After pickup from your Galápagos hotel in the morning, you’ll transfer to the port of Canal de Itabaca and step aboard a private yacht. Then, relax on deck as you and your guide set sail for an island of your choice. Watch small Galápagos penguins swim from the rocks at Bartolome Island, search for evidence of nesting sea turtles on Seymour Island, or stroll past yellow-gray land iguanas on South Plaza Island as you hike the trails. After your private yacht tour, enjoy a relaxing trip back to your Galapagos hotel.
See the Itinerary below to read about the six islands you can choose to visit on this private tour.
Option one: Bartolome Island
Disembark at the landing site and walk easily along a 200-foot (60-meter) boardwalk, taking the stairs to the summit. You’ll see eroding volcanic cones and lava tubes, and enjoy spectacular views from the top. Galápagos penguins — the only species of penguin found north of the equator — toddle around the base of Pinnacle Rock. If you choose to snorkel, you’ll see shoals of tropical fish as well as urchins, sea stars and anemones, and possibly sea turtles, all near the rocky platforms where sea lions snooze.
Option two: Seymour Island
Take the trail inland to find the biggest nesting site of the frigate, a magnificent bird with a 6-foot (2-meter) wingspan, and see how they roost in low bushes to guard their chicks. Then, visit Las Bachas, a white-coral beach used by egg-laying sea turtles and their hatchlings. Gaze with awe at swallow-tailed gulls perched on cliffs above and flocks of pelicans diving for food. On shore, see a tiny forest of Palo Santo trees, and watch sea lions, marine iguanas or mating pairs of the blue-footed booby. A lagoon attracts flamingos, common stilts and pintail ducks. Take a short walk up a slight hill for a great view!
Option three: South Plaza Island
Land in the channel between North and South Plaza, and admire the contrast between the turquoise water and black sand beach. Just 426 feet (130 meters) wide, South Plaza is the smallest island in the Galápagos, but it supports rich marine life. Follow the trail to cliffs where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Then, watch red-billed tropical birds, as well as masked and blue-footed boobies, ride the windy currents. You can snorkel along the shoreline near a sea lion colony.
Option four: Dragon Hill – Santa Cruz Island
Hike for about one hour and 45 minutes up a rocky path past dry vegetation, spotting both marine iguanas and land iguanas (one of the biggest species) along the way. You’ll see many types of birds, including Darwin’s finches, as well as flamingoes that inhabit a lagoon in colder weather. (The route is muddy December – March.) If you choose, you can snorkel from the beach.
Option five: Floreana Island
Also known as the ‘Island of the Thousand Volcanoes,’ Floreana is full of human and natural history. At Puerto Velasco Ibarra, board an ecological bus to visit pirate caves high up near a freshwater spring, and visit La Galapaguera, home of the Galápagos Tortoise. Then, set sail for 15 minutes around Enderby Island to observe endemic birds. Continue to Champion Island to snorkel in perfect conditions among shellfish, turtles and sharks. Finally, head to Corona del Diablo to marvel at the geological features (also a good place to snorkel).
Option six: Isabel Island
Depart early from Puerto Ayora to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and the only one the equator line passes through. Enjoy breakfast on board the yacht before arriving at Puerto Villamil to see Sierra Negra, an active volcano. Enjoy the beaches and search for penguins, iguanas and five species of tortoise. After lunch, return to your hotel in Puerto Ayora.