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Trip Summary: Sailing Galápagos
What do you have in common with travel legends Herman Melville, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin? A sail voyage through the Galapagos Islands of course!
This voyage is every nature lovers dream come true. These nineteen Pacific Ocean islands are situated roughly 1,000 kilometres from the South American continent. They have been dubbed “a living museum and showcase of evolution” and it’s easy to see why.
The extreme isolation of the islands combined with ongoing seismic activity have led to the growth of unusual animal life. Known as a “melting pot” of marine species, the Galapagos are where you’ll find unique creatures like the giant tortoise, the land iguana, and numerous types of finch and what better way to explore than by sailing Galapagos?
It is these same species that inspired Charles Darwin, after his 1835 visit, to develop his thoughts on natural selection and his theory of evolution.
Highlights of this unique Galapagos sail adventure:
- The Tunnel of Love and the Lave Tunnels
- The Charles Darwin Research Station
- El Garrapatero
- The beautiful beaches of Tortuga Bay
- Volcan Sierra Negra
- Pinnacle Rock
- Splashing in the water and playing with sea lion pups
- Post Office Bay
- Walking along unspoilt white sand beaches
- Puerto Villamil
- Isla Fernandina
- Seeing fencing albatross, multicoloured marine iguanas, and flamingos who do a hilarious synchronized dance
- Snorkeling amid the sleeping reef sharks
- Crossing over the equator
- Being ship captain for a day
Come aboard one of the most elegant sailing vessels in the islands. This stunning and iconic vessel will take you into the heart of the islands as you enjoy perhaps the best itineraries of the Galapagos. You will travel with professional crew with over 30 years experience in the islands – they are true pioneers in this area.
Once on board you can join in sailing lessons and learn to navigate by the stars, a nautical knots contest, cooking classes, and Spanish language for beginners.
Because you’ll be on board this elegant sailing ship and not a fiber glass yacht, dolphins and whales will come to join you. Without the sound of engines that scare them away, these curious and magnificent creatures love to swim alongside the vessel and chat with you.
And it’s not just the marine life that loves the vessel – you’ll have your picture taken numerous times by other tourists on modern yachts who were wishing they could switch places with you!
The ship has room for 34 but operates with a group size of 16. This gives everyone plenty of space and gives everyone, groups or solo travellers, the perfect combination of privacy and group activity.
Enquire today to join this wonderful adventure!
Explore the Galapagos islands by sail on a voyage on board this stunning vessel
- Be onboard the most elegant (and only 3 mast barquentine) sailing vessel of the islands.
- Travel with the pioneers of the Galapagos cruise industry (over 30 years experience).
- Enjoy unique onboard activities like: sailing lessons, nautical knots contest, navigation by the stars, Spanish for beginners and cooking classes.
- Navigate with full sails as dolphins and whales come to join us (without the sound of the engines to scare them away, this curios creatures love to swim along side of sailing vessels).
- Travelling alone or in a group of 3 or 5? Not a problem, the boat has enough cabins for solo travelers with no single supplement.
- Have enough room for yourself on board a ship with capacity for 34 passengers but operated with just 16.
- Enjoy one of the best itineraries of Galapagos.
- Be photographed by the other tourist onboard fiber yachts who are all really wishing they were you.
Choose your perfect trip
NOTE: Please keep in mind that our west itinerary starts right after you arrive to the islands. If possible, please wear clothes comfortable enough for a visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island: comfortable shoes, a hat for the sun, pants or shorts. You will be reunited with your luggage at around 05:00 in the afternoon when you board the ship at Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island).
PM: After arriving at Baltra airport we will be greeted by a representative representant to then board a bus which will take us to Cerro Mesa, the first visit on the islands. Cerro Mesa is a private ecological reserve located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island and dedicated to the conservation of the natural ecosystem. During this visit, we will have the opportunity to walk through the many forest paths, filled with endemic Galapagos vegetation, see the impressive and deep crater, watch the Galapagos ducks and rails, stilts and frigate birds usually present in the lagoon or closely follow the steps of the Galapagos Tortoises, present most of the year (on certain months, the tortoises go down to the coast to lay their eggs). The reserve is also a great place for bird watching, as mockingbirds, flycatchers, warblers, Galapagos doves and Darwin finches are usually present in the area.
AM: We spend the day on Floreana, legendary homestead of infamous Baroness Eloise Von Wagner de Bousquet. Wet landing onto the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant; we will be seeking Greater Flamingos on our way to another special beach with the finest sand you’ll set your foot on, a sea turtle nesting ground where sharks and rays also visit regularly. We end the outing on a short panga ride to Devil’s Crown, a key snorkeling site.
PM: After lunch we will visit Post Office Bay (wet landing), where you can drop your postcards in the barrel as the whalers did centuries ago.
AM: Dry landing at Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island. From here we will head to the highlands to see its many attractions, which include lava tunnels, native forests with endemic vegetation and the iconic Galapagos giant tortoises, which inhabit these forests seasonally. Who would have expected it to be so lush and green on these supposed arid islands?
PM: From Puerto Ayora we will walk approximately 45 minutes along a stone paved road which is surrounded by Galapagos coastal vegetation and its most eminent representants: the prickly pear cactus and the holy stick tree. This road, which also presents a very good opportunity to watch birds, especially Darwin finches, will take us to a beautiful, white sand beach known as Tortuga bay. From here it’s up to you to decide among the alternatives: swim or snorkel, watch the marine iguanas and other wildlife, explore the coves surrounded by mangrove trees or simply lay back and relax while enjoying the magical landscape.
AM: We arrive at Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. After breakfast, we step ashore at Punta Moreno (dry landing) onto a superb pahoehoe lava flow surrounded by giant shield volcanoes, some still active! From here we will do a short hike to a lagoon where flamingos are usually present.
PM:Panga ride in and around Elizabeth Bay, a salt-water lagoon surrounded by the largest red mangroves of the Galapagos. Here, it is usual to see sea turtles come near our zodiac to greet us. Flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins are also more abundant in this part of the archipelago.
AM: We disembark at Urbina Bay (wet landing) onto a black sand beach, nesting site for Green Sea Turtle. We take a brief hike inland in search of land iguanas and giant tortoises (seasonal) that migrate to and from the highlands. At the beach, we will admire the remains of a geological uplift exposing coral heads and marine fossils; and if the sea conditions and time are on our side, we will also snorkel in these waters.
PM: We cross Bolivar Channel to Fernandina Island, one of the world’s most unspoilt sites, and disembark (dry landing) at Punta Espinosa. Strolling along the shoreline, we will be on the look out for Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and hawks, sooty-coloured marine iguanas and bright red-orange Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
AM: Dry landing near Tagus Cove, historic pirate hideaway where names of countless ships are recorded for posterity on the cliff face. Hike through beautiful Galapagos landscapes to Darwin Lake, a salt-water crater lagoon surrounded by tuff stone.
PM: At Punta Vicente Roca we will do a panga ride around the beautiful coast line before jumping into the water to enjoy one of the best snorkelling sites of the Galapagos. The underwater cliffs found here are filled with enough colors and life to amaze everyone looking at them for the first time.
AM: After three days exploring the fabulous western islands, we head to central Santiago to disembark at Espumilla (wet landing), onto a golden-coloured sand Green Sea Turtle nesting site. A forest trail will take us through some of the largest specimens of Palo Santo on the islands to observe Yellow Warblers, the unbelievably tame Galapagos Flycatcher and the ever-intriguing Darwin’s finches.
PM: At Puerto Egas (wet landing) we disembark on a dark sand volcanic beach with an interesting history of human settlement. Sleepy Galapagos fur seals lounge under arches of lava carved by the ocean and occasionally dip into the crystalline pools, also known as “grottos”. Walk along the shore and observe the abundant marine life.
AM: We disembark on North Seymour (dry landing), a small uplifted island, where we will walk right up to bird nesting colonies of the two species of Frigatebirds, Blue-footed Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls, and experience, depending on season, spectacular displays. After this visit the ship will sail to Baltra where passengers ending their trip will disembark and passengers beginning their cruise will join us on board.In addition to the land visits we offer a good balance of other activities such as snorkeling, panga rides and kayaking.
PM: After arriving at Baltra airport we will be greeted by an the operator’s representative to then board the boat and have lunch. After lunch, we will navigate a short distance to Black Turtle Cove, a large mangrove lagoon on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island. Pelicans and herons roost on the branches, while marine dwellers such as Green Sea Turtle or Golden Ray may cruise right next to the panga as it makes its way through the mangroves.
AM: We travel to Genovesa Island and reach Darwin Bay (wet landing), a unique site lined with red mangrove and soft-haired prickly pear cacti where Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds perch tamely.
PM: At Prince Philip Steps (dry landing), we climb the edge of a cliff where Frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, and Red-footed Boobies nest. We will be seeking out the impressive Red-billed Tropicbird amidst Galapagos Storm Petrels.
PM: We head across to Sullivan Bay (dry landing) in Santiago to walk over a recent lava flow, including very fresh pahoehoe lava formations, lava bubbles containing crystallized minerals, and pioneer plants. Along the shoreline, we may find Galapagos penguins and herons going after small fish.
AM: Wet landing onto Rábida’s deep-red beaches to explore the red island’s fascinating interior and saltwater lagoon. Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, and yellow warblers feed off the vegetation; given the right time of the year brown pelicans nesting on salt bushes that fringe the beach.
PM: We head across to Cerro Dragón on Santa Cruz’s north-west shore (dry landing); we visit a saltwater lagoon, home to Greater Flamingos, Black-necked Stilts, and White-cheeked Pintails. Further inland we find a fantastic land iguana nesting site.
AM: We will step ashore (wet landing) onto a beautiful white coralline beach, on Mosquera Islet, home to one of the largest Galapagos sea lion colony in the archipelago. Here we will do a short hike to explore the surroundings before snorkelling around the beach.
PM: After a leisure lunch, we will hop on board our dinghy to do a panga ride around Punta Carrión to take in the beautiful landscape and observe the wildlife. We will then end the day with snorkelling in these shallow and colourful waters.
AM: Dry landing on one of the oldest docks of the Archipelago, colourful Plaza Sur is home to vibrant green prickly pears, deep red Sesuvium and coppery-orange land iguanas; impressive seaward cliffs are excellent for a variety of coastal birds. This is also a great place to observe the adult and pup sea lions swimming along the shores.
PM: After a wet landing onto a white beach where sea lions are usually resting, on Santa Fe, we will be looking for the endemic species of land iguana, larger and yellower than land iguanas on other islands. The largest prickly pear cacti in the Galapagos are also found here.
AM: Punta Suárez (dry landing) is a spectacular walk into the intimacies of life at sea, with nesting sites of Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, as well as the fascinating breeding rituals (April to December) of Waved Albatross. Lined with neon-colored marine iguanas (January), and lazy Galapagos sea lions, we walk up to an amazing viewpoint of the famous blowhole.
PM: We will spend the day in fantastic Española, starting with Gardner Bay (wet landing), an outstanding beach with sea lions, marine iguanas, and the intrepid Española Mockingbird.
AM: We will visit the Fausto Llerena breeding station, located at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here, we will see tortoises from different islands, including the most famous of them all, “Lonesome George”, the last survivor of the Pinta Island tortoises. The animals are found in large semi natural pens for their protection, but also to ensure an easy view for the tourists. The pens are divided according to four different stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (held here until they are mature enough to be “repatriated”), and adults. After this visit we will take a bus to Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador.In addition to the land visits we offer a good balance of other activities such as snorkeling, panga rides and kayaking.
The Southern Islands: Fencing albatrosses, mischievous alpha males, multicoloured marine iguanas. Take a walk along unspoilt white sand beaches where Galapagos Sea Lions bask in the sun and marine iguanas crawl out of the sea to dry off on the sun-baked lava rocks.
As you sail through the charismatic Southern Islands you will encounter dramatic cliff edge landscapes teeming with seabirds, booby nesting sites that showcase in real life the everyday trials of the ‘survival of the fittest’, and the subtle differences in wildlife and geology that make each of the islands in the Galapagos archipelago unique, from those with green sand to islands fringed in powdery white, from colonies of sooty-toned iguanas to those fire-red, from finches that in one site crush their food with heavy beaks to those that, only a brief sail’s distance away, delicately tap their narrow bill on wood to grab a bite.
At Española, you will be greeted by overly friendly mockingbirds, and flamingos of Floreana may honour you with a synchronized dance.
Green prickly pear cacti, reddish sea portulaca, white coralline beaches and coppery-orange land iguanas will colour your expeditions inland. Back on board afternoon cocktails and empanadas, first-class dinners and the telling of mysterious island legends under the stars will wrap a day’s worth of adventure. Step out into the surf and wade ashore for a unique encounter with courting albatrosses, the one and only Santa Fe Land Iguana and the Green Sea Turtle’s epic nesting story. And don’t forget to mail your postcards from Post Office Bay
Dates – for 2015 sailing schedule please complete the enquiry form!
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Land & Sea Combo:
Just some of the life-changing events that can only occur in Ecuador.
1. Angermeyer Point’s apple struddle
2. Constelations on a clear Galapagos night
3. Playing in the water with sea lion pups
4. Sunbathing with the iguanas
5. A Darwin’s Finch eating from your plate
6. Snorkelling with sleeping reef sharks
7. Crossing the equator on a sailboat
8. Playing ship captain
9. Learning to make a traditional Galapagos ceviche
10. Stepping on Mars-red sand
What is included in the cost of my trip?
Onboard accommodation and meals, visits to the islands with a qualified naturalist guide, bus fares on the Galápagos.
In 2014 the trip cost is $4,385 pp (payable in US dollars, Euros or GBP at the bank rate equivalent)
What is not included in the costs?
The airfare to the Islands, National Park entrance fee ($100 cash), the INGALA transit control card ($10 cash) to be paid at the airport when you depart for the Galápagos, beverages, and gratuities for the crew and guide are not included in the cost.
Can I extend my sail adventure to include a week trip on the mainland in Ecuador?
YES! We offer a small group trip (max 12 people, no minimum) that get’s you to all the amazing highlights of the Ecuadorian Andes, while staying in exclusive boutique hotels and Haciendas in the company of a small group and at a great price of $1,172 per person. This program presents the best option to experience the unique Avenue of the Volcanoes and the Ecuadorian highlands; a must see for everyone coming to Ecuador.
Contact us for full details on this land extension.
Do I need to worry about the water on board?
The water on board is safe to drink and complies with all health regulations and international standards. For your convenience, there is a hot and cold dispenser on board for you to use at any time. Here you can refill your water bottle to take onshore or have with you in your cabin. In addition, a fresh bottle of water is placed in the bathroom of your cabin every day.
Do I need to worry about the food on board?
The food on board is completely safe and meets all international standards. However on mainland Ecuador and in Puerto Ayora, avoid eating uncooked food like salads and unpeeled fruits if you have a sensitive stomach.
How many pieces of luggage am I allowed to take to Galápagos?
One piece of luggage (40 lbs or 20Kg) and a small carry-on bag that fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment in the airplane.
What is the electricity on board?
110V AC-60 cycles and 220V in certain social areas of the yachts (If visiting from Europe, bring adaptors.)
Do I need to purchase anything onboard?
You don’t need to buy anything, but all individual bar consumptions should be paid in cash or credit card at the end of each cruise.
How old should my children be in order to travel on board the ships?
• Children under 6 years are accepted under certain conditions. • Children under 12 have a discount (just ask us) • Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
How should I dress on board?
Informally! Shorts and a T-shirt are recommended, but we ask you to remove shoes on board and place them in the shoe box. If you have tender feet you can bring some kind of comfortable sandals or slippers, to be used on board only; otherwise bare feet are totally fine. From June to October, you might want to bring a light sweatshirt or windbreaker and light pants for the evening.
What’s the climate like in the Galápagos Islands?
There are two main seasons on the islands: wet and hot, and dry and cool. December to May (inclusive) are hot and humid (28°C / 82.4°F average temperature); although it is warm during the day there might be heavy rain showers that can last for 20 minutes or more. That is why the islands can be very lush and green at this time of the year. Consider using insect repellent while visiting the islands. The water temperature is perfect for swimming and/or snorkelling. It is wise to use a T- shirt or dive top while in the water to prevent sunburn. Between June and November, it is cooler and windy (24° C/ 75.2°F average although at noon it can reach 33°C / 91.4?F). It is also the garua season (local term for occasional light drizzle) especially around the southern islands. You might want to consider bringing a light rainproof windbreaker. The water temperature is also cooler (20°C / 68?F) at this time of the year. This means it is the best time for snorkelling, since the cold waters are rich in nutrients for the marine ecosystem, but you might want to have a wetsuit to keep warm.
What should I pack for Galápagos?
Sun hat with brim, sun glasses, good walking shoes, Teva-style sandals (for wet landings), swimsuits, plenty of high-factor waterproof sunscreen, snorkel and mask, windbreaker, light sweater or sweatshirt (especially from June to December), shorts and T-shirts, extra film, memory cards, batteries for cameras, underwater camera, binoculars, motion-sickness pills or bands, anti-histamine tablets or cream.
How should I dress on land, what type of shoes are best?
Again shorts, zip-off leg pants and T- shirts are fine for most visits on land. Sunglasses, hat with a brim and sun block are a must year round! Good walking shoes with a good grip are recommended; again if you have tender feet consider bringing sandals or Tevas for the wet landings. From June to October, you might want to consider a light waterproof windbreaker for afternoon visits. From December to April, long-sleeved, light cotton T-shirts might be a good idea if you have fair or sensitive skin.
Make sure you’re as ready as you want to be for your Ecuador expedition
What should I pack for Ecuador?
What to pack depends on where you are going, since one can experience all types of weather in Ecuador’s different regions. We have prepared a list of things that you should pack according to the region:
General Packing List: Passport, travellers checks, medical prescriptions if needed, your usual health and toiletry supplies, sun hat with brim, sunglasses, plenty of high-factor waterproof sunscreen, insect repellent, anti-bacterial gel for hands, clothing for warm and cool weather if travelling between regions, sandals, raincoat, small backpack, money belt, watch with alarm, flashlight, cameras, extra batteries, and light comfortable, easy-to-wash clothing.
Do I need a visa to enter or visit Ecuador?
Check with your local Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate. However, most visitors are allowed to stay up to 90 days, renewable for an additional 90 days. You do need a valid passport and it should be carried with you at all times.
What language is spoken in Ecuador and on the Galápagos?
Spanish is the official and main spoken language in Ecuador. However, the vast majority of people involved in tourism speak English.
How do I pay my bills?
You can use credit cards (with an additional 10% service processing charge), cash and travellers checks.
What is the local currency?
US dollars are used both in mainland Ecuador and on the Galápagos. Travellers- checks are accepted under special conditions. You can check with the captain or your guide onboard. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs located in Puerto Ayora, but only with VISA or MASTERCARD. Banking hours are: Mon – Fri 9:00am -16:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.
How safe is it to travel in Ecuador?
It is wise to watch your belongings at all times. Never leave your camera or other personal items unattended. Ecuador is considered one of the safest countries in the Andean region; however, it is always a good idea to be cautious during your visit.
• If you are not visiting the city with a guided tour, find out which sectors are unsafe and avoid them. Also, try to visit the touristic sites at normal hours.
• Avoid people who are too friendly or eager to help you, or who offer to show you around.
• Don-t wear expensive jewellery or wristwatches when walking around the city.
• It is recommended that you carry shoulder bags and purses in front of you (on your chest) when entering a crowded place.
Should I carry my passport with me while visiting Ecuador?
It is recommended you make two photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, tour documents, travellers check’s numbers and airline itinerary, so you can leave one copy at home with a friend or relative, and bring one with you separately from the originals. It is essential that you carry your passport at all times in Ecuador. However, you can leave the original in the safe box at your hotel and carry copies when on a day trip. While you are in Galápagos you can leave all your belongings in your cabin. However, if you plan to use travellers checks in Puerto Ayora you will need your passport.
Is it customary to tip in Ecuador?
If you are satisfied with the service, it is customary to leave a tip for the crew with the captain, and one for the naturalist guide. On the mainland it is also customary to tip the guide, driver or person serving you.
Do I need to get any vaccinations to visit Ecuador?
There are no vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador. However, in some specific regions there are mosquitoes that can transmit diseases. If you are visiting the rainforest please contact your local health centre for more information on preventive measures.
To enquire about this trip please email [email protected] – thank you.
Galapagos Island Sail Adventure
- Trip code: AWA
- Dates: Multiple
- Price: from $4,385
- Start: Baltra, Ecuador
- End: Baltra, Ecuador
- Length: 8 Days plus 1 week land adventure extension option
- Accommodation: Sail boat / hotels
“It appears to me that nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist than a journey in distant countries.”
Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle