The 8-day Evolution Galapagos Cruise begins in Santa Cruz Island and ends on San Cristobal Island. It focuses on the Western, Central and Eastern Islands of the Archipelago. It starts with visits to Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, followed by Bartolome, Santiago, Española and San Cristobal Islands. You’ll enjoy two landings each full day in the National Park along with snorkelling outings. There are also opportunities for sea kayaking and panga rides, all led by a top-notch National Park Guide.
The islands and surrounding waters are teeming with exotic and curious creatures that have never learned to fear humans. This translates into a series of daily peak experiences including snorkelling with playful sea lions, tracking giant tortoise in the wild and trading stares with unconcerned iguanas. Birdlife is abundant, varied and fearless. The environment beneath the ocean surface is extraordinary, with abundant tropical and cold-water fish found swimming together. Pacific green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and rays are underwater passers-by, while dolphins, whales and whale sharks frequent the archipelago.
Evolution has another Galapagos itinerary that begins on San Cristobal Island and focuses on the wilds of the Northern, Central and Eastern Islands of the Archipelago. It visits San Cristobal, South Plaza, Santiago, Genovesa, Tower, North Seymour, Santa Fe, Floreana and Santa Cruz Islands. During your cruise, there are two landings each full day in the National Park along with snorkelling outings. There will also be opportunities for sea kayaking and panga rides, all led by a top-notch National Park Guide.
This beautiful 32-guest expedition yacht in the Galapagos is ample enough to provide spacious staterooms. It offers various social areas including inside and outside dining, yet is small enough for guests to be able to experience nature in an up-close and personal manner. This artful combination of factors results in a yacht which offers excellent service, accommodations and attention to detail while causing minimal impact on the environment. This vessel is free of single-use plastic.
All cabins on the Evolution Galapagos Cruise come with private bathrooms, hot showers and air conditioning. Your galley and dining staff will turn out quality meals using both local and international cuisine. There is a library containing a wealth of information on the natural history of the Galápagos plus an entertainment centre complete with DVDs. This is your vacation and time to relax, so the boat has plenty of areas to lounge in the sun or shade, and the bar is always open for refreshments. Sea kayaks are available for some extra fun, and we carry snorkelling gear for all.
On arrival in Baltra, you will be picked up at the airport by a naturalist guide, and taken on a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Evolution where you will have lunch. Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we 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.
PM: Daphne Major Islet- circumnavigate Daphne Major Islet which is home to a variety of birds including Galapagos martins, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, short-eared owls, red-billed tropicbirds amongst others. Celebrate your first equatorial sunset with a welcome cocktail, followed by your first briefing and dinner. Tonight, you will set out for the western islands.
AM: Punta Vicente Roca- visit the northern tip of Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Your first visit is to Punta Vicente Roca, a dive class snorkelling site. Marine life is incredible in these nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current, that bathe the western side of the archipelago. A panga ride takes you on a tour of seabirds perched atop cliffs and in crevices; all beneath the towering cutaway of Volcano Ecuador, created when it’s flank slid into the ocean.
PM: Punta Espinosa- as you cross the Bolivar channel toward Fernandina, La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in June 2018), looms large on the horizon. Next, you will visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where colonies of Godzilla-like Marine Iguanas, Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants, and Galapagos Penguins live near one another. A hike across a cracked Pahoehoe lava field arrives at an aquarium-like Mangrove pond; home to Sea Turtles and Rays.
AM: Urbina Bay- is directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, and you will make a smooth, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). A highlight of this excursion is the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling amongst marine creatures, or just relaxing on the shore.
PM: Tagus Cove- where a wooden stairway rises to a trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, ending in a peninsula formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes. Get ready for world-class snorkelling above the green, algae-rich, underwater pastures of Tagus Cove where you can encounter a herd of Sea Turtles, flocks of Penguins, Sea Lions, tropical fish, Flightless Cormorants and even Sea Horses.
AM: Pinnacle Rock- visit Bartolome Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock, where you will see Galapagos Penguins and Sea Lions. Hike a trail to Bartolome’s summit for spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle your yacht.
PM: Sullivan Bay- one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos. In the nearly 100 years since the Sullivan Bay Flow, only a few plants like Mollugo and Lava cacti have managed to take root in this harsh environment. It is possible to see oyster-catchers fishing for crabs and molluscs in the tide pools of Sullivan Bay. After exploring the lava flow, there is swimming and snorkelling with playful Sea Lions off two small beaches.
AM: Las Bachas Beach- a sandy white-coral beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. The name Bachas refers to the remains of landing craft left here at the end of WWII. Ashore, marine iguanas mingle with flamingos and other wading birds in another of the many super saline lagoons found in the Galapagos.
PM: Rabida Island- also known by its English name of Jervis, is unique for the very red colour of the beach and cliffs, beneath which one can find gliding sea turtles and perched blue-footed boobies. A thick forest of Palo Santo trees sits back from the beach sheltering a yellow saltwater lagoon. Pelicans next in the thickets and brightly coloured pink flamingoes graze the lagoon. A sea lion colony likes to laze on the red sands of the beach. We hike up a tiny peninsula for a wonderful view of the beach and lagoon. Sea caves invite exploration further down the coast.
AM: Charles Darwin Research Station- Santa Cruz is the second-largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. Visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program where Lonesome George (now deceased) used to live.
PM: Highlands of Santa Cruz- the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Visit the Tortoise Reserve, where you will have the chance to see these animals in the wild.
AM: Punta Suarez- is the southernmost island of the archipelago, and is one of the most popular due to the breathtaking variation and number of fauna that inhabits it. In Punta Suarez, witness the largest variety of marine iguanas in the Galapagos. You will also see the masked Nazca boobies and blue-footed boobies nesting along the cliff’s edge, as well as the famous, waved albatross.
PM: Gardner Bay- is a long white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals.
AM: Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre- presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna and your naturalist will use the displays to provide an illustrated overview of life on the Islands. A short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where you can see both, the “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” in the same colony. After this visit, transfer to the airport for your ongoing flight.