The unique wildlife of the Galápagos has no fear of humans. We walk trails right among nesting seabirds and colonies of marine iguanas that take no notice of us— it’s an experience unlike any other! The green Eastern Islands of this famed archipelago have a very diverse ecosystem and a remarkable number of species found nowhere else. Our active adventure includes far-flung Tower, prime nesting site of red-footed boobies, South Plaza, with its hybrid iguanas, and Santa Fé, home to such endemics as the Galápagos hawk and a great place to snorkel with enchanting sea lions. Life on board the barquentine Mary Anne or the mega-yacht Passion is an absolute delight, with delicious meals savored on deck, a glass of wine at sunset, and great talks with your naturalist guide.
This was the trip of a lifetime. The environment was exquisite, the service from the crew more than I could've ever asked for, the crew itself was so enjoyable, everything worked together perfectly to make this trip really special. I can confirm it was a great trip because we all wish we were back.
— Regina N., Huntersville, NC
Guayaquil / Explore Mangroves by Zodiac / Remote Tower Island / Bartolomé
After an overnight in Guayaquil, fly to Baltra, board the Mary Anne or the Passion, and sail to Black Turtle Cove for a Zodiac ride among green sea turtles and golden rays. Navigating north to Tower (Genovesa), you’ll explore red mangroves and prickly pear cacti where red-footed boobies and great frigatebirds perch, see nesting swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and clouds of storm petrels soaring over the cliffs. On tiny Bartolomé, the trail to the summit offers magnificent views of Pinnacle Rock, the Galápagos’ most famous icon, and the surrounding islands. At Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, walk a recent lava flow with pahoehoe lava formations, lava bubbles, and pioneering plants.
Explore a Saltwater Lagoon / Santa Cruz / Charles Darwin Research Station
Rabida, the “Red Island,” with its landscape of colorful eroded hills, features a lagoon full of Darwin’s finches and Galápagos mockingbirds, and we’ll see a land iguana nesting site at Cerro Dragon. In the highlands of Santa Cruz, search for tortoises in the wild, then explore the Darwin Station’s tortoise breeding facility, which illuminates the critical research being done here.
Land Iguanas / Beach Hike with Sea Lions
South Plaza and Santa Fé are home to their very own species of land iguanas, and South Plaza is also a great place to observe adult and pup sea lions swimming along the shore. On fantastic Española, with its powdery white-sand beach where sea lions haul out to rest, we’ll keep an eye out for Galápagos hawks, Galápagos doves, and Hood mockingbirds, endemic to the island, as well as the spectacular waved albatross, which nests here from April through December. Fly to Guayaquil for a final overnight and depart on Day 10.