Spend awe-inspiring days 4 days and 3 nights cruising crystal-clear waters on this Galapagos Islands tour, one that you’ll never forget. On this cruise to, you will sail on board the 16-passenger Natural Paradise motor yacht to discover the archipelago’s central, eastern and northern islands – which includes scenic Genovesa Island. Trace Darwin's theory of evolution, spot colorful, bizarre and beautiful creatures, and have an experience that is completely out of this world as you discover this incredible archipelago on your Galapagos Islands vacation. Enjoy your Galapagos vacation on board this luxury-class yacht. While cruising on this well-designed yacht, you can enjoy of full days of exploring and adventure in the living laboratory of this legendary archipelago. This new yacht has 9 comfortable cabins – 4 of them with private balconies. All the beds can be double or twin. Private facilities in each cabin include a private bathroom with cold/hot water and air conditioning. Social facilities include a 4-person hydro-massage Jacuzzi, plus spacious outside decks for relaxing, a large dining area and both indoor and outdoor bar areas.
“Everything went off without a hitch. Accomodation was just what we wanted. Clean, great location and within our budget. The dive master was great. ”
AM: In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to Baltra Island, in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago and the main point of entrance to this natural paradise. Upon your arrival at the airport, you will need to pay the national park entry fee, which goes to protecting both the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve. A member of the Surtrek team will then welcome you and accompany you to your ship, the Natural Paradise Yacht.
PM: The highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150- 200 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not; and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time.
AM: Our destination for today is Genovesa Island, considered to be one of the wildest and most pristine islands in Galapagos National Park. Known as “Bird Island,” Genovesa is the only place where you can see Red-footed boobies. This morning we are off to the El Barranco cliffs. Located on Genovesa Island, along the southern part of Darwin Bay, a one mile (1.5 km) trail stretches out over volcanic rock that leads to this cliff (this hike takes about two hours to cover). The second half of the trail is very delicate, so please stay on the path. It can get very hot so make sure to bring water. Because of the natural erosion, this is the ideal place for the nesting of Storm petrels. Two other species of petrels that can be seen here are the Galapagos petrel and the Wooden petrel. Red-footed boobies and Nazca boobies can be seen here as well as fur seals and several species of seabirds.
PM: This afternoon, after a wet landing in Genovesa Island’s Darwin Bay, we will walk along a short path that leads through the nesting sites of booby and frigatebird colonies. On the beach, you can observe the interesting spectacle of how frigate birds try to rob the prey of different species of boobies.
AM: Today we will land on the fourth largest island in the Galapagos: Santiago Island, also known as “James Island” or “San Salvador Island.” The old rusted machines and run-down buildings of former salt mine workers are still apparent on the island, though the last attempts to populate Santiago Island were given up on forty years ago. In the morning we will visit Santiago Island’s Espumilla Beach, where marine iguanas relax and sea turtles nest. While snorkeling, you might come upon octopuses, morays and many types of tropical fish. There is also a Palo Santo forest close to this beach.
PM: After lunch, we will go to Buccaneer Cove, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a shelter for pirates, whalers and sailors. The bay is surrounded by high tuff cliffs where many sea-bird nest. In the cliffs, you can try to find two rock formations that look like a monkey and an elephant. Later this same afternoon, we will make a wet landing onto Santiago’s Puerto Egas beach. Its black volcanic sand was visited by Darwin in 1835 and still maintaining an abundance of marine iguanas. After a short walk of about 2 km along the coast, we will reach the rugged lava coastline of James Bay. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night heron and an astounding array of marine wildlife – including lobsters, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are another highlight.
AM: This morning we will arrive on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy Las Bachas Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches for sea turtles. Here you can also find flamingos, Black-winged stilts, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, and — with a little bit of luck — tiny Galapagos penguins. In addition, this beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but they then spend 3 to 5 years without breeding. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago; these were once property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. In fact, the beach got its name because the English word “barges” was hard to pronounce for the local people – hence “Bachas” Beach.
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.
“The Samba cruise anyway was great, good boat, good food, amazing guide and friendly staff.”