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Cruises

Elite – Sample

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

5 days

Summary

The Elite luxury catamaran in the Galapagos has routes with visits to the best visitor sites the Galapagos islands have to offer. Within the archipelago, it offers long and short routes covering Western, Central and Eastern islands. It preplanned excursions include a mixture of nature and wildlife sightseeing and water activities, such as snorkelling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Itineraries:

While on the Elite’s 7-night cruise in Eastern and Western Galapagos, you’ll visit prime locations such as San Cristobal, North Seymour and Santa Cruz. Then travel to Isabela, Fernandina, Rabida Island, and Bartholomew.

The Elite 7-night Cruise Southern and Central Galapagos Islands is perfect for those looking for a broad Galapagos vacation. Excluding the islands to the west, this week-long cruise lets you experience the diverse wonders of the Galapagos. It travels to San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Genovesa, and Santiago Islands.

The 4-night Elite Central Galapagos cruise aboard the Elite travels to Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Santiago, and San Cristobal Islands.

Throughout the 3-night cruise, you’ll see plenty of wildlife, including, but not limited to, tortoises, iguanas, numerous species of birds, and sea lions. You may even find spectacularly coloured fish and sea-life you never knew existed while snorkelling. It travels to San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, and Santa Cruz, giving you a taste of various distinctive islands.

About the vessel:

The Galapagos Elite luxury yacht is a sleek, twin-hulled catamaran, that provides its guests with a steady and safe cruise.  The design allows for more space per guest on board, including integrated social areas that blend indoor and outdoor experiences. All suites are spacious, comfortable, and well-appointed. Each suite has grand windows for panoramic ocean views, a private outdoor balcony, as well as a natural light frosted glass wall restroom in each suite.  All beds are convertible in two twin beds or one king-size bed. Furthermore, the Elite features a single cabin, ideal for those travelling solo.

Elite’s interior passengers’ lounge features a 180-degree panoramic view salon on the main deck. Guests of all ages enjoy the ample, semi-covered sky deck, the al-fresco dining area, and the cosy bar-salon.

Highlights

  • Hikes, Snorkelling, landscape & wildlife observation, kayaking off the beach and dinghy rides
  • See the Nazca booby, blue-footed booby, Frigate Birds, Galapagos Hawk, finches, flightless cormorants, warblers and more
  • See the unique giant tortoises

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in selected cabin
  • All meals, snacks and soft drinks and juices. A glass of house wine during dinner.
  • Guided expeditions according to the itinerary with top bilingual National Park guide (English / Spanish)
  • Transfers airport/yacht/airport in Galapagos
  • Airport reception and assistance
  • Supplied expedition gear: Transparent sea kayaks, Stand-up Paddleboards, Snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel & fins), wet suits, expedition binoculars, action camera

ITINERARY

Day 1 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands

Very early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Galapagos.

There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests step from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by your guide and transported from Baltra Airport to the first visitor site.
PM: The Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Breeding Center (Santa Cruz)-the purpose of the centre, named for a legendary park ranger, is to raise Galapagos tortoise hatchlings in a protected environment. When the tortoises are large enough to fend for themselves, they are released into the wild. In addition to the tortoises, you may see finches, warblers and other birds in and around the tall tree cacti, and tiny lava lizards scurrying about underfoot.
After visiting the Research Station, passengers will be taken to the Puerto Ayora pier to board the M/C Elite.

Day 2 Genovesa Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Prince Philip’s Steps (Genovesa)- this island is the remnant of a once-mighty volcanic crater, and still has a distinctive crescent shape. Getting to the visitor site from the landing area is tricky and involves a bit of climbing, but once you’re up this is a visitor favourite due to the magnificent view from the upraised plateau, especially on a clear day. An easy trail winds through low, scrubby forest and ends up at a rocky ravine of sorts, where lucky visitors will spot the rarely-seen short-eared owl. Visitors may also see Red-footed Boobys, gulls, or other birds nesting or visiting the site.

PM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)- this site is on the interior side of the island, protected from wind and currents. It is a wide, sandy beach with a short trail that leads off to one side of the beach and up into some rocky formations. Visitors can expect to see many bird species here including Blue-footed Boobys, Frigate Birds, Lava Gulls, Herons and Swallow-tailed gulls. It is one of the few visitor sites in the islands where you can see Red-footed Boobys. Guests will get to snorkel in the sheltered waters of the bay. Lucky snorkelers might see sharks, rays, sea lions, sea turtles and dazzling reef fish including parrotfish, king angelfish and damselfish.

Day 3 Santiago Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Buccaneer Cove and Espumilla Beach (Santiago)-some of the first visitors to the Galapagos Islands were pirates, and the sheltered bay was a favourite place for them to repair their ships. This visit includes a panga ride along the coast where you can spot some interesting rock formations as well as several species of nesting birds including gulls, boobys and pelicans. You may get to see not only sea lions but also their more reclusive cousins, the Galapagos Fur Sea Lion.
Followed the panga ride visit the unforgettable Espumilla Beach, known for its reddish sand, is a favourite among guests. Long, pristine and beautiful, it is home to a colony of sea lions as well as countless crabs and marine iguanas. It is possible to do some snorkelling off the beach.

PM: Egas Port (Santiago)-decades ago, an Ecuadorian named Hector Egas tried to make his fortune mining salt on Santiago Island; unfortunately, the enterprise failed. Egas Port bears the name of this intrepid entrepreneur, and there are still some remnants of the old salt mine facilities here if you know where to look. The trail here is a loop which goes through some low trees before swinging around along the coast. On the coastal portion of the trail, you can expect to see numerous sea lions, marine iguanas, and shorebirds. The coast is rocky due to its volcanic formation, but easy enough to walk along.

Day 4 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)-this is one of the more beautiful in all of Galapagos, and that’s really saying something. It is a long stretch of pristine white sand where sea lions lounge and crabs scuttle back and forth. Sea turtles nest in some of the dunes here, and your guides will ask you to stay clear of the marked areas so as not to disturb the eggs. It is possible to see Flamingos in the two salty lagoons nearby. There is no real hike here: only the warm, sandy beach. After a stroll along the sand and a refreshing dip, you will have the opportunity for some easy snorkelling in the gentle surf.

PM: The Twins & Highlands (Santa Cruz)-The “twins” are a pair of sinkholes located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Created by collapsing lava tunnels, they are not far from the main road through the highlands. It is a fun, easy hike through a lush tropical forest to the walkways which ring the top of the sinkholes.
Following this, you will get to spot giant tortoises in the wild. This impressive animal gives the name to the archipelago. You can easily appreciate the Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat, eating, walking, among others. As part of this experience, you will visit underground lava tubes formed by cooled and solidified lava.

Day 5 San Cristobal Isl.

AM: Kicker Rock (San Cristobal)- your final visit in the Galapagos Islands will be a memorable one: a panga ride up to and around Kicker Rock; a distinctive, boot-shaped rock formation located off San Cristobal Island. There may be a chance for some snorkelling as well. The snorkelling here is excellent, although the currents can be rather strong. Hammerhead sharks are often seen in the murky depths around kicker rock, and fortunate snorkelers might even see a giant ray or two.
After the early morning visit, transfer to San Cristobal Airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador.

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