Yacht Isabela II is a first-class vessel in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. It provides its guests with four- and six-night Galapagos itineraries that venture into the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of the Galapagos Islands. Each route offers guests the best wildlife viewing opportunities in each distinct area of the Galapagos. On each itinerary, up to three incredibly insightful Naturalist Guides will be present to accompany and lead each Galapagos excursion group. In addition to all this, Yacht Isabela II has a Le-Cordon-Bleu gastronomic director onboard.
During your outings, scout the island sites in search of the ‘Big 15’ –most iconic Galapagos wildlife. A highlight is that the groups have on average no more than 11-14 guests per naturalist guide which surpass the National Park standard, which permits up to 16 guests per guide. Furthermore, on top of the zodiac, you can choose the glass-bottom boat, kayaks, snorkelling, or swimming.
The 5-day Central Islands itinerary begins with an exciting encounter of giant tortoises in the wild. Then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Next, off to the sandy white beach and sea lion harems of Santa Fe Island for your first snorkel, kayak or glass-bottom boat ride. See South Plaza Island’s land iguanas, sea lions and sea birds en route to North Seymour Island. Afterwards, on to the glorious white beach of Santa Cruz’ Las Bachas. Finish with the iconic views of Bartolome Island and the white coral sand beach and dramatic lava fields of Sullivan Bay.
On the 5-day Southern Islands cruise, you’ll start on Santa Cruz Island. See tortoises in the lush highlands before visiting the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station. Then, sail south to Floreana, disembarking at historic Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant. Head west to Punta Suarez on Española Island, whose rugged coastline harbours marine iguanas, sea lions, marine birds, and even albatross (at certain times of the year). Gardner Bay provides beach-time and water activities. Then, on to San Cristobal’s Punta Pitt and Cerro Brujo following the footsteps Charles Darwin.
The 7-day journey explores the Northern Islands of Galapagos. It begins at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, then on to Cerro Colorado’s giant tortoise breeding centre and Genovesa Island’s sunken caldera. Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas share their history, wildlife and geology, as well as some well-deserved water time. On Fernandina and Isabela visit Punta Espinoza and their stunning volcanic features, plus evolution’s icon: the flightless cormorant. Galapagos land iguanas await at Urbina Bay, along with penguins at Punta Vicente Roca. Finally, visit Rabida Island’s unique red beach en route to the land iguanas of Dragon Hill.
Yacht Isabela II offers the perfect, intimate space for exploring Darwin’s islands in comfort. With just 20 guest cabins-only 40 guests-, the yacht’s convivial atmosphere leads to a close-up experience of this unique world. Isabela II has excellent facilities, including a Jacuzzi, fitness room, bar and outside deck for al fresco meals. Not only that; onboard guests will also find delicious cuisine and faultless service.
It’s sustainable cruise technology, including a low-emission engine and a wastewater treatment plant, reduces guests’ environmental footprint.
Upon arrival at Baltra airport you will be driven to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes you to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, after which you will continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, you will undertake a short hike which will be a great introduction to Galapagos wildlife.
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: Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station – After driving down from the highlands, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, located within an impressive giant Prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds and Giant Tortoises. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon, stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. You’ll review the expeditions plan for the next day, and enjoy the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
AM: Santa Fe Island- A stunning anchorage provides your jumping-off point for your visit to this sandy white beach with many Sea Lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic Land Iguana, unique to this island, might be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling from the skiffs, kayaking or a ride in the glass-bottom boat wraps up the rewarding experience.
PM: South Plaza- The turquoise waters here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet Sesuvium Succulents serves as ground cover for a grove of luminescent green Prickly-pear Cactus. Keep your eyes peeled for the remarkable beaks of cactus Finches. Along the coastline, you will also see Sea Lion colonies and sea birds playing with the thermals.
AM: North Seymour Island- Your morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, an absolute favourite for many visitors. You will have the chance to observe numerous bird colonies as well as Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas. This is a great opportunity for snorkelling and exploration. An excellent chance to spot fur seals along the rocky coastline. This uplifted island is also home to a nesting colony of Frigate birds. The site also offers great views of the surrounding islands due to its central location in the archipelago.
PM: Las Bachas- After World War II, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals refer to the beach as the “barges” beach, a name that changed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the East Pacific Green Sea Turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, Las Bachas is a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from Stilts to Flamingos. This is an excellent opportunity for swimming and snorkelling. In the evening, you will preview Thursday’s expedition plan and have dinner.
AM: Bartolome Island- This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits Bartolome Island. A steep climb up marks the start of the day: the view from the hilltop will be worth the effort! Following the walk, you take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock. Next, it is time to enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling. Explore the shores and stay alert for Galapagos Penguins. You can also ride the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
PM: Sullivan Bay- After lunch, you get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago; a white coral sand beach great for swimming. The beach features a trail over a lava field that flowed here around 120 years ago and is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos. Many label this location as a geologic wonder.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Baltra airport for your ongoing flight.