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Beluga Yacht - 7 Nights Itinerary A

The 16-passenger Beluga is ideal for those who want to cruise in a small motor yacht. The ship is fully air-conditioned and has spacious social areas with all the facilities of a first-class yacht. Likewise, her interiors are spacious, the food on board is delightful, and the tour services are friendly and professional. Cruising and exploring the Galapagos on board the Beluga, you will find yourself snorkeling with sea lions and sea turtles, discovering colonies of frigatebirds and boobies on the cliffs of Fernandina Island, and gaining deeper insights into ecology on this Galapagos Islands cruise. relaxing on the sundeck or in the shade of the top deck, this 8-day/7-night Galapagos “Tower Tour” will take you to the eight islands and islets of the archipelago, including Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal and Genovesa – which all make this a Galapagos Islands vacation you will not soon forget.

Testimonials

“Everything went off without a hitch. Accomodation was just what we wanted. Clean, great location and within our budget. The dive master was great. ”Sarah Darwin

Beluga Yacht: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal (Kicker Rock), Española, Grenovesa Islands & Charles Darwin Station.

Beluga Yacht: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill
Day 2: Santa Fe Island // South Plaza Island
Day 3: San Cristobal Island: Cerro Brujo – Kicker Rock – Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – El Junco or Las Tijeretas – Interpretation Center
Day 4: Española Island: Gardner Bay – Gardner Islet – Osborn Islet – Suarez Point
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Puerto Ayora – Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands
Day 6: Chinese Hat Island // James Island // Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay
Day 7: Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – El Barranco
Day 8: Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Beluga Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill

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 ship's crew will welcome you and accompany you to your yacht: the M/Y Beluga.

PM: In the afternoon we will explore the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island to visit Dragon Hill, which is an excellent spot for observing lava lizards, Darwin finches, and wading birds. On the way to Dragon Hill, we will rest at a small lagoon that’s a popular feeding place for colorful birds and flamingos.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Santa Fe Island // South Plaza Island

AM: This morning we will visit Santa Fe Island, a tiny rocky island covered in small Palo Santo trees and six-meter-high opuntia cactuses. The island is inhabited mainly by large yellow land iguanas, Galapagos buzzards, Blue-footed boobies, and pelicans. While snorkeling in the wonderful blue-green bay in which the ship anchors, you can observe the many inhabitants of this underwater world, including countless tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and playful sea lions.

PM: Following lunch, we will explore South Plaza Island, located just east of Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing on the northern part of this life-filled islet, you will encounter colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. While on the steep banks, you can see numbers of birds – like nesting Tropicbirds and Fork-tailed seagulls – but most of all, you will enjoy the beautiful views from either atop the steep banks or while strolling along the base of the cliff. Opuntia cactuses grow on this island and the vegetation changes color throughout the year.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Sunday
San Cristobal Island: Cerro Brujo – Kicker Rock – Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – El Junco or Las Tijeretas – Interpretation Center

AM: This morning we will make a wet landing on San Cristobal Island to visit Cerro Brujo, a fascinating lava hill located on the northeastern coast of San Cristóbal Island. Here you will find exceptional views of Kicker Rock, as well as the southern part of San Cristobal and the adjacent coast. On this site’s rocks, you can observe Blue-footed boobies, seagulls, Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, other sandpiper species, White-cheeked pintails and some pelicans. The protected bay is also popular among young sea turtles and rays, which makes swimming and snorkeling here particularly exciting. Later, we will follow the route that Charles Darwin once took and sail around the massive tuff-rock called “Kicker Rock,” which is a nesting site for hosts of seabirds. Here, you will be able to find Blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and frigate birds.  This is a great site for scuba diving, as hammerhead sharks can be seen in this area.

PM: On San Cristobal Island, this afternoon we will visit Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, which is the second most populated island in the archipelago. The island has been inhabited for more than 100 years mainly because it has many sources of fresh water, while today’s inhabitants of the town live from fishing and sustainable tourism. At this port, you will have a chance to explore its shops and the local tortoise breeding center. Later, we will visit the highlands of San Cristóbal Island, going to El Junco or Las Tijeretas, depending on the weather. If we head to the freshwater “El Junco” lagoon, we will take a one-hour walk around this crater lagoon, where you will be introduced to the typical plant life of the island. You will also notice Frigatebirds, Bahama ducks, and moorhens around the lagoon’s bank. The alternative site, Las Tijeretas, has a large frigate bird colony. Finally, 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 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.    

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Española Island: Gardner Bay – Gardner Islet – Osborn Islet – Suarez Point

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 this morning. 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. Small Gardner Island, situated across from Espanola Island’s Gardner Bay, is lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders.  While snorkeling, you are likely to encounter the smallest of the Galapagos garden eels, Snake eels, as well as Black-spotted morays, Galapagos puffer fish, Scorpionfish, Trumpetfish, cornetfish and Red-lipped batfish. You will be able to see plenty sea lions lying lazily on the beach.  On the north end of the island are twisting tunnels, and to the south are caves, which all make for a remarkable excursion. The area has an abundance of fish including schools of snappers, Creole fish, King angelfish, large Pufferfish, and a variety of sea urchins and sea stars. We will also take a 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, Surgeonfish, 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.  

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Tuesday
Santa Cruz Island: Puerto Ayora – Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands

AM: Today we will visit the charming port town of Puerto Ayora, which – with more than 20,000 inhabitants – is the most populous human settlement in the Galapagos Islands. It also has the best-developed infrastructure in the archipelago – with schools, hotels, restaurants, stores, and clubs – and is the best place to communicate with the outside world via a number of Internet cafés and telephone offices.  Most travelers used to just pass through here on their way to see “Lonesome George,” the 150-year old tortoise who lived at Charles Darwin Research Station; but those who linger here for a moment longer will discover that Puerto Ayora has more to offer. The town has sports shops for diving equipment, mountain biking, and birdwatching, as well as day tours that include its nearby white-sand beaches. 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- 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.

PM: We will then visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where the lush landscape is a welcome contrast to the arid scenery of the smaller, lower islands. On the way, we will cross through different vegetation zones – from the dry lower region full of cactuses to the scalesia woods in the Highlands.  There one can find two small agricultural communities that grow the famous organic Galapagos coffee. While in the Highlands you will have the option of visiting one of two tortoise breeding centers: El Chato or Rancho Las Primicias. At either site, approaching these enormous and slow-moving reptiles is always an inspiring adventure. The El Chato tortoise reserve was founded in 1964 to allow visitors observe the island’s huge Galapagos turtles and White herons in their natural habitat. You will also be able to walk through nearby underground lava tunnels formed during volcanic eruptions. As the outside of the lava hardened, the inside continued to flow to the ocean, creating these tunnels. Alternatively, Rancho Primicias is a great place to see about ten to fifteen Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. In addition to being able to view the ocean from this location in the Highlands, you can walk through a lava cave that was formed by a volcanic eruption.      

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Wednesday
Chinese Hat Island // James Island // Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

AM: We will make a wet landing on Chinese Hat Island, located southeast of Santiago Island. Its name describes the shape of the island, which you will be able to discern from a distance.  This island’s landscapes are dominated by volcanic formations and fragile lava tubes.  Because of this, it’s very important to stay on the paths. You will encounter a small colony of sea lions and then proceed to hike through this dark, unyielding island of solid rock. We will also visit James Island, which offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas, and fur seals.

PM: In the afternoon 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.  We will then proceed to Sullivan Bay, located on the eastern coast of Santiago Island. Its lava field, covered with lava cactuses, has a variety of interesting patterns of important geologic interest, as you will be able to observe the contrasting lava landscapes from an older eruption and a newer one formed during the last quarter of the 19th century.  After exploring these lava flows, you can swim or snorkel with playful sea lions.     

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – El Barranco

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. 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.

PM: This afternoon 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Friday
Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove // Baltra Island: Airport

AM: This morning we will visit Santa Cruz Island, the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and located in the center of the archipelago. Located there is Black Turtle Cove, a nesting site for sea turtles, who peak their heads above the surface of the water while fish and other forms of marine life circle below.  With luck, the calm water will allow you to see different types of sharks (like the Whitetip reef shark) and schools of golden-colored Mustard rays. There are a number of mangrove forests here as well.

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.

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Breakfast

Beluga Yacht: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomDouble
8 DaysUS$ 4,600
Included in the price:
  •     All transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  •     Cruise on board of the BELUGA in double accommodations with all facilities
  •     Services of a naturalist guide on all land excursions and during nightly briefings
  •     Free purified drinking water.
Not included in the price:
  •     Flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  •     Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 USD per adult)
  •     Transit card ($20.00 USD per person)
  •     Bottled and alcoholic beverages
  •     Tips and gratuities
  •     Personal items and expenses
  •     Travel/medical insurance.
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