Spend seven days cruising the otherworldly realm of the Galapagos Islands, and follow the footpath of Charles Darwin, who was inspired by the undisturbed nature of its inhabitants.
Day 1 – Your first stop is San Cristobal, one of the larger islands in the archipelago, inhabited by approximately six-thousand people. Next, you will circumnavigate Kicker Rock, two towering volcanic rock formations, where your expedition leader will point out seabirds such as Swallow-tailed Gulls, Nazca Boobies and frigate birds. As evening falls, you will pause and watch the beautiful sunset display at this iconic Galapagos location.
Day 2 – Anchor at Sullivan Bay, within sight of the Bartolome Island, one of the most visited and most photographed in the archipelago. Transported to the shore by a Zodiac boat, here is your chance to watch for Lava Lizards, Galapagos Hawks and Blue-footed Boobies. Visitors will also be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas across the islands, before moving on to Playa Espumilla, home to a variety of wildlife such as nesting green sea turtles, flamingos, White-Cheeked Pintails, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Hawks, Whimbrels and America Oystercatchers.
Day 3 – Be amazed by the imposing volcanic coastline at your next stop, Punta Vicenta Roca, on Isabela Island. The cliffs are home to endemic Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos fur seals, Blue-footed Boobies and marine iguanas, while below the surface of the water, Eastern Pacific green sea turtles or, if conditions allow, eagle rays, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and schools of tuna can be seen. Your next stop of the day is Fernandina Island, where hundreds of marine iguana rest on the black rock of the lava flows, absorbing the heat from the stone. You might also see Galapagos sea lion cubs sheltering here, nests of iguana eggs or Flightless Cormorants drying their wings in the sunshine.
Day 4 – Start your day with a visit to Tagus Cove, where along with an abundance of wildlife, the ship can safely anchor for its guests to kayak, snorkel or head ashore to discover centuries-old names of ships carved into the rock. You may also hike through the forest of Palo Santo trees to hike the volcanic cone. In the afternoon, enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the tranquil inlets of Elizabeth Bay, and watch out for Blue-footed Boobies, Galapagos penguins and sea lions and Lightfoot crabs, before passing by the imposing volcanoes of Sierra Negra and Alcedo and weaving through the mangroves.
Day 5 – Named after a post box that was placed ashore around the year 1813, Post Office Bay is the next stop on your journey. Leave a letter behind, and see if you can spot one you can deliver for a previous guest when back home, before exploring the underground caves or snorkelling off the beach. Cruising by Isla Champion, where you might encounter a myriad of marine life, your next stop of the day is the northernmost point of Floreana Island, Punta Cormorant. Famed for its fabulous flamingos, follow the trail to the sandy beach where you might spot female sea turtles venturing out of the sea to lay their eggs.
Day 6 – Arrive at Cerro Dragon on the island of Santa Cruz, whose resident iguanas once played an important role in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. Next, you will arrive at the northern shore of the island of Santa Cruz, where the beautiful Las Bachas beaches span a full kilometre – look out for more turtles and their nesting sites!
Day 7 – Your next stop is Los Gemolos, translating as ‘the twins’ in Spanish, named after the pair of enormous sinkholes caved into the ground – a sight that never fails to impress first-time visitors! Walk along the craters edge before seeing giant Santa Cruz tortoises and wading through the green fields in search of one of Darwin’s more famed finches, the Woodpecker Finch. Next, it is time to visit the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station, which also comprises the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre for celebtrated Giant Tortoises and land iguanas. Enjoy some free time here, too, when you can explore the local art galleries and cafes in the island town.
Day 8 – Finish your cruise on Baltra Island, and prepare to depart for the Ecuador mainland.