Day 1 San Cristobal Isl./Galapagos Islands
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.
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.
PM: El Junco Lake- Once you’ve boarded, you’ll have a welcome briefing and a short safety drill. Begin your expedition with a delicious lunch before travelling to El Junco Lake. Spanish for “sedge”, El Junco is the caldera of an extinct volcano and only sizeable freshwater lake in the Galapagos. Listen for the calls of sea lions – they may try to approach, and as you ride the zodiac you’ll see them lounging on the boats anchored in the harbour.
Day 2 Española Isl./Galapagos Islands
AM: Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal)- spend the morning at Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, with expansive views and good bird-watching. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, or swim with sea lions from the beach. Take out the kayaks or stand up paddle-boards for a different perspective of the marine life. Enjoy a scenic Zodiac ride that takes you through a cave called The Cathedral. Return to the yacht for lunch.
PM: Punta Pitt (San Cristobal)- is a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies – blue-footed, Nazca and red-footed boobies, both frigatebird species, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, shearwaters, and brown pelicans. Punta Pitt is considered one of the best sites for birds in the archipelago and is also home to a colony of sea lions. At Pitt Rock, you can snorkel with sea lions and colourful fish such as King Angel fish and Surgeon fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Day 3 Española Isl./Galapagos Islands
AM: Punta Suarez (Española)- is home to the greatest number of endemic species found in Galapagos. Curious Hood mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces as sea lions bark as you land on their beach. 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, stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world and red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. There are also 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 blew hole, and watch for colourful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline. Return to the yacht for lunch on board.
PM: Gardener Bay (Española)- 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.
Day 4 Floreana Isl./Galapagos Islands
AM: Punta Cormorant & Champion Islet (Floreana) – where the olive-sand beach is alive with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons, blue-footed boobies, and penguins. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers and the greater flamingos. Wind your way past a wide variety of plants including the morning glory, 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 dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, there is an opportunity to snorkel at Champion Islet, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colourful fish and corral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Lunch is served back on board on the sundeck, weather permitting.
PM: Post Office (Floreana)- this is one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos with a rich and intriguing human history. After lunch, visit one of the most famous sites in Galapagos, Post office Bay, where a post office barrel was erected in the late 18th Century to use by English whaling vessels. Visitors can leave a postcard and pick up any mail destined for their home town. There is a chance to swim from the beach with sea lions. Late afternoon, take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Day 5 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands
AM: Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz)- travel by bus to the highlands, passing through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Visit Rancho 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 onboard and a briefing.
PM: Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (Charles Darwin Research Station)- see the tortoise and land iguana corals and the breeding centre 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. Stroll through town to shop for souvenirs or stop in at a museum or internet café – or if you prefer an active afternoon, you can do kayak at Punta Estrada or go on a bicycle ride (additional charges apply). Return to the yacht for dinner or if you wish, remain ashore for dinner on your own. Zodiac shuttles from the Letty to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening.
Day 6 Bartolome/Galapagos Islands
AM: Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz) – arrive by Zodiac through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. See pairs of mating sea turtles (Sep to Feb), white-tipped reed sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. Return to the yacht for lunch.
PM: Pinnacle Rock (Bartolome)- a young Island that is inhospitable to most plants and animals. Climb the long wooden staircase to the summit of a dormant volcano, pausing along the way to marvel at lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones. It seems as if you are walking on the moon! The panoramic view from the top encompasses the entire island, including the distinctive eroded tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock. The crystal clear water below beckons of snorkelling with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins. Take a Zodiac ride along the rocky shoreline. Return to the yacht for the evening briefing followed by dinner.
Day 7 South Plazas Isl./Galapagos Islands
AM: South Plazas- is a small geological uplift with tall cliffs where swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds build their nests. The trail leads you through Opuntia (Prickly Pear) and Sesuvium, and land iguanas are seen here feeding on the cactus leaves. The island is home to a colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory. Return to the yacht for lunch.
PM: North and South Seymour- here, you can snorkel in deeper water. Go ashore at North Seymour, a small geological uplift to observe swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent frigate birds in Galapagos, and watch for marine iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells. Return to the vessel for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner, followed by a slide show presentation by your guides.
Day 8 San Cristobal Isl.
AM: Interpretation Center- after breakfast, travel by bus to the Interpretation Center to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.