24 October 2016
There is no better way to experience the remote beauty and stunning wildlife of the Galapagos Islands than on this seven night voyage on the yacht La Pinta, an elegant 207-foot vessel which takes only 48 passengers and offers a relaxed, yet truly superior expedition atmosphere, with luxurious cabins, large picture windows and the highest standards of service. See the the most rewarding sites in the Galapagos Archipelago in style and comfort.
After flying in to Baltra Island you are taken to board the Yacht La Pinta. After a welcome introductory briefing and lunch you sail on to North Seymour Island. In the afternoon go for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island, observing bird colonies of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. There is an opportunity for snorkelling or coastal exploration. In the evening back on board enjoy a cocktail before dinner.
Today's coastal exploration is by dinghy, while a naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. This is the nesting place for flightless cormorants and wildlife here includes sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, penguins, blue-footed and Nazca boobies and Noddy terns. You can go snorkelling along the cliffs of a partly-sunken Ecuador Volcano, near the northern tip of the island, which is rich in marine life. After lunch visit Fernandina Island and walk across the dark lava landscape. Here you find the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sally-light foot crabs, hawks and penguins.
After breakfast disembark at Urbina Bay, at the foot of volcanoes Alcedo and Darwin. Here you can find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, giant tortoises and Darwin's finches. Along the shoreline, after a hike, you may encounter flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkelling in a beautiful cove. After lunch on board visit Tagus Cove which was a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti is still found carved on its walls. An uphill hike takes you to the back of Darwin Crater where the views are spectacular.
Land at Rabida Island's red-coloured beach and watch the marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green saltbush, is a salt pond where greater flamingos migrate. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. Then on the way to Santa Cruz Island dolphins are often spotted. After lunch visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island where on a walk around a lagoon you should see stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and sanderlings. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago.
A highlight of the trip today when you visit Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station. See the famous giant tortoise pens at the station which is the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Enjoy lunch at the poolside of the beautiful Finch Bay Eco Hotel and then visit the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, with their impressive Scalesia forest and the geological formation of the twin pit craters known as Los Gemelos. You may also be able to visit the giant tortoises in the wild.
Today you land at Post Office Bay to see the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries, and learn about the human side of the islands, the early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. At Baroness Cove take a short walk up to the observation tower to enjoy breathtaking views of Floreana and its nearby islets. Snorkelling and kayaking are possible here. After lunch on board land at the olivine crystal beach of Punta Cormorant for a bird watching walk. Then visit a white-sand beach where sea turtles nest and take a trip in a glass-bottom boat.
Land on a sandy white beach among many sea lion harems where Bulls vie for the right of "Beach Master". The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name with tree-sized trunks! The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Snorkelling and swimming from the beach rounds off the rewarding experience. After lunch visit South Plaza Island where the turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit beneath the trees waiting patiently for pears to drop on this small but amazing island.
Today your wonderful Galapagos cruise comes to an end. Say farewell to new found friends before your yacht arrives at Chatham Island. After breakfast you will be picked up and taken to the airport for your flight back to the mainland where you can continue your South American adventure or catch a flight back home taking with you so many memories of one of the most interesting and spectacular group of islands on Earth.
Classic Cabin fr £5509pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated