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Observe colonies of blue-footed boobies, step over nesting iguanas, and swim with turtles and sea lions. This cruise around the eastern islands of the archipelago on board a first class catamaran allows you to discover the incredible - and famously fearless - wildlife and landscapes of some of the lesser-visited Galapagos sites.
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Fly from the UK to Quito today. Please note that international flights for this holiday are quoted separately. Transfer to your comfortable hotel, located in one of the quieter parts of the city. Relax after your journey this evening.
Your guide comes to the hotel this morning to take you on a tour of Ecuador’s capital and its surroundings. Quito is positioned on the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, and is home to perhaps the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America (now UNESCO-listed). Explore the historic centre to learn about the city’s colonial past, perhaps dropping into the Government Palace en route.
The Galapagos are around 600 miles off mainland Ecuador so the flight takes a couple of hours. Meet your guide on Santa Cruz island, from where you will be transferred to the Seaman Journey in a panga. This afternoon, explore North Seymour island, an uplifted (rather than volcanic) island home to large colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Along the coast, sea lions and marine iguanas surf the waves.
Today you explore Genovesa: one of the most remote and least visited islands and therefore home to abundant birdlife. This morning, follow a 1.5km trail over volcanic rock to El Barranco. See red-footed booby and petrel nests, and masked boobies. During the “panga rides” along the cliffs, fur sea lions and several species of seabirds can be seen. This afternoon you land at Darwin Bay which is the largest tropical seabird colony on the planet, populated by frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, doves, mocking birds and Nazca boobies.
On the east end of Santa Cruz island, Plazas is home to a substantial iguana population, including the fascinating hybrid variety, literally a cross between a land and a marine iguana. Swallow tailed gulls can be seen nesting in the rugged cliffs, along with plentiful other seabirds. This afternoon, enjoy watching the sea lion colonies around Santa Fé island. (Please note that due to shark research taking place there will be no snorkeling here until March 2019)
This morning, in Cerro Colorado on San Cristobal island, visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre, where turtles are protected and bred in captivity. This afternoon, visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre, the oldest museum of Natural History in the archipelago, with lovely gardens and sea views.
On San Cristobal island, the beach you'll visit this morning acts as a nesting zone for marine tortoises. Between January and May, you may well see footprints of the female tortoises that have climbed to the sand dunes to deposit their eggs. On Cerro Brujo this afternoon, you can swim off the white coral beach in the protected bay, and watch seabirds and turtles.
Spend this morning at Gardner Bay: an excellent beach for swimming, snorkelling and observing sea lions. Galapagos sharks can be seen in the crystal-clear waters here, which may put you off your snorkelling! This afternoon, at Suarez Point, spot blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies, as well as a magnificent blowhole, spurting water up to 75m into the air.
Spend the morning at Cormorant Point, one of the largest and best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. Wedged between two lava cones, this spot feels very protected. In the afternoon, visit Post Office Bay for an insight into the islands' human history, and enjoy the beautiful views from the Baroness Lookout.
Visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island where you can see tortoises in captivity at the Breeding and Rearing Center, as well as learning more about the Galapagos from the information centre and exhibition hall. Fly back to the mainland this afternoon, where you may connect straight on in Guayaquil or Quito with an international flight home, unless you are spending more time on the Ecuadorian mainland.
Snorkel with sea lions, walk across lava fields, drift among penguins, and marvel at the uniquely fearless wildlife of Galapagos. This cruise around the eastern islands of the archipelago allows you to discover Galapagos on land and in the water, and explore incredible wildlife and landscapes in depth.
This Galapagos Islands cruise is primarily a wildlife holiday so the focus is not on activity. Having said that, you spend most of your time out and about in the great outdoors, so it is not a sedentary trip by any means. There is some gentle walking though the islands are volcanic which means that you are often walking on quite sharp lava. If you enjoy swimming and snorkeling then you will find some incredible wildlife underwater too.
As a tailor made trip, we offer a range of different boats in the Galapagos. This itinerary is based on Seaman Journey, a superior first-class catamaran carrying a maximum of 16 passengers.
The eight cabins are either double or twin each with en-suite bathroom. Given the amount of time spent out and about exploring the islands or up on deck , cabin size is rarely a critical element of your Galapagos holiday. The spacious top sun deck with comfortable loungers is the ideal place for a drink and a debrief with fellow passengers at the end of the day.
In terms of weather, the Galapagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant all year round. The water temperature and conditions do vary with colder, choppier waters from June through October giving way to warmer and calmer seas for the rest of the year.
The Galapagos Islands are primarily about the wildlife, though the human history of the islands and the struggles of conservation create a fascinating context for the wildlife. Having seven days in the company of Ecuadorian crew and expert guide should allow you time to gain a wider understanding of your host country.
We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.
Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. We work with a range of boats in Galapagos, personally chosen for their quality of itineraries and operation, though these vary widely in route, duration and comfort levels.
In the form set out above, the holiday price includes internal flights, high quality hotel accommodation, a week long Galapagos cruise on board a first class yacht as well as activities, excursions, transfers and entrances as per our detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to fly into Quito (airport code: UIO) and out of either Guayaquil (airport code: GYE) or Quito.
Assumes 7 nights on board Seaman Journey in high season in 2018.
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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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