Visit Galapagos Islands on board Isabela II.
The Galapagos Islands are special and you want a special yacht in which to explore this ‘living laboratory of evolution’. Yacht Isabela II, accommodating 40 guests, promises a complete immersion in this unique world.
The Isabela II offers enriching wildlife encounters whether amid the islands’ haunting volcanic landscapes or beneath the waves of its marine reserve, all in the company of passionate, dedicated and expert naturalist guides. The islands’ marine life can be appreciated with a snorkel and mask, paddling a kayak or aboard our glass-bottom boat.
On board, guests find delicious cuisine, faultless service and excellent facilities, including a Jacuzzi, fitness room, cosy bar and outside deck for meals, drinks and sunbathing. Her crew has remained virtually unchanged for years, their dedication, attention to detail and passion for service touching every one of her guests.
Yacht Isabela II is ideally-designed for Galápagos expedition cruising. On the Cabin Deck, you find the 16 Classic Twin and 2 Classic Double cabins, as well as the 1 Standard Cabin, arrayed around outer corridors. On the Main Deck, you find the one Owner’s Cabin, perfectly located to the yacht’s social areas.
- Bar – Lounge, Boutique
- Gift Shop
- PA System
- Snorkeling Equipment: mask & snorkel, fins, snorkeling vest, mesh bag, towels (complimentary)
- Multimedia natural history lectures
- Stargazing Program
- Digital camera and underwater housing
- Glass bottom boat
- Internet Access: Two computers in business centre & Wi-Fi access in social areas (usage charges apply)
- Radio, telephone, E-mail, and Fax communications
- Air conditioned throughout
- In-room safety boxes
- Hair dryers
- Wet Suits: 1/8 inch thick, shortie model (rental charges apply).
- Sea Kayaks
Day 1: Monday
Baltra Airport (Santa Cruz Island)
We arrive at Baltra Airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. We review the expeditions plan for next day, Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 2: Tuesday
Santa Fe Island
A stunning anchorage provides our jumping-off point for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling and swimming from the beach, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat rounds off the rewarding experience.
The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-gray land iguanas. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.
Day 3: Wednesday
North Seymour Island
The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, a favourite of many visitors, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkelling or coastal exploration. We can also ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that morphed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. We can swim and/or snorkelling from the beach.
Day 4: Thursday
This morning, a Galápagos icon awaits for us: Bartolomé Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, we take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by time we will enjoy the beach and some snorkelling. We can also ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
After lunch, we get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming, and with a trail over a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galápagos while observing its wildlife.
Day 5: Friday
After breakfast, we leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
Cruise (Fri – Tue ) – Southern Islands 5 days/ 4 nights
Day 1: Friday
Baltra Airport (Santa Cruz Island)
We arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. Expedition plan review, Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 2: Saturday
Post Office Bay & Baroness Cove
After breakfast, we land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Snorkelling off the beach.
Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
Our visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, we come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest. We can usually snorkel at “Champion Islet” site, panga ride or ride in our glass-bottom boat.
Day 3: Sunday
Our morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole”. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the afternoon, we set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak, panga ride or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Day 4: Monday
In the morning, we land on the eastern tip of the island. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline and is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim, kayak or snorkel from the beach or a panga ride.
Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coraline beach, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching with good views of seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835. After the walk, there is a chance to swim and snorkel.
Day 5: Tuesday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal- Chatham Island)
After breakfast, we depart to pier and airport for our flight back to the mainland.
Day 1: Tuesday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Santa Cristobal Island)
We arrive by plane at San Cristóbal Island and transfer to Yacht Isabela II for cabin assignment, introductory briefing and lunch.
San Cristobal Visitor Center
After lunch, we land back at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and drive a few minutes along the shore to the Visitor Centre, near Mann Beach, a resting place for Galápagos sea lions. The visitor centre offers a perfect introduction to the islands’ natural and human history in a modern museum setting. After the visit, return ashore for a welcome cocktail, briefing on the next day’s activities and dinner.
Day 2: Wednesday
Prince Philip’s Steps
Overnight, we navigate northbound to the incredible bird island, Genovesa, crossing the equator on the way. The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). We can also enjoy snorkelling and kayaking.
In the afternoon, we land at the beach for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There’s an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else we can return to the beach to enjoy snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour.
Day 3: Thursday
After breakfast, we enjoy a coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer’s Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkelling too! Or ride in our glass-bottom boat.
This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Back at the beach where we land, there’s very good snorkelling and swimming here.
Day 4: Friday
In the morning, we visit the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant. Opportunity to snorkel.
Across the narrow Bolívar Channel, we anchor at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. It provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming, kayaking or snorkelling.
Day 5: Saturday
After breakfast we disembark at Urbina Bay, the result of an uplifting of the ocean in 1954. Here you can find corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, and occasionally to giant tortoises. Along the shoreline, after the hike, guests may encounter flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkelling.
Punta Vicente Roca
Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by dinghy, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife and, depending on the conditions of the ocean, we’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Expedition plan for Sunday and dinner.
Day 6: Sunday
In the morning, we disembark at Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach. A stroll allows us to observe a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. We can also enjoy a panga ride, kayaking or ride in our glass-bottom boat.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Our walk includes circling a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago.
Day 7: Monday
Our journey ends at Baltra Island where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
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