ISLAND SAFARI

RARE WILDLIFE AND EXOTIC FLORA

We are experts in crafting transformative experiences by connecting explorers with the inspiring wildlife of the Galapagos.

Photograph and admire the marine life from the comfort of a glass bottom boat if on board the Origin and Theory or your zodiac on Letty, as it navigates hidden caverns and quiet mangrove estuaries; or explore the wonders of the undersea environment snorkelling near the coastline.

ITINERARIES HIGHLIGHTS

SUNDAY I

When you land at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (S. Cristobal), our guides will be there to greet you and escort you to your yacht by bus and then Zodiac. Once you’ve boarded, you’ll have a welcome briefing and a short safety drill. Start your vacation with a delicious buffet lunch before traveling to Cerro Colorado to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (La Galapaguera). Here, you’ll learn about the breeding program for giant tortoises that the national park established to ensure that these animals continue to thrive despite the endangered status of some species. Back on the yacht, after a briefing, the captain and crew will welcome you with a cocktail reception. An elegant multi-course dinner, prepared by our accomplished chefs and accompanied by wine, will be served.

MONDAY II

In the morning, you’ll land at Prince Philip’s Steps, Genovesa (Tower) Island is one of the most spectacular places in Galápagos for birdwatching because of its diversity of species. Throughout the day, you’ll want to have your camera ready. Your guides will point out red-footed boobies nesting in palo santo trees, Nazca boobies nesting near the trail, and storm petrels gathering in large numbers in an open lava field. With luck, you may even get to see the elusive short-eared owl. After a BBQ lunch on the yacht’s sun deck and a demonstration on how to make Ecuadorian ceviche, you’ll have the option to explore the cliffs up close, either by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or on a deep-water snorkeling excursion from the Zodiac. Look for the red-billed tropic bird hiding in the crevices of the rock.
Later in the afternoon, you’ll land at Darwin Bay, a gorgeous coral sand beach. Here, you’ll see both swallow-tailed gulls and lava gulls gathered near the tide pools. A forest of Opuntia cactus and mangroves provide shelter for Great frigate birds. Males looking to attract a mate inflate a red pouch on their chests. Round out the afternoon by relaxing on the beach, or choose to swim with friendly, playful sea lions in these warmer northern waters. When you return to the yacht, you’ll have a short briefing followed by a delicious dinner. If the night is clear, take a stroll on the deck and enjoy the sky full of bright stars.

TUESDAY III

This morning you’ll visit Las Bachas, (Spanish for barges) on the northern side of Santa Cruz. Dozens of bright pink flamingos feed on the interior lagoons, and a long white sand beach is a beautiful site for a stroll. Before returning to the yacht for lunch, you’ll have time to snorkel from the beach.
In the afternoon, when you step ashore on Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), you’ll have a magnificent panoramic view of the bay and island landscape. You may see flamingos in the brackish lagoon, along with a variety of plants, including opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Muyuyo trees (Cordia letea). As you walk the trail, look for Darwin’s finches, Galápagos flycatchers, yellow warblers, and Audubon shearwaters. The guides will also pause to point out birds such as stilts, pintail ducks and sandpipers. Scan the path for yellow Land iguanas, strikingly different from their marine cousins, resting in the sun. These iguanas, which are endemic to the Galapagos, were once part of the Station’s breeding program. After walking the trail, you’ll return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.

WEDNESDAY IV

Begin your morning with a Zodiac ride at Punta Vicente Roca. Your skilled driver will navigate you through the wave-sculpted caves and bring you up close to the tuff walls covered in colorful Sally light-foot crabs. Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel here, with penguins diving playfully in the water or grooming themselves on rock formations. Look for sea turtles poking their heads above water before swimming gracefully beneath the surface. After lunch, take a seat on the sun deck to enjoy the scenery as we sail through the Bolivar Channel. In addition to the dramatic scenery, you might get to see whales riding the bow wave or dolphins jumping in graceful arcs. You may even spot the Mola-Mola, an odd-looking giant sun fish with triangular fins on the top and bottom and a short, stubbly tail fin. In the afternoon, you’ll disembark at Urbina Bay on Isabela Island and see some surprising evidence of volcanic activity.
Four files of coastal seabed were exposed due to a dramatic uplift during an eruption in 1954, and some of the remaining coral skeletons still stand several feet high. A diverse collection of animal species await on the island as well, including Galápagos land iguanas, marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, and the occasional giant Galápagos tortoise. When you’re finished exploring, you’ll return to the vessel for your nightly briefing and dinner. After dessert, step outside and observe the pale glow of the Milky Way. As we cross the Equator, you may get a visit from King Neptune himself! Guests of all ages will enjoy this fun filled evening and maritime ritual, our crew dress as pirates and guest participation is optional.

THURSDAY V

This morning you’re in for another geological wonder. Stop at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galápagos, formed by active volcanoes that stretch around the coast. With no introduced animals on this island, you can observe the ecosystem at its most pristine. Sea lion harems lie on the beach, with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory and keeping a lookout for sharks that threaten the colony’s pups. Hundreds of marine iguanas, forming the largest colony in Galapagos, warm themselves along the rugged shoreline, blending in with the dark rocks. Out on the point, your guide will show you the nests of flightless cormorants, which stay close to shore since they lost their ability to fly. You’ll have an opportunity to snorkel here, in the company of the large sea turtles that frequent the area. Return to the yacht for a BBQ lunch served on the sundeck where you’ll have a prime view for whale watching.
Your guide will offer an enrichment lecture about Charles Darwin and his Theory of evolution as well as social/environmental projects that benefit the Galápagos. After lunch, you’ll get to see some of the human history of the Galapagos when you go ashore on Tagus Cove. This was a favorite stopping point for pirates and whalers for centuries, and sections of the rocky cliffs are covered in graffiti from as far back as the 1800s. Hike at a faster pace to a saltwater lagoon and scenic overview, and take in the ocean, lava fields, and volcanic formations. You may choose to explore the shoreline of the secluded cove by kayak or paddleboard. There are many animals to see, including Galápagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds.
Tonight, as we sail toward the geographic center of the archipelago, we’ll cross the equator for the third and final time.

FRIDAY VI

This morning, you’ll disembark on the dark red beach of Rabida (Jervis) Island. This small island is considered the geographic center of the Galápagos because its volcanic rocks are the most diversified in the archipelago. A short trail will lead you to a saltwater lagoon filled with greater flamingos. Along the way, look for marine iguanas, mockingbirds and yellow warblers. You may also see Darwin’s finches. Over a dozen species of finches
live on the islands and observing them contributed to Charles Darwin’s ideas that formed the basis for his theory of evolution. If you choose to snorkel this morning, you may be able to see a colony of sea lions or rays. Several species of rays live on the Galápagos, but golden rays and spotted eagle rays are the most common.
Guests on the Theory and Letty visit Puerto Egas on Santiago (James) Island, where you’ll stroll along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. Watch out for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. During mating season, green and red algae give the
usually black marine iguanas beautiful coloration. The walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where you’ll encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, take the pportunity to snorkel from the beach. As you sail after lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here. Guests on the Origin have a Zodiac excursion at Caleta Tortuga Negra
(Black Turtle Cove) through a series of peaceful coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves whose large roots rise out of the water. View pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. We return to the vessel for the Captain’s Farewell cocktail with the crew, and dinner as well as a special presentation by your guides.

SATURDAY VII

When you wake up this morning, your yacht will be one of dozens of boats anchored in the lively harbor of Academy Bay. You’ll disembark at Puerto Ayora, Sta Cruz Island, the social heart of the Galápagos, with a population of 24,000 residents. This morning, we visit the breeding center Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena and Charles Darwin Research Station where we learn about ongoing conservation efforts from exhibits set up along the wooden trail. You’ll see hatchlings and miniature tortoises that will be repatriated by the National Park when grown. The newest exhibit honors Lonesome George, the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island that tragically died of natural causes. With his species now extinct, Lonesome George has become a worldwide icon, emphasizing the importance of efforts to preserve and protect endangered wildlife. A more hopeful story is Diego, a saddleback tortoise whose species was reduced to 14 individuals before he was transported from the San Diego Zoo and who has since fathered hundreds of descendants. Afterwards, you’ll learn about the history of the settlers of this Island on a guided tour through the back streets of Puerto Ayora. Stroll through town to shop for handmade souvenirs, Ecuadorian chocolate ice cream or coffee grown in Galápagos.
Return to the yacht for lunch and later board a bus for a short ride to a lava tunnel, a hollow formation created when lava on the earth’s surface cools and hardens while molten lava continues to flow in the middle. Your next stop will be Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of large, deep craters with vibrant plant life at higher elevation. Next stop is at a privately-owned hacienda, where giant tortoises roam freely – some weighing over 500 pounds – in their natural habitat, feeding or resting in shallow pools. Return to the yacht for dinner or, if you wish, remain ashore on your own at a local restaurant. Your guides or concierge will be glad to provide a recommendation. Zodiac shuttles from the yachts to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening for your convenience.

SUNDAY VIII

On your last morning in the Galápagos we disembark after breakfast and travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas (Frigate bird Hill), where you’ll find nesting colonies of both species of frigate birds; Great and Magnificent, lava lizards, medium ground finches and San Cristobal mockingbird. Follow the trail to Punta Carola for a spectacular view. Guests on the Letty have an early morning visit at Isla Lobos. Before your flight back to the mainland, you’ll have time for any last-minute photos or shopping. A short bus ride will get you to the airport with plenty of time for check in.
Ecoventura reserves the right at its sole option and discretion and that of the Captain of the vessel without liability for damages or refund of any kind to deviate from the vessel's advertised or regularly scheduled itinerary. Itineraries are subject to change at any time for any reason including mechanical failure and without prior notice. Ecoventura will not be held responsible for any refunds whatsoever for changes to the printed or scheduled itinerary.

northern
& western route

SUNDAY I

Upon arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal) Island, our guides will be waiting for you to escort you to the right vessel. After a short bus ride and Zodiac transfer to the yacht anchored in the bay, you’ll get your cabin assignment and be treated to a delicious buffet lunch. You will be required to participate in a brief safety drill and choose your snorkel equipment. Before the yacht pulls anchor, you’ll return to San Cristobal to explore El Junco Lake. Spanish for “sedge”, El Junco is the caldera of an extinct volcano and only sizable fresh water lake in the Galápagos. Listen for the calls of sea lions - they may try to approach, and as you ride the zodiac you’ll see them lounging on the boats docked in the harbor. Upon your return to the yacht, the Captain and crew will welcome you on board with a cocktail and a briefing of the next day’s activities. With the small number of passengers on your yacht, you’ll have an opportunity to dine with the captain later in the week. But for tonight, enjoy meeting your fellow passengers as our kitchen staff treats you to a multi-course dinner complete with complimentary wine.

MONDAY II

You’ll start your exploration today with a Zodiac ride to look for wildlife at Cerro Brujo, which translates to Wizard Hill. Your guide will point out the wide variety of birds soaring around you, from brown pelicans and brown noddy terns to blue-footed boobies dive-bombing the water around you as they fish. Look for different color patterns that indicate age - for example, a brown pelican will have a white neck when it’s mature. Sally light-foot crabs, black when they’re young but extremely colorful once fully grown, scurry all over the rocks. Your guides will also point out unusual geological formations, including the Cathedral, jokingly called Darwin’s Pants. After the Zodiac tour, you’ll be able to take in the gorgeous coral sand beach at your own pace. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, swim with sea lions or you have the option to paddle board or kayak. Paddleboards are beginner-friendly; with the option to kneel if you aren’t comfortable standing. This is a good opportunity to become familiar with your snorkeling gear from the beach before snorkeling in deep-water. Your guides will teach you about the various species of fish you’ve encountered so far. If you’d like help identifying any of the fish in your photos, they’ll be happy to lend their expertise.
Return to the yacht for a BBQ lunch served on the sun deck (weather permitting) before going ashore at Punta Pitt for a hike - parts of the trail are rocky, and there is some climbing involved. This is considered one of the best sites for bird-watching, primarily because it is the only place where you’ll see all three species of boobies: the blue-footed, the red-footed, and the Nazca. Look for baby blue-footed boobies, fully grown after just a couple of months but fluffy and white until their feathers come in. Your guides will also point out frigates,
swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, brown pelicans. At Pitt Rock, we can snorkel with sea lions and colorful fish such as King Angel and Surgeon fish. A Zodiac will transfer you back to the boat for a briefing and dinner. As the yacht sets sail, choose from a selection of guide books or fiction in the library, or climb to the top deck for a distant view of “Sleeping Lion”. Join your guide on deck for an exploration of the Southern skies full of stars if weather permits.

TUESDAY III

This morning you’ll land at Punta Suarez on Española (Hood) Island. Your guides will point out the large number of endemic species living here, such as the waved albatross. These gorgeous birds spend the first several years of their lives in the open ocean and return to land to mate. If your visit is between April and December, you will witness the well-known courtship dance. As you walk, take care not to step on the marine iguanas sunbathing on the dark rocks. These iguanas are usually black but acquire bright red and green coloration during mating season from the algae they eat. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole, watch for colorful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline. We also find Darwin’s Finches, Hood mockingbird, Galapagos Doves, red-billed tropicbirds, Galápagos Hawks, Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gull in the world. Return to the yacht for a BBQ lunch served on deck (weather permitting) and a cooking demonstration on how to make Ecuadorian ceviche. After lunch, you’ll have the option to snorkel at Tortuga Rock and explore the caves covered with invertebrates. Disembark at Gardner Bay, site of a beautiful white-sand beach where colonies of sea lions dot the shoreline. The dominant males of a sea lion colony keep watch over their harems to keep them safe. Here you’ll have the option to snorkel from the beach, kayak or paddle-board, or simply walk along the beach, sunbathe or explore the Darwin Finches, Espanola mockingbird and Galápagos hawks. After the activities, return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.

WEDNESDAY IV

Step ashore at Punta Cormorant’s olive-sand beach with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons and blue-footed boobies as you walk around Floreana (Charles) Island. The green mineral you’ll see on the beach is caused by a high concentration of iron and manganese from the same basaltic lava found in Hawaii. As you walk to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galápagos flycatchers and bright pink flamingos, the guides will point out the rich variety of plant life, including morning glories, cut-leaf daisies, mangroves (black, red and white), palo verde and Scalesia. The trail leads to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the powdery sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion Islet, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and coral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Return to the yacht for lunch and a brief history of the human history of Galápagos and explain the fascinating story of why this island is sometimes called the Island of Mysteries. In the afternoon, you’ll be able to participate in a thrilling Galápagos tradition - Floreana is home to Post Office Bay, the site where English whaling vessels erected a post barrel in the late 18th century. When you drop a postcard in the barrel, no postage is required. You’ll search through the postcards left by previous visitors, and if you see one addressed to a location near your home, you may choose to take it with you and deliver it in person. Similarly, your note will be delivered by future visitors. Postcards will be provided on board by your guides. Take a Zodiac excursion at Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. If you have an underwater camera, you’ll be busy snapping photos of sea stars and a brilliant array of colorful fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner and a fun filled entertaining pirate themed party – participation is optional.

THURSDAY V

When you look outside this morning, your view will be completely different from the last few days. A harbor full of boats is bustling with activity at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, a town with a population of 24,000. You’ll travel by bus to a higher altitude with beautiful geological formations including the lava tunnels at El Mirador and Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of massive craters. Your guides will explain how they were formed.
The highlight of the morning is a visit to a privately-owned ranch where tortoises roam free. These slow-moving giants can grow to be over 500 pounds! Lunch will be served back on board the yacht, and in the afternoon you’ll learn about the most famous visitor to the Galapagos - Charles Darwin - as well as current conservation efforts, when you visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena and Charles Darwin Research Station. Visit the exhibit honoring Lonesome George, whose death marked the extinction of his species of tortoise from Pinta Island. There’s another story with a happier ending: Diego, a tortoise from the San Diego zoo, who brought his species back from the brink of extinction by fathering hundreds of offspring. You’ll have free time to explore the town as you walk back to the main dock, the distance of about a mile. If you’re looking for a souvenir, this is
the perfect time. Stop at the artisan chocolate shop to select a truffle, with dozens of flavor options, or visit an art gallery for a painting or ceramic piece. Along the way there will be cafes with coffee, ice cream and internet. You’ll have the option to stay on land for dinner with transfers provided by Zodiac. Otherwise, return to the yacht for the usual delicious multi-course dinner. Today’s daily briefing will be held in the afternoon to allow for extra time in the evening.

FRIDAY VI

When you wake up this morning, you’ll be in solitude once again, with no other boats in sight. You’ll have two options for a morning activity. Today’s hike is a challenge, with about 400 wooden steps winding around Bartolomé island, ending in a gorgeous panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock. Your guide will stop along the way to describe the geology of the landscape - mini lava cones and bombs formed by flowing magma from past volcanic eruptions. If you’d rather skip the hike, enjoy a Zodiac ride around the island and look for penguins. You’ll see these adorable animals - the second smallest type of penguin - swimming and diving playfully or grooming themselves on rocks. Crystal clear water beckons you to wade in from the beach. Snorkel with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins. Return to the vessel for a BBQ lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting). The itinerary for the remainder of your day will vary depending on your yacht, but all visitors will enjoy lovely views and some of the Galápagos’ renowned wildlife. Guests on the Origin go ashore at Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat), a small island off the southern tip of Santiago that owes its name to its shape. Sea lions await on the beach, and as you explore, you’ll see marine iguanas and oystercatchers. Along the trail, you’ll see remnants of the island’s geological history, with volcanic rubble and cracked lava formations. Guests on Theory visit Playa Las Bachas, (Spanish for barges) on the northern side of Santa Cruz. You’ll also have a wonderful opportunity for snorkeling after exploring interior lagoons with vivid flamingos. Guests on the Letty have a Zodiac excursion at Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. You’ll navigate slowly along the shoreline, listening for the telltale deep inhale of a sea turtle and watching for the wings of a school of golden rays. Your guide will offer an enrichment lecture tonight after dinner.

SATURDAY VII

This morning you’ll start out at South Plazas, a small islet with tall cliffs and a trail with a variety of plants and animals. This island’s species of “Opuntia” or prickly pear cactus has been decimated by invasive species, so you’ll see young plants surrounded by nets to protect them. Look for nests for a variety of birds, such as swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, small ground finches, and red-billed tropicbirds. This geological uplift is home to a colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory. You’ll also have the opportunity to see land iguanas up close, and your guides will describe what differentiates them from marine iguanas. During lunch, you’ll sail to North Seymour Island, where a spectacular sight awaits: frigate birds with red sacs on their chests inflated, seeking mates. At the height of mating season, you’ll be surrounded by dozens, but no matter what time of year you visit, there will be individuals seeking mates. The Galápagos Islands are home to two different species of frigates, Great and Magnificent, and your guides will teach you to identify the difference. You’ll have a final opportunity to snorkel in deeper water. Look for sharks, sea lions, and starfish, along with a variety of tropical fish.
Before dinner, the captain and crew join you for a champagne toast to celebrate a wonderful week during the Captain’s farewell party. During the briefing you’ll receive detailed instructions for disembarking the next morning, After dinner, there is a special presentation from your guides as you come to realize your week in paradise has almost come to an end!

SUNDAY VIII

This morning you’ll disembark the yacht after breakfast. As a perfect way to sum up the trip, you’ll visit the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal to discover more about the human history of the Galapagos Islands. There’s also a paved trail where you can enjoy a brief walk before a bus ride to town. You’ll have some free time for last-minute photos before your transfer to the airport. It’s a quick flight back to the mainland, but you’ll be bringing lifelong memories with you!
Ecoventura reserves the right at its sole option and discretion and that of the Captain of the vessel without liability for damages or refund of any kind to deviate from the vessel's advertised or regularly scheduled itinerary. Itineraries are subject to change at any time for any reason including mechanical failure and without prior notice. Ecoventura will not be held responsible for any refunds whatsoever for changes to the printed or scheduled itinerary.

southern
& central route
  • GUIDED NATURE WALKS

    Every day, Ecoventura’s guides lead two multi-hour nature walks around the island we’ve called upon. You may explore lava fields, hike alongside cliffs, stroll along a secluded beach, or experience close encounters with Galápagos wildlife. You’ll spend as much time walking as you will photograph the scenery and the fauna, watching for rare birds, and enjoying entertaining lectures from our expert guides.

  • ZODIAC RIDES

    Board an inflatable dinghy, or panga as they are known in the Galápagos, to access the islands from our expedition yachts. We use these small, low-impact vessels to reach shore, explore mangrove estuaries, and caves. On board Origin and Theory, a glass-bottom boat is also available.

  • SNORKELING

    For many travellers, snorkeling in the Galápagos Marine Reserve is the highlight of the expedition offered from the beach or in deep water. Observe the underwater world untethered during a snorkel trip with Ecoventura-provided gear, swimming alongside native sea turtles, sea lions, and endemic marine iguanas.

  • SEA KAYAKING OR STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING

    Explore the Galápagos by way of double or single “sit-on-top” kayak. After a brief tutorial, your naturalist sets you free to explore the islands’ secret coves and colourful beaches. Travellers can look forward to calm, warm seas, frequent wildlife spotting, and a solid workout.

  • SCUBA DIVING

    The Galapagos archipelago is located where major ocean currents come together — combining cold waters from the south with warm currents from the north and cooler currents from the west. Scuba enthusiasts flock to the Galapagos Islands to experience diving encounters unlike anywhere else on earth. We offer experienced scuba divers our dedicated scuba Live aboard – the 16-passenger luxury vessel, Galapagos Sky. Spend 3-4 days diving at Wolf and Darwin (on every trip) for whale sharks, schooling hammerheads, and manta rays.

  • WHALE WATCHING

    Whale (and dolphin) watching is one of the most exhilarating and unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. Marine mammals sightings of Bryde’s whales, Sperm whales, Orcas, and dolphins can happen anywhere in the islands year-round. The best time and place to see Blue and Humpback whales is between June and December when they migrate through the Boliver Channel between Isabela and Fernandina.