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Petrel Catamaran - 7 Nights Itinerary B

The 16-passenger Petrel Luxury Galapagos Catamaran is one of the best ways to experience the Galapagos Islands. While the tour emphasizes the remarkable natural history of the Galapagos Islands, with knowledgeable naturalist land-tour guides, the catamaran itself was designed for comfort and stability, which is why it’s outfitted with spacious cabins with private balconies, a comfortable lounge and ample relaxation areas. This 8-day/7-night Galapagos Islands cruise offers you an abundance of amazing natural highlights; whether it’s a close encounter with unique wildlife like the emblematic giant Galapagos tortoise, land and marine iguanas, flamingos, penguins, blue-footed boobies or the famous Darwin’s finches, you will come away having learned much more about the natural world. Sailing on board the 16-passenger Petrel luxury catamaran, this Galapagos Islands tour will take you through the unforgettable central islands, as well as to scenic Genovesa Island in the north of the archipelago.

Testimonials

“The trip to the Galapagos was really fantastic! Although it was quite short, the trip itinerary made time for us to do quite a lot of things. Everything went very smoothly, too.”Maggie Clark

Petrel Catamaran: Highlights

Galapagos Island, San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Santiago, Bartolome, Genovesa

Petrel Catamaran: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: San Cristobal Island: Arrival – Interpretation Center – Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 2: Española Island: Gardner Bay – Osborn & Gardner Islets – Suarez Point
Day 3: Floreana Island: Cormorant Point – Devil’s Crown – Post Office Bay – Baroness’ Lookout Point
Day 4: Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands
Day 5: Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock
Day 6: Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip’s Steps
Day 7: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove
Day 8: Santa Cruz Island: Carrion Point // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Petrel Catamaran: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
San Cristobal Island: Arrival – Interpretation Center – Tortoise Breeding Center

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 Cristóbal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of your ship's crew will then welcome you and accompany you to your yacht: the Petrel.

PM: 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.  One of the main attractions of San Cristobal Island is 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. Close to the center is an easy trail that covers a distance of 900 meters; along this trail, you will see different species of native and endemic plants of the Galapagos, like cat’s claw, manzanillo, romerillo, and acacia. Be careful not to touch or eat the manzanillo fruits as these are toxic. San Cristobal Island is also one of the few islands where you can see the plant calandrinia galapagosa, which is in danger of extinction.   

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Española Island: Gardner Bay – Osborn & Gardner Islets – 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 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.  We will also ride around Osborn & Gardner islets, located close to Española Island. These are made of volcanic rock and are popular fishing sites among local small-scale fishers. On these Galapagos islets, you may 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, 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.   

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Sunday
Floreana Island: Cormorant Point – Devil’s Crown – Post Office Bay – Baroness’ Lookout Point

AM: Today we will visit Floreana Island, considered to be one of the most exotic in the Galapagos archipelago.  Countless legends are part of the history of this island, as pirates and buccaneers were drawn to here in search of for food and water. Later the island was colonized by Norwegians, Brits, Germans and others who were in search of ways to make money from what they hoped to discover here. The name Floreana is in honor of Juan Jose Flores, Ecuador’s first president.   This morning’s excursion is to the Cormorant Point visitor site. After a wet landing on the beach, we will go down a 100-meter-long path to a mangrove lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks, black herons, oystercatchers, and plovers.  With a little bit of luck, you might also see flamingos. Another path leads to a small beach that is an important nesting site for sea turtles. In the shallow water there, one can often find stingrays and Whitetip reef sharks.

PM: After lunch, you will be able to take advantage of the great snorkeling opportunities at “Devil’s Crown,” a broken volcanic cone that is one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The underwater world here includes reef sharks, starfish, sea turtles, sea lions and a host of tropical fish species.  Later we will visit Post Office Bay, where the legendary post barrel that whalers historically used to put their mail in is still kept. After a wet landing, you can walk just off the beach to leave a letter here in hopes that it will make to its destination via another tourist.…so don’t forget to bring postcards along. Snorkelers can take a dip on the main beach among the playful sea lions and green sea turtles. Next, we will visit the Baroness’ Lookout Point, where the controversial “Baroness” Eloisa de Wagner – one of the first human inhabitants in the Galapagos Islands – would spend several hours daily observing whales and dolphins.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands

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 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 to 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 5 - Tuesday
Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock

AM: In the 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 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.

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 6 - Wednesday
Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip’s Steps

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: In the afternoon we will go ashore at a crater wall where Prince Phillip’s Steps are located.  These stairs were carved in the stone wall and lead up to a wide plateau where you will find nesting places of Great frigatebirds, Red-billed tropic birds, Bahama ducks, Lava seagulls and Fork-tailed seagulls. During this easy stroll, we will cut through a small scalesia forest where you might observe short-eared owls.  With a little bit of luck, you will also be able to observe the unique courtship rituals carried out by the various booby species (Red- and Blue-footed as well as Masked boobies). It truly is a show.    

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove

AM: 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 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 8 - Friday
Santa Cruz Island: Carrion Point // Baltra Island: Airport

AM: In the morning we will visit Carrion Point, which is close to the eastern mouth of Itabaca Channel, between Baltra Island and Santa Cruz Island. You will see some almost ever-present creatures such as sea lions, Creole fish, and Blue-striped sea slugs. You will also have a good chance of seeing mobula rays cruising by – sometimes in small schools. Whitetip reef sharks are also commonly sighted here. 

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

Petrel Catamaran: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomStateroomsSuite
8 DaysUS$ 6,880US$ 7,475
Included in the price:
  • All shore excursions
  • All meals throughout the cruise
  • Soft drinks and juices
  • Welcome courtesy and reception
  • Galapagos National Park certified Guide
  • Use of snorkeling gear and wetsuits
  • Kayaks
Not included in the price:
  • Flights to/from the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galapagos Island (Quito–Galapagos–Quito flights cost approx. $569 per person)
  • entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($ 100 per person)
  • migration card ($20 per person)
  • alcoholic beverages
  • tips
  • personal items
  • travel and medical insurance.
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