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Galaxy Yacht - 7 Nights Itinerary

On board the first-class 18-passenger Galaxy motor yacht, this amazing 8-day Galapagos Islands cruise will take you to central and western islands of the archipelago. With a wealth of wildlife viewing opportunities, this carefully planned itinerary will take you to scenic islands such as Isabela, where can observe the island’s huge and emblematic Galapagos tortoises and White herons 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 inhabits these famous islands.

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“I was very happy in every way with your booking and Cuyabeno Lodge. It surpassed my expectations in every way. No hitches with flights and transportation. The lodge was beautiful. The staff was professional and friendly.”Tim Matheson

Galaxy Yacht: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Isabela (Tagus Cove), Fernandina, North Seymour & Santa Cruz (Tortoise Reserve).

Galaxy Yacht: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport – Board Yacht // Santa Cruz Island: El Chato Tortoise Breeding Center – The Twins
Day 2: Isabela Island: Tintoreras – Moreno Point
Day 3: Isabela Island: Elizabeth Bay – Urbina Bay
Day 4: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point
Day 5: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island: Daphne Mayor or Dragon Hill – Black Turtle Cove
Day 7: Rabida Island // Chinese Hat Island
Day 8: North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Galaxy Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday
Baltra Island: Airport – Board Yacht // Santa Cruz Island: El Chato Tortoise Breeding Center – The Twins

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 Galaxy.

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 a chance to visit the El Chato tortoise breeding center. This reserve was founded in 1964 to allow visitors observe the island’s huge Galapagos turtles and White herons in their natural habitat. Approaching the enormous and slow-moving reptiles is always an inspiring adventure. 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. Later in the afternoon, we will go to the Santa Cruz Highlands and see "The Twin” (twin craters), which will be explained by your naturalist guide. These craters are surrounded by scalesia forest, where also live Ruby tyrants and small and large Tree finches.      

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Sunday
Isabela Island: Tintoreras – Moreno Point

AM: In the morning we will take a short boat trip across the harbor of Isabela Island. After passing sea lions and pelicans that bathe in the sun on the fishing boats there, we will reach the small island of Tintoreras, where we will take an easy walk through the bizarre lava landscape with its huge colonies of marine iguanas. A colony of sea lions is also located here, and it’s common to see Whitetip reef sharks resting in the water near the shore. These sharks are called “tintoreras” in Spanish, giving the island its name. Later this same morning, we will hike through the wetlands of the island to a breeding station for giant tortoises. On the way, we will pass brackish water lagoons where flamingos can sometimes be seen. At the breeding station, you can get up “close and personal” to some of the giant tortoise species from Isabela Island.

PM: After lunch, we will explore Moreno Point, a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons. You will be able to see flamingos, Bahama ducks and other birds here.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Monday
Isabela Island: Elizabeth Bay – Urbina Bay

AM: Today we will head to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay and visit the small islands offshore. You are likely to see dwarf penguins as well as schools of manta rays, turtles and other giants of the ocean – possibly even surfacing whale sharks. The mangrove woods are also home to various species of seabirds and herons.

PM: After lunch, we will make a wet landing in Urbina Bay.  Coral reefs are visible here as a result of an especially violent eruption of the Alcedo Volcano in 1954, when large sections of Isabela Island’s coast were suddenly raised about four meters. These reefs are now covered with poison apple and muyuyo trees. You can also observe land iguanas and the rare Mangrove finch up close here. From January to June, land turtles occasionally visit the bay, descending from their higher mountain living environments. After a short walk inland, we will have some time for snorkeling, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish.     

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Tuesday
Isabela Island: Tagus Cove // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point

AM: After an early morning dry landing, we will visit Isabela Island’s notorious Tagus Cove, which was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers, and whalers.  Still exiting here is some graffiti that is believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates …a curious reminder of an intriguing past. Perched on the ledges of the cliffs around this deep blue bay, you can observe a large number of Blue-footed boobies, as well as marine iguanas, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, swallow-tailed gulls and tiny Galapagos penguins (members of the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator). A steep trail also passes through an area of dry vegetation and volcanic landscapes with scalesia woods and cactuses.

PM: This afternoon we will head to Fernandina Island, which is not only the westernmost island but also the youngest and most pristine island in the Galapagos. Huge fields of lava were created here by the La Cumbre Volcano’s 2005 eruption, which was followed on April 11, 2009, when the volcano flared up again, forming a cloud of ash and steam as hot lava flowed down the slopes of the volcano into the ocean. Nonetheless, an abundance of wildlife calls this island home, including the famous Flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, marine iguanas and sea lions. You can also find mangroves on Fernandina Island, in addition to a great diversity of wildlife – such as orcas and whale sharks (which can sometimes be seen while snorkeling and when they surface). On Fernandina, we will make a dry landing on Espinoza Point, one of Fernandina Island’s visitor points. It is filled with fascinating scenery, such as cactuses growing on the surface of lava. One gets a sense of how life fought to begin when seeing these plants emerging from crevices in this barren landscape. Within this unique scenery, you will encounter numerous animals – the highlights being sea lions, Galapagos penguins, Flightless cormorants (especially in the spring and summer), and one of the largest iguana colonies in the Galapagos Islands.  In fact, on this small strip of land that constitutes Espinoza Point, you can find literally thousands of marine iguanas, which gather in large groups.   

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Wednesday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove

AM: Today, 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 make a wet landing onto Puerto Egas’s beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835 and still maintaining an abundance of marine iguanas. After a short walk of about 2 km along the coast, we will reach the rugged lava coastline of James Bay. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned night heron and an astounding array of marine wildlife – including lobsters, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are another highlight. 

PM: In the afternoon we will visit Santiago Island’s Espumilla Beach, where marine iguanas relax and sea turtles nest. While snorkeling, you might come upon octopuses, morays and many types of tropical fish. There is also a Palo Santo forest close to this beach. From there we will go to Buccaneer Cove, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a shelter for pirates, whalers, and sailors. The bay is surrounded by high tuff cliffs where many seabirds nest. In the cliffs, you can try to find two rock formations that look like a monkey and an elephant.      

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Thursday
Santa Cruz Island: Daphne Mayor or Dragon Hill – Black Turtle Cove

AM: Depending on weather conditions, this morning, we will visit either Daphne Mayor (off the coast of Santa Cruz Island) or Dragon Hill, on Santa Cruz itself.  Daphne Mayor – which is bigger than its sister island, Daphne Menor – is great for observing tropical birds.  Despite its lack of trees, this island contains a crater that is home to many nesting fowl.  Because of this, Daphne has been the site of a major scientific research project, with researchers having captured and banded each of the island's finches. These scientists continue to monitor the birds in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of their lives. Alternatively, we will explore the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island and 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.

PM: This afternoon, we will visit Santa Cruz Island’s Black Turtle Cove, a nesting site for sea turtles, which 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. 

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Friday
Rabida Island // Chinese Hat Island

AM: Today we will visit the red beach on the eastern coast of Rabida Island.  Dark rust-colored sand covers this unique beach, creating an incredible landscape. This reddish color is due to the very porous volcanic materials, which – with the help of environmental factors like rain, salt water, and sea breezes – have acted as oxidizing agents. Other attractions are the vegetation in this arid zone and the presence of native and endemic species of wildlife. The beach area is open, but don’t get too close when the pelicans are nesting, and try not to disturb the sea lions. Hidden behind bushes close to the beach is a salt-water lagoon where flamingoes can often be seen. It’s best to keep quiet and avoid any sudden or rapid movements since these flamingoes can be frightened off easily.

PM: 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Saturday
North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport

AM: After a dry landing on North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along its coast, where you will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, and Cliff crabs. This part of North Seymour Island is also known for being a major nesting site for Blue-footed boobies and one of the largest colonies of Magnificent frigatebirds (a species different from the Great frigatebird). As you enjoy this relaxing hike around various nesting sites, you can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas.

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

Galaxy Yacht: Prices

2017 - Price per person
Room
2018 - Price per person
RoomLower DeckUpper Deck / Main Deck
8 DaysUS$ 4,550US$ 4,744
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Galaxy
  • accommodations in a double cabin with private facilities
  • all meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • all transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  • services of an English/Spanish-speaking naturalist guide on daily excursions and during briefings
  • use of snorkeling equipment
  • free purified drinking water.
Not included in the price:
  • Flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($100 USD per adult)
  • transit control card ($20 USD per person)
  • soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • single cabin supplement
  • tips and gratuities
  • personal items
  • travel/medical insurance.
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