditioned outside staterooms with private bathrooms
Delicious, varied cuisine, wonderfully prepared by our culinary school-trained chefs
Fully-stocked bar and boutique, 24 hour coffee & tea station
Lounge for briefings with TV, DVD, games and library
Wildlife observation areas, open and shaded sun deck with loungers
Enjoy with our compliments
Three meals served daily, after-excursion snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties
House wine and local beer served during dinner
Guided excursions and daily briefings with English-speaking expert naturalists
Low guide to passenger radio (max. 10 guests per guide)
Complimentary mask, fins and snorkels, 3mm custom full wet suits
Eco rating: 3.5
Season: All year round
Airport: Guayaquil international airport (GYE)
Duration: 8 nätter
Included in price: Domestic flights, park fees, transit card, share in double/cabin, full board, water, sodas and snacks, welcome and farewell cocktail, all excursions according to program, equipment such as wetsuit, snorkel and mask, kayaks, guides transfer from San Christobal airport.
Not included in the price: Alcohol, tip on board, purchases on board, taxes at airports in Ecuador. Travel insurance.
Your trip supports responsible tourism in Ecuador and Galapagos and hopefully inspire others to the same. The charter boat operator is actively working to follow the principles for sustainable tourism through:
a maximum of ten people per guide in order to decrease negative environmental and wild impact,
employs local guides to survey and follow park regulations
uses water and takes care of garbage in a responsible way.
they also work to keep the Smart Voyager certification (a certification program of sustainable tourism in South America)
support local conservation programs and employs local people within tourism activities which decreases their dependence on fishing.
they also hand out scholar ships to children in the local community in order for them to learn about sustainable tourism
offer guests opportunities to engage through donations
reduces oil consumption through installation of high efficient filters
balance the CO2 emissions on all charter boats and sales offices.
The operator also support local community on San Christobal through employment opportunities, purchasing of local products and supporting a local school. 2006 they founded the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in a joint collaboration with the Word Wildlife Fund (WWWF).
Certifications, announcements and memberships: Smart Voyager Certification 2000 (Rain Forest Alliance)
Good to know about Galapagos:
Travel ethics: Always keep a copy of your pass port. Always ask before you take a photograph of someone. Dress respectfully. Ecuadorians are very family oriented, show a photo of your family and you will soon be involved in a nice conversation. Shake people's hands and bring small bills to use for tips or to buy souvenirs.
Visa: Please read more about visa requirements here: Visa to Ecuador
Tidszon: GMT -5
Vaccinations: Please read more here on what vaccinations that are recommended for Ecuador.
Packing: Sunglasses, cap/hat, sun block, swimming suit, good walking shoes, shoes to be used when snorkeling/diving. A complete list will be sent to you.
Local currency: USD
Weather: Weather in Galapagos Islands
Mobile and internet: Mobile network works fine, since you will be on a yatch, internet may not work all the time.
Water: Purified water is available for free on the cruise.
Safety: Your safety is our priority. Crimes are worst in the northern parts of Ecuador due to the proximity to Columbia.
Insurance: We strongly advice you to sign a good travel insurance that would cover any eventual misfortunes.
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