Near the top of every nature and animal lover's wish list is a visit to the magical Galapagos Islands!
The best way to visit is by small ship, offering the most inspiring wildlife experience possible in the Galapagos with hands-on exploration of nature through many included activities: hiking through trails of volcanic formations and nesting sea birds, visiting a secluded beach with hundreds of sea lions, snorkeling with penguins and sharks, kayaking in a secluded cove, or taking a zodiac ride to explore the shoreline and spot wildlife.
You'll gain a renewed spirit through amazing nature on this incredible journey!
Planned Day-by-Day Itinerary:
SUNDAY: Fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (SCY) on SAN CRISTOBAL Island, and transfer by bus then Zodiac to the M/Y Letty 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 M/Y Letty for a briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our chefs.
MONDAY: Spend the entire day on GENOVESA (Tower) 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, while Nazca boobies nest near the trail, and storm petrels gather in large numbers in an open lava field. With luck, you may spot the elusive short-eared owl. Return to the yacht for lunch on the sun deck. Choose to paddle from a kayak or stand-up paddle board and explore the cliffs. 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 frigatebirds nest, the males inflating their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich intertidal zone with diverse wildlife. 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 and an evening full of stars.
TUESDAY: Today guests on the Letty visit Las Bachas beach, (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 snorkeling from the beach. View sea turtles, harmless white-tipped reef sharks, and golden cow-nosed rays. Return to the yacht for lunch. This afternoon, step ashore on Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) for a majestic view of the bay and the island landscape covered in opuntia cactus, palo santo and muyuyo (Cordia letea). The trail also offers excellent opportunities to see Darwin’s finches, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers, shearwaters, as well as the endemic land iguanas, that were once part of the park’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.
WEDNESDAY: This morning’s stop is at Punta Espinoza on FERNANDINA, 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 yacht for lunch. Disembark at Urbina Bay on ISABELA Island, 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 colorful Galapagos land iguanas, as well as marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, and the occasional giant tortoise. Return to the M/Y Letty for briefing and dinner. A sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy.
THURSDAY: Visit Elizabeth Bay on ISABELA Island by zodiac to explore a secluded cove lined with large red mangrove trees, where sea turtles, rays, and shore birds are often spotted. Motor along the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, to find a colony of nesting penguins, flightless cormorants and giant marine iguanas.
Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos. Return to the yacht for lunch served on the sun deck. Go ashore on Tagus Cove, a favorite 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.
FRIDAY: Stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas on SANTIAGO (James) Island looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. The walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a chance to snorkel from the beach. After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here.
Disembark on RABIDA (Jervis), a small Island considered the geographic center of Galapagos because its volcanic rocks are the most diversified in the archipelago. The dark red color 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. Return to the yacht for dinner and the Captain’s Farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
SATURDAY: Disembark at Puerto Ayora, SANTA CRUZ Island, the social heart of the Galapagos, with a population of 24,000 humans. Travel by bus to the highlands, passing through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Visit Rancho El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda where giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. Stop at the lava tunnels at El Mirador, the largest in the archipelago, and visit Los Gemelos, (The Twins), a pair of large craters. Return to the yacht for lunch on board. This afternoon, visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly Charles Darwin Research Station). Visit the tortoise corals and the breeding center with hatchlings and miniature tortoises that will be repatriated when grown. A new exhibit honoring Lonesome George, a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island that tragically died of natural causes, opened in February 2017. We stop at a local chocolate shop to learn how high quality Arriba cacao is produced in Ecuador. Stroll through town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet café or museum to stimulate the local economy. Or if you prefer more active options, we can arrange for guests to kayak at Punta Estrada or ride bicycles (additional charges apply). Return to the M/Y Letty for dinner or, if you wish, remain ashore for dinner on your own at a local restaurant. Zodiac shuttles from the yachts to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening.
SUNDAY: Travel by bus to the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands or visit the small islet of Isla Lobos. Afterwards, spend time in town before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland, or be our guest here overnight on San Cristobal before boarding our Galapagos scuba liveaboard on Monday.
Our group of 20 guests will
travel in style on this private charter of M/Y Letty for the nature expedition of a lifetime. E-mail us to reserve your place today!