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: $5695  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Lodging: 7 nights aboard Mary Anne, 2 hotel nights
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Activity: Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level: Daily hikes, snorkeling, optional sea kayaking
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Highlights

  • A comprehensive 8-day cruise including the flightless cormorants of Fernandina
  • Witness the diversity of wildlife that inspired Darwin
  • Fantastic snorkeling excursions, including Devil’s Crown


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.

Snorkel with playful sea lions, hike past dancing blue-footed boobies, and experience one of the greatest natural history destinations in the world! On our 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, and snorkel the beautiful coves of Isabela Island. Look for spouting whales as we cross Bolivar Channel, and explore Santiago’s golden Espumilla Beach, a green sea turtle nesting site. We’ve perfected active journeys to this fascinating “world unto itself,” as Darwin called the Galápagos, and our voyage aboard the beautiful yacht Mary Anne, catering to just 16 guests, is the way to go.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Guayaquil / Highland Walk

After an overnight in Guayaquil, fly to Baltra and head up to Rancho El Manzanillo in the Santa Cruz highlands to look for Galápagos tortoises and enjoy wonderful birdwatching, then board the Mary Anne.

Days 3-4
Snorkel Devil’s Crown / Colonies of Marine Iguanas

On Floreana, explore a sea turtle nesting ground, snorkel at amazing Devil’s Crown, see colonies of primordial sea iguanas, and look for greater flamingos in a saltwater lagoon. After visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz, which illuminates the critical research being done here, head to the highlands to visit an eco-friendly coffee plantation or snorkel at Tortuga Bay.

Days 5-6
Elizabeth Bay / Snorkeling with Penguins / Punta Espinosa

A lovely hike brings us to a flamingo lagoon on Isabela, then you’ll explore by Zodiac among the sea turtles in Elizabeth Bay. Crossing to Fernandina Island, look for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, Galápagos hawks, and scampering Sally Lightfoot crabs.

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

In Tagus Cove, you’ll 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, we’ll see Galápagos fur seals lounging under arches of lava carved by the ocean.

Days 9-10
Nesting Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigatebirds

Disembark on North Seymour to visit nesting colonies of two species of frigatebirds as well as 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
Jan 16-25, 2015  Daniel Jacome
Feb 13-22, 2015  Silvia Vargas
Feb 27-Mar 8, 2015  Daniel Jacome
Mar 13-22, 2015  Silvia Vargas
Mar 27-Apr 5, 2015  Bitinia Espinoza
Apr 24-May 3, 2015  Daniel Jacome
May 8-17, 2015  Silvia Vargas
May 22-31, 2015  Fausto Arellano
Jun 19-28, 2015  Fausto Arellano
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

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5695 (6-16 members)
Single supplement (Hotel): $225
Internal airfare: $515 (subject to change)
Galapagos park fee: $100 per person
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $300
Discount: $500 Discounts for children: call for details
No single supplement on board (subject to availability)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Amazon Rainforest Extension: Napo Wildlife Center
   from: $1595
Cusco and Machu Picchu Extension
   from: $2795
Otavalo and Hacienda Zuleta Extension
   from: $1025

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, 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).

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.

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.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Fausto Arellano

Departure Dates: May 22-31, 2015, June 19-28, 2015

Fausto Arellano has been a naturalist guide and divemaster in the Galapagos for over 25 years. A high school graduation gift launched this Quito native on his first exploration of the islands. Captivated by their beauty, Fausto pursued his degree in Biology at the Argentine Catholic University of ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Bitinia Espinoza

Departure Dates: December 19-28, 2014, March 27-April 5, 2015, July 3-12, 2015

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 ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Daniel Jacome

Departure Dates: January 16-25, 2015, February 27-March 8, 2015, April 24-May 3, 2015

Daniel Jacome was raised in Quito, Ecuador, but spent all his summers in the Galápagos, where his grandfather first arrived in 1958 and where his father has lived and worked as a naturalist since the 1970s. Daniel has completed college studies in Anthropology, Environmental Interpretation, ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Silvia Vargas

Departure Dates: February 13-22, 2015, March 13-22, 2015, May 8-17, 2015

Silvia Vargas is in love with the Galapagos Islands and has been since high school, when she first visited from her hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Her passion for the islands drew her back to live in the Galapagos where she works as a certified naturalist—the perfect job for someone with ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

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
I have to say excellent despite a few quibbles, the mary ann 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 but way too much. 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