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Aida Maria Galapagos Islands Cruise

$1,563$3,094

4.00 out of 5

A small, comfortable yacht ideal for those on a budget who still want a quality guide and nice itinerary.

Trip Length: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 15 Days
Destination: Galapagos Islands
Lodging: 16-Passenger, tourist class motor yacht
Activities: Wildlife viewing, naturalist walks, snorkeling

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WHY THIS TRIP

The Aida Maria is a small, comfortable, 16-passenger Galapagos yacht that offers good value for those prioritizing the experience of the islands over luxuriousness. Each of the eight double cabins, while small, is air conditioned and has a private bath and hot shower. There is a dining area/bar for relaxing indoors, and several external decks for enjoying sunny Galapagos days. The professional crew and your certified naturalist guide will enhance your Aida Maria Galapagos Islands Cruise experience and understanding of Galapagos’ unique natural history.

TRIP DESCRIPTION

On the Aida Maria Galapagos Islands Cruise, you will visit two different island sites each day for walks with your naturalist guide who will explain the differences in plants and animals at each stop. You will also have opportunities to snorkel each day, as well as ample time to relax on the beach and to enjoy the amazing flora and fauna of the Galapagos. You will also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about the natural history of the islands, and to see tortoises.

The Aida Maria offers 15-day, 8-day, 6-day, 5-day, and 4-day itineraries, all with ample time to explore the wonders of the Galapagos onshore and while snorkeling.

LOCAL OPERATOR: AIDA MARIA TRAVEL

Aida Maria Travel has been providing world class naturalist cruises for more than 30 years. The company’s roots stem from when the current owner’s grandfather arrived in the islands in the 1940s. Now with a new fleet of boats, which include the First Class Yacht Eden, Premium class Aida Maria, and Tourist Class Rumba, Aida Maria Travel offers tours around the Galapagos for all budgets.  For our clients with special interests we have implemented a new line of first class products, the S/C Valkiria and M/Y Maverick to cover multi-activity adventure tours and a mixture of the natural wonders of the Galapagos with the local culture.

Our fleet offers a great variety of options for naturalist and special interest cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Nature, adventure and supreme comfort will be always part of a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

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Itinerary

DAY 1 (Sunday): Baltra Airport & Las Bachas Beach

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch your guide will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter at our first destination, Las Bachas Beach.

On the sandy white beaches of Las Bachas you will get a close look at a sea turtle nesting area as well as a lake frequented by pink flamingos and other migratory birds. Afterwards, you’ll cool off with a dip in the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean. As this is the first evening together, the crew will invite everyone to a pre-dinner cocktail on the yacht before the welcome dinner. If the night is clear, as it usually is, the stars above will sparkle; look for the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper (turned up-side down!) and Orion. (Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2 (Monday): Genovesa Island – Darwin Bay & El Barranco

Early in the morning you’ll have breakfast and then you’ll disembark at Genovesa “Tower” Island, which is located in the northeastern part of the Galapagos (less than half a degree north of the equator). Genovesa is known as one of the best places to see large populations of unique, Galapagos birdlife and is a highlight of any itinerary.

At “Tower” Island you’ll anchor at Darwin Bay, which is located on the southern part of the island, and is actually the caldera of an extinct, partially eroded volcano, with the surrounding cliffs forming the inner lining of the rim. While the origin of the name “Tower” is not known, one can imagine it had something to do with these towering cliffs in a horseshoe shape around the beach. After a wet landing on a coral beach the trail begins in an area where there are several swallow-tailed gulls. The tour will be a long, fairly-easy walk, but it is usually hot and dry here, so you may want to carry some water. Along the way, you’ll see Great Frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, Blue-Footed Boobies, sharp-beaked finch, large cactus finches, large ground finches, and mockingbirds. Nearby tidal pools in the volcanic rock are places for wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels and turnstones to hunt for seafood. As you walk back from the beach, you’ll see a variety of Opuntia cactus and mangroves. You will have an opportunity to snorkel after this and/or the next visit.

You’ll visit El Barranco, or Prince Philip’s Steps, during the afternoon. This is the only other visitor site on Genovesa aside from Darwin Bay. You’ll first visit the beach and continue on the trail to see nesting birds like red-billed tropicbirds, storm petrels, and red-footed boobies. Hopefully, you’ll also be able to spot the adorable Galapagos short-eared owl and perhaps the Galapagos fur seal.

After this very full day, we then return to the boat for dinner and overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3 (Tuesday): Bartolome Island & Sullivan Bay

Bartolome Island contains one of the most photographed vistas in the archipelago. This island is quite young and quite volcanic; therefore, it’s relatively unpopulated with only a small handful of die-hard plant and animal species having survived long enough to call this lava-land home. The land visit here is more about the amazing view of the pinnacle standing straight out of the sea; the volcanic formations of the Islands; and get in an invigorating hike. After our short hike up the wooden stairs, you’ll return to the nearby beach for some very fun snorkeling. Here at Bartolome, you’ll have a very good chance of snorkeling alongside the unique Galapagos penguin. The colony of penguins here seem to love flying through the water as snorkelers swim in the calm bay.

After the visit to Bartolome Island you’ll visit nearby Sullivan Bay. At the turn of the century a huge lava flow spilled right down to the sea and today you can stroll across this black volcanic expanse, admiring its time-frozen ripples, bubbles and ropes. This is a fascinating area for seeing the differences in the volcanic creation of the Islands. There are two nearby beaches also where sea turtles lay their eggs and you may find broken egg shells here left behind by the baby turtles. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4 (Wednesday): Daphne, Black Turtle Cove, & Cerro Dragón

Early in the morning you’ll arrive to Daphne Island, a conical Island, which is home to thousands of birds such as blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, tropic birds, and many more. You won’t go ashore here, but the group will navigate around this volcanic cone and get as close as possible for you to observe the birds without disturbing them (of course, binoculars are recommended to make sure you get a good look at the birds). Daphne has been a great research site on which many scientists have spent years studying the behavior of Darwin’s finches.

After this visit you’ll move on to our next site, Black Turtle Cove, which is a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz and is a nursery for many sharks and rays. It’s also a great location to observe mating turtles around this time of year. You’ll see large groups of resting White-Tip Reef Sharks, schools of Golden Rays and Spotted Eagle Rays, and a few juvenile Scalloped Hammerhead sharks and Black-Tip sharks. The water very calm so paddles are often used rather than the loud panga engines to move around the area. You’ll go for a naturalist walk here and snorkel in the nearby water with your guide.

After lunch you’ll navigate for a couple of hours to Cerro Dragon, where you’ll make a dry landing on lava rocks. Cerro Dragon is a small bay on the west coast of Santa Cruz and got its name from the many land iguanas that live in the area. Land iguanas are endemic to the Galapagos Islands where they have found good mating and nesting areas. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 (Thursday): Santa Cruz Island – Charles Darwin Station & Highlands

After breakfast you’ll sail to Santa Cruz Island, where you’ll visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Station, a non-profit institution that dedicates itself to studying and protecting the flora and fauna of the Galapagos. This is one of the best places to see land tortoises, including Lonesome George, the last survivor of his subspecies. Of course, you’ll also visit the station’s Tortoise Rearing Center. Here you can find baby, hand-sized tortoises, between the ages of one and five, and marvel at how they achieve such large sizes as adults (500 lbs. or more!). Galapagos tortoises are believed to have a lifespan of over 100 years, so the young ones have a long life ahead of them as long as they receive the protection they need.

Aside from the Station headquarters, Santa Cruz Island is home to the largest town and economic center of the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora. In this portside town you can buy souvenirs (postcards, t-shirts, books, etc.) of the islands. If there is free time, you can explore the town a bit on your own and shop for souvenirs.

After our stop in Puerto Ayora and lunch on the boat (guests may dine in town if they desire), you’ll explore the upper region, “parte alta” of the island, which is a moisture-rich area with fertile volcanic soils. You’ll learn about the vegetation and animal life of this zone, often strikingly different than that found at lower elevations. Darwin’s finches, Yellow warblers, and Bright Red Vermillion flycatchers will fly in and out of the moss-covered trees. From this high vantage point you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the surrounding archipelago.

In the late afternoon you’ll return to town. For those who wish to check out the nightlife, this is your chance; the boat will be docked in port most of the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6 (Friday): Floreana Island – Post Office Bay, Mirador de la Baronesa, Punta Cormoran, & Devil´s Crown

When you wake up and look out from the boat deck today, you will see Floreana, one of the greenest islands in the archipelago. Your guide will tell you about its mysterious history laden with rumors of witches, murderous baronesses, blackmail, and dubious disappearances.

Your first stop is Punta Cormorant, where you’ll follow a footpath to a lagoon inhabited by flaming-pink flamingos. You will also pass by Carolina Beach, a Sea Turtle nesting area and a superb spot for watching sea birds and sea rays.

Back on the yacht, you’ll skirt the island’s coast until you arrive at La Corona del Diablo (the Devil’s Crown), a sub-marine crater that offers some of the most spectacular snorkeling in the Galapagos. This is a great spot for seeing the wide array of tropical fish, many endemic to the islands, including purple sea stars and spiky sea urchins. The crater’s most thrilling undersea creatures, however, are the white-tipped sharks. As with most of the creatures in the Galapagos they are unperturbed by your presence, so you can swim in their company freely and fearlessly.

After returning to the boat for lunch you’ll sail on to Post Office Bay, where the islands’ original post office (really only a wooden barrel) was established in 1793. The current system still functions as it did three centuries ago: Visitors drop off unstamped letters and postcards AND pick-up whatever mail they can hand deliver themselves when they return home! (Try it, it actually works!). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 7 (Saturday): Española Island – Punta Suarez, Bahia Gardner, Islote Gardner, & Islote Osborn

Espanola is one of the most magical of all the islands. It is a place where the animals reign supreme and we humans are merely guests. As your dingy brings you to shore you’ll see Sea Lion pups sunbathing with Marine Iguanas and Blue-footed boobies nesting in between, and nearby may be a Galapagos Hawk. If it is Booby mating season watch the bonded pairs do the infamous Booby dance (if it’s not mating season, ask your guide to demonstrate — after all it’s their job to teach you about the local fauna!).

As you follow the footpath around the island, you will pass hundreds of Blue-footed booby nesting sites including one colony of masked boobies. There is also a good chance you’ll see the thief-like Frigate Bird (which has the habit of stealing other birds’ food), as well as the stunning Red-Billed tropicbird and the nocturnal Swallow-Tailed gull.

If it is the right time of the year (mid-April to December) you’ll also encounter the giant Waved Albatross. Apart from a few pairs that breed on Isla de Plata, off the Ecuadorian mainland, all of the world’s 12,000 Waved albatross breed on Española Island. At the end of the breeding season, the entire population leaves the island and heads out to sea, where they spend years without touching land; four or five years may pass before the fledglings return to Española. These large, quirky, and beautiful birds are wonderful to see at any time of year — but perhaps the most charming event to witness is their curious mating dance. Count yourself even more lucky if you get to see this spectacle!

As you make your way around the island you’ll pass by El Soplador, a giant blowhole that explodes to heights reaching 25 feet. In the nearby tide pools you can often find lounging sea lions enjoying the blowhole’s misty spray. Following lunch on board the yacht, you’ll visit Garner Bay, a great place for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. Lionfish, flycatchers, and Galapagos hawks will keep you company as you relax under the rays of the evening sun. Dinner on the yacht completes your day. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 8 (Sunday): San Cristobal – Leon Dormido, Centro de Interpretacion, & Airport

On day 8 of visiting the Galapagos you’ll arrive early in the morning to San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos. The first site will be Kicker Rock or Leon Dormido, a tuff volcanic cone that has been eroded by the wind and marine currents giving it the shape from the distance of a sleeping sea lion. This site is now home to Blue-footed boobies and Frigate birds amongst many others, which have turned this area into their nesting site. After navigating around Kicker Rock you’ll continue on to the Interpretation Center in Puerto Baquerizo, the local branch of the Galapagos National Park Service, where your guide will explain the formation of the islands, how the flora and fauna arrived and were established in Galapagos, as well as visit the corrals where there are several species of giant tortoises under the care of the National Park Service. Before taking the flight back to the mainland you will have some time to visit the town on your own for last-minute shopping or people watching in the Galapagos. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.



DAY 1 (Sunday): San Cristobal – Airport & Isla Lobos

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch your guide will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter.

You will go from the airport straight back to the boat to show you to your accommodations. After lunch we’ll navigate to Isla Lobos, a very small islet made of volcanic rocks that gets its name from the colony of Sea Lions (Lobo de Mar in Spanish) that live there. Here you can observe the behavior and interaction of Sea Lions living in a small community.

Night navigation to your next destination. (Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2 (Monday): Santa Fe Island – Plazas

After breakfast on the yacht, you’ll continue to Santa Fe Island. Upon arrival to the island, you’ll be treated to a noisy welcome from the local Sea Lion colony. Following your naturalist guide on the island paths you’ll reach Santa Fe’s main attraction, a towering forest of giant cacti. Scattered around the cacti trees you’ll see a number of the island’s indigenous sun-seekers: marine and land iguanas, the rainbow-streaked lava lizards and, if you’re lucky, land tortoises – the namesakes of the islands. After the walk you’ll dive into the salty sea and snorkel in the company of Sea Lions, Lion Fish and Sea Turtles. Finally, you’ll return to the yacht for lunch.

After lunch we’ll navigate to Plazas Island, where a large colony of Sea Lions lounge daily in the equatorial sun. Plaza also boasts excellent examples of typical Galapagos native flora such as the towering cacti “trees” that form the principal diet for both the Land Iguanas and the Cactus Finch. Other birds that may flutter by include Lava gulls, Yellow warblers and Red-Billed tropicbirds. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3 (Tuesday): Santa Cruz Island – Charles Darwin Station & El Chato

This morning, we’ll visit the world famous Charles Darwin Research Center and make a stop in the fascinating Tortoise Rearing Center. Here you can find baby, hand-sized tortoises, between the ages of one and five, and marvel at how they achieve such large sizes as adults (500 lbs. or more!) which you will also see at the center. Galapagos tortoises are believed to have a lifespan of over 100 years, so the young ones have a long life ahead of them as long as they receive the protection they need. The research center has been an invaluable tool in helping conserve the ecosystem of the Galapagos and ensure that tortoises do not become extinct.

Aside from the Station headquarters, Santa Cruz Island is home to the largest town and economic center of the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora. In this portside town you can buy souvenirs (postcards, t-shirts, books, etc.) of the islands. Check out the uniquely Galapagos ceramic shop near the entrance of the Charles Darwin Station. After shopping in Puerto Ayora and lunch on the boat (guests may dine in town if they desire), you’ll explore the upper region, “parte alta” of the island, which is a moisture-rich area with fertile volcanic soils. You’ll learn about the vegetation and animal life of this zone, often strikingly different than that found at lower elevations.

This area in the highlands is called El Chato which is a giant tortoise reserve, and one of the few places open to visitors where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat interacting with the rest of the Galapagos life. While wandering through the reserve, you’re very likely to spot these massive creatures munching on leaves and lumbering through the vegetation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4 (Wednesday): Isabela Island – Puerto Villamil, Humedales, Muro de las Lagrimas, & Centro de Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza

Your first visit in the morning will take place in Puerto Villamil, one of the smallest towns in Galapagos, located right in front of a white sand beach. Puerto Villamil is one of the most beautiful spots in the islands and you may feel like you’ve arrived on a Caribbean island. After a dry landing you will go to visit the humedales, which is a mangrove area with small brackish water lagoons that create the perfect environment for a small type of shrimp that serves as the food for the island’s flamingos. Hopefully, we’ll get to observe some of these flamingos feeding in the lagoon.

Following this visit you will be transported to El Muro de las Lagrimas or “The Wall of Tears” which was built by former prisoners when the Island was a penal colony. Here, your guide will explain some of the Island’s history while you climb the lookout beside the Wall of Tears and observe the expansive view of the coastline.

After this visit you’ll return to the beach for some relaxation before lunch on the boat. In the afternoon you’ll visit the local branch of the Galapagos Park Service whose main purpose is to take care of the many species of giant tortoises that inhabit Isabela Island so that you can see the efforts made by the National Park Service to protect and increase the declining population of giant tortoises on this island. This small breeding center is a great place to see the teeny tortoise babies up close and how the repopulation efforts in the Galapagos work together.

Back on board and night navigation to your next site. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 (Thursday): Isabela Island – Punta Moreno & Bahía Elizabeth

This morning we land on the west coast of Isabela which begins our exploration of some of the most remote sites in the Galapagos. The west coast of Isabela and Fernandina Island is scenic, filled with wildlife, and uncrowded. On Punta Moreno you have a dry landing and continue across barren lava field to start the walk. You will discover a number of coastal lagoons amid black lava flows where there are several species of birds. Pink flamingos, blue herons, brown pelicans, and Bahama pintail ducks are all found here. Additionally, you’ll have a panoramic view of three of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos, which are Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul of Isabela Island and La Cumbre of Fernandina Island.

After lunch on board you’ll continue on your way to Elizabeth bay, located on Isabela Island`s west shore, which is an excellent spot for observing marine life. You’ll motor past a few islands where you can usually see Galapagos penguins; this is one of the best areas to take their photos. A colony of these adorable birds inhabit a rocky islet at the entrance to Elizabeth Bay and we’ll make sure to take time to observe this colony.

The boat drifts through a small passage lined with mangroves and eventually emerges into an enclosed cove. The motor will be turned off and you will look in the sheltered waters for Green Sea turtles, rays, Flightless cormorants, sea lions, and, circling overhead, Galapagos hawks. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6 (Friday): Isabela Island – Caleta Tagus & Fernandina Island – Punta Espinoza, Punta Vicente Roca

The visitor’s site of Tagus Cove is located west of Darwin Volcano on Isabela Island and was a favorite spot for pirates and whalers, and the tradition of inscribing the names of boats is a tradition still observed today. At the beginning of the walk, going up and passing the staircase, is a small cave where you’ll find inscriptions dating to the 1800s.

The trail, mostly gravel, leads into the interior, along Darwin Lake. During the walk, you can see various land birds and we’ll identify the characteristic vegetation of the arid zone. Finally, you’ll see the lava fields of Darwin Volcano.

After lunch, the group will have a short navigation to Punta Expinoza on Fernandina Island, a true highlight of any Galapagos trip. Punta Espinoza is a place famous for its large colonies of Marine Iguanas as well as being the habitat of unique species like the Flightless cormorant, the Galapagos penguin, the Galapagos hawk, and the Galapagos snake, among others. On land, your guide will explain the unique adaptations of each strange animal that has managed to survive on this barren and strange Island. The marine iguanas pile up on the hot rocks to get warm before diving in the ocean below and swimming alongside green sea turtles, rays, and the hilarious flightless cormorants. Bright red Sally Lightfoot Crabs scurry across the lava, dotting the black ground with dots of vibrant color. From here, we also get an outstanding view of Isabela’s towering volcanoes and verdant coast just across a short stretch of water.

After visiting Fernandina you will start the navigation to the central part of the Galapagos and on the way we’ll pass Punta Vicente Roca, a mostly eroded volcano which now is a great site for seeing Blue-footed boobies, Frigate birds and other marine birds from the boat. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).

DAY 7 (Saturday): Santiago Island – Puerto Egas & Rabida

Today begins with a hike and snorkeling at Puerto Egas, aka James Bay. This spot is home to the fascinating Galapagos hawk as well as Galapagos oyster catchers and Galapagos lava lizards. We will walk to the coastline where we observe tidal pools and an abundance of Galapagos sea lions. Here the Galapagos Fur Sea Lions bathe in the sun. While snorkeling, you swim alongside reef sharks, turtles, and rays.

Later in the day, you will visit La Rabida, another small but fascinating Island. The first thing you’ll notice on La Rabida are its unique red cliffs and beaches. While walking on this Island, you’re likely to spot sea lions, pelicans, Galapagos hawks, Darwin finches, marine iguanas, flamingos and blue-footed boobies. You will also have time to go for a snorkel in the waters just off La Rabida, where you will hopefully swim with sea lions and tropical fish. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 8 (Sunday): Seymour Norte Island & Baltra Airport 

After an early breakfast you’ll disembark at North Seymour Island. Here you will see Frigate birds, the clownish Blue-footed booby, and of course the ubiquitous sea lions. With luck you’ll witness the striking courtship display of the male Frigate Bird, in which he inflates a red balloon-like sac below his throat and struts his stuff for all of the young females. The Frigate birds nest in the scraggly trees just above the colonies of Blue-footed boobies who dance and nest on the bare ground. Near the end of the trail, you’ll come to a long beach that is a favorite hangout for sea lions.

Return to the boat and sail to Baltra Island to catch your plane back to the mainland. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.


DAY 1 (Sunday): Baltra Airport & Las Bachas Beach

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch he/she will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter at our first destination, Las Bachas Beach.

On the sandy white beaches of Las Bachas you will get a close look at a sea turtle nesting area as well as a lake frequented by pink flamingos and other migratory birds. Afterwards, you’ll cool off with a dip in the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean. As this is the first evening together, the crew will invite everyone to a pre-dinner cocktail on the yacht before the welcome dinner. If the night is clear, as it usually is, the stars above will sparkle; look for the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper (turned up-side down!) and Orion. (Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2 (Monday): Genovesa Island – Darwin Bay & El Barranco

Early in the morning you’ll have breakfast and then you’ll disembark at Genovesa “Tower” Island, which is located in the northeastern part of the Galapagos (less than half a degree north of the equator). Genovesa is known as one of the best places to see large populations of unique, Galapagos birdlife and is a highlight of any itinerary.

At “Tower” Island you’ll anchor at Darwin Bay, which is located on the southern part of the island, and is actually the caldera of an extinct, partially eroded volcano, with the surrounding cliffs forming the inner lining of the rim. While the origin of the name “Tower” is not known, one can imagine it had something to do with these towering cliffs in a horseshoe shape around the beach. After a wet landing on a coral beach the trail begins in an area where there are several swallow-tailed gulls. The tour will be a long, fairly-easy walk, but it is usually hot and dry here, so you may want to carry some water. Along the way, you’ll see Great Frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, Blue-Footed Boobies, sharp-beaked finch, large cactus finches, large ground finches, and mockingbirds. Nearby tidal pools in the volcanic rock are places for wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels and turnstones to hunt for seafood. As you walk back from the beach, you’ll see a variety of Opuntia cactus and mangroves. You will have an opportunity to snorkel after this or the next visit.

We’ll visit El Barranco, or Prince Philip’s Steps, during the afternoon. This is the only other visitor site on Genovesa aside from Darwin Bay. You’ll first visit the beach and continue on the trail to see nesting birds like red-billed tropicbirds, storm petrels, and red-footed boobies. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to spot the adorable Galapagos short-eared owl and perhaps the Galapagos Fur Seal.

After this full day, you then return to the boat for dinner and overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3 (Tuesday): Bartolome Island & Sullivan Bay

Bartolome Island contains one of the most photographed vistas in the archipelago. This island is quite young and quite volcanic; therefore, it’s relatively unpopulated with only a small handful of die-hard plant and animal species having survived long enough to call this lava-land home. The land-visit here is more about the amazing view of the pinnacle standing straight out of the sea; the volcanic formations of the Islands; and get in an invigorating hike. After a short hike up the wooden stairs, you’ll return to the nearby beach for some fun snorkeling. Here at Bartolome, you’ll have a very good chance of snorkeling alongside the unique Galapagos penguin. The colony of penguins here seem to love flying through the water as snorkelers swim in the calm bay.

After the visit to Bartolome Island you’ll visit nearby Sullivan Bay. At the turn of the century a huge lava flow spilled right down to the sea and today you can stroll across this black volcanic expanse, admiring its time-frozen ripples, bubbles and ropes. This is a fascinating area for seeing the differences in the volcanic creation of the Islands. There are two nearby beaches also where sea turtles lay their eggs and you may find broken egg shells here left behind by the baby turtles. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4 (Wednesday): Daphne, Black Turtle Cove, & Cerro Dragón

Early in the morning you’ll arrive to Daphne Island, a conical Island, which is home to thousands of birds such as blue footed boobies, frigate birds, tropic birds, and many more. You won’t go ashore here, but will navigate around this volcanic cone to get as close as possible to observe the birds without disturbing them (of course, binoculars are recommended to make sure you get a good look at the birds). Daphne has been a great research site on which many scientists have spent years studying the behavior of Darwin’s finches.

After this visit you’ll move on to our next site, Black Turtle Cove, which is a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz and is a nursery for many sharks and rays. It’s also a great location to observe mating turtles around this time of year. You’ll see large groups of resting White-Tip Reef sharks, schools of Golden rays and Spotted Eagle rays, and a few juvenile Scalloped Hammerhead sharks and Black-Tip sharks. Paddles rather than the loud panga engines are used to move around the area. You’ll go for a naturalist walk here and snorkel in the nearby water with your guide.

After lunch you’ll navigate for a couple of hours to Cerro Dragon, where you’ll make a dry landing on lava rocks. Cerro Dragon is a small bay on the west coast of Santa Cruz and got its name from the many land iguanas that live in the area. Land iguanas are endemic to the Galapagos Islands where they have found good mating and nesting areas. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 (Thursday): Santa Cruz Island – Charles Darwin Station & Baltra Airport

After breakfast you’ll sail to Santa Cruz Island, where you’ll visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Station, a non-profit institution that dedicates itself to studying and protecting the flora and fauna of the Galapagos. This is one of the best places to see land tortoises, including Lonesome George, the last survivor of his subspecies. Of course, you’ll also visit the station’s Tortoise Rearing Center. Here you can find baby, hand-sized tortoises, between the ages of one and five, and marvel at how they achieve such large sizes as adults (500 lbs. or more!). Galapagos tortoises are believed to have a lifespan of over 100 years, so the young ones have a long life ahead of them as long as they receive the protection they need.

After this visit, you will be transferred to the Baltra Airport to catch your plane back to the mainland. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.



DAY 1 (Thursday): Baltra Airport & Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch your guide will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter.

After your pick-up from the airport, you’ll be transferred to Santa Cruz where you’ll explore the upper region, “parte alta” of the island, which is a moisture-rich area with fertile volcanic soils. You’ll learn about the vegetation and animal life of this zone, often strikingly different than that found at lower elevations. Darwin’s finches, Yellow warblers, and Bright Red Vermillion flycatchers will fly in and out of the moss-covered trees. From this high vantage point you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the surrounding archipelago.

In the late afternoon you’ll return to town. For those who wish to check out the nightlife, this is your chance; the boat will be docked in port most of the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2 (Friday): Floreana Island – Post Office bay, Mirador de la Baronesa, Punta Cormoran, & Devil´s Crown

When you wake up and look out from the boat deck today, you will see Floreana, one of the greenest islands in the archipelago. Your guide will tell you about its mysterious history laden with rumors of witches, murderous baronesses, blackmail, and dubious disappearances.

Your first stop is Punta Cormorant, where you’ll follow a footpath to a lagoon inhabited by flaming-pink flamingos. You will also pass by Carolina Beach, a sea turtle nesting area and a superb spot for watching sea birds and sea rays.

Back on the yacht, you’ll skirt the island’s coast until you arrive at La Corona del Diablo (the Devil’s Crown), a sub-marine crater that offers some of the most spectacular snorkeling in the Galapagos. This is a great spot for seeing the wide array of tropical fish, many endemic to the islands, including purple sea stars and spiky sea urchins. The crater’s most thrilling undersea creatures, however, are the white-tipped sharks. As with most of the creatures in the Galapagos they are unperturbed by your presence, so you can swim in their company freely and fearlessly.

After returning to the boat for lunch you’ll sail on to Post Office Bay, where the islands’ original post office (really only a wooden barrel) was established in 1793. The current system still functions as it did three centuries ago: Visitors drop off unstamped letters and postcards AND pick-up whatever mail they can hand deliver themselves when they return home! (Try it, it actually works!). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3 (Saturday): Española Island – Punta Suarez, Bahia Gardner, Islote Gardner, & Islote Osborn

Española is one of the most magical of all the islands. It is a place where the animals reign supreme and we humans are merely guests. As your dingy brings you to shore you’ll see Sea Lion pups sunbathing with Marine Iguanas and Blue-footed boobies nesting in between, and nearby may be a Galapagos Hawk. If it is Booby mating season watch the bonded pairs do the infamous Booby dance (if it’s not mating season, ask your guide to demonstrate — after all it’s their job to teach you about the local fauna!).

As you follow the footpath around the island, you will pass hundreds of Blue-footed booby nesting sites including one colony of Masked boobies. There is also a good chance you’ll see the thief-like Frigate bird (which has the habit of stealing other birds’ food), as well as the stunning Red-Billed tropicbird and the nocturnal Swallow-Tailed gull.

If it is the right time of the year (mid-April to December) you’ll also encounter the giant Waved albatross. Apart from a few pairs that breed on Isla de Plata, off the Ecuadorian mainland, all of the world’s 12,000 Waved albatross breed on Española Island. At the end of the breeding season, the entire population leaves the island and heads out to sea, where they spend years without touching land; four or five years may pass before the fledglings return to Espanola. These large, quirky, and beautiful birds are wonderful to see at any time of year — but perhaps the most charming event to witness is their curious mating dance. Count yourself even more lucky if you get to see this spectacle!

As you make your way around the island you’ll pass by El Soplador, a giant blowhole that explodes to heights reaching 25 feet. In the nearby tide pools you can often find lounging sea lions enjoying the blowhole’s misty spray. Following lunch on board the yacht, you’ll visit Garner Bay, a great place for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. Lionfish, flycatchers, and Galapagos hawks will keep you company as you relax under the rays of the evening sun. Dinner on the yacht completes your day. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4 (Sunday): San Cristobal – Leon Dormido, Centro de Interpretacion & Airport

On day 8 of visiting the Galapagos you’ll arrive early in the morning to San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos. The first site will be Kicker Rock or Leon Dormido, a tuff volcanic cone that has been eroded by the wind and marine currents giving it the shape from the distance of a sleeping sea lion. This site is now home to Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds amongst many others, which have turned this area into their nesting site. After navigating around Kicker Rock you’ll continue on to the Interpretation Center in Puerto Baquerizo, the local branch of the Galapagos National Park Service, where your guide will explain the formation of the islands, how the flora and fauna arrived and were established in Galapagos, as well as visit the corrals where there are several species of giant tortoises under the care of the National Park Service. Before taking the flight back to the mainland you will have some time to visit the town on your own for last minute shopping or people watching in the Galapagos. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.


DAY 1 (Thursday): Baltra Airport & Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch your guide will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter.

After our stop in Puerto Ayora and lunch on the boat (guests may dine in town if they desire), you’ll explore the upper region, “parte alta” of the island, which is a moisture-rich area with fertile volcanic soils. You’ll learn about the vegetation and animal life of this zone, often strikingly different than that found at lower elevations. Darwin’s finches, Yellow warblers, and Bright Red Vermillion flycatchers will fly in and out of the moss-covered trees. From this high vantage point you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the surrounding archipelago.

In the late afternoon you’ll return to town. For those who wish to check out the nightlife, this is your chance; the boat will be docked in port most of the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2 (Friday): Floreana Island – Post Office Bay, Mirador de la Baronesa, Punta Cormoran, & Devil´s Crown

When you wake up and look out from the boat deck today, you will see Floreana, one of the greenest islands in the archipelago. Your guide will tell you about its mysterious history laden with rumors of witches, murderous baronesses, blackmail, and dubious disappearances.

Your first stop is Punta Cormorant, where you’ll follow a footpath to a lagoon inhabited by flaming-pink flamingos. You will also pass by Carolina Beach, a sea turtle nesting area and a superb spot for watching sea birds and sea rays.

Back on the yacht, you’ll skirt the island’s coast until you arrive at La Corona del Diablo (the Devil’s Crown), a sub-marine crater that offers some of the most spectacular snorkeling in the Galapagos. This is a great spot for seeing the wide array of tropical fish, many endemic to the islands, including purple sea stars and spiky sea urchins. The crater’s most thrilling undersea creatures, however, are the white-tipped sharks. As with most of the creatures in the Galapagos they are unperturbed by your presence, so you can swim in their company freely and fearlessly.

After returning to the boat for lunch you’ll sail on to Post Office Bay, where the islands’ original post office (really only a wooden barrel) was established in 1793. The current system still functions as it did three centuries ago: Visitors drop off unstamped letters and postcards AND pick-up whatever mail they can hand deliver themselves when they return home! (Try it, it actually works!). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3 (Saturday): Española Island – Punta Suarez, Bahia Gardner, Islote Gardner, & Islote Osborn

Espanola is one of the most magical of all the islands. It is a place where the animals reign supreme and we humans are merely guests. As your dingy brings you to shore you’ll see sea lion pups sunbathing with Marine Iguanas and Blue-footed boobies nesting in between, and nearby may be a Galapagos hawk. If it is Booby mating season watch the bonded pairs do the infamous Booby dance (if it’s not mating season, ask your guide to demonstrate — after all it’s their job to teach you about the local fauna!).

As you follow the footpath around the island, you will pass hundreds of Blue-footed booby nesting sites including one colony of masked boobies. There is also a good chance you’ll see the thief-like Frigate Bird (which has the habit of stealing other birds’ food), as well as the stunning Red-Billed tropicbird and the nocturnal Swallow-tailed gull.

If it is the right time of the year (mid-April to December) you’ll also encounter the giant Waved albatross. Apart from a few pairs that breed on Isla de Plata, off the Ecuadorian mainland, all of the world’s 12,000 Waved albatross breed on Espanola Island. At the end of the breeding season, the entire population leaves the island and heads out to sea, where they spend years without touching land; four or five years may pass before the fledglings return to Espanola. These large, quirky, and beautiful birds are wonderful to see at any time of year — but perhaps the most charming event to witness is their curious mating dance. Count yourself even more lucky if you get to see this spectacle!

As you make your way around the island you’ll pass by El Soplador, a giant blowhole that explodes to heights reaching 25 feet. In the nearby tide pools you can often find lounging sea lions enjoying the blowhole’s misty spray. Following lunch on board the yacht, you’ll visit Garner Bay, a great place for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. Lionfish, flycatchers, and Galapagos hawks will keep you company as you relax under the rays of the evening sun. Dinner on the yacht completes your day. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4 (Sunday): San Cristobal – Leon Dormido, Centro de Interpretacion, & Isla Lobos

You arrive early in the morning to San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos. The first site will be Kicker Rock or Leon Dormido, a tuff volcanic cone that has been eroded by the wind and marine currents giving it the shape from the distance of a sleeping sea lion. This site is now home to Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds amongst many others, which have turned this area into their nesting site. After navigating around Kicker Rock you’ll continue on to the Interpretation Center in Puerto Baquerizo, the local branch of the Galapagos National Park Service, where your guide will explain the formation of the islands, how the flora and fauna arrived and were established in Galapagos, as well as visit the corrals where there are several species of giant tortoises under the care of the National Park Service.

After lunch we’ll navigate to Isla Lobos, a very small islet made of volcanic rocks that gets its name from the colony of Sea Lions (Lobo de Mar in Spanish) that live there. Here you can observe the behavior and interaction of Sea Lions living in a small community.

Night navigation to your next destination. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 (Monday): Santa Fe Island – Plazas

After breakfast on the yacht, you’ll continue to Santa Fe Island. Upon arrival to the island, you’ll be treated to a noisy welcome from the local Sea Lion colony. Following your naturalist guide on the island paths you’ll reach Santa Fe’s main attraction, a towering forest of giant cacti. Scattered around the cacti trees you’ll see a number of the island’s indigenous sun-seekers: marine and land iguanas, the rainbow-streaked lava lizards and, if you’re lucky, land tortoises. After the walk you’ll dive into the salty sea and snorkel in the company of sea lions, Lion fish and sea turtles. Finally, you’ll return to the yacht for lunch.

After lunch we’ll navigate to Plazas Island, where a large colony of sea lions lounge daily in the equatorial sun. Plaza also boasts excellent examples of typical Galapagos native flora such as the towering cacti “trees” that form the principal diet for both the Land Iguanas and the Cactus finch. Other birds that may flutter by include Lava gulls, Yellow warblers and Red-Billed tropicbirds. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6 (Tuesday): Santa Cruz Island – Charles Darwin Station & Baltra Airport

This morning, you’ll visit the world famous Charles Darwin Research Center and make a stop in the fascinating Tortoise Rearing Center. Here you can find baby, hand-sized tortoises, between the ages of one and five, and marvel at how they achieve such large sizes as adults (500 lbs. or more!) which you will also see at the center. Galapagos tortoises are believed to have a lifespan of over 100 years, so the young ones have a long life ahead of them as long as they receive the protection they need. The research center has been an invaluable tool in helping conserve the ecosystem of the Galapagos and ensure that tortoises do not become extinct.

You will be transferred to the Baltra Airport to catch your plane back to the mainland. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.


TUESDAY: Santa Cruz Island – Baltra Airport & El Chato

Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. During lunch your guide will introduce you to the islands, specifically the flora and fauna that you will encounter.

You head to the Santa Cruz Highlands to an area called El Chato, which is a giant tortoise reserve, and one of the few places open to visitors where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat interacting with the rest of the Galapagos life. While wandering through the reserve, you’re very likely to spot these massive creatures munching on leaves and lumbering through the vegetation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

WEDNESDAY: Isabela Island – Puerto Villamil, Humedales, Muro de las Lagrimas, & Centro de Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza

Your first visit in the morning will take place in Puerto Villamil, one of the smallest towns in Galapagos, located right in front of a white sand beach. Puerto Villamil is one of the most beautiful spots in the islands and you may feel like you’ve arrived on a Caribbean island. After a dry landing you will go to visit the humedales, which is a mangrove area with small brackish water lagoons that create the perfect environment for a small type of shrimp that serves as the food for the island’s flamingos. Hopefully, we’ll get to observe some of these flamingos feeding in the lagoon.

Following this visit you will be transported to El Muro de las Lagrimas or “The Wall of Tears” which was built by former prisoners when the Island was a penal colony. Here, your guide will explain some of the Island’s history while you climb the lookout beside the Wall of Tears and observe the expansive view of the coastline.

After this visit you’ll return to the beach for some relaxation before lunch on the boat. In the afternoon you’ll visit the local branch of the Galapagos Park Service whose main purpose is to take care of the many species of giant tortoises that inhabit Isabela Island so that you can see the efforts made by the National Park Service to protect and increase the declining population of giant tortoises on this island. This small breeding center is a great place to see the teeny tortoise babies up close and how the repopulation efforts in the Galapagos work together.

Back on board and night navigation to your next site. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

THURSDAY: Isabela Island – Punta Moreno & Bahía Elizabeth

This morning you land on the west coast of Isabela which begins your exploration of some of the most remote sites in the Galapagos. The west coast of Isabela and Fernandina Island is scenic, filled with wildlife, and uncrowded. On Punta Moreno you have a dry landing and continue across barren lava field to start the walk. You will discover a number of coastal lagoons amid black lava flows where there are several species of birds. Pink flamingos, blue herons, brown pelicans, and Bahama pintail ducks are all found here. Additionally, you’ll have a panoramic view of three of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos, which are Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul of Isabela Island and La Cumbre of Fernandina Island.

After lunch on board you’ll continue on your way to Elizabeth Bay, located on Isabela Island`s west shore, which is an excellent spot for observing marine life. You’ll motor past a few islands where you can usually see Galapagos Penguins; this is one of the best areas to take their photos. A colony of these adorable birds inhabit a rocky islet at the entrance to Elizabeth Bay and we’ll make sure to take time to observe this colony.

Your boat drift will through a small passage lined with mangroves and eventually emerge into an enclosed cove. With the motor turned off, you’ll look in the sheltered waters for Green sea turtles, rays, Flightless cormorants, sea lions, and, circling overhead, Galapagos hawks. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

FRIDAY: Isabela Island – Caleta Tagus & Fernandina Island – Punta Espinoza, Punta Vicente Roca

The visitor’s site of Tagus Cove is located west of Darwin Volcano on Isabela Island and was a favorite spot for pirates and whalers, and the tradition of inscribing the names of boats is a tradition still observed today. At the beginning of the walk, going up and passing the staircase, is a small cave where you’ll find inscriptions dating to the 1800s.

The trail, mostly gravel, leads into the interior, along Darwin Lake. During the walk, you can see various land birds and we’ll identify the characteristic vegetation of the arid zone. Finally, you’ll see the lava fields of Darwin Volcano.

After lunch, you have a short navigation to Punta Expinoza on Fernandina Island, a true highlight of any Galapagos trip. Punta Espinoza is a place famous for its large colonies of Marine iguanas as well as being the habitat of unique species like the Flightless Cormorant, the Galapagos penguin, the Galapagos hawk, and the Galapagos snake, among others. On land, your guide will explain the unique adaptations of each strange animal that has managed to survive on this barren and strange Island. The marine iguanas pile up on the hot rocks to get warm before diving in the ocean below and swimming alongside green sea turtles, rays, and the hilarious flightless cormorants. Bright-red Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry across the lava, dotting the black ground with dots of vibrant color. From here, we also get an outstanding view of Isabela’s towering volcanoes and verdant coast just across a short stretch of water.

After visiting Fernandina you will start the navigation to the central part of the Galapagos and on the way pass Punta Vicente Roca, a mostly eroded volcano which now is a great site for seeing Blue-footed boobies, Frigate birds and other marine birds from the boat. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

SATURDAY: Santiago Island – Puerto Egas & Rabida

Today begins with a hike and snorkeling at Puerto Egas, aka James Bay. This spot is home to the fascinating Galapagos hawk as well as Galapagos oyster catchers and Galapagos lava lizards. We will walk to the coastline where we observe tidal pools and an abundance of Galapagos sea lions. Here the Galapagos Fur Sea Lions bathe in the sun. While snorkeling, you swim alongside reef sharks, turtles, and rays.

Later in the day, you visit La Rabida, another small but fascinating Island. The first thing you’ll notice on La Rabida are its unique red cliffs and beaches. While walking on this Island, you’re likely to spot sea lions, pelicans, Galapagos hawks, Darwin finches, marine iguanas, flamingos and blue-footed boobies. You will also have time to go for a snorkel in the waters just off La Rabida, where you will hopefully swim with sea lions and tropical fish. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

SUNDAY: Seymour Norte Island & Baltra Airport 

After an early breakfast you’ll disembark at North Seymour Island. Here you will see Frigate birds, the clownish Blue-booted booby, and of course the ubiquitous sea lions. With luck you’ll witness the striking courtship display of the male Frigate bird, in which he inflates a red balloon-like sac below his throat and struts his stuff for all of the young females. The Frigate birds nest in the scraggly trees just above the colonies of Blue-footed boobies who dance and nest on the bare ground. Near the end of the trail, you’ll come to a long beach that is a favorite hangout for sea lions.

Return to the boat and sail to Baltra Island to catch your plane back to the mainland. (Breakfast)

Please note that itineraries are always subject to change without previous notice due to operational purposes, policies of the Galapagos National Park authorities, weather conditions, and for comfort of our passengers.


Getting To and From the Trip: 

The trip begins with the flight to the Galapagos from either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador on the first morning of the trip, and ends with the return flight from the Galapagos to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, on the last day of the trip, arriving in the late afternoon. These flights are not included in the trip price, but they will be arranged for you and the cost added to your bill.

You need to overnight in your choice of departure city, either Quito or Guayaquil, at least one night before the trip begins as you will fly to the Galapagos early in the morning of Day 1 of your trip. At the end of the trip we recommend overnighting in Ecuador one night before moving on to your next adventure or flying home, although it is possible to catch a late night flight out on this day.

We do not sell international airfare but partner with a flight specialty company, Exito Travel, who can arrange all of your flights for you, simplifying the process of this part of your trip.

Trip Start: Trip Begins with flight from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos on Day 1. You will need to overnight in either Quito or Guayaquil the night before this flight (see our Quito and Guayaquil packages)

Trip End: Trip Ends with the flight from the Galapagos to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, arriving late afternoon on the last day of the trip. You may want to overnight there that night (see our Quito and Guayaquil packages) before continuing with your adventure.


This trip is sold a la carte, meaning it is just the yacht trip and does not include hotels or services before or after the trip. We sell the trip this way so you can choose whatever hotels or services you want, rather than us forcing you into something particular. You will need to overnight at least one night in Quito or Guayaquil before the cruise, and one night after the cruise.  That said, to make it simple for you to complete the package, we offer Quito Hotels and Tours.

In addition to the Galapagos cruise, we suggest you visit the Amazon jungle, the highlands of Ecuador, or Machu Picchu in Peru.

2017 PRICES: 

PRICE PER PERSON

4 Days: $1,594.00
5 Days: $2,294.00
6 Days: $2,419.00
8 Days: $3,094.00
15 Days: $5,794.00
Single Supplement: 80% of cruise rate
Child Discount younger than 12 years old: 20% off cruise rate

CHARTER RATES

4 Days: $25,500.00
5 Days: $36,700.00
6 Days: $38,700.00
8 Days: $49,500.00
15 Days: $92,700.00

2018 PRICES: 

For 2018 pricing, please inquire using the “I Am Interested” button above or by calling 1-866-386-4168.


INCLUDED: 

•    All meals and water
•    Accommodation on board
•    Visits to the islands according to the itinerary
•    English-speaking guide
•    Transfers in Galapagos
•    Snorkel gear (snorkel, fins, mask)

NOT INCLUDED: 

•    Galapagos entrance fee ($100 USD per person, $50 per child under 12)
•    Transit control card INGALA ($20 USD per person)
•    ECOGAL transportation fee: $10.00 per person (rate is subject to change)
•    Flight Ticket (Quito/Guayaquil – Galapagos – Quito/Guayaquil)
•    Alcoholic drinks
•    Tips
•    Ecuador departure taxes (usually included in international flight fares)
•    Personal expenses
•    Medical expenses
•    Trip Insurance
•    Wet suits
•    International flights
•    Accommodations and services in mainland Ecuador (can be quoted for and added upon request)


ADDITIONAL EXPENSES TO CONSIDER:

•    Airfare to Galapagos
•    Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 per person; $50 per child age 11 or younger)
•    Transit Control Card fee ($20 per person)
•    ECOGAL transportation fee: $10.00 per person (rate is subject to change)
•    gratuities for guide(s) and crew (optional – suggested at $200 per passenger per week)
•    Insurance
•    Ecuador departure tax


 

 

 

Plan Your Trip

2016 DEPARTURE DATES

ITINERARY A (8 DAYS)
JAN 3 – 10; JAN 17 – 24; JAN 31 – FEB 7; FEB 14 – 21; FEB 28 – MAR 6; MAR 13 – 20; MAR 27 – APR 3; APR 10 – 17; APR 24 – MAY 1; MAY 8 – 15; MAY 22 – 29; JUN 5 – 12; JUN 19 – 26; JUL 3 – 10; JUL 17 – 24; JUL 31 – AUG 7; AUG 14 – 21; AUG 28 – SEPT 4; SEP 11 – 18; SEP 25 – OCT 2; OCT 9 – 16; OCT 23 – 30; NOV 6 – 13; NOV 20 – 27; DEC 4 – 11; DEC 18 – 25

ITINERARY B (8 DAYS)
DEC 27, 2015 – JAN 3, 2016; JAN 10 – 17; JAN 24 – 31; FEB 7 – 14; FEB 21 – 28; MAR 6 – 13; MAR 20 – 27; APR 3 – 10; APR 17 – 24; MAY 1 – 8; MAY 15 – 22; MAY 29 – JUN 5; JUN 12 – 19; JUN 26 – JUL 3; JUL 10 – 17; JUL 24 – 31; AUG 7 – 14; AUG 21 – 28; SEP 4 – 11; SEP 18 – 25; OCT 2 – 9; OCT 16 – 23; OCT 30 – NOV 6; NOV 13 – 20; NOV 27 – DEC 4; DEC 11 – 18; DEC 25 – JAN 1

ITINERARY C (5 DAYS)
JAN 3 – 7; JAN 17 – 21; JAN 31 – FEB 4; FEB 14 – 18; FEB 28 – MAR 3; MAR 13 – 17; MAR 27 – 31; APR 10 – 14; APR 24 – 28; MAY 8 – 12; MAY 22 – 26; JUN 5 – 9; JUN 19 – 23; JUL 3 – 7; JUL 17 – 21; JUL 31 – AUG 4; AUG 14 – 18; AUG 28 – SEPT 1; SEP 11 – 15; SEP 25 – 29; OCT 9 – 13; OCT 23 – 27; NOV 6 – 10; NOV 20 – 24; DEC 4 – 8; DEC 18 – 22

ITINERARY D (4 DAYS)
JAN 7 – 10; JAN 21 – 24; FEB 4 – 7; FEB 18 – 21; MAR 3 – 6; MAR 17 – 20; MAR 31 – APR 3; APR 14 – 17; APR 28 – MAY 1; MAY 12 – 15; MAY 26 – 29; JUN 9 – 12; JUN 23 – 26; JUL 7 – 10; JUL 21 – 24; AUG 4 – 7; AUG 18 – 21; SEP 1 – 4; SEP 15 – 18; SEP 29 – OCT 2; OCT 13 – 16; OCT 27 – 30; NOV 10 – 13; NOV 24 – 27; DEC 8 – 11; DEC 22 – 25

ITINERARY E (6 DAYS)
JAN 7 – 12; JAN 21 – 26; FEB 4 – 9; FEB 18 – 23; MAR 3 – 8; MAR 17 – 22; MAR 31 – APR 5; APR 14 – 19; APR 28 – MAY 3; MAY 12 – 17; MAY 26 – 31; JUN 9 – 14; JUN 23 – 28; JUL 7 – 12; JUL 21 – 26; AUG 4 – 9; AUG 18 – 23; SEP 1 – 6; SEP 15 – 20; SEP 29 – OCT 4; OCT 13 – 18; OCT 27 – NOV 1; NOV 10 – 15; NOV 24 – 29; DEC 8 – 13; DEC 22 – 27

 

2017 DEPARTURE DATES
ITINERARY A (8 DAYS). Sunday – Sunday.
ITINERARY B (8 DAYS). Sunday – Sunday.
ITINERARY C (5 DAYS). Sunday – Thursday.
ITINERARY D (4 DAYS). Thursday – Sunday.
ITINERARY E (6 DAYS). Thursday Tuesday OR Tuesday – Sunday.

 

None, but families are welcome to join onto any regular departure.

Trip Start: Trip Begins with flight from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos on Day 1. You will need to overnight in either Quito or Guayaquil the night before this flight (see our Quito and Guayaquil packages)

Trip End: Trip Ends with the flight from the Galapagos to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, arriving late afternoon on the last day of the trip. You may want to overnight there that night (see our Quito and Guayaquil packages) before continuing with your adventure.

How Do I Get To and From the Trip: 

The trip begins with the flight to the Galapagos from either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador on the first morning of the trip, and ends with the return flight from the Galapagos to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, on the last day of the trip, arriving in the late afternoon. These flights are not included in the trip price, but they will be arranged for you and the cost added to your bill.

You need to overnight in your choice of departure city, either Quito or Guayaquil, at least one night before the trip begins as you will fly to the Galapagos early in the morning of Day 1 of your trip. At the end of the trip we recommend overnighting in Ecuador one night before moving on to your next adventure or flying home, although it is possible to catch a late night flight out on this day.

We do not sell international airfare but partner with a flight specialty company, Exito Travel, who can arrange all of your flights for you, simplifying the process of this part of your trip.

Your round trip flights from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador (your choice), to the Galapagos Islands and back will be arranged for you through the cruise operator. Flights generally depart early in the morning to the Galapagos, and return mid morning, arriving in the late afternoon back into Quito or Guayaquil. The cost of the tickets will be added to your invoice. Transportation in the Galapagos will mostly be on the boat, with panga (dingy) rides from the shore to the boat. You will use shuttle buses between the airport and the dock.

This trip is sold a la carte, meaning it is just the yacht trip and does not include hotels or services before or after the trip. We sell the trip this way so you can choose whatever hotels or services you want, rather than us forcing you into something particular.You will need to overnight at least one night in Quito or Guayaquil before the cruise, and one night after the cruise.  That said, to make it simple for you to complete the package, we offer Quito Hotels and Tours.

In addition to the Galapagos cruise, we suggest you visit the Amazon jungle, the highlands of Ecuador, or Machu Picchu in Peru.

Trips to the Galapagos begin and end with a flight from mainland Ecuador (either Guayaquil or Quito), so it is very easy to explore more of Ecuador before or after the Galapagos trip.

Quito is a fascinating city with a colonial center that is a World Heritage Site, and it is worth some time. Additionally, in just a few days it is easy to visit high Andean volcanoes, stay in historic haciendas, explore the cloud forest, or visit the Upper Amazon Basin.

Additionally it is quite possible to fly to Peru and add a visit to Machu Picchu to your Galapagos trip.

Countries Visited: Ecuador

Destinations Visited: 

Bartolome Island, Fernandina Island, Floreana Island, Hood/ Espa̱nola Island, Isabela Island, North Seymour Island, Plazas Island, Rabida Island, San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Fe Island, Santiago Island, South Plaza Island, Tower / Genovesa Island

Activities: Beach, Birdwatching, Snorkel, Wildlife Viewing and Safaris

Activity Description: 

Each full day in the islands will have two shore excursions, each in a different site. During the shore excursions you will spend 3-4 hours at each site. You will walk at a leisurely pace with your naturalist guide, sticking to the marked trails set by the National Park and the guide will interpret and explain all about the flora, fauna, and geology that you are seeing. There will plenty of time to explore and photograph the abundant wildlife, and there are opportunities to swim or snorkel almost every day during the week and sometimes twice a day.

Trip Difficulty: Not Strenuous

Fitness Level: 

You will need to be able to step off a boat into shallow water, walk on uneven ground, and climb steps or short ladders. The daily walks are slow-paced and only travel 1-2 miles at a time, twice a day. In addition, there will be opportunities to snorkel each day, although this is generally in calm water and you do not need to cover much distance.  Days can be hot with direct sunshine and / high humidity.

Minimum Age: 5

Maximum Age: 120

Minimum Group Size: 1

Maximum Group Size: 16

Typical Group Size: 16

Months Offered: All Year

Best Time to Go: 

The Galapagos Islands is a fantastic destination at all times of the year, with there being no one best time to visit. The wildlife viewing is good all year round, as the temperatures don’t vary much and most wildlife does not migrate and thus is on each island year round. The major exception to this is the waved Albatross, which leaves the Galapagos from January to March, so if you want to see the Albatross you need to visit from April to December.

There are two seasons in the Galapagos, and each will have some precipitation. The Galapagos only receives about 10 inches of rain a year, so it is not a very rainy destination. From June to November the cold Humboldt Current sweeps northward from Antarctica, cooling the air and creating an inversion over the islands, meaning the lowlands are dry and the highlands are cool and misty, and the days are often cloudy. The air temperatures are pleasant during this season, but the water temperatures are chilly and wetsuits are recommended for snorkeling. Additionally, the seas are rougher during this season, with the roughest seas occurring in September.

From December to May, the Humboldt Current is not present in the Galapagos, so the water is warmer, and the air is generally clear and warm. There are periods of heavy rain during this season, but the rain usually doesn’t last long and then sunshine returns. The water is generally warm enough that wetsuits aren’t needed for snorkeling, and the seas are relatively calm.

Peak season in the Galapagos is not based on when the best wildlife viewing occurs, but rather on holiday travel and school holidays.

Food and Special Diets: 

Special-needs diets can be accommodated: vegetarian or vegan, gluten free and low sodium/low fat.

Drinking Water: 

Clean, fresh, drinking water is available at all times on the boat. Please bring a refillable water bottle so you can fill your bottle before heading off on shore excursions.

Equipment Provided: 

Snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel, & fins) are included. Wetsuits are not available to rent.

Boat Specifications:

  • 21-meter length (70 feet) / 5-meter breadth
  • Engines: 9 knots / 2 CAT 125 hp each
  • Electricity: 2x yanmar generator 110 v
  • Fuel Capacity: 1,500 gallons/diesel
  • Fresh Water Capacity
  • 2,200 gallons filled by desalinator at 80 gallons per hour
  • Complete navigation and safety equipment, 2 dingies with 16 hp outboard motor
  • Fuel Capacity: 1,500 gallons/diesel
  • Fresh Water Capacity: 2,200 gallons filled by desalinator at 80 gallons per hour
  • Complete navigation and safety equipment, 2 dingies with 16 hp outboard motor

Special Equipment You Should Bring: 

In addition to a swim suit it is recommend that you bring with you a mask and snorkel that fit well and work well for you. This way you are guaranteed to have a mask that fits you well.

 

HOTEL / LODGE AMENITIES:  You do not stay in any hotels on this trip (enquire to add hotels on either end of the trip

BOAT AMENITIES: Bar, Dining Room, Lounge, Sun Deck

CAMP AMENITIES: You will not be camping on this trip

ROOM AMENITIES: Bunk Beds, Twin Beds, Double Beds, Air Conditioning, Safebox, Hot Water, Private Bathroom, Shower, Towels

ROOMING OPTIONS: Double, Willing to Share, Single Supplement

DESCRIPTION:

The Aida Maria has eight (8) double cabins with private facilities, A/C and hot water. The on-board desalinator assures unlimited water.  There are cabins with double beds, twin bunk beds, and twin beds.

Aida Maria bunkbeds

 

 

Local Tour Operator:

Aida Maria Travel has been providing world class naturalist cruises for over 30 years. The company’s roots stem from when the current owner’s grandfather arrived in the islands in the 1940´s. Now with a new fleet of boats, which include the First Class Yacht Eden, Premium class Aida Maria, and Tourist Class Rumba, Aida Maria Travel offers tours around the Galapagos for all budgets.  For our clients with special interests we have implemented a new line of first class products, the S/C Valkiria and M/Y Maverick to cover multi activities adventure tours and a mixture of the natural wonders of the Galapagos with the local culture.

Our fleet offers a great variety of options for naturalist and special interest cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Nature, advenutre and supreme comfort will be always part of a once in a life time journey.

Guides:

TMI (Too Much Information)

Luggage 

It’s always a good idea to travel light by bringing only what you need for your trip. Being over burdened with luggage can make transfers and travel difficult. For your flights, always wear or carry on the items that are absolutely necessary to your trip. 

Luggage Restrictions

Keep in mind that flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos limit you to a maximum of 20 kg or 44 lbs for your checked luggage. You are allowed one carry-on, which is limited to a maximum of 7 kg or 15 lbs.  If you are traveling in the Galápagos on a land-based trip (not on a cruise), you may have a flight between two or more of the islands.  Please check your itinerary. These flights operate in much smaller airplanes, and have different luggage restrictions.  On these flights, you are limited to a maximum of 11 kgs or 25 lbs in one bag for your checked luggage, and you are allowed one small carry-on, such as a purse or day pack.These allowances should be enough for what you’ll need to bring, but if you have extra items you wish to leave in Quito or Guayaquil during your trip to the Galápagos—such as items you may have acquired at Otavalo—arrangements can be made to leave extra bags at your hotel.

Following are our recommendations for luggage for this trip: 

• Daypack or Fanny pack: This bag stays with you at all times, will most likely be your carry-on and is where you will keep such Galápagos necessities as your camera—unless you have a camera bag—sunscreen, glasses, windbreaker and other similar objects during your hikes. Some people prefer both a daypack and a small fanny pack. Because you will be the one to carry this bag(s) you’ll want to keep the weight down.

• Duffel Bag: In addition to your carry-on bag you should only need one duffel bag to serve as your main luggage for the trip. This can also be a carry-on but check with your airline to insure it meets specifications. Your duffel or suitcase should be well made and durable to take the punishment the airlines and traveling can dish out. A medium size duffle or suitcase of 30” X 15” X 14” with a capacity of 110 liters or slightly larger should be sufficient.

• Spare Duffel: It’s a good idea to carry a spare duffel rolled up in your main luggage piece. This is not only good in case you want to leave belongings in Quito while you are in the Galápagos or Amazon, but it comes in handy for those who like to do a good deal of shopping.

• Small Padlocks: These are always a good idea when traveling and discourages anyone inclined to zip open your bag to see what they might find.

• Plastic Bags: Sturdy zip lock bags are great to keep important items dry while in the Galápagos or Amazon.

Footwear  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction.

• Teva style sandals are good for hiking the island beaches and you do not have to worry if you get your feet wet. Thongs are acceptable but are not good for hiking though they are good on deck. A security strap is a good idea in the surf.Note: The shoes you wear during landings are kept in a bin on the yacht. If you want to wear them on board the yacht we can wash the bottoms but you may want to have a light pair of deck shoes or thongs for the yacht. Bare feet are also acceptable.

Outerwear 

• Wind shell (ideal for the islands) and or rain jacket or poncho with hood.

• Medium to light fleece jacket or fleece sweater (wool is fine too)

• Cotton sweat shirt

• The above are frequently needed when it gets cooler in the islands during the evenings, which is the time you will experience more breezes as we cruise to another location. Also remember that Quito can be cool and it can get downright cold if you go higher into the mountains.

Shirts & Blouses 

• T-Shirts / Polo shirts / Light blouses (can be purchased along the way)

• A long sleeve shirt or blouse for cooler evenings and sun protection. 

For Swimming  • Two swimsuits.

• Women report getting a lot of mileage out of swim suite wraps that can be worn as a dress or skirt.

• Lightweight neoprene wetsuit: Optional. This allows you to spend more time in the water. A less expensive substitute is long underwear made from a water resistant fiber such as capilene. You can also inquire about renting a wetsuit or body glove. 

Trousers & Skirts  • Hiking shorts.

• Lightweight full length pants either synthetic or cotton is fine and great for cooler nights in the highlands or islands

• Pair of dressier shorts

• Women may want to bring a casual dress or skirt (see below). 

Head Gear  • Sun hat or cap. Wide brim hats should have chin strap in case they blow off your head. Unless you have a really thick head of hair and never burn sun visors are out.

• Bandana (great to shield your neck).

• Dark glasses with security strap (polarized lenses will help you to see more when looking in the water to spot turtles and rays). It’s a good idea to bring two pairs, especially if you need prescription glasses. 

Socks  • Comfortable athletic type socks for walking and hiking.

Underwear 

• Regular underwear.

Travel Accessories 

• Snorkel gear.  Most trips include the use of snorkel gear (fins, mask, and snorkel) in their rates.  If this gear is not included, it will be available to rent (please check the included / not included information of your trip).  However, you may want to bring your own mask, so you will be sure to have a mask that fits you.

• First aid Kit.  While we do carry first aid kits on our yachts, you are responsible for bringing along your own personal medical kit including medications, especially prescription drugs, or vitamins you regularly take (fill prescriptions BEFORE you travel), including any over the counter drugs you might take such as pain relievers, motion sickness pills or indigestion tablets.

• Seasickness medication.  While Galápagos waters tend toward calm, there are at least two crossings during the typical cruise. In case you are susceptible to sea sickness or if the seas do get high please bring along medication for seasickness if you are susceptible.

• Toiletry kit: Tooth paste, toothbrush, shaving kit, etc.

• Insect repellent (for those going to the Amazon see above / Galápagos travelers sensitive to bites).

• Sunscreen with SPF rating of 15 or higher (you are on the equator so bring a full bottle).

• Aloe gel of a high quality.

• Lip gloss with sunscreen of SPF rating of 15 or higher.

• Hand sanitizers like Purell for a quick way to keep hands clean when traveling on your own.

• That book you have wanted to read and the stationery for the letters you have wanted to write.

• Binoculars: Even though you can get up close to much of the wildlife in the Galápagos you will still want a good pair of binoculars. Water resistance is a plus.

• Water resistant travel alarm watch.

• Water resistant compass.

• Small flashlight or headlamp (good for searching in your duffel and when in Amazon).

• Spanish / English pocket dictionary or electronic pocket translator.

• Batteries.

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CAMERAS AND VIDEO

Photography is a highlight of any trip to the Galápagos. With the transition to digital, the best advice is to bring a camera and a format that you are familiar with and know will give you the results you are looking for. If you want to try something new, take time to become familiar with your gear before you head out on the trip. A good rule is to always bring more film or memory space than you think you will need. If you are looking for the results of those glossy catalogs, look into a high color saturation slide film or more mega pixels. While a good zoom lens can come in handy and render excellent up-close results, you probably don’t need anything larger than a hand held lens that does not require a tripod in the Galápagos, and that’s because it’s fairly easy to get close to wildlife. However, if you are looking for professional results you may want to bring both a long lens and tripod. If you plan to visit the Amazon to get shots of wildlife a telephoto lens and tripod are musts.The Galápagos is a great place to bring along a disposable underwater camera as well.Sand and seawater are the enemies of any optical or electronic instrument. Keep this in mind when considering what to bring. A good measure to take for any photographic equipment is to bring large high quality zip lock bags with a zipper locks to keep your camera in, especially when crossing to shore. Bring a few, as they are hard to dry out or clean once wet. Whether photographing wildlife in the Galápagos or people at Otavalo, please be respectful and considerate. Your guide will advise you on the “dos and don’ts.”

Guides
• A Field Guide to the Birds of Galápagos, by Michel Harris
• A Field Guide to the Fishes of Galápagos, by Godfrey Merlen
• A Guide to the birds of the Galápagos Islands, by Isabel Castro and Antonia Phillips
• Flowering Plants of the Galápagos, by Dr. Conley K. McMullen
• Galapagos Wildlife, a Visitor’s Guide. David Howell & Pete Oxford
• Lonely Planet Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, by Rob Rachowiecki (Lonely Planet Publications)
• Marine Life of the Galápagos, by Pierre Constant
• Reef Fish Identification, by Paul Humann
• Subtidal Galápagos, by James Cribbs

Photography 
• Galápagos, Islands Lost in Time, by Tui de Roy
• Galápagos, A Terrestrial and Marine Phenomenon, by Paul Humann
• Galápagos, Discovery on Darwin’s Islands, by Steadman and Zousmer
• Galápagos, Back to Nature, by Steve Lu
• Galápagos, by Nathan Farb

Other Recommendations 
• The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin
• Charles Darwin, A Biography, by Janet Browne
• Floreana, by Margaret Wittmer
• The Beak of the Finch, by Jonathan Weiner
• The Encantadas, by Herman Melville
• The Galápagos Affair, by John Treherne
• My Father’s Islands, A Galápagos Quest, by Johanna Angermeyer 
110 Volt/220 Volt

Alcoholic beverages are sold on-board; cash only.

Smoking is not allowed in rooms or enclosed public areas.

Safety:

Complete navigation and safety equipment, two dingies with 16 hp outboard motor

Medical Attention:

Staff/ Crew on Trip: Eight (8) plus one (1) bilingual naturalist guide

DETOUR'S POLICIES

DETOUR’S DISCLAIMER
Detour acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, activities, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Detour, LLC and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other incident which may be caused by the negligence, defect, default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws, or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Detour, LLC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours /trips arranged by Detour, LLC. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.

Cancellations: If you cancel the trip at any point after confirmation, you will forfeit a $100 per person handling fee to Detour. This is separate and in addition to the fees, deposits, and payments potentially owed to the tour operator (see information below).

Trip Changes:  If you decide to make any changes to your trip (changes to your itinerary, travel dates, tours, or accommodations) after it is booked, you will incur a $50 change fee per person, per change.  Unavoidable changes (such as those imposed by an international flight schedule change) will not incur this fee.  Adding on services before or after your confirmed tour will not incur this fee.

Rate Changes to Domestic Flights, Park Entrance Fees, Government Taxes and Fuel Surcharges:  The rates for all these items are subject to change at any point and these fees or fee changes can be imposed on any trip, even after a trip has been confirmed and paid for in full.  These rate changes are beyond the control of Detour or our local operating partners.  Oftentimes, these changes are imposed by government decree and take effect immediately.  While this is a rare occurence and the rate changes themselves are typically quite small, these changes are unpredictable and sometimes unavoidable.  Travelers are responsible for any additional costs or fees due to these rate changes, even after the trip is paid in full.

Passports and Traveler Details:  Passengers are responsible for sending up-to-date and correct information that is requested in the “Trip Reservation Form.”  If any of those details change, it is the passenger’s responsibility to notify Detour of the change before the trip departure.  If you need to renew your passport prior to your trip, you must notify Detour that you will be renewing your passport and you will have to email a scanned copy of both your old and new passports to Detour.  Additionally, you will have to bring both passports with you on your trip. Please make sure that you request to receive your old passport at the start of the renewal process.

Airport Transfers:  Airport transfer rates are based on group size with the assumption that all travelers will be taking the same transfer.  If some travelers in your personal group arrive or depart on different days or at different times, additional airport transfers will have to be booked and the passenger is responsible for this additional cost.

DETOUR’S DISCLAIMER
Detour acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, activities, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Detour, LLC and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other incident which may be caused by the negligence, defect, default of any company or person in performing these services.  Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws, or other such causes.  All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Detour, LLC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours /trips arranged by Detour, LLC. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.

DETOUR’S CANCELLATION POLICY
If you cancel the trip at any point after confirmation, you will owe a $100 per person handling fee to Detour.  This is separate and in addition to the fees, deposits, and payments potentially owed to the tour operator (see information below).

AIDA MARIA TRAVEL’S DISCLAIMER
The Guest admits a full understanding of the character of the Vessel and assumes all risks incident to travel and transportation and handling of Guests.

HEALTH
AMT is not responsible for the health condition of each passenger that might change (to worse) during the course of this voyage: Previous illnesses, chronic diseases and treatments.

EVENTUALITIES

AMT is not responsible for any kind of accident happened to any passenger during course of the voyage. The Vessel will not carry medical personnel. While at sea or in port the availability of medical care may be limited or delayed. Guest acknowledges that all or part of their voyage may be in areas where medical care and evacuation may not be available. Guest agrees to indemnify and reimburse AMT in the event AMT choose to cover the cost of emergency medical care, including medical care provided ashore as well as transportation and/or lodging in connection therewith.

INSURANCE COVERAGE LIMITATIONS

Guest agrees that his or her insurance company might not be accepted by emergency services assistant on spot. VOYAGE Itinerary subject to change DUE TO weather conditions, NATIONAL park authorities REGULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS AS WELL AS NAVY authorities DEMANDS AMT reserves the right to alter the vessels’ course, ports of call, itinerary, activity and shore excursions to avoid such weather systems and insure the comfort and safety of the Guest and crew.

PAYMENT

AMT is not responsible for the financial condition or integrity of any travel agent utilized by Guest. In the event that an agent shall fail to remit to AMT any monies paid to the agent by Guest, Guest shall be and remain liable for the fare due to AMT, regardless of whether liability is asserted before or after embarkation Issuance and validity of ticket contract is conditional upon final payment being received by AMT prior to sailing.

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel rooms in Galapagos are limited THEREFORE large GROUPS might be divided depending on the number rooms available in each hotel. The suggested hotels are our first option, if these hotels are not to be available we will accommodate Guests in a similar category hotel. For land based cruises, hotels availability might influence the itinerary order. However, all islands scheduled will be visited, unless VOYAGE clauses affect it.

EXTERNAL FACTORS

AMT does not assume any responsibility, compensation nor refund due to flight delays (international and local), terrorism, natural disasters, and force majeure events.

Wake up early for breakfast in the dining room before going ashore with your naturalist for 2-4 hours for a nature walk, snorkel, and or panga ride.

Return to the boat for lunch, then the boat will navigate to a new island or a different site on the same island, as per the itinerary.

Another shore excursion with your naturalist of 2-4 hours for a nature walk, snorkeling and / or a panga ride.

Return to the boat for snacks and time on the sundeck while the boat moves to a new site or island.

Dinner in the dining room, followed by a naturalist briefing about what you will see the next day.

Most telecommunication providers have signal in Galapagos and passengers can use their smart phones that are activated for international calling on days when the yacht is in close range to port. The yacht does not offer WiFi service. There are internet cafes in Puerto Ayora and other towns in the Galapagos.

On cruises, most people tip their main guide $8 – 15 per day / per person / per guide. For the rest of the crew tip about $10 – $25 (depending on the class of trip) per day / per person in your group.  The crew will divide your tip amongst themselves. This is of course voluntary.  Tips are paid at the end of the trip or at the end of the day, and usually an envelope is usually provided to travelers for this purpose.

Laundry: Laundry service may be available in Puerto Ayora upon arrival there. Ask your guide or crew on the boat.

Food and Special Diets: 

Special-needs diets can be accommodated: vegetarian or vegan, gluten free and low sodium/low fat.

Drinking Water: 

Clean, fresh, drinking water is available at all times on the boat. Please bring a refillable water bottle so you can fill your bottle before heading off on shore excursions.

 

6 reviews for Aida Maria Galapagos Islands Cruise


  1. Alan S.
    3 out of 5

    :

    I was raised around the ocean and hospitality industry to give perspective to what I’m about to say. The staff and guide of the Aida Maria were wonderful, courteous and accommodating. Unfortunately, the cabins are the smallest I’ve ever been in, the same fish was served every lunch (with different sauces), meat portions were minimal at all meals, and alcohol (beer and wine only) prices were ridiculous, bring your own booze. Most of the inter island travel is at night so be prepared for the engine noise and rough seas.
    The Galapagos are a real treasure and well worth the experience. I wish I could speak as highly for the cheap owner/operator of the Aida Maria.

  2. Linda A
    5 out of 5

    :

    We really enjoyed the trip, the people, both passengers and crew, the guide was wonderful and had a real pride of her homeland. It was a pleasure to see this land through our eyes and her stories.

  3. Stefanie S
    3 out of 5

    :

    We began our trip on the Eden and finished it on the Aida Maria. My husband and I would definitely go back on the Eden, but not the Aida Maria. The food and room on the Eden were wonderful as was the guide. We had the trip of a lifetime. We have suggested it to anyone that will listen. Your days are packed w/ sun, fun, adventure and yummy food. When there was a mechanical problem w/ the Eden the company was very professional about meeting our needs while in Ecuador. They went above and beyond to make my husband and I happy w/ the short notice change of boats. I would love to travel again to the Galapagos, and may re-visit with children.

  4. Mary C
    3 out of 5

    :

    Our trip was enjoyable. I would like to offer this bit of constructive criticism.

    * The accomodations for the Aida Maria explain that hot water is available on the ship. In fact we had no hot water at any time in our cabin during the trip.
    * Something you may want to mention for American travelers (because Americans seemed to be the only ones concerned) is that there is no key available for passenger rooms. We were asked to be trusting, in that, no thefts have ever occured on the Aida Maria. In fact, we had no choice, other to be trusting, or leave the ship. We left with all items that we came with, however, we have been crime victims during past worldly travels and it is not comforting to be told ‘not to worry’. Perhaps room safes would be a good idea if passengers are not allowed to lock their rooms.
    *I would like to mention that Aida Maria Travel in Quito provided excellent service in making sure we received new travel vouchers in time when our flight changed.

  5. Jen T
    5 out of 5

    :

    The trip was amazing! The highlight of my trip. The Aida Maria was perfect for me. The crew was awesome–I plan on keeping in touch with at least some of them. Although the group was less than stellar–mostly Dutch people over the age of 50–I made some excellent friends.

    In fact, the trip was so great, I ended up extending it for five more days! It was surprisingly easy to stay there and to arrange trips to at least some of the other islands. Aida Maria{s adorable land guide took us back to Puerto Ayora and gave us all the information that we needed to go to Isabela. I{m already thinking about a return trip.

    The only bad thing I have to say about the whole trip is that I had a bad scuba diving experience. I don{t think the dive master was that experienced. I told him beforehand that I would need extra attention because I don´t have much experience, but he wasn´t as vigilant as he should have been and I ended up floating to the surface in the middle of the dive. He didn´t do a buoyancy check beforehand and couldn´t explain to me what had been the problem. I found this very strange because, after returning to Santa Cruz, I talked to a couple of other divemasters who immediately knew what was the problem. I went on a couple of dives from Santa Cruz and they went much better. The divemaster was attentive and it was MUCH cheaper. That was a bit surprising because the dive included a boat ride and a lunch. You would think that it would be cheaper to dive from a boat that you are already paying for.

    Anyway, it was absolutely amazing.

  6. mkung
    5 out of 5

    :

    I had a fantastic trip to the Galapagos Islands on the Aida Maria. The boat was small and the rooms crowded, but I felt it was a great deal for the price. There was barely enough food at mealtime, but the food was good.

    The Galapagos blew me away and the trip has made a real lasting impression on me. The naturalist and crew were very accommodating. I’m also glad we did an 8-day trip because even a the end we felt we wanted more time. The more days we spent in the islands, the more impressed we became with them and the more we wanted to see. Great trip.

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