Photo by Bill Abbott

Photo by Bill Abbott

Photo by Dan Heller

Photo by Bill Abbott

 
Enchanted Isles route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5995  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Lodging: 7 nights aboard the Mary Anne, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Activity: Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level: Daily hikes, snorkeling, optional sea kayaking
1p

Highlights

  • A comprehensive 8-day cruise including the sea turtles of Floreana and Bolivar Channel, with its numerous seabirds
  • With an expert naturalist guide, witness the diversity of wildlife that inspired Darwin
  • Fantastic snorkeling excursions, including Devil’s Crown and Punta Vicente Roca


This was truly a fantastic trip beyond my expectations in quality of itinerary, the varied sightseeing activities—hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, boat accommodation and amenities, staff and guide, and food.Jenny C.—Calgary, Alberta

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$500 discount per person
All 2016 departures

Limited to the first six sign-ups per departure. Please note that these special offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

We’ve perfected active journeys to this fascinating “world unto itself,” as Darwin called the Galápagos. On our 8-day voyage through the dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Western Islands, you’ll discover pristine Fernandina Island, a huge shield volcano with a shoreline full of flightless cormorants, snorkel with green sea turtles and Galápagos penguins at Devil’s Crown, and on North Seymour, walk by magnificent frigatebirds in full courtship display. Look for spouting whales as we cross Bolivar Channel, and explore Santiago’s Puerto Egas, where fur seals caper in underwater grottos carved by the sea. Our voyage aboard the beautiful yacht Mary Anne, catering to just 16 guests, is the way to go, with wonderfully active days complemented by unforgettable nights beneath the starry sky.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Guayaquil / Highland Walk / Charles Darwin Research Station / Floreana

From Guayaquil, fly to Baltra. Search for tortoises in the Santa Cruz highlands, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, then board the Mary Anne. On Floreana, explore a sea turtle nesting ground, snorkel at Devil’s Crown, and learn about the intriguing human history of the island. An afternoon sail across the sea, with the chance of sighting whales and dolphins, brings us to Isabela.

Days 5-6
Elizabeth Bay / Punta Espinosa

A lovely hike leads to a flamingo lagoon on Isabela, followed by Zodiac explorations among the sea turtles in Elizabeth Bay. On Fernandina, look for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, Galápagos hawks, and scampering Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Days 7-8
Tagus Cove / Snorkeling at Punta Vicente Roca

Explore a historic pirate hideaway by Zodiac, then stop at Punta Vicente Roca for excellent snorkeling. From Espumilla Beach on Santiago, walk a forest trail to see yellow warblers and curious Galápagos flycatchers. At Puerto Egas, see Galápagos fur seals lounging under arches of lava.

Days 9-10
North Seymour / Blue-FootedBoobies and Frigatebirds

Explore North Seymour’s nesting colonies of frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. From Baltra, fly to Guayaquil for an overnight, and depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

The Galapagos Islands

Download our The Galapagos Islands 2015 brochure, featuring incredible wildlife adventures in Darwin’s Islands aboard the yacht Mary Anne. Or request a print copy to be sent by mail.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1+. Trips that are rated 1 are non-camping trips with optional walks and little elevation gain or loss. The + indicates that this trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of this level. We feel this trip is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active and enjoys regular moderate walks and hikes, but we ask you to consider the following factors before choosing this trip: 

Shore Excursions
To get ashore each day you will be transfer from the Mary Anne onto our Zodiac (the small boat that brings you ashore) and stepping out of the Zodiac to go ashore. Passengers are required to wear life jackets when traveling in the Zodiac. Getting on the Zodiac involves walking down a gang-plank set of stairs and stepping onto the Zodiac while both the yacht and Zodiac are moving with the roll of the seas. A crew member on the Zodiac will reach for your hand to help steady you during this maneuver, but it nonetheless can often feel tricky depending on the amount ocean swell.

Shore landings are either “dry” (where there are rocks or wooden piers to step onto when you disembark from the Zodiac) or “wet” (which involves stepping out of the Zodiac into a foot or so of surf and wading to shore). Getting out of the Zodiac for a dry landing is occasionally tricky even though a crew member will be there to assist, especially on days when the seas are active and the rocks you step onto may be slippery. For a wet landing, you may be stepping into shallow surf, possibly up to your knees or higher if you disembark just as a wave comes in, so it is important that you have the agility for this. Of course, our boat staff will be on hand to assist with landings.

Hikes/walks on the Galapagos Islands are not long (up to 3 miles), but they often involve uneven ground, either on dry lava, which can be quite sharp if you fall, on rocky trails with uneven boulders, or on sandy beaches. 

Swimming/Snorkeling
Trip members on any Galápagos trip should be able to swim and ideally have previous snorkeling experience. The itinerary includes snorkeling excursions on most days and they are a major attraction for any visit to the islands. Please consult both our office and your Trip Leader aboard the boat if you have any concerns about swimming and snorkeling.

Most of our snorkeling is in water that is between 10 to 40 feet deep, but if conditions allow, we may offer open-ocean snorkeling near a remote off-shore reef. These open-ocean snorkels are not suitable for first-time snorkelers or weak swimmers.

Your Trip Leader accompanies the group on all snorkeling excursions and the Zodiac will attempt to stay close, should anyone wish to get out of the water. We do not, however, have staff members available to individually assist snorkelers and it is incumbent on each swimmer to keep track of his or her own whereabouts. Currents in Galápagos can be strong at some sites. You should only choose to swim and snorkel in those spots where you are completely comfortable. If you are not a strong swimmer or have little experience snorkeling, you might prefer to bring your own personal flotation device (PFD) rather than rely on the cumbersome on-board life jackets.

To get in the water, you will slide off the side of the Zodiac and into the water. Getting back in the Zodiac will require climbing up a small metal ladder attached to the side of the Zodiac. The seaman in charge of the Zodiac will help, but it is impossible for him to just pull you out of the water—you have to be prepared to do most of the work under your own power.

While normally a good variety of snorkeling equipment is available on the Mary Anne, if you are a particularly serious snorkeler, we highly recommend bringing your own snorkel, mask, and possibly even fins to assure a proper fit. A proper fit of your mask is critical for keeping water out and allowing you good vision underwater. There is no scuba diving available on our Galápagos trips. Our boats are not set up for scuba diving but there are places in Puerto Ayora where diving is available if you would like to extend your trip. Depending on your personal tolerance for cold, you may not need a wetsuit. However, everyone’s tolerance level is different and most prefer to use a wetsuit. Complimentary shorty wetsuits are available on board for your use. If you easily get cold, you may prefer a full-length wetsuit (you will need to bring your own from home). Many people wear a t-shirt while snorkeling to protect their arms and backs from sunburn. The backs of the legs are also prone to sunburn, so some people might want to swim in lightweight tights or leggings, or purchase “skins” (lycra bodysuits sold at dive shops).

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Jul 3-12, 2015  Bitinia Espinoza
Dec 18-27, 2015
2016
Jan 15-24, 2016
Feb 12-21, 2016
Feb 26-Mar 6, 2016
Mar 11-20, 2016
Mar 25-Apr 3, 2016
Apr 8-17, 2016
Apr 22-May 1, 2016
May 6-15, 2016
May 20-29, 2016
Jun 17-26, 2016
Jul 1-10, 2016
Dec 30, 2016-Jan 8, 2017

Note: Limited availability on 2015 trips, please call for details.

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$5995 (6-16 members)
Single supplement: $225 (Hotel)
Internal airfare: $515 (subject to change)
Galapagos park fee and transit card: $120
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $300
Discounts for children: call for details
No single supplement on board (subject to availability)
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $500
150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
120-61 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
60 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations at the hotel in Guayaquil and aboard the yacht
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • Airport transfers as indicated

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, Galapagos park fee, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional gratuities (tipping your Trip leader and yacht crew is customary, but at your discretion), additional hotel nights (due to airline schedule changes or other factors), pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, passports and visas, or other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, and so on).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation arriving to and departing from Guayaquil, Ecuador. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip and have reviewed your proposed air schedule with our office. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

Meeting Place:
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:

Guayaquil, Ecuador (airport code: GYE)
Suggested arrival time: anytime

Departure:

Guayaquil, Ecuador
Date: Day 10

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Guayaquil, Ecuador (airport code: GYE)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: anytime

Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 9 (1 night), Guayaquil, Ecuador

With a convenient location just 15 minutes from Guayquil's international airport, the Hilton Colon Guayquil offers spacious and comfortable rooms, a ...
Click here for full description and more photos

<em>Mary Anne</em>

Mary Anne

Days 2 to 8 (7 nights), Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

In legendary square-rigger tradition, the Mary Anne offers the truly romantic ambiance of a tall sailing ship combined with the comforts ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Bitinia Espinoza

Bitinia Espinoza has been guiding groups to the Galapagos and throughout Ecuador since 1991. She graduated from the University of Guayaquil with studies in natural history. Her travels on the lecture circuit on behalf of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station have taken her to the US and other regions. Bitinia lives on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos with her two daughters.

Upcoming Trips:

Enchanted Isles, July 3-12, 2015

Client Testimonials:


Biti was extremely knowledgeable. She knew the answer to every question! She and the ship’s crew were very flexible. Very refreshing. Bill W., Palo Alto, CA Biti Espinoza is a delightful person with an excellent knowledge of the Galapagos and a concern for the environment. We all fell in love with her. Essie H., Santa Monica, CA Bitinia Espinoza was amazing. Her passion for nature was contagious and she communicated well with everyone. Jeffrey L., San Carlos, CA Bitinia is one of the most remarkable women I've ever met. Her knowledge and skill are unfathomable. Her passion and dedication to the Galapagos are inspiring. This was my second Galapagos trip and if I'm ever fortunate enough to take another, I would insist on Bitinia. She is the best, period. Mark T., San Anselmo CA Bitinia is a superb trip leader. Barbara K., Albany OR Bitinia is a passionate advocate for the islands. She made the trip. Lynn B., Portland OR
I cannot imagine there is a person with more knowledge of the Galapagos. Eric W., Hobe Sound, FL
Darwin Cruise
Bitinia was fantastic and certainly helped to make this a truly enjoyable and memorable trip. She is the best! Nena T., Saint Helena, CA
Ultimate Galapagos
Bitinia was a superb guide. I was extremely impressed with both her knowledge, her warmth as a human being, and her dedication to environmental protection. Ruth M., San Francisco, CA
Ultimate Galapagos
Bitinia was a walking encyclopedia! Her knowledge of the area was above and beyond. Julie G., Medina, WA
Ultimate Galapagos
REALLY SMART! And lots of fun as well Bonnie C., Oakland, CA
Enchanted Isles
There are not enough superlatives to describe Bitinia as a guide! Amy R., Tempe, AZ
Ultimate Galapagos
Bitinia was a superb guide. Her concern for her islands was evident and shared in a professional but personal way. Gay T., Fort Myers, FL
Galapagos Adventure
Bitinia IS this trip, in her own right a Galapagos treasure. It would not be the value it is without her. Rae Ann W., Fort Myers, FL
Galapagos Adventure

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Ecuador

Amazon Rainforest Extension: Napo Wildlife Center

Into the Emerald Forest

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
6 days  -  Level 2

Otavalo and Hacienda Zuleta Extension

Traditional Cultures and Snow-Capped Volcanoes

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Peru

Cusco and Machu Picchu Extension

Exploring the Realm of the Incas

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
6 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

This was truly a fantastic trip beyond my expectations in quality of itinerary, the varied sightseeing activities—hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, boat accommodation and amenities, staff and guide, and food. Jenny C., Calgary, Alberta Everything about the trip—from the guide to the food to the accommodation—exceeded my expectations! Selena C., Edmonton, Alberta Loved the trip. The Mary Anne was a wonderful home for our stay in the Galapagos and the crew was hard-working and attentive. Joanne C., Conway, MA A wonderful trip to an incredibly beautiful and exciting place. The trip was very well thought out and far exceeded my expectations—we also had an incredibly great group of fellow participants. Roger C., Conway, MA Gorgeous yacht...great itinerary and staff...even the other guests were wonderful! Judy A., Alamo, CA The trip was excellent and definitely lived up to my expectations—the staff on the boat was very professional and polite. The guide was very knowledgeable, and the boat was the perfect size. I particularly loved being outside for some meals and just sitting while we sailed. Barbara G., Cambridge, MA The Mary Anne was incredible, what an amazing experience, and also I should mention the absolutely wonderful crew, from the captain on down, they were letter-perfect in every way, 100% to each and every one of them. Lynn K., Denver, CO
The crew on the Mary Anne were outstanding. They were all hard-working, kept the boat clean at all times, helpful at all times and very nice to everyone. Our guide was extremeley knowledgeable and kept everyone's safety in mind at all times. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see the wildlife of the Galapagos up close. Tom J., Milwaukee, WI Loved the trip, the itinerary, the activities, and guide. The food was delicious! Eliza S., Los Altos, CA The Galapagos is such a special destination—you can't NOT enjoy yourself. Life on the Mary Anne was also fabulous. I've never felt more relaxed and disconnected from mundane concerns. Janice Z., Richmond, CA Fabulous trip! Magical! The Mary Anne was an incredible way to see the islands. Patti S., Lafayette, CA The Mary Anne is a great vessel—comfortable, cozy, beautifully maintained. Her crew is professional and gracious, from the captain to the lowliest deck hand. And the food was excellent! Lynne F., Hastings, NE The Galapagos Islands are an extraordinary destination, and this trip is the perfect experience—the ship, the leader, the snorkeling, the hiking, all the unusual wildlife. I did not walk away with one regret. Lynne F., Hastings, NE