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Grand Majestic Mega Yacht 7-Night Itinerary B

On this 8-day Galapagos Islands cruise, you will sail through eastern, central and western islands of this legendary archipelago, sites that once served as catalysts for Darwin’s spectacular breakthrough in human understanding of biology. On board the Grand Majestic, a 16-passenger luxury cruise yacht, you will discover for yourself this showcase of biodiversity. On this Galapagos Islands tour, you don’t have to be a degreed ornithologist or an evolutionary biologist to be fascinated by this amazing archipelago – one of the few destinations left on earth where the human footprint has been minimized.

Reviews

“We had a great time in the jungle. Our experience was amazing. Can’t wait to tell you more about it.”Michael McLane

Highlights

Jacinto Tortoise Breeding Center, Black Turtle Cove, Bartolome Island, Puerto Egas Beach, Tagus Cove, Urbina Bay, Espinosa Point, Isabela Island, Buccaneer Cove

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: San Cristobal Island: Airport – Transfer to the M/Y Majestic – Jacinto Gordillo Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 2: North Seymour Island // Black Turtle Cove
Day 3: Bartolome Island // Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach
Day 4: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove – Urbina Bay
Day 5: Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca
Day 6: Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove – Espumilla Beach – Sullivan Bay
Day 7: Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach – Charles Darwin Research Center / Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 8: San Cristobal Island: Kicker Rock – San Cristobal Airport
Galapagos Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Monday
San Cristobal Island: Airport – Transfer to the M/Y Majestic – Jacinto Gordillo Tortoise Breeding Center

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.

 

One of the main attractions of San Cristobal Island is the Jacinto Gordillo Tortoise Breeding Center, where you will see enormous Galapagos tortoises, as well as iguanas. As the natural population of tortoises from San Cristobal Island is seriously threatened by animals introduced onto the island by humans – mainly wild goats, cats, and rats – the center is attempting to increase the number of tortoises as well as eradicate threatening species.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Tuesday
North Seymour Island // Black Turtle Cove

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.

 

This afternoon, 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, 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 3 - Wednesday
Bartolome Island // Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach

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.

 

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.

 

This afternoon we will make a wet landing on Santiago’s Puerto Egas beach. Its black volcanic sand was 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 Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are another highlight.  

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Thursday
Isabela Island: Tagus Cove – Urbina Bay

This morning will take us to the largest landmass in the Galapagos archipelago: Isabela Island. With a surface of 1,770 sq. miles (4,588 sq. km.), the island constitutes more than the half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago – which is why it has the most visitor points in the islands. Five volcanoes are found on Isabela, including the archipelago’s highest: Wolf Volcano, reaching 1,707 m (5,600 ft.). In addition, Isabela is the only island in the Galapagos that is actually crossed by the Equator.

 

After a 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.

 

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 5 - Friday
Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca

Fernandina Island 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).

 

Located at the “mouth” of the head of the seahorse that forms the northern part of Isabela Island is Punta Vicente Roca, an interesting rock formation. Here, the remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves, with a bay that’s well-protected from the ocean swells. With a bit of luck, you can see Galapagos penguins, while Masked- and Blue-footed boobies, as well as pelicans, sit perched along the point and its sheer cliffs, while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of currents of cool water in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, which makes Vicente Roca Point a great area for deep-water snorkeling.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Saturday
Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove – Espumilla Beach – Sullivan Bay

This morning, after landing on Santiago Island, 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 sea-bird nests. In the cliffs, you can try to find two rock formations that look like a monkey and an elephant.

 

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.

 

Next, we will then 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Sunday
Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach – Charles Darwin Research Center / Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center

This morning we will arrive on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy Las Bachas Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches for sea turtles. Here you can also find flamingos, Black-winged stilts, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, and — with a little bit of luck — tiny Galapagos penguins. In addition, this beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but they then spend 3 to 5 years without breeding. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago; these were once the property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. In fact, the beach got its name because the English word “barges” was hard to pronounce for the local people – hence “Bachas” Beach. You will also have the opportunity to swim on this soft white sand beach or explore the fascinating underwater by snorkeling.

 

This afternoon 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Monday
San Cristobal Island: Kicker Rock – San Cristobal Airport

Following breakfast on board the Grand Majestic, 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, and hammerhead sharks can be seen in the area.

 

From the dock on San Cristobal Island, we will take a short bus ride to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Enjoy the last view of the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with fascinating natural highlights.

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Breakfast

Prices

2020 - Price per person
RoomMaster SuiteStateroom
8 DaysUS$ 7,945 PPUS$ 5,945 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Grand Majestic motor yacht
  • Accommodations on board the yacht
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • All transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  • Services of an English/Spanish-speaking naturalist guide
  • Use of snorkeling equipment/wetsuit
  • Use of underwater camera
Not included in the price:
  • Flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Quito–Galapagos–Quito)
  • Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 per person)
  • Galapagos Immigration Control Card ($20 per person)
  • Alcoholic and bottled drinks
  • Tips & gratuities for captain and crew
  • Personal expenses
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“I had a great trip with the liveabord at Agressor II, everything was just perfect, the boat, the trip, the team and the dives. I would like to thank for all the support from Surtrek team.”Alex