Galapagos Cruise A - Origin & Theory
These stunning 20-passenger yachts offer an outstanding experience in the Galapagos with expert guiding, exciting wildlife viewing, and luscious, locally-sourced cuisine.
Galapagos: Drink It In
Be transformed on an unforgettable expedition to the Galapagos Islands on the sophisticated yachts, Origin, Evolve, or Theory. You’ll see plenty of creatures during your tour of the Galápagos, including green sea turtles, and, during a pilgrimage to the island of Isabela, the famed giant tortoises. Try and match their leisurely pace as these prehistoric reptiles mosey across the island. Access one of the world's most elusive destinations and trust this operator to deliver a life-enriching adventure that will redefine your expectations of luxury expedition travel.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- • Search the coastline for bottlenose dolphins or snorkel alongside the playful sea lions.
• Marvel at wondrously exotic animals who aren't afraid of humans and stand helpfully so you can admire them.
• Travel with true Galapagos experts who excel in both guiding and organization as well as top-notch service.
Save 15% on selected voyages in 2022!
From $8,950 per person
Following biosecurity standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Policies and protocols provided before you book.
Trip Sustainability Awards
Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.
On the East African Energy Renewal Board
Runs local educational facilities for children.
Day 1: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Chatham) & El Junco Lake, San Cristobal
Upon arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (SCY) SAN CRISTOBAL Island, our guides will be waiting for you to escort you to the right vessel. After a short bus ride and Zodiac transfer to the yacht anchored in the bay, you’ll get your cabin assignment and be treated to a delicious buffet lunch. You will be required to participate in a brief safety drill and choose your snorkel equipment.
Before the yacht pulls anchor, you’ll return to San Cristobal to explore El Junco Lake. Spanish for “sedge”, El Junco is the caldera of an extinct volcano and only sizable fresh water lake in the Galapagos. Listen for the calls of sea lions - they may try to approach, and as you ride the zodiac and you’ll see them lounging on the boats docked in the harbor. Upon your return to the yacht, the Captain and crew will welcome you on board with a cocktail, and a briefing of the next day’s activities.
With the small number of passengers on your yacht, you’ll have an opportunity to dine with the captain later in the week. But for tonight, enjoy meeting your fellow passengers as our kitchen staff treats you to a multi-course dinner complete with complimentary wine.
Day 2: Punta Pitt & Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal
You’ll start your exploration today with a Zodiac ride to look for wildlife at Cerro Brujo (1), which translates to Wizard Hill. Your guide will point out the wide variety of birds soaring around you, from brown pelicans and brown noddy terns to blue-footed boobies dive-bombing the water around you as they fish. Look for different color patterns that indicate age - for example, a brown pelican will have a white neck when it’s mature. Sally lightfoot crabs, black when they’re young but extremely colorful once fully grown, scurry all over the rocks. Your guides will also point out unusual geological formations, including the Cathedral, jokingly called Darwin’s Pants.
After the Zodiac tour, you’ll be able to take in the gorgeous coral sand beach at your own pace. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, swim with sea lions or you have the option to paddle board or kayak. Paddleboards are beginner-friendly, with the option to kneel if you aren’t comfortable standing. This is a good opportunity to become familiar with your snorkeling gear from the beach before snorkeling in deep-water. Your guides will teach you about the various species of fish you’ve encountered so far. If you’d like help identifying any of the fish in your photos, they’ll be happy to lend their expertise.
Return to the yacht for lunch served on the sun deck (weather permitting) before going ashore at Punta Pitt for a hike - parts of the trail are rocky, and there is some climbing involved. This is considered one of the best sites for bird-watching, primarily because it is the only place where you’ll see all three species of boobies: the blue-footed, the red-footed, and the Nazca. Look for baby blue-footed boobies, fully grown after just a couple of months but fluffy and white until their feathers come in.
Your guides will also point out frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, brown pelicans. At Pitt Rock, we can snorkel with sea lions and colorful fish such as King Angel and Surgeon fish. A Zodiac will transfer you back to the boat for a briefing and dinner. As the yacht sets sail, choose from a selection of guide books or fiction in the library, or climb to the top deck for a distant view of “Sleeping Lion”. Join your guide on deck for an exploration of the Southern skies full of stars if weather permits.
Day 3: Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay, Espanola
This morning you’ll land at Punta Suarez on Espanola (Hood) Island (5). Your guides will point out the large number of endemic species living here, such as the waved albatross. These gorgeous birds spend the first several years of their lives in the open ocean and return to land to mate. If your visit is between April and December, you will witness the well-known courtship dance. As you walk, take care not to step on the marine iguanas sunbathing on the dark rocks. These iguanas are usually black but acquire bright red and green coloration during mating season from the algae they eat. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole, watch for colorful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline.
We also find Darwin’s Finches, Hood mockingbird, Galapagos Doves, red-billed tropicbirds, Galapagos Hawks, Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gull in the world. Return to the yacht for lunch served on deck (weather permitting) and a cooking demonstration on how to make Ecuadorian ceviche. After lunch, you’ll have the option to snorkel at Tortuga Rock and explore the caves covered with invertebrates.
Disembark at Gardner Bay, site of a beautiful white-sand beach where colonies of sea lions dot the shoreline. The dominant males of a sea lion colony keep watch over their harems to keep them safe. Here you’ll have the option to snorkel from the beach, kayak or paddle-board, or simply walk along the beach, sunbathe or explore the Darwin Finches, Espanola mockingbird and Galapagos hawks. After the activities, return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner. Your guide will offer an enrichment lecture tonight after dinner. Informative and entertaining, the topic for this evening is on marine currents and climate or Geology of the Islands.
Day 4: Punta Cormorant, Post Office Bay, & Baroness Point, Floreana
Step ashore at Punta Cormorant’s olive-sand beach with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons and blue-footed boobies as you walk around Floreana (Charles) Island (3). The green mineral you’ll see on the beach is caused by a high concentration of iron and manganese from the same basaltic lava found in Hawaii. As you walk to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flycatchers and bright pink flamingos, the guides will point out the rich variety of plant life, including morning glories, cut-leaf daisies, mangroves (black, red and white), palo verde and Scalesia. The trail leads to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the powdery sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water.
Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion Islet (2), a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and coral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Return to the yacht for lunch and a brief history of the human history of Galapagos and explain the fascinating story of why this island is sometimes called the Island of Mysteries. In the afternoon, you’ll be able to participate in a thrilling Galapagos tradition. Floreana is home to Post Office Bay (1), the site where English whaling vessels erected a post barrel in the late 18th century. When you drop a postcard in the barrel, no postage is required. You’ll search through the postcards left by previous visitors, and if you see one addressed to a location near your home, you may choose to take it with you and deliver it in person. Similarly, your note will be delivered by future visitors. Postcards will be provided on board by your guides.
Take a Zodiac excursion at Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. If you have an underwater camera, you’ll be busy snapping photos of sea stars and a brilliant array of colorful fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner and a fun filled entertaining pirate themed party – participation is optional.
Day 5: Highlands of Santa Cruz & Darwin Station
When you look outside this morning, your view will be completely different from the last few days. A harbor full of boats is bustling with activity at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island (2), a town with a population of 24,000. You’ll travel by bus to a higher altitude with beautiful geological formations including the lava tunnels at El Mirador and Los Gemelos (the twins), a pair of massive craters. Your guides will explain how they were formed. The highlight of the morning is a visit to a privatelyowned ranch where tortoises roam free. These slow-moving giants can grow to be over 500 pounds!
Lunch will be served back on board the yacht, and in the afternoon you’ll learn about the most famous visitor to the Galapagos - Charles Darwin - as well as current conservation efforts, when you visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (1) and Charles Darwin Research Station. Visit the exhibit honoring Lonesome George, whose death marked the extinction of his species of tortoise from Pinta Island. There’s another story with a happier ending: Diego, a tortoise from the San Diego zoo, brought his species back from the brink of extinction by fathering hundreds of offspring.
You’ll have free time to explore the town as you walk back to the main dock, the distance of about a mile. If you’re looking for a souvenir, this is the perfect time. Stop at the artisan chocolate shop to select a truffle, with dozens of flavor options, or visit an art gallery for a painting or ceramic piece. Along the way there will be cafes with coffee, ice cream and internet. You’ll have the option to stay on land for dinner with transfers provided by Zodiac. Otherwise, return to the yacht for the usual delicious multi-course dinner. Today’s daily briefing will be held in the afternoon to allow for extra time in the evening.
Day 6: Sombrero Chino, Las Bachas, or Black Turtle Cove, Bartolome
When you wake up this morning, you’ll be in solitude once again, with no other boats in sight. You’ll have two options for a morning activity. Today’s hike is a challenge, with about 400 wooden steps winding around Bartolome island (4), ending in a gorgeous panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock. Your guide will stop along the way to describe the geology of the landscape - mini lava cones and bombs formed by flowing magma from past volcanic eruptions.
If you’d rather skip the hike, enjoy a Zodiac ride around the island to look for penguins. You’ll see these adorable animals - the second smallest type of penguin - swimming and diving playfully or grooming themselves on rocks. Crystal clear water beckons you to wade in from the beach (1). Snorkel with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins. Return to the vessel for lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting). The itinerary for this afternoon varies depending on your yacht, but all visitors will enjoy lovely views and some of the Galapagos’ renowned wildlife.
Guests on the Origin go ashore at Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat), a small island off the southern tip of Santiago that owes its name to its shape. Sea lions await on the beach, and as you explore, you’ll see marine iguanas and oystercatchers. Along the trail, you’ll see remnants of the island’s geological history, with volcanic rubble and cracked lava formations. Guests on Theory visit Playa las Bachas, (Spanish for barges) on the northern side of Santa Cruz. You’ll also have a wonderful opportunity for snorkeling after exploring interior lagoons with vivid flamingos. You’ll navigate slowly along the shoreline, listening for the telltale deep inhale of a sea turtle and watching for the wings of a school of golden rays. Your guide will offer an enrichment lecture tonight after dinner. Informative and entertaining, the topic for this evening is on Charles Darwin and evolution or social/ environmental projects that are supported by this operator.
Day 7: South Plaza Island & North Seymour
This morning you’ll start out at South Plaza, a small islet with tall cliffs and a trail with a variety of plants and animals. This island’s species of “Opuntia” or prickly pear cactus has been decimated by invasive species, so you’ll see young plants surrounded by nets to protect them. Look for nests for a variety of birds, such as swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, small ground finches, and red-billed tropicbirds. This geological uplift is home to a colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory. You’ll also have an opportunity to see land iguanas up close, and your guides will describe what differentiates them from marine iguanas.
During lunch, you’ll sail to North Seymour Island, where a spectacular sight awaits: frigate birds with red sacs on their chests inflated, seeking mates. At the height of mating season, you’ll be surrounded by dozens, but no matter what time of year you visit, there will be individuals seeking mates. The Galapagos Islands are home to two different species of frigates, Great and Magnificent, and your guides will teach you to identify the difference. You’ll have a final opportunity to snorkel in deeper water. Look for sharks, sea lions, and starfish, along with a variety of tropical fish.
Before dinner, the captain and crew join you for a champagne toast to celebrate a wonderful week during the Captain’s farewell party. During the briefing, and you’ll receive detailed instructions for disembarking the next morning, After dinner, there is a special presentation from your guides and you come to realize your week in paradise has almost come to an end!
Day 8: Interpretation Center, San Cristobal
This morning you’ll disembark the yacht after breakfast. As a perfect way to sum up the trip, you’ll visit the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal to discover more about the human history of the Galapagos Islands. There’s also a paved trail where you can enjoy a brief walk before a bus ride to town. You’ll have some free time for last-minute photos before your transfer to the airport. It’s a quick flight back to the mainland, but you’ll be bringing lifelong memories with you!
Please Note: This operator reserves the right at its sole option and discretion and that of the Captain of the vessel without liability for damages or refund of any kind to deviate from the vessel’s advertised or regularly scheduled itinerary. Itineraries are subject to change at any time for any reason including mechanical failure and without prior notice. This operator will not be held responsible for any refunds whatsoever for changes to the printed or scheduled itinerary.
Yoga Retreat Sailings
Culinary - Tastes of Ecuador
Focus on Photography
Hosted Departures with Marine Biologist Jack Grove
Kayaking & Paddleboarding: The Origin, Evolve, and Theory have five tandem kayaks. Each vessel has two stand-up paddleboards. They are available at designated sites during the cruise at no charge on a first come first serve basis.
The Galapagos Islands come alive with the expert guiding and enthusiasm of this highly trusted, veteran operator. I definitely recommend these lovely 20-passenger yachts!
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: