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Alya Catamaran - 7 Nights Itinerary A

Enjoy your Galapagos vacation on board this first-class, Smart-Voyager-certified catamaran: the Alya. While cruising on this well-designed yacht, you can enjoy full days of exploring and adventure in the living laboratory of this legendary archipelago. This new catamaran has 9 comfortable cabins, 8 of them with private balconies. Private facilities in each cabin include their own private bathroom, cold/hot water, and air conditioning. On this 8-day/7-night Galapagos Islands cruise, you will travel through central, eastern and northern islands of the archipelago – including Santa Cruz, Santiago, Genovesa, Española, Bartolome and San Cristobal islands – where you can view for yourself the unique species of wildlife that were the inspiration for Darwin’s startling theory and contributed to science’s understanding of life. Sailing on board the first-class 16-passenger Alya motor yacht, you will travel to these exotic Pacific islands to explore moon-like lava terrain, walk through lush forests teeming with birdlife, and snorkel in the crystal waters filled with unique marine life. On this Galapagos Islands vacation, your appreciation of the wonders of the world will be transformed.

Testimonials

“We loved the Galapagos Islands. Both of our hotels on Santa Cruz and Isabella islands were excellent. Our tour guides were knowledgeable and directed us to the most interesting sights and wildlife. Thanks Surtrek for organizing an excellent trip.”Catherine Anne Woodruff

Alya Catamaran: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal (Interpretation Center), Española, Genovesa, Santiago, Bartolome, Santa Cruz

Alya Catamaran: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: San Cristobal Island: Arrival on San Cristobal Island // Lobos Island
Day 2: San Cristobal Island: Cerro Brujo – Punta Pitt
Day 3: Española Island: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay
Day 4: Santa Cruz Island: Highlands // North Seymour Island
Day 5: Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – El Barranco
Day 6: Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island
Day 7: Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill – Black Turtle Cove
Day 8: Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station // Baltra Airport
Galapagos Map

Alya Catamaran: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Monday
San Cristobal Island: Arrival on San Cristobal Island // Lobos Island

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 Cristobal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the Surtrek team will welcome you and accompany you to your ship: the Ayla motor yacht.

PM: This afternoon, after getting situated on board the Ayla and having lunch, we will visit Lobos Island, located across from San Cristobal Island. This is a seasonal nesting spot for Blue-footed boobies and Frigatebirds. You also can enjoy swimming and snorkeling with sea lions in the island’s calm bay.I

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Tuesday
San Cristobal Island: Cerro Brujo – Punta Pitt

AM: This morning we will make a wet landing on San Cristobal Island to visit Cerro Brujo (“Wizard Hill”), a fascinating lava hill located on the northeastern coast of San Cristobal 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.

PM:  In the afternoon we will visit Punta Pitt, on the eastern side of San Cristobal Island. After a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain along a 1.4 km-long path and several magnificent lookout points, we will make our way through colonies of Frigatebirds and Fork-tailed seagulls. What’s more, this is probably the only site in the world where you can see all three species of boobies – Masked, Red- and Blue-footed ones. In addition to its great range of seabirds, Punta Pitt is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Wednesday
Española Island: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay

AM: Española Island 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. After breakfast, we will go on an excursion to Suárez 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, Suárez 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.

PM:  Located 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Thursday
Santa Cruz Island: Highlands // North Seymour Island

AM: Today we will 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.

PM:  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 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Friday
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 6 - Saturday
Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island

AM: This morning 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 head 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.

PM: Upon arriving on Bartolome Island, you will discover a fascinating moonscape formed by various volcanic formations — including lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — as we hike to the island’s summit for striking views of the surrounding islands, Sullivan Bay and the towering Pinnacle Rock. As the beaches at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock boast some of the finest snorkeling in the islands, you can discover a marvelous underwater world here and have a good chance of finding sea turtles gliding gently alongside you. On the rocks beneath Pinnacle Rock, it’s quite possible to spot some of the quick-as-an-arrow Galapagos penguins; at around 25 centimeters tall, these are members of the second smallest species of penguin in the world.  Likewise, you’re likely to see harmless Whitetip reef sharks sunning in these waters. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences, as the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Sunday
Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill – Black Turtle Cove

AM: Today we will visit Santa Cruz Island, the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and located in the center of the archipelago. In the morning we will explore the island’s northern coast 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:  While on Santa Cruz, we will also visit 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 8 - Monday
Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station // Baltra Airport

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- 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.

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

Alya Catamaran: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomDouble Cabin
8 DaysUS$ 6,545
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Alya motor catamaran
  • 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)
  • Bottled soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Single cabin supplements
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal items
  • Travel/medical insurance.
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