The Galápagos Islands are known for their beautiful landscapes and incredible wildlife. Traveling aboard a beautiful private yacht, this tour takes you to some of the lesser-visited islands like Genovesa in the north and Isabela in the west. Expect to witness an amazing concentration of birdlife and massive bird rookeries, including the largest nesting colonies of red-footed boobies and frigate birds. Hike right to the top of the Sierra Negra, Galápagos’ most recently active volcano, relax on the white-sand beaches, or snorkel with sea lions.
DAY 1 - Arrive Quito
Arrive anytime today to Quito. You will be transferred from the airport to our hotel and then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We will have meeting this evening to get acquainted and meet our guide.
DAY 2 - Flight to Galapagos
After breakfast at our hotel we will transfer to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos. We should arrive in time for lunch aboard our yacht.
Our home for the next seven nights is the beautiful, newly renovated Yolita. This attractive 16 passenger ship boasts surprisingly spacious cabins with ensuite and the large upper deck allows you to soak up as much of the Ecuadorian sun as you need. Travel is done overnight so you can wake up at a new destination ready to explore.
In the afternoon we head to Bachas Beach where the sand is made of decomposed coral, making it soft and white. A favourite site for nesting sea turtles. Spot abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs on the lava rocks along the water's edge. These crabs will eat anything they can get their claws on. Trek to see a wide range of wildlife, including flamingos, hermit crabs, black necked stilts and sea lions. (B,L,D)
DAY 3 - Genovesa Island
We will start our day with a visit to Darwin Bay. Walk along the white coral sands of Darwin Bay surrounded by bustling sea birds. Follow the train and see nesting frigate birds, gulls and boobies. We will visit the sunken caldera for a great snorkeling opportunity. See large schools of tropical fish swarming near the vertical walls and if luck see a manta ray or hammerhead.
After lunch we will visit "El Barranco" aka Prince Phillip's Steps located on the southern tip of the island for an amazing wildlife watching opportunity. Hike up the steps to see a sea bird colony that is full of life including the breeding grounds for red-footed boobies and masked boobies. (B,L,D)
DAY 4 - Isla Bartolome/Sullivan Bay
We start our day with a hike to Bartolome's summit for a stronger perspective of the island's not too distant volcanic origins and enjoy a panoramic view - it's one of the best among the islands! See other Galapagos Islands in the distance as well as Pinnacle Rock, the island's famous towering landmark. Spot Galapagos penguins (the only species found north of the equator)walking precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at the base.
In the afternoon we visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island to see one of its star natural attractions - striking and fascinating giant lava formations. Very few plants have managed to survive on this island due to its harsh environment and relatively new lava flow. Enjoy a walk along the lava formations before coming to a white- coral sand beach, where abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions gather on shore. (B,L,D)
DAY 5 - Isabela Island
This morning we hike to the rim of the 10 km wide crater of the Sierra Negra Volcano, which has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos. Trek across the moon-like landscape of the lava fields and fumaroles, and enjoy spectacular views looking north toward Fernandina and the rest of Isabela Island. The volcano last erupted in October 2005, making it the most recent eruption of the Galapagos.
This afternoon we will visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. As we walk through the town's wetlands we pass basking iguanas and flamingos on our way into the forest to see the gentle giants in their natural habitat at this reserve. With the giant tortoise on its way to extinction into he late 1950s, this program was established to protect these nobel creatures. (B,L,D)
DAY 6 - Elizabeth Bay/Urbina Bay
This morning we head out by panga to explore, keeping an eye out for wildlife hiding among the mangroves. Search for marine turtles, rays, and flightless cormorants in the sheltered waters. Also, spot blue-footed Boobies, penguins and pelicans feeding on the abundant marine life.
This afternoon we will visit urbina Bay for a unique walk among a massive marine reef that was raised out of the water in 1950 during an uplift. See "sculptures" of dried coral and other ocean formations while touring the area on foot. Urbina Bay also offers great opportunities to see land iguanas that have astonishingly yellow skin, flightless cormorants, brown pelicans as well as marine turtles and rays. (B,L,D)
DAY 7 - Tagus Cove/Punta Espinoza
We start our day with a visit to Tagus Cove, an Isabela Island anchorage site that was popular among whalers and pirates. Tour the area on foot for spectacular views of Darwin Lake (a spherical saltwater crater), the bay, and Darwin and Wolf volcanoes. Upon landing, take the wooden stairway to the trail entrance, and follow the trail through a dry vegetation zone. Continue on an ascent to a promontory made up of spatter cones (small volcanic cones).
In the afternoon we visit Punta Espinoza. Here you will tour a number of different trails at this not-to-be-missed landing site that’s home to some of the largest colonies of marine iguanas and sea birds. Follow the path along the beach and across lava flows for a unique opportunity to explore one of the least-visited areas of the Galápagos. (B,L,D)
DAY 8 - Rabida Island/Play Espumilla
Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes – it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.
Our afternoon will take us to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites. (B,L,D)
DAY 9 - Islas Daphne/Quito
Visit Daphne, a tiny conical island, home to nesting blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, and other wonderful wildlife. Dr. Peter Grant conducted a long-term study of Darwin's finches on the island, which is why you can see the finches are banded.
Explore the island on foot for some great bird watching opportunities and to discover its interesting flora and geology (the island is composed of a volcanic tuff).
After our visit to Daphne we will board our return flight to Quito. Enjoy your evening in Quito at leisure. (B)
DAY 10 - Depart Quito
Depart as need for your return flight home. (B)
- • International Airfare (can be arranged by WTC)
- • Travel Insurance
- • Visa/passport handling fees
- • Meals not listed in itinerary
- • Alcoholic Beverages
- • Gratuity
- • Optional Activities
- • Return airport transfer
- • Expenses of a Personal Nature
- • Any Item Not Mentioned Above
Prices are subject to change and availability. Space is limited and activities and specific hotels are subject to change. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.