If you are serious about your wildlife then this is the Galapagos Islands tour for you. Visit all of the main Galapagos Islands on this complete circuit and do it in style aboard a well equipped yacht.
Day 1: Monday – Galapagos Islands
Your 8 day Galapagos cruise starts with your departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands (2 ½ hours flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a short bus and ferry ride to the pier to board your yacht.
North Seymour : Dry landing. An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with seabird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. Many marine and some land iguanas can be also encountered.
Day 2: Tuesday – Santa Cruz (Dragon Hill)
Dry landing. We walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos can be occasionally found. The trail leads across the typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for the endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands. Floreana (Cormorant Point) : Wet landing on an olive colored beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. Novice snorkelers can practice on the main beach with playful sea lions and much more. Keep in mind this is an open-water activity; there is nothing to support your body on.
Day 3: Wednesday – Española
Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies and the spectacular red billed tropic bird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful sally lightfoot crabs.
A some what lengthy hike will bring you amongst Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos ground dove, Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December).
Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water at some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
San Cristóbal (La Galapaguera Interpretation Center): Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristóbal giant tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the port village, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
Day 4: Thursday – Santa Cruz (Carrión Point)
A snorkeling activity is programmed, an opportunity to swim with a variety of tropical and subtropical fish, manta rays and perhaps the harmless white-tipped reef shark.
Bartolome: Dry landing. We discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones-lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones —as we hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, a few lava lizards and some endemic plants such as Tiquilla shrubbery, lava cacti, Scalesia trees and more. Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos penguins, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish schools.
Day 5: Friday – Urbina Bay (Isabela)
Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Depending on the season, we may find giant tortoises, land iguanas and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions and countless tropical fish.
Fernandina (Espinosa Point) : Dry landing. The largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally lightfoot crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins and the “King of predators on the Islands”, the Galapagos hawk. “Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but we encounter Brachycereus cacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores.
Day 6: Saturday – Santiago (Egas Port)
Wet landing on a beach of dark volcanic sand. Visited by Darwin in 1835, the unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside sally light-foot crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks. Snorkeling here offers rarities such as octopus or squid.
Rábida (Jervis) : Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers these unique beaches; Rábida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September and nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can be seen. We will also take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting seabirds, and snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.
Day 7: Sunday – Santa Cruz (Charles Darwin Research Station)
We visit the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program and have the opportunity to meet Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species and symbol of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety Darwin’s finches and other land birds. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Santa Cruz (Highlands): Travel by bus to Cerro Chato in the highlands of Santa Cruz, where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat. Visitors can enter and explore large lava tubes.
Day 8: Monday – Santa Cruz (Bachas Beach) the end of your Galapagos Cruise
Wet landing on the north side of Santa Cruz; find sea birds, marine iguanas, and sea turtles on a paradisiacal white-sand beach; swimming and snorkeling are great fun. Return to your yacht, check out and transfer to Baltra Airport. Return flight to Quito or Guayaquil depending on your homeward on onward flights.