The 8-day Evolution Galapagos Cruise itinerary includes visits to San Cristobal, South Plaza, Santiago, Genovesa, Tower, North Seymour, Santa Fe, Floreana and Santa Cruz Islands
About the vessel:
This charming 32-guest expedition yacht is ample enough to provide spacious staterooms, along with various social areas – including inside and outside dining – yet small enough for guests to be able to experience nature in an up-close and personal manner. This artful combination of factors results in a yacht which offers excellent service, accommodations and attention to detail, while causing minimal impact on the environment.
All cabins includes private bathrooms, hot showers and air conditioning. Cabins will be cleaned twice a day. Your galley and dining staff will prepare quality meals using both local and international cuisine. Your vessel is stocked with “food for thought” as well—a library containing a wealth of information on the natural history of the Galápagos plus an entertainment centre completed with DVDs or videos. All our yachts – our including sailing vessels – are equipped with engines to cover the distances of your itinerary with efficiency. This is your time to relax therefore all boats have plenty of areas to lounge in the sun or shade. The bar is always open for refreshments. Sea kayaks are available for some additional fun and we carry snorkelling gear for all.
Very early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Galapagos.
Your Galapagos Cruise include: Accommodation in selected cabin, all meals and non alcoholic beverages, Island sightseeing, Naturalist guides and lecture services in English, Snorkelling gear, wetsuits, sea kayaks, shared transfers in the islands.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests disembark the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Morning arrival to San Cristobal Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board your cruise. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
After lunch and a quick briefing we make our way to our first sites. Lobos lives up to its name of -Sea Lion Island- with its noisy population of frolicking and barking beasts. It lies just a short navigation north, up the west coast of San Cristobal, separated by a channel that forms an inviting lagoon. This is where you’ll have your first chance to share the water with a playful colony of the “wolves of the sea”. From lobos we should have views of Kicker Rock, a spectacular formation that rises 152 meters (500 feet) out of the Pacific. It takes the form of a sleeping lion, but from another angle you can see that the rock is split, forming a colossal tablet and, piercing the sea, a great chisel ready for etching.
After this visit you have time for a shower as we get ready for our welcome cocktail and our first formal briefing before dinner.
AM: South Plaza Island
We start our day with a visit to South Plaza, one of the smallest yet most colourful islands in the archipelago; with red sesuvium ground cover and green prickly pear cactus. Bright yellow land iguanas also reside here set against a turquoise channel. We visit the bachelor sea lion colony at the crest of the island where swallow tailed gulls nest and red-billed tropic birds, frigate birds and shearwaters fly in dancing displays.
PM: Punta Carrion / Mosquera Island
Early afternoon snorkelling at Punta Carrion followed by a visit to Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra. It is one of the smallest Islands resulting from an uplift of sand, made up of coral reefs and rocks. It boasts one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Galapagos archipelago. There are occasional reports of Orca whales seen praying on the sea lion colony.
AM: Chinese Hat Islet
Tiny Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island is named for the resemblance its shape has to a traditional Chinese Coolie’s hat. It rest across a quiet channel from nearby Santiago Islands. We land at a tiny crescent cove with sandy white beach cradled by black lava formations. This is home to sally lightfoot crabs, marine iguanas and further along the coast, Galapagos penguins. You’ll have a chance to see the penguins during your panga ride, as well as snorkel with both sea lions and penguins at the cove.
PM: Santiago Island: James Bay
Afternoon visit to James Bay on the western shores of Santiago. We land on a black beach offering excellent snorkelling with sea turtles and tropical fish. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear caves formed of broken lava tubes. This is home to fur seals, sea lions and samurai-like marine iguanas that feed in tidal pools. Keep your eyes open for Galapagos hawk that visit the area.
AM: Genovesa (Tower) Island: Darwin Bay
PM: Tower Island: Prince Phillip’s Steps
Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southwestern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as “Bird Island,” a name it lives up to in a spectacular way!
AM: North Seymour Island
Morning visit to North Seymour Island which is teaming with wildlife! The cliffs only a few meters high from the shoreline are home to swallow-tailed gulls. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo’s trees stands just above the landing. A trail will take us to see sea lions, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds and land iguanas.
PM: Santa Fe Island
Afternoon visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago. Santa Fe is a hotspot for snorkelling – with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.
AM: Floreana Island: Post Office Bay / Baronesse Overlook
Floreana has had a colourful history: Pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists—a Baroness among them—who chose a Robinson Crusoe existence that ended in mystery and death. We visit Post Office Bay, where in 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the island‘s Post Office, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp.
PM: Floreana Island: Cormorant Point / Devil’s Crown
Afternoon visit to Punta Cormorant which offers two highly contrasting beaches; a green-olivine beach and an iron-red beach. Between the two beaches is a salt-water lagoon frequented by flamingos, pintails, stilts and other wading birds. Late in the afternoon, snorkelling at Devil’s Crown, which is home to a myriad of marine species including a variety of corals, pencil sea urchin, wrasses, angelfish and amberjacks. A perfect scenario for some of the best snorkelling in the Galapagos.
AM: Wild Land Tortoises Reserve (Highlands) (WH)
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have the chance to see these animals in the wild, walk through lava tubes and see the Gemelos; twin collapsed craters.
PM: Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Charles Darwin Research Station (WH)
In the afternoon we return to Puerto Ayora to visit Charles Darwin Research Station, to see the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. The Fausto Llerena Center receives about 7,800 visitors a month and currently houses about 900 youth and 70 adult tortoise. This project, which began in the 1970?s has been an incredible success in helping repopulate the Galapagos Giant Tortoise population. You’ll have time in town to enjoy a café and shop for souvenirs.
AM: Black Turtle Cove
Today our Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Evolution and her crew we pay a visit to Black Turtle Cove. A beautiful mangrove estuary where we quietly drift in our panga to see spotted eagle rays, diamond shaped mustard rays, white-tipped reef sharks, pacific green sea turtles and a large variety of shore birds. Next, we head to Baltra Island airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.