One of life’s “must do’s” is an adventure to the natural wonders found in a Galapagos Islands tour, and this is what you will find on this 4-day that showcases one of Earth’s greatest displays of wildlife and landscapes. After sailing on board the 16-passenger Majestic Motor Yacht, exploring rocky lava terrain, walking through lush forests teeming with birdlife, and snorkeling in the crystal waters that are so abundant with unique marine life, your appreciation of the wonders of the world will be transformed. This Galapagos cruise will take you from the central islands of the archipelago heading east to San Cristobal Island, where stops like those of “Kicker Rock” and “Witch Hill” will leave indelible impressions in your memory.
“Everything was wonderful but the highlight by far was the 5 days trekking in the Angamarca region with Marcial. The scenery and culture was astonishing, and Marcial was the perfect guide”
AM: In the morning you will fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Galapagos Islands. At the airport on San Cristóbal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the ship's crew will welcome you and accompany you to your yacht: the M/Y Majestic.
PM: In the afternoon we will visit the highlands of San Cristobal Island. First we will climb up wooden stairs to the freshwater “El Junco” lagoon. During the approximately one-hour walk around this crater lagoon, you will be introduced to the typical plant life of the island, where ferns prevail. You will also notice Frigatebirds, Bahama ducks and moorhens around the lagoon’s bank.
AM: Today we will visit Floreana Island, considered to be one of the most exotic in the Galapagos archipelago. Countless legends are part of the history of this island, as pirates and buccaneers were drawn to here in search of for food and water. Later the island was colonized by Norwegians, Brits, Germans and others who were in search of ways to make money from what they hoped to discover here. The name Floreana is in honor of Juan Jose Flores, Ecuador’s first president.
The first excursion on Floreana will be to Post Office Bay, where the legendary post barrel that whalers historically used to put their mail in is still kept. After a wet landing, you can walk just off the beach to leave a letter here in hopes that it will make to its destination via another tourist. …So don’t forget to bring postcards along. Snorkelers can take a dip on the main beach among the playful sea lions and green sea turtles.
PM: This afternoon’s excursion is to the Cormorant Point visitor site. After a wet landing on the beach, we will go down a 100-meter-long path to a mangrove lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks, black herons, oystercatchers and plovers. With a little bit of luck, you might also see flamingos. Another path leads to a small beach that is an important nesting site for sea turtles. In the shallow water there, one can often find stingrays and Whitetip reef sharks.
You will be able to take advantage of the great snorkeling opportunities at Devil’s Crown, a broken volcanic cone that is one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The underwater world here includes reef sharks, starfish, sea turtles, sea lions and a host of tropical fish species.
AM: Española is the southernmost, oldest and one of the most bio-diverse islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Its English name is “Hood Island,” in honor of the British admiral Samuel Hood. Because of its isolated position, there is much endemic wildlife to be explored here – in addition to great snorkeling from Española’s remarkably beautiful beaches. After breakfast, we will go on an excursion to Suárez Point. One of the archipelago’s most outstanding wildlife areas, this site boasts a long list of species along its cliffs and its sand and pebble beaches. In addition to five species of nesting seabirds, the curious and bold Española Island mockingbirds are found here, as are other birding favorites that include Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks, Swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of Waved albatross – an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Several types of reptiles are unique to this island, including the marine iguana and the oversized lava lizard. In fact, this is also the only site where you will be able to see “red” sea iguanas.
In addition, when heavy swells are running, Suarez Point is the site of a spectacular blowhole whose thundering spray shoots 30 yards up into the air. The trek here is on a stony path about a mile long, though the duration of this excursion is about 3 hours.
PM: On Española Island’s eastern shore, Gardner Bay is noted for its turquoise-colored waters and its magnificent beach, which we will visit in the afternoon. Around the bay’s small nearby islets, snorkelers will find an abundance of fish, as well as the occasional sea turtle and benign sharks. The bay is also frequented by a transient colony of Galapagos sea lions who love to swim with people. Birds, like the endemic Española mockingbird and different species of Darwin finches, are omnipresent.
We will also ride around Osborn Islet, located close to Española Island. It is made of volcanic rock and is a popular fishing site among local small-scale fishers. On this Galapagos islet, you will have a chance to go snorkeling and see schools of tropical fish, Manta rays, Green turtles, Surgeon fish, Sea urchins and starfish.
Small Gardner Island, situated across from Espanola Island’s Gardner Bay, is lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders. While snorkeling here, you are likely to encounter the smallest of the Galapagos garden eels, Snake eels, as well as Black-spotted morays, Galapagos puffer fish, Scorpion fish, Trumpet fish, cornetfish and Red-lipped batfish. You will be able to see plenty sea lions lying lazily on the beach. On the north end of the island are twisting tunnels, and to the south are caves, which all make for a remarkable excursion. The area has an abundance of fish including schools of snappers, Creole fish, King angelfish, large Puffer fish, and a variety of sea urchins and sea stars.
AM: In the morning we will go to the Santa Cruz Highlands and see "The Twins” (twin craters), which will be explained by your naturalist guide. These craters are surrounded by scalesia forest, where also live Ruby tyrants and small and large Tree finches.
PM: Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, you will be transferred to the Baltra Island airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy your last look back at the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with inspiring natural wonders.
“We loved every moment of our trip and could not have done it without Ligia and Surtrek. I highly recommend them!”