Pure Galapagos (Grand Daphne)


Few destinations rival the Galapagos for up-close encounters with wildlife, and this adventure focuses on the stars of the show. Enjoy a pure boat trip that’s free of detours, overnight stopovers and passengers joining or leaving throughout. Stay on the ship and venture to remote parts of the archipelago – the west coast of Isla Isabela and Isla Fernandina – and see almost all the wildlife the Galapagos is famous for. Take the chance to swim and snorkel with sea lions and reef sharks off Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Bartolome, spy frigatebirds, boobies and pelicans soaring above North Seymour, and stroll among land iguanas and flightless cormorants on volcanic Punta Espinosa.

8 days, from

$5,040

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GMDP
Style: Comfort
Theme: Sailing
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  Ecuador
Accommodation: Overnight boat (7 nights)
Transportation: Boat , Bus , Zodiac (Panga)
Meals: 7 dinners, 7 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • If there’s one ultimate Galapagos adventure, this is it. Combining off-the-beaten-track gems with iconic sights like the Pinnacle Rock, this trip is a microcosm of the Galapagos

  • This unique, stand-alone sailing adventure shares its itinerary with no other Intrepid trip. Enjoy minimal contact with other travellers and boats

  • Explore the remote west coast of Isabela on a small Panga boat, and venture to the far-west Fernandina, home of the highest density of marine iguanas

  • Beach-lovers will be in heaven. The turtle-dotted Las Bachas is about as idyllic as they come.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Isla Santa Cruz

Welcome to the Galapagos!

Today you will be meeting other travellers arriving from Quito at Baltra Airport. Please be at the airport by 09.30am. The guide can’t wait for you so you need to make sure that you are there on time.
Once you have met up with the rest of the group, a 10 minute transfer will bring you to the Grand Daphne which will be anchored in Baltra. Once on board, you’ll be assigned a cabin, meet the crew and get to know your fellow travellers over a delicious lunch. Try on the snorkelling gear to ensure it fits, before your first snorkelling session. Wetsuits can also be hired at an additional cost.

Sail from Baltra to Las Bachas, on the north shore of Isla Bartuz, which is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. You may also see some marine iguanas. The sand here, made of decomposed coral, is particularly white and soft, and the nearby rocks make for an excellent snorkelling spot, where you might see some of the many Sally Lightfoot crabs on the island. A saltwater lagoon just near the beach is home to flamingos, whimbrel and great blue herons.

Day 2: Isla Rabida - Isla Isabela

Today you will sail from Las Bachas to Isla Rabida, known for its spectacular red sand beaches, caused by the high content of iron in the sand which rusts to form the unusual shade. Follow a trail from the shore along to a lagoon which is one of the best spots in the Galapagos to view flamingos. Keep an eye out for nesting pelicans, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions – all are commonly sighted on the island. Check out a vast opuntia cactus forest, hinting at the previous habitation of land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves, finches and lava lizards. You may like to take the chance to go snorkelling and seek out sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish.

In the afternoon, head to Albemarle on the northeast side of Isabela Island. Covered in mangroves, the bay is home to sea turtles, sea lions, penguins and flightless cormorants who feed on the algae and fish here. Take a walk inland and discover the remains of an old radar base from World War II and pass by pahoehoe and lava formations. Another fantastic location for snorkeling, you may like to have a look beneath the water’s surface in search of sea turtles and flightless cormorants.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Sail from Bachas to Rabida: 3.3 hours; 23 nautical miles
Rábida to Punta Albermarle: 6. hours; 56 nautical miles

Day 3: Isla Isabela

Sail overnight from Isla Santiago around to the western shores of Isla Isabela. Wake up near Tagus Cove, where pirates and whalers used to collect tortoises for their travels. Enjoy a short visit here (approximately 2 hours), perhaps snorkelling or checking out the graffiti on the walls (the oldest of which is from 1836). Witness flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, a variety of waterfowl and the most northerly penguins in the world. You will walk to a lookout point for a stunning view of the north of Isabela Island and Volcan Wolf (Wolf Volcano).

Today you will also visit Bahia Urbina on the west of Isabela Island, Urbina Bay has a wide variety of plant life which changes depending on the season. You will be able to observe the beautiful color of the plants which attracts many different insects. The site also features a short trek inland, where giant tortoises can be spotted amongst the bushes in their natural habitat. You may also see land iguanas which often nest in the middle of the trail where their distinctive, textured and yellowish skin can be observed from up close. Flycatchers, Darwin’s finches and mockingbirds are common on the ground and in the trees.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Albermarle to Caleta Tagus: 3.5 hours; 37 nautical miles
Caleta Tagus to Bahia Urbina: 1.5 hours: 15 nautical miles

Day 4: Isla Fernandina - Isla Isabela

Today we visit Punta Espinosa that is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. Take a walk around the beautiful peninsula, which boasts such wildlife and plant life as lava cacti, marine iguanas, barking sea lions, tiny penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a lookout for that marvelous Galapagos predator hunting from the treetops: the Galapagos hawk. Top-notch snorkeling opportunities await in the clear waters, and turtles and sea lions can be seen swimming around and feeding on the shore. This is also a great spot to see flightless cormorants drying their atrophied wings on the rocks.

In the afternoon head to Punta Vicente Roca, this site allowed for panga rides to observe the abundant wildlife and offers one of the best snorkeling spots of the Archipelago. The snorkeling “route” takes us along the cliffs and offers the not so common chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves.

The primitive and unaggressive bullhead shark, known locally as the Port Jackson shark, is often seen here sharing its space with red-lipped batfish, frogfishes, Pacific seahorses, the endemic Camotillo, schools of barracuda and brown-stripped snappers. Sponges, corals, and other marine invertebrates are also abundant in the area.

Estimated travel time/distance:

Bahia Urbina to Punta Espinoza 1.4hours, 16 nautical miles
Punta Espinoza to Punta Vicente Roca 1.4 hours; 16 nautical miles

Day 5: Isla Santiago

Sail this morning to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach on the west side of James Bay, northwest of Isla Santiago, home to incredible volcanic tuff formations. Take a stroll along the beach with the native marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals. You can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. You might also end up snorkelling with a Galapagos fur seal – they’re always looking for a friend! In the afternoon travel to the northwest side of Santiago Island where you’ll find Caleta Bucanero, named after the pirates and buccaneers who once found shelter in the bay. Here you’ll have the chance to go snorkelling and take a dinghy ride to look for blue-footed boobies, pelicans and nocturnal seagulls nesting in the cliffs.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Albermarle (Isla Isabela) to Puerto Egas (Isla Santiago): 5.2 hours; 45 nautical miles
Puerto Egas (Isla Santiago) to Caleta Bucanero (Isla Santiago): 1 hour; 9 nautical miles

Day 6: Isla Bartolome - Isla Sombrero Chino

Wake up in Bartolome Island, a spectacular volcanic landscape full of spatter cones and lava flows, and home to Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. Put on your walking shoes and climb up 360 wooden steps to the summit, where an amazing view of Pinnacle Rock awaits. This is one of the most photographed sights in the Galapagos – an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, providing a focal point for two nearby bays. Hike to the top of a once-active volcano and enjoy superb views across to Bahia Sullivan on nearby Isla Santiago. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Galapagos hawk. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling among the colourful marine life. In the afternoon, travel to the small island of Sombrero Chino, found on the southeast side of Santiago Island. With lovely sandy beaches and a striking volcanic landscape, this is a fantastic place to take a hike and look out for the sea lions and penguins that rest here, and snorkel in search of reef sharks and sea turtles.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Caleta Bucanero (Isla Santiago) to Isla Bartolome: 2.2 hours, 21 nautical miles
Isla Bartolome to Isla Sombrero chino:1.25 hours, 7 nautical miles

Day 7: Isla North Seymour - Isla Santa Cruz

Wake up this morning in North Seymour, one of the most visited islands of the Galapagos. First up is a walk around the island to spot some blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship, sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour. Blue-footed boobies nest on the ground while the frigate birds nest just above them in the saltbushes. As you walk, look out for land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions and the endemic incense tree. After the walk, cool off and go snorkelling and encounter a great variety of fish and perhaps some white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions. Later in the day, travel to Isla Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. Pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in the small town of Puerto Ayora. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You may also see baby tortoises and land iguanas.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Sombrero Chino to Isla North Seymour: 1.30 hours; 18 nautical miles
Isla North Seymour to Charles Darwin Station (Isla Santa Cruz): 3.45 hour; 31 nautical miles

Day 8: Isla Baltra

Flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, so it’s an early start for your last morning on the islands.

You will visit the Santa Cruz Highlands. Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where you can see the unique scalesia cloud forest, dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world-famous woodpecker and warbler finches. You might also glimpse a vermillion flycatcher.

Then it’s time to bid farewell to your fellow travellers as your trip comes to an end after this activity.

You will be taken to the airport directly after this activity. If you plan to extend your stay after your cruise in Puerto Ayora you will need to make your own way back to town (your guide can assist with this).

8 days, from $5,040

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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