This eight day itinerary includes San Cristobal, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina and Rabida Galapagos Islands
About the vessel: The MV Origin blends the best of tasteful design and decor, luxury amenities, and environmental sustainability. The 20-passenger vessel was custom built to maximize fuel efficiency and comfort. In September 2018, the Origin, became the first luxury expedition yacht in the Galapagos Islands to become an official member of the esteemed Relais & Châteaux collection
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, Island sightseeing, Naturalist guides and lecture services in English, snorkelling gear, shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests step from 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.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
PM: Galapaguera (San Cristobal Island)
Upon arrival on San Cristobal Island, you are met at the airport and transferred by bus then Zodiac to the yacht anchored in the bay. After a welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served on board. In the afternoon, travel to Cerro Colorado to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (La Galapaguera) where the national park has established a breeding program for giant tortoises in their natural habitat. At the visitor center, learn about the origin and evolution of tortoises, as well as threats from introduced animals. Along the trail, watch for the San Cristobal mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Return to the vessel for a briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our chefs.
AM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)
Spend the entire day on Genovesa Island, one of the most spectacular places in Galapagos for bird species. Land at Prince Philip’s Steps, where red-footed boobies nest in palo santo trees, Nazca boobies nest near the trail, and storm petrels gather in large numbers in an open lava field. With luck, you may see the elusive short-eared owl. Return to the vessel for a BBQ lunch on the sun deck.
PM: Prince Philip’s Steps (Genovesa)
Choose to explore the cliffs up close from a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Look for the red-billed tropic bird hiding in the crevices or snorkel in deeper water from the Zodiac. Land at Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest, the males inflating their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. Choose to relax on the beach or swim with sea lions in these northern warmer waters. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner. Out on deck, the sky is illuminated with stars.
AM: Las Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
Today we visit Las Bachas, (Spanish for barges) on the northern side of Santa Cruz. Explore the long stretch of a white sand beach and the interior lagoons populated by greater flamingo, then take the opportunity for some wonderful snorkelling from the beach. Return to the ORIGIN for lunch.
PM: Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz)
This afternoon, step shore on Dragon Hill for a majestic view of the bay and the island landscape covered in opuntia cactus, palo santo and muyuyo. The trail also offers excellent opportunities to see Darwin’s finches, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers, Audubon shearwater, as well as the endemic land iguanas, that were once part of the Station’s breeding program. In the saltwater lagoon, pink flamingos feed alongside other birds such as stilts, pintail ducks and sandpipers. After the briefing and dinner, we sail toward the western islands and cross the equator for the second time.
AM: Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela)
We vsit Punta Vicente Roca on a Zodiac ride offering an incredible view of the tuff walls, where we can enter the wave-sculpted cave. There is an excellent chance to snorkel here and find penguins and sea turtles that frequent this area. During lunch, we sail through the Bolivar Chanel.
PM: Urbina Bay (Isabela)
Take a seat on deck to view the dramatic scenery and watch for whales and dolphins riding the bow wave, and occasionally the Mola-Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Disembark at Urbina Bay where four miles of coastal seabed were exposed due to a dramatic uplift during a volcanic eruption in 1954. See the remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, and keep an eye out for the very large and colourful Galapagos land iguanas, as well as marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, and the occasional giant tortoise. Return to the vessel for briefing and dinner. A sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy.
AM: Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)
Visit the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos, with no introduced animals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory, and hundreds of marine Iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, basking in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Out on the point, the Flightless Cormorants build their nests close to shore since they lost their ability to fly. There is a chance to snorkel here with large sea turtles that frequent this area before returning to the ORIGIN for lunch.
PM: Tagus Cove (Isabela)
Go ashore on Tagus Cove, a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Sections of the rocky cliffs are covered with graffiti dating back to the 1800s. An uphill hike leads to a saltwater lagoon and a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. Take advantage
of the secluded cove and explore the shoreline by kayak or stand up paddle board in search of Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner as we cross the Equator for the last time and get a visit from King Neptune!
AM: Rabida Island (Jervis)
Disembark on Rabida, a small Island considered the geographic center of Galapagos because its volcanic rocks are the most diversified in the archipelago. The dark red colour of the beach comes from the high iron content in the volcanic stones. Follow the trail to a saltwater lagoon where greater flamingos migrate, keeping an eye out for marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and Darwin’s finches. Afterwards, do not miss the opportunity to snorkel with a colony of sea lions and rays.
PM: Black Turtle Cove
This afternoon, there is a Zodiac excursion at Black Turtle Cove through a series of
coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. View pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. We return to the vessel for the Captain’s Farewell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special presentation by your guides.
AM: Darwin Station (Santa Cruz)
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and see the tortoise and land iguana corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises that will be repatriated when grown. A new exhibit recently opened honouring Lonesome George, a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island that tragically died of natural causes. Stop at a chocolate shop to learn how high quality “Arriba cacao” is produced in Ecuador. Return to the yacht for dinner.
PM: Twin Craters (Santa Cruz)
Visit Ranch El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda where giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. Stop at the lava tunnels, that are large enough to walk through, and visit Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of large craters. Return to the yacht for lunch on board and a briefing.
AM: Interpretation Center
Visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.