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Galapagos Islands - the world's most iconic wildlife destination!
travel with WANT to the eden of the oceans
Galapagos Islands Yacht Cruise
frigatebirds, boobies, penguins, seals, albatrosses, tortoises and a whole lot more
Apr 28 - May 06
2012
Imagine swimming alongside a penguin or seal; gazing deep into the eyes of a 120 year old giant Tortoise; laughing at the awkwardness of a Blue Footed Booby and partially solving the mystery of its name... Without a doubt, the Galapagos Islands are the most well-known and sought after eco-tourism destination in the world.

Almost everyone who is interested in wildlife, dreams of visiting this extremely interesting island group - and now, there has never been a better time to experience this treasure! Due to increasing demand and heavy pressure on wildlife by visitors, travel around the islands is becoming extremely restricted and highly monitored. For the best experience, it's very important to choose the right vessel for your visit; WANT Expeditions knows the best and only way to visit the Galapagos is by private yacht!

Our ship provides amenities beyond compare; small groups who share the same interest and enthusiasm for wildlife, ecology, nature conservation, will have incredible experiences while visiting the Galapagos! Not only that, our yacht is elegant, spacious, and comfortable; a superior tourist vessel with the best itinerary among all ships in her category! Our week on-board this brilliant yacht will take us to the most interesting and photogenic wildlife landing sites, at the same time allow us to explore the best of what the underwater world has to offer. With all this in store, you are guaranteed an unparalleled experience both on shore and off, so don't wait!
Detailed itinerary:
Apr 28 Quito
  Our exciting expedition to the wildlife paradise of the Galapagos Islands starts in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. Nesting high up in the Andes, this is a perfect place for us to arrive, rest and acclimate after our long international flights; then assemble in our comfortable city hotel for an introduction and our Welcome Dinner. Whichever time you arrive to Quito, you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to our hotel. After you are settled in your room, you are free to explore the city at your leisure. At 7PM our official trip will begin with a Welcome Dinner and a discussion of the coming week. After dinner, we will head straight to bed (if you prefer) to conserve energy for the exciting adventures awaiting us!
  Accommodation: Hotel Quito
Apr 29 Baltra/Bachas Beach
  Our day will start with a very early with breakfast at the hotel. We will then gather in the main lobby and depart to Quito airport for our domestic flight to Baltra, the starting point of our visit to the Galapagos Islands! After landing on Baltra Island, we will be greeted by our Galapagos National Park guide. Then its only a 10 minute bus transfer down to the wharf to our yacht. Once on board, we will receive an orientation and safety drill. (During the orientation, our National Park guide will go over the Galapagos National Park rules which request, among others, that you do not disturb or remove anything (not even a rock or shell), do not touch or feed the animals, do not leave any liter and to stay on the marked trails. Show a conservationist attitude! Leave only footprints and take home only photographs.) Then, we head south for our first of many exciting stops! Las Bachas is a lazy strip of beach on the north side of Santa Cruz not far from Baltra. Here we'll spend the rest of the afternoon swimming or snorkeling with playful sea lions or strolling along with Great Blue Herons and Flamingos. Then its back on board for a wonderful dinner and evening sail north to Genovesa (Tower) Island.
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
Apr 30 Genovesa (Tower) Island
  We spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species! This morning, we have a wet-landing at Darwin Bay, where we'll be greeted by a welcoming committee of Red-Footed boobies, then explore a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. As we continue on, we enter a forest of Optuntia cactai and mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich inter-tidal zone where we find a wide diversity of wildlife. This afternoon, we have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. But before we land on shore, we explore the incredible cliffs by panga en route to the Steps. Once on shore, more Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca boobies can be found not far from the trail. In an open lava field, millions of storm petrels nest in the lava tubes. And, with a little luck, we will see the elusive short-eared owl. The sharp eyes of a WANT guide is sure to point out the beautiful red-billed tropic bird usually found in the crevices. A quick panga ride brings us back to our yacht, then we depart this evening to motor back south during the briefing followed by dinner.
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 1 Bartolome/Sullivan Bay -Santiago (James) Island
  On Bartolome, it seems like we are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. Not surprisingly, the name of the two living organisms we hope most to see are the lava cactus and lava lizard. After a dry landing, we have a gradual climb, up stairs, that lead to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, we pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, we can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and “Pinnacle Rock”, an eroded tuff cone. We'll also be able to see the most most recent lava flows on the nearby Islands. Then on the way down, the crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach or Zodiac with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos penguins playing around us. In the afternoon, at Sullivan Bay, just across a narrow channel from Bartholomew, on the eastern end of Santiago, we will walk on recent, black pahoehoe lava flows. Here we will see some of the early colonizing plants—mollugo and brachycomes - struggling to gain a foothold in tiny cracks in the lava. Small cinder cones stand out where this black blanket flowed gracefully around them. This is an amazing place to get a sense of the primordial, the beginnings of the planet, as we wander around on this primitive flow. Occasionally, a colourful Galapagos Grasshopper (actually a locust) flits just ahead of us, over the flow. You may wonder how it makes a living out in this austere environment!
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 2 Daphne Island/Caleta Tortuga Negra/Cerro Dragon
  Although we don't have a physical landing this morning, a very special experience for WANT guests is in store! This morning we explore Daphne Major. These two tiny tuff cones are located just off Santa Cruz, near Baltra. Visits to Daphne Major are tightly restricted, limited to one party of no more than eight persons per day, and each yacht may make but one visit per month. Finches, Blue-footed Boobies, and Red-billed Tropicbirds nest in the crater, and Nazca Boobies and Frigate birds nest on the flanks. And sometimes, as in this case, the best way of viewing the wildlife is by panga, rather than by foot. From Daphne, we move on to explore Caleta Tortuga on the north side of the island. As we are poled quietly along in our panga, we'll keep our eyes out for Spotted Eagle and Golden rays gracefully swimming in formation just below the surface of the still water. We might also see small sharks and sea turtles moving slowly through these shallow waters and observe several species of herons, (Lava, Great Blue, Yellow-crowned Night) standing in the tangle of red mangrove roots, poised to spear small, unwary fish. A beautiful and memorable experience that reminds you why its so important to support the conservation and protection of such special places in the world. After our exclusive Galapagos access this morning, we reposition to visit the north-western Santa Cruz Island, where the visitor’s site at Dragon Hill is located. A dry-landing, Dragon Hill, consists of a trail that runs through three different environments at just 1,600 m long. Cerro Dragón, along the northwest coast of Santa Cruz Island, contains two lagoons where we're sure to see flamingos and land iguanas. Vegetation in this area includes the unique Palo Santo trees and Opuntia cacti.
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 3 Charles Darwin Research Station and the Highlands of Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)
  Santa Cruz Island is home to one of the most iconic animals of the Galapagos; the giant tortoise, and this morning we will get the opportunity to learn of the conservation/research efforts on the island with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park Headquarters. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. We visit the Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits and a short video presentation on conservation, then head back outside to see three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and adorable miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. The last part of the center includes an opportunity to see the pen of Lonesome George, the last surviving member of the Pinta Island subspecies. Efforts have been made to pair him with other females, but without viable reproductive success. Once you've have your fill of the center, we can stroll back to our ship through the town of Puerto Ayora (population: 25,000), and the largest town in the Galapagos. Here is a great chance to buy souvenirs, mail postcards or kick back at an internet cafe in the social heart of the Islands. Back on our ship for lunch, we'll head off for an up-close and personal encounter to see the Giant Tortoise in its natural habitat, in the highlands of Santa Cruz. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, we visit the tortoise reserve at one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We visit Los Gemelos, Spanish for “The Twins”, a pair of large pit craters where we may spot the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. Then we stop at “The Tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos, before making our way back to the ship.
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 4 Floreana (Santa Maria)/Post Office/Baronesa/Punta Cormorant/Devil's Crown
  Our entire day today is dedicated to exploring Floreana Island; one of the most spectacular islands of the Galapagos archipelago! This morning starts with a visit the legendary Post Office Bay and Black Beach, where the Wittmer family still resides (wet landing). Here we'll learn about the intriguing and notorious human history of the Galapagos, that is just as exciting as its wildlife! Post Office Bay is historically the location of a wooden barrel, which was originally placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Since then, whalers, yachtsmen and tourists have used it as a post-office. If you find a letter or postcard in the box that is addressed to someone living near your next destination, take it with you and continue an ancient tradition of mail delivery by hand. After we've "picked up" or dropped off our mail, we'll enjoy the rest of the morning with a relaxing panga ride to explore more of the islands. In the afternoon, we head ashore to Punta Cormorant on the north coast of the island (wet landing). This landing is a great opportunity for us to observe green turtles on the beach or stingrays in the shallow waters. Just behind the beach, in a large lagoon, flamingos sift the sediment of the salty water in a constant search for food. Not to be outdone by the example of natural beauty surrounding us, we will see the Devils Crown; a natural phenomena where an inactive volcano has opened half of its cone toward the sea and now hosts an abundance of marine activity where the the crystal clear waters are a paradise for snorkelers and divers!
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 5 Espanola (Hood) Island/Punta Suarez/Gardner Bay/Islote Gardner/Islote Osborn
  This morning we have a dry landing at Punta Suarez, Espanola, where we witness the highest rate of endemic species in Galapagos. Sea lions noisily greet us as we land on their beach. Curious Hood mockingbirds peck at our shoelaces. From April to November, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, perform their wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls are the only nocturnal gulls in the world. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. We also find Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. Observe a species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Colorful Sally Light-foot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous “blow hole”.
During lunch, we motor to the other side of the Island. On our last afternoon in Galapagos, we have a wet landing on Gardner Bay. Walk along seemingly endless stretches of this white sandy beach where we’ll find large colonies of sea lions. Gardner bay is the place where you can have time alone to reflect, take a long walk, swim, snorkel, or stretch out on the sand for a snooze. Sea Turtles nest on this beach and sea lions conduct helpful snooze workshops as part of their compelling “Live like a Sea Lion” programs. We may find a Galapagos hawk, Darwin’s finches or Hood mockingbird. The choice is yours this afternoon; swim with sea lions from the beach or just relax on your last glorious day in Galapagos. There’s an excellent snorkeling site off Gardner Islet with a colorful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock in caves covered with invertebrates. This evening we'll enjoy a wonderful Farewell Dinner on-board.
  Accommodation: Private Yacht
May 6 San Cristobal Leon Dormido (Chatham)/Interpretation Center/Quito/homebound
  Located some 5 kilometres offshore, Leon Dormido is a huge monolith that split apart creating a narrow passage that only the most skillful yacht captains can negotiate. Blue Footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds nest along the ledges, and once through the passage, we'll explore this unique area by panga. Afterwards, we drop anchor in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal and visit the Interpretation Center to gain a complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Time allowing, we may spend a short time in town before heading to the airport for our flight back to the mainland. Following our arrival at Quito International Airport, we will pick up our luggage and check in for our international flights home-bound. Or, in case you are participating in the exciting Ecuador mainland program, you will be transferred to Hotel Quito for a Welcome Dinner and Orientation. While this ends of our fantastic Galapagos experience, our memories will live on forever! Have a safe trip home!
 
Galapagos Islands Trip mapCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: USD 5,790
  in single room: USD 9,990


Martha S. from Columbus:
" I will always have great memories of the whole trip - and thank you for providing them. It was especially good to see the Galapagos Giant turtles out in their natural settings and not in a pen. Poor George might have had a better chance for romance out there. Thank you again for planning and providing a grand adventure. Marti"

Trip images:
Landscape in the Galapagos IslandsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Landscape in the Galapagos IslandsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Landscape in the Galapagos IslandsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Landscape in the Galapagos IslandsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos Giant TortoisesCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos Giant TortoisesCopyright © WantExpeditions
Marine iguanaCopyright © WantExpeditions
Land iguanaCopyright © WantExpeditions
Short-eared OwlCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos HawkCopyright © WantExpeditions
Marine Iguanas and a Sea Lion on a beachCopyright © WantExpeditions
A very friendly but wild Galapagos FlycatcherCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos Sea Lion as seen while snorkelingCopyright © WantExpeditions
Amazing underwater lifeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Frigatebirds are fascinating animalsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Frigatebirds are fascinating animalsCopyright © WantExpeditions
The endemic Waved AlbatrossCopyright © WantExpeditions
Swallow-tailed GullCopyright © WantExpeditions
Hermit crab on the beachCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos Sean Lion on the rockCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos PenguinCopyright © WantExpeditions
Brown PelicanCopyright © WantExpeditions
Galapagos DoveCopyright © WantExpeditions
Red-billed TropicbirdCopyright © WantExpeditions
Blue-footed BoobieCopyright © WantExpeditions
Red-footed BoobieCopyright © WantExpeditions
One of the famous Darwin FinchesCopyright © WantExpeditions
Yellow (Golden) WarblerCopyright © WantExpeditions
Amazing sunset in the GalapagosCopyright © WantExpeditions
Amazing sunset in the GalapagosCopyright © WantExpeditions



Tour leader: Jessica POCIASK
Trip price: in double room: USD 5,790
  in single room: USD 9,990
Price includes:
· all accomodation
· all meals
· all activities mentioned in the program
· all land transportation
· bottled water in transport vehicles
· all airport and local transfers
· all national park fees
· all entrance fees
· all local guiding fees
· international tour leader
· all government taxes and levies
· snorkeling equipment

Price excludes:
· international flights
· travel insurance
· personal expenses at accommodation
· departure taxes at airports
· visa fees
· any other items not mentioned above