Naturalist Itinerary - Aqua Yacht - Galapagos Cruise

Naturalist Itinerary - Aqua Yacht | Aqua | Galapagos Tours Naturalist Itinerary - Aqua Yacht | Aqua | Galapagos Tours
Embark on an 8-day naturalist journey aboard M/Y Aqua—an unforgettable opportunity! Explore remarkable destinations like Dragon Hill, Sullivan Bay, enchanting Isabela Island, and beyond, ensuring your Galapagos experience is truly comprehensive. Join us in celebrating the extraordinary wildlife that calls these islands home!

8 Day Galapagos Itinerary

Day 1: Baltra Island

Upon arrival at Seymour Ecological Airport in the morning, a thorough inspection is conducted to prevent the introduction of foreign plants or animals to the islands. Your TCC (Transit Control Card) will be stamped, which you must keep safe for your return flight. Entrance to the Galapagos National Park (US $100) is required if not previously paid. Your guide will assist with luggage and accompany you on a short bus ride to board M/Y Aqua, where you will meet the crew and captain and have your cabins assigned before enjoying your first onboard lunch.

In the afternoon, visit North Seymour, a popular destination known for its abundant birdlife. A simple circular path leads through extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. During the breeding season, male frigate birds inflate their vivid red pouches, creating impressive displays. This site offers a unique opportunity to observe both magnificent and great frigate birds nesting side by side.

Day 2: South Plaza Islans & Santa Fe Island

In the morning, explore South Plazas, located east of Santa Cruz Island and part of the Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, it harbors some of the most interesting species in the Galapagos. Look for unique Plazas land iguanas, including hybrids resulting from marine iguana and land iguana crossings. Enjoy sightings of swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans nesting on rugged cliffs.

In the afternoon, visit Santa Fe, situated in the southeastern part of the Galapagos. This island, believed to be one of the oldest in the archipelago, features endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, and land iguanas. Disembark into clear waters to encounter sea lion colonies. Explore trails lined with salt bushes and giant prickly pear cacti, characteristic of oceanic islands. Snorkel with playful sea lions and tropical fish for a memorable experience.

Day 3: Cormorant Point, Champion Islet & Post Office Bay, Baroness Lookout

In the morning, explore Cormorant Point, located at the extreme north cape of Floreana. This area features smaller volcanic cones covered in tropical dry forest (palo santo). Upon landing, encounter a small colony of Galapagos sea lions. The beach here boasts unique green sand containing olivine crystals blown out from surrounding tuff cones. The southern beach, known as 'flour sand' beach, is composed of fine white coral sand pulverized by parrotfish. Look out for schools of stingrays hiding in the sandy bottom, and during the early months of the year, witness Pacific green turtles nesting.

In the afternoon, visit Post Office Bay and Baroness Lookout, two nearby sites on Floreana's northern coast. At Post Office Bay, participate in a historic tradition by posting postcards in the peculiar barrel used for an improvised mail service between British 16th-century whalers and poachers.

Day 4: El Chato Reserve, Twin Craters & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center

In the morning, explore El Chato Reserve and Twin Craters, where the native scalesia forest provides the perfect habitat to encounter Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural environment. While breeding centers guarantee sightings in corrals, observing them in the wild amidst the moist and muddy terrain adds adventure. Explore the Twin Craters, impressive formations created by collapsed magma chambers within a lush Scalesia cloud forest, home to unique plant species like the Carpenter Finch and possibly the vermillion flycatcher.

In the afternoon, visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center at Charles Darwin Research Station. View tortoises from Española Island, ending at the exhibit corral where these tortoises are accustomed to humans and ideal for photographs.

Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill & Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

In the morning, explore Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island's northwestern coast, open to visitors since 1993. Follow a trail leading to a hyper-saline lagoon frequented by flamingos, pintail ducks, and other bird species. This site has been repopulated with land iguanas from Seymour, Isabela, and Santa Cruz islands. Enjoy a short walk to the hill, offering beautiful bay views.

In the afternoon, experience Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, resembling a moon landing with its desolate, sprawling fields. Despite its appearance, this island is popular among photographers and teems with life. Discover green sea turtles nesting on the small white sand beach, alongside crabs, blue herons, and oystercatchers.

Day 6: Santiago Island: Egas Port & Chinese Hat

In the morning, visit Egas Port where you'll make a "wet landing" and take an easy walk along trails and the beautiful black-sand beach. Spot birds, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, marine iguanas, and Galapagos Fur Seals. Keep an eye out for Darwin's finches, yellow warblers, and other unique animals during the walk.

In the afternoon, explore Chinese Hat Islet off the rocky coast of Santiago, featuring a 52m/170ft volcanic cone. Witness a small colony of Galapagos penguins settled here. Learn about volcanoes, lava bombs, and lava tunnels while approaching Chinese Hat from the north. Observe pioneer species colonizing this barren islet, with beautiful white coral sand beaches and eroding lava fields filled with lava sand enabling rooting. Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas contribute to the ecosystem, fostering growth of new plant life like saltbush and sesuvium carpet.

Day 7: Rabida Island & Bartolome Island

In the morning, arrive at Rabida Island with a "wet landing" on its remarkable red beach. Enjoy two short guided hikes where oxidized iron particles give the rocks and sand their rusty color. Explore the green-fringed lagoon and fertile oasis attracting aquatic birds like pintails and sometimes American flamingos. Discover the leaf-dropping palo santo trees and observe brown pelicans, the only ones in the world that plunge-dive.

In the afternoon, visit Bartholomew Island, one of the youngest in the archipelago born out of fire. Climb stairs to the island's viewpoint (114m/375ft) for a postcard view of 'Pinnacle Bay'. Witness threatening volcanic landscapes with nearby spatter cones and craters, showcasing lightweight lava droplets from fiery fountains. Explore the Summit Trail to see how pioneer vegetation like lava cactus struggles to root in the bare virgin lava fields.

Day 8: Mosquera Islet & Baltra Island

In the morning, explore Mosquera, renowned for its large concentration of Galapagos sea lions and beautiful white coral sand beaches. Unlike North Seymour, Mosquera allows free exploration without trail restrictions, offering a unique experience in the National Park.

Later, transfer out to Baltra Airport (GPS) as your Galapagos journey comes to an end. Farewell from the crew and naturalist guide, who will assist you with luggage to the Seymour Ecological Airport for your departure. If you've booked an extended stay, new passengers will be welcomed aboard to continue the adventure to the next site!

Itinerary Map

Click on the map to navigate the itinerary
Naturalist Itinerary - Aqua Yacht | Galapagos Map

8 Day Galapagos Itinerary Includes

  • Lodging on board in a cabin with private facilities.
  • Three meals per full-day; unlimited water, coffee and tea.
  • All excursions as mentioned in the itinerary with one English speaking certified dive guide per 8 guests.
  • Airport-yacht-airport transfers (only guaranteed if passengers arrive at the scheduled meeting point, date and time).

8 Day Galapagos Itinerary Does not Include

  • Roundtrip flight to Galapagos Islands.
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD 100 pp).
  • Transit Control Card (USD 20 pp).
  • Full dive equipment rental (BCD, regulator, mask, fins, 7mm wetsuits, hoods, gloves, boots, torch).
  • Nitrox (USD 150 pp).
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks.
  • Travel insurance (Medical coverage, Trip cancellation & Dive Accident insurance) and other items of personal nature.

8 Day Galapagos Itinerary Highlights

  • Capture stunning photographs of the distinctive shape of "Chinese Hat"!
  • Encounter amazing wildlife, including Giant Tortoises, Marine Iguanas, and other fascinating creatures!
  • Stroll along the striking red beach on Rabida Island.
  • Enjoy playful interactions with sea lion pups at Mosquera.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 7 Dinners
  • 8 Lunches
Playa Las Bachas | Sea turtle | Galapagos Islands
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Punta Cormorant | Flightless cormorant | Galapagos Islands

More information about the Galapagos Islands you visit in this 8 day itinerary:

Naturalist Itinerary - Aqua Yacht
8 Days (B)

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