The Origin motor vessel, named for Charles Darwin’s insightful work The Origin of the Species, began sailing the Galapagos Islands in early 2016. This makes ship the newest, most environmentally efficient and the most comfortable 20-passenger yacht sailing in the waters of the archipelago. Though possessing 10 different deluxe double staterooms to choose from – two of which able to accommodate up to three people. Measuring approximately 140 square feet, each cabin is brimming with amenities. On this 8-day/7-night Galapagos cruise on board the 22-passenger Origin motor vessel, you will discover the eastern, south and central islands of this enchanting archipelago. On this journey, you will have the chance to hike through rich forests teeming with endemic birdlife, walk across stunning volcanic formations, and snorkel alongside some of the richest marine life on Earth. In short, you’ll enjoy a Galapagos vacation of a lifetime!
“Everything about Surtrek was amazing. The hotels, the food, the tours. Everything exceeded our expectations. I cannot recommend Surtrek highly enough!”
AM: Upon arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, our crew will be waiting at the airport to escort you by bus to the main dock and then by zodiac to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch will be served.
PM: We will travel by bus to Las Tijeretas, situated on the edge of town. This is one of two sites where you can spot nesting colonies of both species of Frigate birds (Great and Magnificent). The trail leads to Punta Carola, where there are beautiful vistas. You will find lava lizards, the medium ground finch and Chatham mockingbird. We will return to the yacht to join our fellow yacht mates this evening for your briefing followed by our captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our culinary-school-trained chefs.
AM: We will arrive to Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach. Considered one of the most spectacular in Galapagos, this beach is perfect for a peaceful walk given its expansive views and good bird watching. You will have an opportunity to kayak from the beach or swim with sea lions. A Zodiac ride will then take us through a cave called “The Cathedral.”
PM: During lunch, we will cruise to the northeastern tip of San Cristobal to Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds, including all three types of boobies: Blue footed, Nazca and Red-footed boobies, as well as both Frigate species, swallow-tailed gulls, Storm petrels, Shearwaters, Brown pelicans and a colony of sea lions. Punta Pitt is considered to be a first class site for birding, on par with Genovesa Island. Here you can snorkel at Pitt Rock with sea lions and colorful fish such as the King Angel and Surgeon fish. We will return to the yacht to cruise around Leon Dormido or “Kicker Rock,” a vertical tuff cone formation that rises abruptly almost 500 feet out of the ocean. On the cliffs, you will spot Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds. We will return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
AM: We will disembark at Suarez Point, on Española Island, where you will witness the highest rate of endemic species in the Galapagos. Sea lions will noisily greet us as we land on their beach, as curious Hood mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, perform their wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates, as Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls are the only nocturnal gulls in the world and fish at night. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. You will also find Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks. Observe a unique specie of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Colorful sally light-foot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous “blow hole.”
PM: After lunch we will make a wet landing on Gardner Bay, on Española Island, to walk along a seemingly endless stretch of this white sandy beach where you’ll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow so this is a chance to explore or take a long walk. You may find Galapagos Hawks, Darwin’s Finches or Hood Mockingbirds. Swim with sea lions right from the beach, explore the bay and islets by kayak or just relax on the beach. There’s an excellent snorkeling site off Gardner Islet with a colorful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock. By zodiac boat, explore caves covered with invertebrates. We will return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
AM: Step ashore at Cormorant Point, on Floreana Island, one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos. Floreana presents a rich human history with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a green-sand beach alive with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow crowned nigh heron, blue footed boobies and penguins. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos Flycatcher, Yellow warblers and Greater Flamingos, the pinkest in the world! Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including Morning Glory, Cut Leaf Daisies, Black, red and white mangroves, Palo Verde and Scalesia. The trail leads to a beach with power soft sand where sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, you will have an opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion Islet, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and corral, passive Whitetip reef sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Today our lunch will be served on the sundeck, weather permitting.
PM: After lunch, we will visit Post Office Bay, not the most scenic but one of the most famous sites in the Galapagos. Here is where a post barrel was erected and put into use in the late 18th Century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail from your home area. There is a chance to swim from the beach with sea lions. In the late afternoon, we will take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point where you will spot sea turtles and rays. We will return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
AM: We will travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, we will visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias,” one of the private farms in the highlands where you will encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We will stop at “the tunnels,” the largest lava tubes found in the Galapagos. We will also visit “The Twins,” a pair of large pit craters where you may see the red male vermilion flycatchers.
PM: Next, we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you will see the tortoise and land iguana enclosures, as well as the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. The tortoise “Lonesome George” is no longer with us, but the tortoise named “Diego” (also dubbed “The Professor”) is there and has been more successful at mating. The town of Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000. After lunch and briefing on board, we will return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet cafe. You will have the option of remaining in town or returning to the boat for dinner. There will also be transportation from the yacht to town later in the evening.
AM: We will disembark onto Bartolome Island, where it seems like you’re walking on the moon, as this young island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, we will climb for 30 minutes to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, we will pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, you can gaze out across the landscape for a panoramic view of the island and “Pinnacle Rock,” an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to take a Zodiac ride or snorkel from the beach with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos penguins.
PM: After lunch, we will visit Bachas, Spanish for “barges.” There is a long stretch of white sandy beach and interior lagoons where you will find the Greater Flamingo. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel here from the beach. Located off the southern tip of Santiago Island is “Chinese Hat Island,” which owes its name to its shape. After a wet-landing onto the beach with sea lion colonies, the trail gives way to a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble, which includes cracked lava formations and lava tubes. Here, you will find marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers. You can choose to snorkel at a site that is frequented by Galapagos penguins. (Alternatively, we will visit Black Turtle Cove, depending on weather and water conditions). Later, there will be a briefing followed by dinner while we will anchor in a calm protected area.
AM: Today we will visit South Plaza Island, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. After a dry landing, the trail leads us through Prickly Pear or Opuntia and Sesuvium forests. Here you can find Galapagos land Iguanas feeding on cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, you will encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from battles lost over prime beach territory. You will also find Swallow tailed gulls, Shearwaters and Red-billed tropicbirds who build their nests along the cliffs.
PM: After lunch, we will make a dry landing at North Seymour, a small geological uplift. We will follow a trail that leads us to Swallow-tailed gulls, Blue-footed boobies and the endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds found in Galapagos. As we stroll along the beach, we will find Marine Iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells. We will return to the yacht for the Captain’s Farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
AM: By bus, we will travel to the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999. Here you will gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands. Afterwards, we will spend time at the port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.
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“I had a great trip with the liveabord at Agressor II, everything was just perfect, the boat, the trip, the team and the dives. I would like to thank for all the support from Surtrek team.”