galapagos islands cruise; wildlife; galapagos land iguana

Marine iguanas, Galápagos Islands

We explore by luxurious motor-sailer yacht in Darwin’s islands, a magical world of its own with an astonishing array of endemic species, from sea-going iguanas to tool-using finches.

Photo by Art Wolfe / Danita Delimont Agency

display information about this photo
Enchanted Isles route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5595  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Lodging: 7 nights aboard Mary Anne, 2 hotel nights in Guayaquil
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
1p

Highlights

  • A comprehensive 8-day cruise including Fernandina, with its endemic flightless cormorants
  • 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 an incredible natural history destination in the best way possible! On our voyage through the dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Western Islands, we discover pristine Fernandina Island, a huge shield volcano with a shoreline full of flightless cormorants, and snorkel the beautiful coves of Isabela Island. We 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 the active journey 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 / Galápagos Cruise

Arrive in Guayaquil, with an overnight at the Hilton Colon Guayaquil. The next day, we fly to Baltra and head up to Rancho El Manzanillo in the Santa Cruz highlands to look for Galápagos tortoises and enjoy wonderful birdwatching before boarding our yacht.

Days 3-4
Devil’s Crown, Floreana / Santa Cruz

On Floreana, we explore a sea turtle nesting ground, snorkel at Devil’s Crown, and look for greater flamingos in a saltwater lagoon. On Santa Cruz Island, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, then head to the highlands to tour an eco-friendly shade-grown coffee plantation and sugar cane operation.

Days 5-6
Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island / Punta Espinosa, Fernandina

We hike to a flamingo lagoon on Isabela and explore by Zodiac among the sea turtles in Elizabeth Bay. Crossing to Fernandina Island, we look for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, Galápagos hawks, and bright red-orange Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Days 7-8
Tagus Cove and Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela / Santiago

In Tagus Cove, we explore a historic pirate hideaway by Zodiac and stop at Punta Vicente Roca for excellent snorkeling before heading to Santiago. From Espumilla Beach, we walk a forest trail to see yellow warblers and curious Galápagos flycatchers. At Puerto Egas, we visit dozing Galápagos fur seals as they lounge under arches of lava carved by the ocean.

Days 9-10
North Seymour / Baltra / Guayaquil

We disembark on North Seymour to visit nesting colonies of two species of frigatebirds as well as blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. We continue to Baltra, fly to Guayaquil for overnight, and depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

The Galapagos Islands

Download our The Galapagos Islands 2014 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

2014
Apr 25-May 4, 2014  Daniel Jacome
May 9-18, 2014  Silvia Vargas
May 23-Jun 1, 2014  Fausto Arellano
Jun 20-29, 2014  Fausto Arellano
Jul 4-13, 2014  Silvia Vargas
Jul 18-27, 2014  Bitinia Espinoza
Dec 19-28, 2014  Bitinia Espinoza
2015
Jan 16-25, 2015
Feb 13-22, 2015
Feb 27-Mar 8, 2015
Mar 13-22, 2015
Mar 27-Apr 5, 2015
Apr 24-May 3, 2015
May 8-17, 2015
May 22-31, 2015
Jun 19-28, 2015
Jul 3-12, 2015
Dec 18-27, 2015

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
Aboard the Mary Anne
$5595 (6-16 members)

Hotel single supplement: $225
No single supplement charge aboard the Mary Anne for single cabins only, call for details

Internal airfare: $515 (subject to change)
Galapagos park fee: $100 per person
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $300
Discounts for children: call for details, some
   exclusions apply
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Amazon Rainforest Extension: Napo Wildlife Center
   from: $1395
Cusco and Machu Picchu Extension
   from: $2595
Otavalo and Hacienda Zuleta Extension
   from: $925

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%
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
61-120 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 23-June 1, 2014, June 20-29, 2014

Fausto Arellano has been a naturalist guide and divemaster in the Galapagos for over 25 years. He took his first trip to the islands in 1982 as a graduation present from high school. Captivated by the beauty of the Galapagos, he discovered his study path, graduating from Argentine Catholic ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Bitinia Espinoza

Departure Dates: July 18-27, 2014, December 19-28, 2014

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: April 25-May 4, 2014

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: May 9-18, 2014, July 4-13, 2014

Silvia Vargas has loved the Galapagos Islands since she visited them while a high school student in her hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador. She majored in languages at the university in Guayaquil and later lived in England and Germany. Eventually, her love of nature led her to live in the Galapagos ...
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