This 6-day cruise takes you into the western section of the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site of 19 islands located off the Ecuadorian coast. Choose between two itineraries and hop aboard the Odyssey, a luxury motor yacht.
The spacious yacht is fully appointed and accommodates a max of 16 passengers only. Unwind on one of the four decks (uncovered and shaded) and read about the islands in the living room-library. In the elegant dining room, enjoy snacks and buffet-style meals, beginning with lunch on the first day until breakfast on the day of departure. Water, tea, and coffee are provided, while cocktails and other beverages are available for purchase from the bar on board.
You’ll appreciate the first-class details: polished wood, upholstered seating, and the wooded flooring of the open-air sun deck that protects your bare feet from burning. In the evenings, your Galapagos National Park-certified naturalist guide provides briefings using a laptop, TV, and/or DVD equipment.
The yacht’s twin or single cabins have been designed with hotel-level comfort in mind. With parquet floors and private bathrooms, twin cabins average 215 square feet (20 square meters) in size and are located in the quieter upper front half of the yacht, away from the engine room, facilitating a good night’s rest during overnight passages. Beds in the twin cabins are matrimonial-style or can be converted into a double configuration. Plus, the main and upper deck cabins face seaward and feature panoramic windows that open. Or, enjoy the privacy of a single cabin, located in the lower deck partly below the waterline (porthole window only). Enjoy privately controlled air-conditioning in any cabin you select.
Day 1: San Cristobal Airport - Colorado Hill (San Cristobal)
This morning you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal Airport. After welcome, check-in, lunch, briefing and the safety-drill we leave for a 45 minutes bus-ride (22,5 km / 13.2 mi) to our first visitor’s site in the highlands of this island, the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding center on Colorado Hill.
Before dinner your guide will give the first daily briefing for tomorrow, and he/she will explain the yacht’s and National Park rules. Then the captain and his crew will present and toast with a welcome cocktail to celebrate your first evening on board. Around midnight we will lift the anchor and navigate about 5 hours to the south-eastern island of Española.
Day 2: Suarez Point (Española) - Gardner Bay (Española)
After breakfast your island excursion will start with a so called ‘dry landing’ (with footwear) at Suarez Point. This morning promises to be a highlight of your cruise. During a longer guided walk (Moderate Level; 4 km, 2.5 mi, about 2 hours) you will pass spectacular sea bird colonies on top of the cliffs, which contain some short scrambling passages (avoidable depths).
Back on board we will navigate in about an hour to our afternoon’s exotic visitor’s site. After lunch you will make your first ‘dive’ in the alluring turquoise-coloured Gardner Bay, where you can admire colourful tropical reef fish, snorkel side by side with a Pacific green turtle, or be in the middle of playful Galapagos sea lions. Then you will make a ‘wet landing’ (bare feet) on the wide sand beach. This is a good spot for a stroll along the sea lions colony (Easy Level), or a moment of reflexion, relaxation, or rolling with the sea lions in the surf.
After dinner we will navigate the longest stretch of Route A, which will take about 7 hours, navigating West to the neighbouring island of Floreana.
Day 3: Devil’s Crown (Floreana) - Cormorant Point (Floreana) - Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout (Floreana)
After breakfast the inflatable dinghies will bring you to the rocky rim of Devil’s Crown, which is located just outside the bay of Cormorant Point. If fantastic deep-water snorkeling (with sometimes stronger currents) is not your thing or if you rather prefer birdwatching, alternatively you can make a great ride by inflatable dinghy (landing is prohibited on these marine visitor’s sites).
After a snack we make a wet landing on the greeny beach of Cormorant Point. From here you will follow the sandy path to the other, powdery sand beach of the peninsula, which has been formed by a lava tongue (Easy Level; about 1,5 km, 1 mi). En route you can observe the American flamingo lagoon from different viewpoints and perspectives.
After a short displacement to Post Office Bay and lunch, you can post your holiday greetings in the traditional barrel just behind the beach (wet landing), which is also a comfortable place to relax. Next you can explore the submerged crater rim that surrounds the neighbouring bay of Baroness Lookout in your own pace by sea-kayak, or by inflatable dinghy.
Around midnight we will navigate about 5 hours Northeast to the extraordinary island of Santa Fé.
Additional options scuba-diving: choice out of 9 nearby diving sites (All levels)
Day 4: Barrington Bay (Santa Fe) - South Plaza
After breakfast and another wet landing you will make a guided walk from the beach of Santa Fe. There is an easy shorter circuit or a strenuous longer hike land inward (Moderate Level; ca. 3 km / 2 mi.); the guide will decide which path will be followed. Don’t forget to retain some strength for excellent swimming or snorkelling in the clear azure waters of Barrington Bay.
Around lunchtime we will proceed to South Plaza (about 2,5 h Northwest), possibly accompanied by bottle nose delphins. South Plaza is one out of two islets close to the eastern coast of Santa Cruz. On this Jurassic islet you will undertake a contrasty guided nature walk (avoidable depths on the cliff-edge; Easy Level; ca. 1,25 km / 0.75 mi).
Before – a hopefully spectacular – sunset we will leave to tomorrow’s destination, North Seymour, following the coast of Santa Cruz to the heart of the archipelago (about 4 hours). We drop the anchor in the Itabaca Channel, where you can enjoy a quiet floating sleep.
Additional options scuba-diving: Gordon Rocks (Expert/Advanced) or Santa Fe (All levels)
Day 5: North Seymour - Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
After an early snack you will make a guided walk through the waking seabird’s colonies, following a circular loop (Easy Level; 2 km / 1.25 mi, about 2 hours). Filled with impressions you will return on board to fill up your stomach with our delicious breakfast buffet. Later in the morning snorkeling is on the program.
As usual you will be welcomed on board with a snack, while we continue about 2 hours West to Bachas Beach, where we will serve lunch. In the afternoon you will make another wet landing followed by an easy stroll along the waterline of this coral sand beach.
Before dinner we will sail back to the heart of the Archipelago, where you will spend your last night on board, enjoying a farewell cocktail with the crew and your fellow passengers, and enjoying another quiet sleep, while floating.
Day 6: Mosquera - Baltra airport
Short after the wake-up call and another snack you will undertake this last excursion. Depending on the tide and the check-in time for your flight to Guayaquil or Quito we do or don’t have the opportunity to go on land, where you can freely stroll around. Otherwise we will make an interesting dinghy-ride along the rocky shore, full of sea birds. After breakfast it’s time say goodbye and leave the yacht. We will accompany you and your luggage to the airport, where you can check-in and return to Guayaquil or Quito.
Day 1: Baltra Airport – Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz)
This morning you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport. After welcome, check-in, lunch, briefing and the safety-drill you will visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station for an interesting introduction to Galapagos. You will also get some free time to stroll through the cozy town of Puerto Ayora.
Before dinner your guide will give the first daily briefing for tomorrow, and he/she will explain the yacht’s and National Park rules. Then the captain and his crew will present, and toast with a welcome cocktail to celebrate your first evening on board. Short before midnight we will lift the anchor and start our first nightly crossing to Puerto Villamil on Isabela. Depending on the sea state we will navigate about 6 hours in Western direction, leaving late night.
Day 2: Tintoreras Islets – Sierra Negra Volcano (Isabela)
Rise early for a quick coffee/tea and snack and set off for the Tintoreras islets, a group of jagged formations just outside of Puerto Villamil. Follow your guide on an easy-to-moderate hike on a rocky volcanic trail for prime views of a clear tidal channel teeming with whitetip reef sharks, turtles, white-spotted eagles and golden rays. Learn about the collapsed lava tube that created this channel, and along the rocky shoreline, see Galapagos sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, lava herons and Galapagos penguins.
Return to the Odyssey for breakfast and then explore the marshes around Puerto Villamil by chiva bus, a colorful open-air vehicle, for sightings of American flamingos and other aquatic and songbirds. Next, walk alongside marine iguanas on one of Puerto Villamil’s beaches.
Fuel up with lunch and then embark on a moderate-level, half-day hike (4 miles/6.4 km) up Sierra Negra volcano, the third-largest on Isabela. Trek through cloud forests, learn about the rich native vegetation along the way, and reach the volcano rim for fantastic views (on clear days) of the largest caldera in the archipelago, measuring 4 miles by 6 miles (7 by 9 km). During the hike back, your guide points out vermilion flycatchers, yellow warblers and woodpecker finches, one of Darwin’s famous finches.
After your full day, dig into a warm buffet-style dinner on board. Your captain sails around southern Isabela to its western coast, an 8-hour navigation.
Day 3: Punta Moreno – Elizabeth Bay (Isabela)
After breakfast you will make a guided morning hike across the crumbling, pitch black lava fields of Moreno Point with its bird-rich pools and sparkling intertidal life (Moderate Level; about 2 km / 1.25 mi.). After a snack we can make an inflatable dinghy-ride or emerge ourselves first-time for snorkeling.
At noon we sail for 2 hours to next visitor’s site, Elizabeth Bay, and meanwhile you can enjoy the delicious lunch buffet and a short siesta. Then we will undertake an adventurous ride by inflatable dinghy to some offshore rocks with a Galapagos penguin colony and from there we will turn to the estuary of Elizabeth Bay and penetrate the forest-like mangles.
At dinner-time we will continue to Fernandina, where we will anchor about midnight.
Day 4: Punta Espinoza (Fernandina) – Tagus Cove (Isabela)
You will start with a guided walk on the lava tongue of Espinoza Point, which is full of marine iguanas, the iconic flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin! (Easy/Moderate Level; about 2 km / 1.25 mi.). After a snack we will bring you to today’s snorkeling site.
While having lunch we will cross the Bolivar Channel, back to Isabela’s western coast. On the bridge and through the panoramic windows of the dining room we will careful watch for fountains, hence this is one of the best places in Galapagos for viewing whales and dolphins.
At Tagus Cove you will make the longer guided nature walk at this geologic and historic interesting site (Moderate Level; about 3 km / 2 mi.). Subsequently we will make a dinghy-ride along the shoreline, or you will have today’s second snorkeling opportunity.
Before dinner we will start our 12 hour’s navigation around the northern cape of Isabela to Santiago (and we will cross the equator two times).
Day 5: Espumilla Beach (Santiago) – Puerto Egas (Santiago)
From Espumilla Beach you will make a guided walk; uphill and land inward (Easy Level; about 2 km, 1.25 mi.). Afterwards you can explore Galapagos’ submarine world again, which is even more varied than island life.
Around lunch-time we navigate 12 km / 7 mi south and reach Puerto Egas with its famous fur seal grottos, where you will make another, very different guided walk along the coastline (Easy Level).
After this impressive day we leave for the longest navigation of this cruise route to the easternmost San Cristobal (about 13 hours). During this last night on board, you can enjoy a farewell cocktail with the crew and your fellow passengers.
Day 6: Isla Lobos – San Cristobal Airport
Pack your bags and enjoy one final excursion after breakfast. Just off San Cristobal island, visit the rocky islet of Isla Lobos, which serves as a breeding site for Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. Depending on when you visit, you can observe male sea lions defending their harems and the birds’ courtship, or newly born sea lions and fluffy hatchlings.
Your Galapagos adventure concludes with your guide and crew taking you and your luggage by dinghy to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. A private shuttle transfers you to the airport, where your guide escorts you all the way to the check-in counters.