Cruise Galapagos Islands! A journey of your lifetime on an exclusive adventure in partnership with the Galapagos Conservation Trust and Travel Matters – a dream voyage to explore the mysteries of the most fascinating and biologically significant destination on Earth. Discover the largest populated sea lion colony on Masquera Islet, visit Arnaldo Tupiza Turtle Breeding Center on Isabela Island, plus, walk along picturesque beaches amongst marine iguanas, sea lions, and flightless Cormorants. Enjoy Floreana Island’s saltwater lagoon, home to flamingoes, and snorkel in several islands’ wildlife abundant crystal clear waters. The cruise supports the Galapagos Conservation Trust‘s conservation efforts, their team member being part of your crew.
£4850 per person double room with balcony
£4500 per person double room
16 – 23 May 2017
Day 1 - 16 May: Masquera Islet
Morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra, Galapagos Islands. You will arrive at Baltra Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by the Natural Paradis staff and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing. In the afternoon you will visit Mosquera Islet, it is located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour, this reef of rocks and coral (the result of an uprising) is only 160 meters across at its narrowest width. This island has one of the largest populations of sea lions and is home to many shorebirds. There have been occasional reports at this site of orcas feeding on sea lions.
Day 2 - 17 May: Isabela Island
The morning will consist of a visit to The Sierra Negra Volcano, which is the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos with a diameter of 6.2 miles (10 km). The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to seven species of finches and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005. In the afternoon you will visit The Wall of Tears (El Muro de las Lágrimas), which is 65 feet (25 meters) high and an important piece of the island history. A penal colony existed on Isabela from 1945-1959, and the prisoners were forced to build the wall, stone by stone, while in isolation from the rest of the world, and thousands died during the construction. Many claim to feel the heavy energy of this historical site, and locals claim to hear cries in the wind. Afterwards you will head to the Wetlands of Isabela Island, which are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The Wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails, and gallinules. The Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path through the swamps. Next you will visit Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center of Isabela. It is located about one mile (1.5 km) from Puerto Villamil. In this breeding center, populations from South Isabela Sierra Negra Volcano, Cerro Azul, Cazuela, Cinco Cerros, Roca Union, San Pedro, Tables and Cerro Paloma have been bred in captivity. In total there are 330 juvenile and adult tortoises.
Day 3 - 18 May: Isabela Island
In the morning you will visit Moreno Point located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. Here a dry landing onto what was once flowing lava is possible. The lava has left craters in its wake, which formed crystal tide pools. By looking into the pools, you can peer into another world as the marine life drifts by your window. In the brackish pools of this area, you may see pink amingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules. If you look carefully into the pools, you may see white-tip reef sharks and some sea turtles. In the afternoon, you will go to Urbina Bay, which is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954 causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling.
Day 4 - 19 May: Isabela & Fernandina Islands
In the morning, visit is at Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola. In the afternoon, crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, you will land at Espinosa Point, and after walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, reach the island’s highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.
Day 5 - 20 May: Santa Cruz & Rabida Islands
In the morning, you will visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz. The visitors’ site at Dragon Hill is located on the northwestern part of Santa Cruz Island and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments although it is only slightly less than a mile long (1,600 meters). The beach is very rocky. At high tide it’s a nice place for snorkeling. At this visiting site you can find vegetation typical of the intertidal and dry zones. In the afternoon, you will visit Rabida Island (or Jervis), which is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago as well as a great snorkeling site. You will start on Rabida’s famous maroon sandy beach, and after an easy hike, you will arrive at a stunning lookout to enjoy the amazing landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks, and brown pelicans.
Day 6 - 21 May: Floreana Island
In the morning, you will head to Cormorant Point. Here you will enjoy a hike to a salt-water lagoon, which is home to flamingos. You will also get to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Devil’s Crown. This extinct volcano peaks out of the waters just off of Floreana’s coast and offers a magnificent snorkeling experience. In the afternoon, you will visit the famous Post Office Bay. You will land on a beach and head to a spot where 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel used as an unofficial mailbox. The custom continues to this day with Galapagos visitors. So, don’t forget your postcards, and don’t be surprised if the post card arrives to its destination before you even get home! Afterwards, you will visit Champion Islet, named after the whaler Andrew Champion, is a small island located just offshore Floreana Island in the southern part of the Archipelago, considered as one of the most beautiful places on Galapagos for all snorkeling and diving fans and an excellent opportunity for dolphin watching.
Day 7 - 22 May: Espanola Island
In the morning, you will visit Suarez Point. On the trail you will have the chance to see blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, and Nazca boobies. This island is the breeding site of nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. You will also visit a beautiful site on the oceanfront where there is a cliff that the large albatrosses use as a launching pad! You will have the chance to see the famous blowhole that spurts water into the air. The landscape is great for photography. In the afternoon, excursion takes you to the spectacular Gardner Bay. After landing, you can walk across a lovely white-sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. You may also see curious mockingbirds on the beach.
Day 8 - 23 May: San Cristobal Island
In the morning, you will visit Witch Hill. Located on the northern coast, this eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with its white powdery sand and the abundance of animals. Wildlife includes sea turtles, rays, and various types of booby birds. The clear water provides an excellent opportunity for enjoying swimming and snorkeling. After this final visit, you will be transferred to San Cristobal’s airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.
Note: Additional add-on services, accommodation and experiences in Quito and mainland Ecuador are tailored to your request upon enquiry, pre or post Galapagos Islands cruise.
Airport transfers on mainland Ecuador
Ingala control card for Galapagos
Return flights from Quito to Galapagos Islands
8-day cruise aboard the Natural Paradis including meals
Airport transfers and assistance in Galapagos
Daily excursions with English speaking National Park Guide