The 16-passenger Petrel catamaran offers a luxury-class way to visit this magical archipelago. Named after a sea bird common to the Galapagos, the “Petrel” is like its namesake: elegant, swift and silent at sea. Guests will travel in comfort to islands for up-close encounters with these birds and more. On board the luxury-class 16-passenger Petrel luxury catamaran, this amazing 4-day/3-night Galapagos Islands cruise will take you to scenic eastern and southern islands of the archipelago. With a wealth of wildlife viewing opportunities, this carefully planned itinerary will take you to scenic islands such as San Cristobel, where can observe the island’s huge and emblematic Galapagos tortoises and land iguanas in their natural habitat. During this Galapagos Islands vacation, you will enjoy a flexible program that offers several alternative daily activities on land and in the water – but always amidst the stunning wealth of unique wildlife that inhabit these famous islands.
“Thanks so much again! Surtrek, a realiable travel partner and service provider of Operation Earth for our Galapagos Expedition program!”
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 your ship's crew will then welcome you and accompany you to your yacht: the Petrel.
PM: At the port of Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, we will visit San Cristobal Island’s Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the nature and settlement history of the archipelago. Here you will discover displays that provide information about the volcanic origins of the islands, the ocean’s currents, the archipelago’s climate, and facts concerning the arrival of different species. The islands’ human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and settlements of the Galapagos. One of the main attractions of San Cristobal Island is the Tortoise Breeding Center, where you will see enormous Galapagos tortoises, as well as iguanas. As the natural population of tortoises from San Cristobal Island is seriously threatened by animals introduced onto the island by humans – mainly wild goats, cats and rats – the center is attempting to increase the number of tortoises as well as eradicate threatening species. Close to the center is an easy trail that covers a distance of 900 meters; along this trail you will see different species of native and endemic plants of the Galapagos, like cat’s claw, manzanillo, romerillo, and acacia. Be careful not to touch or eat the manzanillo fruits as these are toxic. San Cristobal Island is also one of the few islands where you can see the plant calandrinia galapagosa, which is in danger of extinction.
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. 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.
PM: After lunch, we will go on an excursion to Suarez 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.
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. This morning’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.
PM: After lunch , 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. Later we will visit 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.
AM: This morning we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, 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 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. 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 Galapagos experience was absolutely amazing. Not just the abundant sea life and incredible spots, but also your professionalism and passion for your work turned my trip into an unforgettable holiday.”