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Ecuador - Galapagos Islands

Ecuador, South America
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    Galapagos Islands summary

    Our yachts guarantee a memorable journey in the unique amazing and enchanting Galapagos Islands with comfortable cabins, social areas and delicious meals, as well as experienced naturalist guides with all the knowledge due to years of work in this natural treasure that will be passed on to you during your journey.

    These superior first-class sister yachts Erick, Letty and Flamingo accommodate no more than 20 guests and feature three decks of spacious staterooms with polished teak interiors trimmed with shiny brass fittings. Accommodations include ten double outside-facing cabins with a window or porthole view, one double bed or two twin lower beds, fully air-conditioned with private bath (hot and cold water showers), soap/shampoo dispensers, hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls for your comfort. There’s a dining room, well-stocked bar and conference area with a flat screen TV and panoramic picture windows. Or you can relax in a lounge chair on the sun deck, enjoying sea breezes, sunshine or a sky full of stars.

    Nemo Galapagos II is a large Trans-oceanic Alumarine 72 ft. multi-hulled yacht, built for cruising and charters. Dive equipped, the boat is ideal for families or groups of friends, for naturalist or diving cruises. This large catamaran was specially built to take up to 14 passengers accommodated in 7 double cabins, each with private bathroom. It was designed by Lagenvin. The ingeniously designed saloon, the vast cockpit and the unique exterior surface makes this beautiful catamaran, an exceptional cruising boat.

    M/S Angelique, remodelled in 2002, can very comfortably accommodate 16 passengers in double cabins with private bathroom and showers with easy access to the dining-room, sundeck and bar. While you are having a rest in our living room with bar service, or on our spacious sundeck, our friendly bartenders prepare your favourite drinks. Our chef offers fine cuisine ranging from international to local specialties, served in our dining-room with a perfect ambient to socialize and to make new friends and allowing you at the same time to discover nature at its best. We offer 4, 5 and 8-day cruising itineraries on Angelique in the waters of Galapagos and go ashore every day to admire the beauty of each island. Embarking from Baltra on South Seymour Island, the ship debarks on one wonderful island after the other allowing you to discover a fascinating world.


    Wild and Exotic sample itineray for the Galapagos Naturalist cruise:
    Erick, Letty and Flamingo I

    This sample itinerary runs from Sunday to Wednesday

    Day 1: Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island, your crew will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your anchored yacht. After the welcome briefing, buffet lunch and safety drill, you will set sail for Playa Ochoa where you will have a wet landing. Here, you can test the snorkeling equipment and at the same time swim with a small colony of sea lions. Behind the beach, there is a tidal lagoon where birds can be spotted including the rare Chatham mockingbird. At sunset, you will cruise around Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), a vertical tuff cone formation that abruptly juts up almost 500 feet out of the ocean. On the cliffs, you will spot blue-footed boobies, masked boobies and magnificent frigate birds. This evening, the guide will hold a briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome cocktail.

    Day 2: Today you will spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species. This morning, you will have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca (formerly masked) boobies nest near the trail. In an open lava field, you will find a large number of storm petrels. If you are lucky, you will see the elusive shorteared owl. After the walk, your kayaks are available to paddle along the shoreline, looking for the beautiful red-billed tropic bird usually found in the crevices. After lunch you can take a siesta or relax on deck with a book from the library. This afternoon, you will have a wet-landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich inter tidal zone where you will find a wide diversity of wildlife. After the walk, you can swim and snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters. You will set sail early to motor to the western Islands during the briefing followed by dinner.

    Day 3: This morning, you will have a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless Cormorants build their nest on the point and Galapagos Hawks fly overhead. After lunch, you will cross the Bolivar Chanel where you may be able to spot whales and dolphins riding the bow wave. This afternoon, you will have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of Isabela. Six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos. During the walk, you will discover a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. Graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the Coves by Zodiac or in one of the clear-bottom sea kayaks to find Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. An excellent snorkeling opportunity is offered here after the walk. After the briefing and dinner, a sky full of stars beckons to go out on deck and observe the galaxy.

    Day 4: This morning, you will have a wet landing at Puerto Egas, Santiago (James). You can stroll along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellowcrowned night herons. Your walk will end at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where you will encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a snorkeling opportunity with lots of tropical fish. As an alternative, you may use the kayaks to explore the marine life without getting wet. During lunch, the yacht motors to the other side of the Island which provides for scenic landscapes. Located off the Southern tip or Santiago, Sombrero Chino or Chinese Hat owes its name to its shape. After a wet beach landing with sea lion colonies, the trail gives way to a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble including cracked lava formations and lava tubes. The lava tubes are fragile and one must be careful to stay on the trail. You will find marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers. There are good photographic opportunities here as this site conveys a strong feeling that you’ve come to a very special place in the world. There is a briefing followed by dinner as you anchor in a calm protected area.

    Day 5: On Bartholomew, it seems like you are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, you will climb 30 minutes up stairs leading to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, you will pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, you can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and “Pinnacle Rock”, an eroded tuff cone. Down below, crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach or Zodiac with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins. On the other side of the Island, encounter sea turtles and white-tipped sharks. This afternoon, you will have a dry landing at North Seymour, a small geological uplift. You will follow a trail that leads you to swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and the endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds found in Galapagos. As you stroll along the beach, you will find marine iguanas and sea lions surfing the northern swells. After the walk there is a snorkeling opportunity offered in deep water. Passengers who have purchased our dive package will have two dives in lieu of visiting North Seymour.

    Day 6: This morning you will travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as you wind your way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, you will visit the tortoise reserve at one of the private farms in the highlands where you will encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. You will visit Los Gemelos, Spanish for “The Twins”, a pair of large pit craters where you will find the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. We stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. Afterwards, you will head straight to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic Galapagos Islands sample itinerary: Nemo II cruise

    Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival to the airport in Baltra Island – visit to Bachas Beach

    Day 2 (Monday):
    Visit to Bartholomew Island and Sombrero Chino in the afternoon.

    Day 3 (Tuesday): In the morning visit to Breeding centre in Isabela Island – in the afternoon visit to Tintoreras Lagoon.

    Day 4 (Wednesday): Arrival to Floreana Island, in the morning visit to Post Office Bay and in the afternoon visit to Punta Cormorant.

    Day 5 (Thursday): Arrival to Espanola Island, in the morning visit to Gardner Bay and in the afternoon visit to PuntaSuarez.

    Day 6 (Friday): In the morning visit to Bartolome Island and Puerto Egas in the afternoon.

    Day 7 (Saturday): In the morning visit to South Plazas Island and in the afternoon visit to North Seymour Island.

    Day 8 (Sunday): In the morning visit to Caleta Tortuga and transfer to the airport in Baltra.

    This itinerary is for 8 days / 7 nights with departures on Sundays. The cost includes all meals (3 meals daily) and accomodation whilst on Nemo II and a naturalisit guide (level 3). The cost does not include the international / domestic flights or the return airfare from Quito-Galapagos; entrance fees to the Galapagos National Park (US$410 per person cash, subject to change); transit card fee (US$10 per person cash on arrival to the islands). Also, the cost does not include tips and gratuities; Optional or suggested services that are on your own; personal expenses; extra beverages and alcoholic drinks; medical costs and hospitalization; meals, souvenirs and other local and personal expenses not specified in the above itinerary are also not included; visa fees.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic Galapagos Islands sample itinerary: Angelique Cruise 

    Day 1: On arrival in Baltra airport you will be met and transferred to the boat, there will be a briefing onboard about the boat and the island. Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island), these two small beaches are found to the West of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favourite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island was a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.

    Day 2: Genovesa Island is a shield volcano in the Galapagos Islands. The island occupies about 14 square kilometres (5 sq mi), and its maximum elevation is 64 m (210 ft). The horse-shoe shaped island has volcanic calderas whose wall has collapsed, forming the Great Darwin Bay, surrounded by cliffs. Lake Arcturus, filled with salt water, lies in the centre, and sediment within this Crater Lake is less than 6,000 years old. Although no historical eruptions are known from Genovesa, there are very young lava flows on the flanks of the volcano.

    Day 3: Bartholomew Island is situated across Sullivan Bay. It has an altitude of 114mts, from where you can observe one of the most beautiful sceneries of the Galapagos Islands, such as: volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields and the famous pinnacle formed of Toba eroded by the sea. There is very little vegetation on this island. It has two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles exist and at the base of the pinnacle, is a very small colony of Galapagos penguins.

    Santiago, also called James, or San Salvador Island, is located in the west central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is the fourth largest island in the archipelago (following Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz). With the exception of some of the large western volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina, it is the also most volcanically active, with many young flows and cones to be seen, particularly along the south, west, and east coasts. These may even be seen from the summit of Volcan Darwin and from space. A number of historic eruptions have been reported over the last 2 centuries. Santiago actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end.

    Day 4: Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the principal attractions is the National Park information centre, Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, Breeding and Rearing Centre for young tortoises, Lonesome George (tortoise from Pinta) and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. Today the trail to the highlands leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather (unpredictable) this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round.

    Day 5:  Today you will have a wet landing on a greenish colored sand beach. Visitors will hike from the black mangrove beds to a large, brackish lagoon, which holds one of the biggest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, Galapagos daisies, white and black mangrove, and holy stick.

    Day 6: Española is the island which is the furthest south and most famous for its waved albatross community. The community is found on the island from late March to early December, and one of the most incredible sea birds found on the Galapagos. It’s worth planning your trip around the time this bird will be on the islands. There are two visitor sites on the island: Punta Suarez and Garden Bay. Getting off on the western side of the island, you’re met by a colony of breeding marine iguanas, bright red and ready to go! The 2-km trail leads through colonies of blue-footed boobies and masked-boobies to a blowhole. The waves force the water up through this hole, up to twenty meters in the air. It’s best to go in the morning, during high tide, because if you go later on, you might not get a chance to see the water blow out so high.

    Day 7: Santa Fe and Plazas Santa Fe, home to one of the most beautiful coves in all the Galapagos, Santa Fe is located in the south-eastern part of Galapagos, 2 1/2 hours from Santa Cruz and 3 hours from San Cristobal. Santa Fe was formed from an uplift giving the island a relatively flat surface rather than the typical conical shape of the other islands. Located directly east of Santa Cruz Island, Plazas is the smallest of the 3 large islands at 1 km by 130 meters. After a dry landing your hike will take you from the shore which is usually covered in sea lions to the other side of the island to see the Land Iguanas. Here you may also be able to see various Sea Iguanas.

    Day 8: North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing. Here you can admire the beautiful frigate birds and nests of blue-footed boobies. Watch your step, as the boobies don’t worry much about where they nest, and you might just step on one. The trees are dotted with male frigate birds trying to attract the attention of the ladies by inflating their bright red skin flaps. They sometimes fly in the air to call more attention to themselves, which is, in itself, a funny display, as the puffy flap throws off their sense of balance! There’s a circular path that takes you through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash a silvery-blue. Afterwards, you will be transferred straight to the airport for our flight back to the mainland.


    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is enclosed with your booking form.


    Ecuador general information and map

    Capital: Quito

    Getting there: There are no direct flights to Quito from the UK, but there are regular flights with major airlines via several European cities including Amsterdam and Madrid. Flying time from Madrid to Quito is approximately 11 hours.

    Time: GMT minus 6 hours.

    Try not to miss: The fertile valleys and lush green vistas surrounding Otavalo to the north of Quito, including the lovely Zuleta valley, famous for hand embroidery. This region is home to stunning colonial haciendas, the oldest ones dating from the 17th century where herds of dairy cows and fighting bulls are raised on rich pastures. Most of the haciendas used by Wild and Exotic have courtyards festooned in colourful flowers, beautiful gardens, antique décor and open fireplaces in the bedrooms. Many of these prestigious and historically important haciendas are still home to the noblest of Ecuadorian families. The bird watching here is spectacular, with a huge variety of birds from the mighty Andean Condor to tiny hummingbirds and bright scarlet flycatchers. Whilst in Otavalo don’t miss out on a visit to the market, where locals dressed in traditional costumes sell crafts and home grown produce.

    Head south across the Equator and into Cotopaxi National Park and the avenue of the volcanoes, overlooked by the spherical white cone of 5897 metre high Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. Using high altitude haciendas as your base explore the high paramo, not dissimilar to Exmoor, where herds of wild horses and fighting bulls roam a landscape of rolling hill and rocky outcrops studded with glittering lakes. Ride or walk along the ancient Inca highway that linked Quito with Cusco in Peru, and spend a night at the most important Inca site in Ecuador, Hacienda San Augustin, where the rooms are arranged around a perfectly preserved Inca square.

    The Amazon jungle on the eastern side of the Andes. We recommend a stunning eco-lodge overlooking a lagoon on the Napo River (a tributary of the Amazon) where you can swim with giant otters, watch flocks of gaudy parrots flight into clay licks each morning, see snail kites at work and go spotlighting caimans at night. Other Amazon wildlife surrounding the lodge includes wild pigs and monkeys.

    The Galapagos Islands are a series of volcanic outcrops on the Equator some 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, world famous for being stuck in an evolutionary time warp and home to many unique indigenous species of wildlife. The best way to experience these islands is to join on a cruise lasting from 4 – 8 days, or better still ask Wild and Exotic about chartering a cruise boat (the smallest are for just 10 passengers) for the exclusive benefit of your party. During your tour there will be visits to many of the islands on foot, talks by qualified naturalist guides and opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling,

    Visas: No visa is required for visits of up to 90 days for UK citizens.

    Why Ecuador: For her rich colonial heritage and superb examples of well preserved colonial archeicteure, her unique avenue of volcanoes and the world famous Galapagos Islands.

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    “Galapagos boat, crew, guide all great-again very clean & tidy accommodation, helpful friendly staff. Karina the guide was outstanding, & encouraged everyone to snorkel & enjoy the trips. Thank you very much for arranging it”
    Sue Ruddock, Ecuador bespoke travel, October 2011


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