NEW YEAR 2023: GALAPAGOS DISCOVERY

 

27 December 2022 – 11 January 2023

A great itinerary, unique itinerary on board a comfortable small boat at our complete and exclusive use, maximum 15 participants in 8 cabins all with private services. This voyage is a deep exploration of the equatorial archipelago, we will visit 14 islands, our experience will be complete and varied in order to have the best chance to meet the endemic fauna that inhabits these volcanic lands. We will land where big ship are not allow. Our excursions will include short and easy walks (for those who wish it is possible to snorkel and kayak): On this voyage we will be able to meet the Giant Turtles, the marine and terrestrial Iguana, the  Galapagos  Albatrosses,  the  colorful  Blue Footed and Red Footed Boobies,  the  Flightless  Cormorants,  the  Magnificent  Frigatebirds displaying on the nest, the Galapagos Penguins, the Brown Pelicans, Sea Lions and Fur Seals, Dolphins and Sharks. Your guide during this adventure will be Piero Bosco who has visited the Galapagos numerous times.

FIRST PART – THE EASTERN ISLANDS
27 DECEMBER –05 JANUARY

PROGRAM

 

December   27
Arrival in Quito.
Overnight at Hotel Alameda*****.

December   28
Flight Quito – San Cristobal.
Arrived at the Galapagos we will be transferred aboard the first class MV Cachalote Explorer exclusively chartered forour group. This 30 meters small boat can accommodate 16 passengers in 8 comfortable double cabins with private facilities, she also has a large internal lounge and numerous external decks perfect for wildlife watching and for relaxing during breaks.
We will go to discover the misty hills of St Cruz Island, where we will have the opportunity to meet Giant Tortoises in the wild. We will end the day at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The research station is largely responsible for the conservation status of the Galapagos. An important partner in the conservation task of this pristine archipelago is the National Park Service and together they manage the Turtle Reproduction Center. Here until 2012, the year of his death, it was possible to meet a real conservation icon, Lonesome George, the last remaining animal from the Pinta Island species.
Overnight on board.

December   29
The two small Plazas islands have risen from the sea and are separated by a channel. It is possible to disembark only at South Plaza where we can observe the huge Opuntia cactus, the Terrestrial and Marine Iguanas, while the rocky cliff overlooking the sea is a nesting site for the graceful Red Billed Tropic Bird and the beach is home to a colony of Sea Lions.
In the afternoon we will have reached Santa Fe, a small island of only 24 square kilometers, but which has a large density of fauna: Terrestrial Iguanas, Sea Lions, Galapagos Mockingbird, Pelicans and even a forest of Palo Santo tree.
Overnight on board.

December   30
San Cristobal island is the easternmost and one of the oldest in the archipelago.
As soon as we arrive we will visit Witch Hill or Cerro Brujo, a volcanic cone overlooking a beautiful white sand beach full of Sea Lions, Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, Waders and Marine Iguanas.
Our afternoon excursion will be aboard a minivan that will take us to the heart of it, on the highlands of the interior, where we will reach El Junco lake at about 700 meters of altitude, the only fresh water lake of a certain consistency in the Galapagos formed inside the caldera of an extinct volcano.
The area is excellent for meet the Giant Turtles at the Galapaguera, a special reserve for these spectacular animals, and for birdwatching: Cattle Egret, Great Frigatebird and if we are lucky, the rare San Cristobal Mockingbird.
Overnight on board.

December   31
Hood or Española is the oldest of the Galapagos islands and the southernmost, due to its isolation many endemic species have evolved here. Depending on the weather conditions, we will be able to snorkel around Islote Garnder and Islote Osborn. Its calm waters and its attractive landscape will give us great emotions both above and below water. Tropical  fish, White tipped Reef Shark and Green Sea Turtles live here.
Located on the north coast of Española, Baia Gardner is a peaceful white sand beach. The fine sand make it the perfect place for a relaxing walk. Of course we will not be alone, Galapagos Sea Lions and the rare Española Mockingbird will keep us company.
Landing on the western tip, Punta Suárez, make you immediately struck by the beauty and extraordinary amount of life. It takes a few minutes to understand that you are not dreaming and that the Marine Iguanas have really fiery colors, the Galapagos Sea Lions walk peacefully around us, Blue footed Boobies and Sally Lightfoot Crabs cover the surrounding rocks with their intense grace. A path leads us to a colony of seabirds. The very long cliff carved by the action of the waves and the force of the wind is the home of the only tropical Albatross on Earth, the Waved Albatross. This mythical and elegant animal, present here in about 15,000 couples, the entire world population, shares the precipitous cliff on the ocean with many other seabirds such as the Red billed Tropicbird and the Nazca Booby .
Overnight on board.

January   01
After breakfast we will disembark on a volcanic olivine beach. Punta Cormorant is located on the northern coast of Floreana , and is home of the American Flamingo and Sea Turtles. The beach is partially flooded by a brackish lagoon where flamingos nest and feed, but often they are difficult to approach. Whimbrels, Herons and Black nacked Stlts are other common birds in wetlands. Not far away, the sea turtles use every corner of the white sand beach to lay their eggs.
From the shore you can often see Rays and Sharks .
Near Punta Cormorant is Devil’s Crown, a submerged volcano that erosion has transformed into a crown, where snorkeling or kayaking is possible. Snorkeling in these waters is extraordinary, one of the best places in the Galapagos, a large number of fish, rays, sharks and the playful Galapagos Sea Lions.
Adventure, survival, mystery and death are the main ingredients of our next destination. Post Office Bay has left behind memories of pirates, whale hunters, scientific expeditions and intense stories of murders and constant ambiguity.
Overnight on board.

January   02
St  Cruz, located in the center of the archipelago, is the heart of tourism in the Galapagos. Our excursion on the island will take us to the north-western part of it where we will disembark at Dragon  Hill, where there is a hypersaline lagoon, saltier than the sea, often frequented by American Flamingos and characterized by the vegetation of Palosanto trees and Opuntia Cactus. The area is a nesting place for the Galapagos Land Iguanas .
The genesis of the islands is easily recognized in Sullivan  Bay. The shiny spiral structures of the lava appear as if they were formed yesterday. Located on the east coast of James or Santiago Island, this 130 year old lava flow has intact cones. Here old ash cones have been flooded with lava rivers and are a great example of the aging of igneous rocks. The contrast of colors and shapes of the basalt, the presence of rust and the brightness of its surface will lead you to think you are on Mars. The island is home to a large variety of seabirds, as well as Marine  Iguanas and  Sea Lions.
Overnight on board.

January   03
Located in the northern part of the archipelago, rarely visited by tourists, Genovesa or Tower, it is the only island on which one can land in this area.
El Barranco, also known as Prince  Philip´s  Steps since the Duke of Edinburgh visited this island in 1964, is our first landing today. This part of the island is populated by Red Footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds, who usually prefer to rest on Palosanto trees, and Nazca Boobies which simply nest on the ground, the site is also excellent for sighting the colorful Galapagos  Dove. There are also Marine Iguanas but smaller than those of the other islands, but not terrestrial iguanas, since ocean currents would not have brought them in the direction of Genovesa. The real attraction of this place is the colony of tens of thousands of Band Rumbed Storm Petrels that nest in the lava channels and with them the Short eared Owl that hunts them.
Darwin  Bay, which we will explore in the afternoon, is the caldera of an eroded volcano, its internal walls form steep and scenic cliffs. A real paradise for birds: Swallow tailed Gull, Lava Gull, Galapagos Mockingbird, Yellow crowned Night Heron,  Lava  Heron, Yellow Warbler but the stars here are the numerous Magnificent Frigatebirds and Red footed Boobies. Birds are not the only attraction of Genovesa, the magnificent  panoramas are among the most beautiful in the archipelago.
Overnight on board.

January   04
Back south in the morning, another excursion to St  Cruz  Island awaits us, along the north coast of it at Black Turtle Cove . We will explore the mangrove forest that surrounds bays and coves, access to this area is allowed only to boats with a maximum capacity of 16 people like ours. From September to February, Green Sea Turtles mate in this place and we will therefore have a good chance to observe them, as well as White tipped Reef Shark and various species of Rays.
Mangroves are her present in three different species and Herons and Brown Pelicans are often resting on the branches.
Transfer to the airport for the flight Baltra – Quito.
Overnight at HotelAlameda*****.

January   05
Flight home.

SECOND PART – THE WESTERN ISLANDS
03 – 11 JANUARY

PROGRAM

 

January   03
Arrival in Quito.
Overnight at Hotel Alameda*****.

January   04
Flight Quito – Baltra.
Landed at Galapagos we will discover the misty hills of St Cruz island, where we will have the opportunity to meet the Giant Tortoises in the wild. We will end the day at Charles DarwinResearch Station. The research station is largely responsible for the state of conservation of the Galapagos. An important partner in the conservation task of this uncontaminated archipelago is the National Park Service and together they manage the Turtle Reproduction Center. Here until 2012, the year of his death, it was possible to meet a real conservation icon, Lonesome George, the last remaining animal from the subspecies of Pinta Island.
Overnight on board.

January   05
Today two gems are waiting for us! The first goal of the day is the islet called Sombrero Chino or Chinese Hat. Located off the southeastern tip of Santiago or James it took its name from its shape, seen from the north the recent volcanic cone in fact presents the shape of a Chinese hat and it has limited access to boats up to 16 passengers. This place more than any other in the Galapagos represents the volcanic origin of the archipelago. The landscape is primordial and is characterized by volcanic formations with different shapes, the feeling of being in a special place is clearly noticeable here. The spectacular  landscape is not the only attraction of Sombrero Chino, here we will have good chances to meet Sea Lion, Sally Lightfoot Crab, Marine Iguana and Galapagos Penguin. The Galapagos offer a great variety of geological formations. The island of Rábida has iron-rich lavas and after millions of years of exposure to the air, they have turned red. The eroded volcanic rusty material formed a beautiful crimson sand beach, perfect for a walk. The protected beach provides excellent conditions for the Galapagos Sea Lions to grow their puppies and for the Brown Pelicans to rest and nest. Hawks and Mockingbirds  are common visitors of the nearby plain. Snorkeling can be very exciting with Sharks, Rays and  many colored fishes.
Overnight on board.

January   06
Today we begin the discovery of the western part of the Galapagos and in particular of the southern part of Isabela island. We will reach the edge of one of the largest craters in the world, the Sierra Negra volcano, with a diameter of 12 km. Then we will continue towards the Chico volcano, with very different characteristics presents a series of craters with fumaroles. We will have the opportunity to observe different landscapes and volcanic formations telling us the story of the creation and evolution of the islands.
Later we will visit the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center, an important breeding center for Giant Tortoises and the town of Villamil .
Overnight on board.

January   07
Punta Moreno is located along the western coast of the Isabela island. The site has spectacular views of the Alcedo, Sierra  Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes and features impressive lava flows, a desolate and unspoiled landscape with varied and unusual arid vegetation. It is the ideal place for an excursion by dinghy along the suggestive rocky coasts and an excellent place to observe the Galapagos Penguin and various coastal birds, among them it is quite common the Great Blue Heron. Once on the ground, a path through the lava rock leadsus to tide pools and mangroves. These tide pools often host Galapagos Marine Turtles, a real treat for birdwatchers too, this site is great for spotting American Flamingos and Brown  Pelicans.
Further north along the Isabela coast is Elizabeth Bay, in the bay there are many islets, which can be visited onboard the zodiac. Galapagos Penguins and Blue footed Boobies can be spotted here. Penguins prefer the cold waters of the western islands and are much more numerous and easier to spot here. With an abundance of marine life and clearwater, the area is perfect for snorkeling which offers groups of colorful  fishes, Sea Lions and Rays, Sharks and Marine Iguanas. This place is accessible only by boat, for environmental protection reasons disembarkation is not allowed.
Overnight on board.

January   08
Today we will continue exploring the western coast of Isabela visiting Urbina Bay. This bay is located at the base of the Alcedo  volcano and in 1954 following an eruption this area lifted up more than 50 centimeters and the coastline has moved towards the sea by more than a kilometer bringing to the surface gigantic corals. It is a nesting site for the Brown Pelican and the Flightless Cormorant, reduced to a few hundred birds in total, in addition there are Marine Iguanas, Land Iguanas and also some of the 4000 Giant Tortoises that live on the slopes of the Alcedo volcano.
We will continue north until we reach Tagus Cove, a natural port used for centuries by whalers and pirates, and from here the salt lagoon which is located at the base of the Darwin volcano from where the panorama extends between lava fields and volcanic formations to the ocean. The fauna we will encounter includes: Blue footed Boobies, Galapagos Penguins and Marine Iguanas.
Overnight on board.

January   09
Right in front of Tagus Cove is Punta Espinosa, located on the Fernandina island, the youngest and the one with the greatest volcanic activity in the Galapagos. This cape consisting of a narrow tongue of lava and sand that emerges from the base of the La Cumbre volcano is one of the most spectacular sites in the archipelago. Thousands of Marine Iguanas form the largest  colony of the Galapagos, Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants, Green Sea Turtles, Rays and sometimes even the Galapagos  Penguins visit this special place. We will then return to Isabela island but in its northernmost part and more precisely at Vicente Roca Point. A perfect place for snorkeling and for a zodiac excursion between steep tuff cliffs, caves created by the waves and Sea Turtles that inhabit the area together with the gigantic Sunfish. Other attractions in this area are Nazca  Boobies, Galapagos Penguins, Blue footed  Boobies, Rays and Sea Lions.
Overnight on board.

January   10
After returning to the central part of the archipelago, we will land today in Puerto Egas also known as James Bay. The magical west coast of James or Santiago island is a combination of tuff cones, lava flows and sand. A rocky coast with a very gentle slope is used by a large number of birds and reptiles. American Oystercatchers, Whimbrels, Spotted Sandpipers, Plovers and other Waders are mixed with Marine Iguanas and Crabs to feed along the rich coastal area. Large lava tunnels, which have partially collapsed, are now the homes of Galapagos Sea Lions and Fur Seals. The small pools left by the tide are very interesting and host many organisms such as Sponges, Sea Snails, Nudibranchs, Barnacles, Hermit Crabs, etc. One of the iconic places in the Galapagos is undoubtedly the small island Bartolomé with its wild panorama made of lava fields, volcanic  cones and above all the spectacular tuff cone called Pinnacle Rock. Just near this rock Galapagos Penguins, Rays, Sharks and Sea Lions are often visible.
Overnight on board.

January   11
Visiting North Seymour is the best way to say goodbye to the Galapagos. The landing at sunrise brings us to the largest  colony of Blue footed Boobies in the islands. If it will be mating time, we will be able to enjoy their dances and songs. Not far away is a nesting place for the Magnificent Frigatebird. Males display on their nest to attract females that fly over them.
Swallow tailed Gulls and Red billed Tropicbirds rest on the large basalt walls of the island.
Transfer to the airport for the flight Baltra – Quito.
Overnight at Hotel Alameda*****.

Included in the price:

– Voyage aboard the ship as indicated in the itinerary.
– All excursions and activities throughout the voyage.
– Three meals a day during the cruise.
– All the accommodations double room breakfast included.
– English speaking guide.

Not included:

– Flights.
– Not indicated meals.
– Galápagos National Park fee USD100.
– Galapagos immigration card USD 20.

Voyage Map

 

 

 

 

PRICE PER PERSON FIRST PART

Double Cabin Superior Deck Window Euro  4800
Double Cabin Lower Deck Porthole Euro  4300

PRICE PER PERSON SECOND PART

Double Cabin Superior Deck Window Euro  4300
Double Cabin Lower Deck Porthole Euro  3900

PRICE PER PERSON FULL VOYAGE

Double Cabin Superior Deck Window Euro  8400
Double Cabin Lower Deck Porthole Euro  7600 

*Exchange rate 1 USD = 0,80 Euro

ASK FOR MORE INFORMATION