This eight day itinerary includes visits to Santa Cruz, Bartolome, Rabida and Santiago Galapagos Islands.
Eric & Letty are two identical First Class yachts offering exciting signature liveaboard cruises in the Galapagos. Custom built in 1994 and refurbished annually, MY Eric and Letty accommodate up to 20 guests per boat in 10 air-conditioned cabins. Each spacious cabin features either one double or two single beds with en-suite bathrooms. All cabins are outside-facing with sea-views through either a porthole or window. Social areas include an indoor lounge/conference area with flatscreen TV, library, dining room and fully-stocked bar all with panoramic views. For relaxation guests can lounge on the partially shaded sun deck whilst enjoying the sea breeze and stunning views or the wildlife observation areas. Delicious and varied meals are served throughout the day, and house wine and local beer is complimentary during dinner.
Your Galapagos Cruise include: Accommodation in selected cabin, all meals, Island sightseeing, Naturalist guides and lecture services in English, snorkelling gear, shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife you will encounter.
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.
Morning arrival to San Cristobal Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock and then by zodiac to your vessel anchored in the bay. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
PM: El Junco Lake
Before the yacht pulls anchor, you’ll return to San Cristobal to explore El Junco Lake,Spanish for “sedge”, El Junco is the caldera of an extinct volcano and only sizable fresh water lake in the Galapagos. Listen for the calls of sea lions – they may try to approach, and as you ride the zodiac and you’ll see them lounging on the boats docked in the harbor. Upon your return to the yacht, the Captain and crew will welcome you on board with a cocktail, and a briefing of the next day’s activities. With the small number of passengers on your yacht, you’ll have an opportunity to dine with the captain later in the week. But for tonight, enjoy meeting your fellow passengers as our kitchen staff treats you to a multi-course dinner complete with complimentary wine.
AM: Cerro Brujo
You’ll start your exploration today with a Zodiac ride to look for wildlife at Cerro Brujo, which translates to Wizard Hill. Your guide will point out the wide variety of birds soaring around you, from brown pelicans and brown noddy terns to blue-footed boobies dive-bombing the water around you as they fish. Look for different colour patterns that indicate age – for example, a brown pelican will have a white neck when it’s mature. Sally lightfoot crabs, black when they’re young but extremely colourful once fully grown, scurry all over the rocks. Your guides will also point out unusual geological formations, including the Cathedral, jokingly called Darwin’s Pants. After the Zodiac tour, you’ll be able to take in the gorgeous coral sand beach at your own pace. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, swim with sea lions or you have the option to paddle board or kayak. Paddleboards are beginner-friendly, with the option to kneel if you aren’t comfortable standing. This is a good opportunity to become familiar with your snorkelling gear from the beach before snorkelling in deep-water. Your guides will teach you about the various species of fish you’ve encountered so far. If you’d like help identifying any of the fish in your photos, they’ll be happy to lend their expertise.
PM: Punta Pitt
Return to the yacht for a BBQ lunch served on the sun deck (weather permitting) before going ashore at Punta Pitt for a hike – parts of the trail are rocky, and there is some climbing involved. This is considered one of the best sites for bird-watching, primarily because it is the only place where you’ll see all three species of boobies: the blue-footed, the red-footed, and the Nazca. Look for baby blue-footed boobies, fully grown after just a couple of months but fluffy and white until their feathers come in. Your guides will also point out frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, brown pelicans. At Pitt Rock, we can snorkel (2) with sea lions and colourful fish such as King Angel and Surgeon fish. A Zodiac will transfer you back to the boat for a briefing and dinner. As the yacht sets sail, choose from a selection of guide books or fiction in the library, or climb to the top deck for a distant view of “Sleeping Lion”. Join your guide on deck for an exploration of the Southern skies full of stars if weather permits.
AM: Punta Suarez
Disembark at Punta Suarez, home to the greatest number of endemic species found in Galapagos. Sea lions bark noisily as you land on their beach. Curious Hood mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, perform its wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Easily spotted wildlife are the Nazca boobies busily caring for their young. Likewise, the stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world and red-billed tropic birds take shelter under the cliffs. We also find Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks, as well as a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colourings. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole, and watch for colourful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline. Return to the yacht for lunch on board.
PM: Gardner Bay
Disembark at Gardner Bay, where large colonies of sea lions dot the seemingly endless white sand beach. Take a leisurely stroll or relax on the beach, watching for the Galapagos Hawk, Darwin’s Finches or Espanola Mockingbird. Swim with playful sea lions right from the beach, explore the bay and islets by kayak or stand up paddle board. Take a Zodiac ride to explore the caves covered with invertebrates. Admire the colourful array of underwater life at this excellent snorkelling site near Tortuga Rock. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
AM: Punta Cormorant
Step ashore at Punta Cormorant’s olive-sand beach with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons and blue-footed boobies as you walk around Floreana Island. The green mineral you’ll see on the beach is caused by a high concentration of iron and manganese from the same basaltic lava found in Hawaii. As you walk to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flycatchers and bright pink flamingos, the guides will point out the rich variety of plant life, including morning glories, cut-leaf daisies, mangroves (black, red and white), palo verde and Scalesia. The trail leads to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the powdery sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion Islet (2), a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colourful fish and coral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Return to the yacht for lunch and a brief history of the human history of Galapagos and explain the fascinating story of why this island is sometimes called the Island of Mysteries.
PM: Post office Bay
After lunch, visit Post Office Bay, not the most scenic, but one of the most famous sites in Galapagos. Here is where a post barrel was erected and put into use in the late 18th Century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail from your home area. Take a Zodiac excursion at Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. If you have an underwater camera, you’ll be busy snapping photos of sea stars and a brilliant array of colourful fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner and a fun filled entertaining pirate themed party – participation is optional.
AM: Puerto Ayora
Disembark at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, the social heart of the Galapagos, with a population of 24,000.Travel by bus to the highlands, passing through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Visit Ranch El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda where giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. Stop at the lava tunnels, that are large enough to walk through, and visit Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of large craters. Return to the yacht for lunch on board and a briefing.
PM: Charles Darwin Research Centre
This afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and see the tortoise and land iguana corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises that will be repatriated when grown. A new exhibit recently opened honouring Lonesome George, a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island that tragically died of natural causes. Stop at a chocolate shop to learn how high quality “Arriba cacao” is produced in Ecuador. Return to the yacht for dinner.
AM: Bartolome Island
When you wake up this morning, you’ll be in solitude once again, with no other boats in sight. You’ll have two options for a morning activity. Today’s hike is a challenge, with about 400 wooden steps winding around Bartolome island, ending in a gorgeous panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock. Your guide will stop along the way to describe the geology of the landscape – mini lava cones and bombs formed by flowing magma from past volcanic eruptions. If you’d rather skip the hike, enjoy a Zodiac ride around the island and look for penguins. You’ll see these adorable animals – the second smallest type of penguin – swimming and diving playfully or grooming themselves on rocks. Crystal clear water beckons you to wade in from the beach. Snorkel with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins. Return to the vessel for a BBQ lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting).
PM: Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove)
Through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. You’ll navigate slowly along the shoreline, listening for the telltale deep inhale of a sea turtle and watching for the wings of a school of golden rays. Your guide will offer an enrichment lecture tonight after dinner. Informative and entertaining, the topic for this evening is on Charles Darwin and evolution or social/ environmental projects that are supported by Ecoventura.
AM: South Plaza
Today you will visit South Plaza, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. After a dry landing, the trail leads us through Prickly Pear or Opuntia and Sesuvium. Here you can find the Galapagos Land Iguana feeding on the cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, you will encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from battles lost over prime beach territory. You will also find Swallow tailed gulls, Shearwaters and Red-billed tropicbirds who build their nests along the cliffs.
PM: North Seymour
After lunch, you will have a dry landing at North Seymour, a small geological uplift. Follow a trail that leads us to Swallow-tailed gulls, Blue-footed boobies and the endemic Land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds found in Galapagos. As you stroll along the beach, find Marine Iguanas and sea lions body surf the northern swells. Return to the yacht for the Captain’s Farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
AM: Interpretation Center
Visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.