For friendly, expert advice call: +44 (0) 1962 733051

Galapagos Islands - one week cruise

Tour Code: ECU12

A 13-day holiday incorporating a 1-week cruise around the 'Enchanted Isles' in our elegant 2-masted topsail schooner, a visit to Antisana volcano or Otavalo, plus an optional Amazonian extension.

13 days from £4895(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4295 SRS: £185 + an optional 3-day extension


The Galapagos Islands form a volcanic archipelago straddling the equator some 960 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador. They consist of volcanic peaks, strange lava fields, beautiful sandy bays, and clear seas. Their natural history is outstanding, and much of it is endemic. There are Giant Tortoises, prehistoric-looking Land and Marine Iguanas, and countless breeding seabirds; most appealing of all is the ‘tame’ and obliging nature of the islands’ extraordinary wildlife. Our week-long cruise avoids the routine, large and luxury motor vessels. Instead we charter our own comfortable 2-masted Topsail Schooner (accommodates 16 passengers), boasting an outstanding itinerary, first-class natural history leadership and high class service from the boat's crew.

  • Led by expert natural history guide, born & raised in Galapagos
  • Daily landings at wildlife-rich visitor sites for Giant Tortoise, Blue-footed Boobies & more
  • 28 endemic bird species
  • Ample time & superb opportunities for photography
  • Snorkel in crystal-clear, fish-filled waters with inquisitive young Galapagos Sea Lions
  • Look for seabirds & cetaceans as we cruise between islands
  • Exciting Amazon rainforest extension at Sacha Lodge

 

Food

Included in the price, except for main meals in Quito. Allow £30.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel, Quito; 2-masted topsail schooner, Galapagos. Sacha Lodge (Amazon extension).

Outline Itinerary Download

1 Fly Quito

2 Quito

3/10 Galapagos cruise

11 Antisana/Otavalo

12 Depart Quito

13 Arrive UK

The Galapagos Islands, surely, need no introduction. Ancient seafarers called them the Enchanted Isles, recognising their unique landscape and extraordinary fauna, but it was Charles Darwin who drew them to the world’s attention. By observing the fascinating changes and adaptations made in the birds and reptiles through thousands of years of isolation on these predator-free islands, Darwin was able to formulate his theory of evolution.

The Galapagos Islands form a large archipelago straddling the equator some 960 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador. Of volcanic origin, they are beautiful islands with great variety and often bizarre form; each island with its own peculiar shape and charm. There are volcanic peaks, strange lava fields, beautiful sandy bays, and clear seas, perfect for snorkelling in the sheltered coves. Their natural history is outstanding — so much of it endemic. 28 bird species, from the Small Ground Finch to the magnificent Waved Albatross, occur nowhere else in the world. There are giant tortoises, prehistoric-looking Land and Marine Iguanas, colourful crabs such as the Sally Lightfoot, and even a Galapagos Snake. Most appealing of all is the tame and obliging nature of this extraordinary wildlife; it is a photographer’s paradise — a telephoto lens is usually unnecessary.

We avoid the routine, large and luxury motor vessels, and their noisy crowds, by chartering our own vessel — an elegant 2-masted Topsail Schooner that accommodates 16 passengers in characterful quarters. This provides a freedom, flexibility and group independence essential to the specialist nature of our holiday. Moving at our own pace, we will have a greater chance to enjoy these islands to the full, and to benefit from the knowledge of our expert naturalist-guide.

We will visit the central and eastern islands on this 1-week cruise, starting and ending our cruise on Baltra Island. At Academy Bay, on Santa Cruz Island, we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise breeding station, and make a trip up to the highlands to look for the reptiles in the wild. We will walk amongst spectacular volcanic scenery on Bartolome Island, and we will swim amongst fur seals and Sea Lions from the beaches on James Island. With a mixture of night-time voyages (for the longer navigations) and shorter day-time sailings, we will explore each island for its own peculiar wildlife specialities. On Espanola we should see the magnificent Waved Albatross from May – December together with thousands of nesting seabirds and colourful Marine Iguanas. Genovesa, way to the north, hosts huge colonies of frigatebirds and Red-footed and Masked Boobies, plus a population of storm-petrel hunting diurnal Short-eared Owls.

As we cruise between the islands, there is time to read, relax and keep a tour diary. There will be time to sea-watch, enjoying our quiet companions the petrels, shearwaters, gulls and boobies, and to keep an eye out for dolphins playfully swimming in the bow-wave of our boat.

In Ecuador, after our cruise, we offer a choice between spending a day visiting and birdwatching on Antisana, a magnificent volcano permanently adorned with snow, and a day at Otavalo, an Indian town to the north of Quito with one of the best indigenous markets in South America. We also offer an extension to Sacha Lodge in the Amazon Jungle, enjoying the rich birdlife of the area and the various trails and dug-out canoe excursions that enable a thorough exploration of this area of the great Amazon rainforest.

Marine Iguanas (John Willsher)Blue-footed Boobies (Jane Hodgson)Returning to the Cachalote (John Willsher)Blue-footed Boobies (Jennifer Nisbet)Magnificent Frigatebird (John Willsher)Nasca Booby Chick (Jennifer Nisbet)Larva Heron (John Willsher)Sally Lightfoot Crab (John Willsher)Greater Flamingo (John Willsher)Galapagos Giant TortoiseSealion (John Willsher)Short-eared Owl (John Willsher)Magnificent Frigatebird (Jane Hodgson)Brown Pelican (John Willsher)Pinnacle Rock and Santiago (Geoff Carr)Volcan Sierra Negra (Andy Smith)Antisana volcano (Geoff Carr)Pond (John Willsher)Galapagos Hawk (S. W. Birch)Nazca Booby (John Willsher)Land Iguana (John Willsher)Marine Iguana (Jane Hodgson)The Cachalote and Pinnacle Rock (Jane Hodgson)CachaloteCachalote DeckCachalote DeckCachalote KitchenCachalote , CabinCachalote, CabinCachaloteCachaloteCachalote barCachalote deckCachaloteCachalote saloonCachalote
S. G.
Hampshire
We thoroughly enjoyed the unique wildlife and dramatic scenery of the Galápagos Islands. The tour leader was exceptionally knowledgeable and went to great lengths to ensure we saw as much as possible. Compared to other tour groups our walks were longer and more specific. The Cachalote is a great way of seeing the Galapagos.
P.T.
Essex
The tour content was a very nice balance. As a general nature photographer I felt that this tour gave everyone’s interests a chance, and didn’t focus only on birds. Darwin on the Cachalote and Fausto (assisted by Wilson) at Sacha were brilliant and really went the extra mile to make sure everyone was happy.
J.G.
Surrey
The highlight for me was Genovesa Island. The birdlife there was outstanding. I would strongly recommend that this is included in future tours, if possible. Very knowledgeable guides in all three places - Quito, Galapagos and Sacha.
Mr & Mrs E.
Essex
Excellent holiday. Galapagos - Absolutlely brilliant. Excellent guide, 'Darwin', so knowledgeable in all matters.
Dr & Mrs C
Cornwall
Another wonderful Naturetrek holiday - thank you. Also a very nice group of people, many of whom we hope to stay in contact with. The highlight of the holiday was every aspect of the Galapagos; the wildlife, the snorkelling (with penguins, sea lions and a shoal of approximately 100 yellow cownose rays), the island trips and the lovely yacht Cachelote with superb service and food. We also loved the trip to Antisana and Sacha Lodge.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Mon 26th February 2018 - Sat 10th March 2018

YES

£4895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sacha LodgeMore info

Mon 13th August 2018 - Sat 25th August 2018

YES

£5095

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sacha LodgeMore info

Mon 11th March 2019 - Sat 23rd March 2019

YES

£5095

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sacha LodgeMore info

Mon 1st July 2019 - Sat 13th July 2019

YES

£5295

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4695 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sacha LodgeMore info

Visiting: Ecuador

Tour Extensions

If you wish to prolong your holiday we offer the following extensions.

Sacha Lodge

Can I help You?

Andy Tucker
Operations Manager

Email Andy

01962 733051

Tour Focus

Cruising

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed the unique wildlife and dramatic scenery of the Galápagos Islands. The tour leader was exceptionally knowledgeable and went to great lengths to ensure we saw as much as possible. Compared to other tour groups our walks were longer and more specific. The Cachalote is a great way of seeing the Galapagos.
S. G., Hampshire