Galapagos in the wake of Darwin

Aboard M/Ys Letty or Flamingo

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Itinerary

DEPARTURES ALL YEAR ROUND. Please let us know when you’d like to travel. Ex Quito 8 days

Aboard M/Ys Letty or Flamingo on a trip of discovery and adventure in the magical archipelago of Galapagos In the Wake of Darwin.

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SUNDAY: Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, SAN CRISTOBAL, our crew is waiting at the airport to escort you by bus to the dock and then by Zodiac to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served.

We travel by bus to the highlands to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado) where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises that you will encounter in their natural habitat. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals at the information center for visitors. Along the trail, we find the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island.

Join your fellow yacht mates this evening for your first briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our well-trained chefs.

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MONDAY: We spend the entire day on TOWER (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species. We have a wet-landing onDarwin 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 we find a wide diversity of wildlife.

After lunch, we have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca Boobies nest near the trail. In an open lava field, we find Storm Petrels in large numbers. If you are lucky, we will see the elusive Short-eared owl. Look for the beautiful Red-billed Tropic bird found in the crevices along the cliff by kayak or Zodiac.

You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters or for those with experience, we offer snorkeling in deeper water. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner before we cross the equator.

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TUESDAY: Today we visit Las Bachas, which is the Spanish translation for “barges”. There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where we find the Greater Flamingo, pelicans, white-cheeked pintail ducks, stilts and iguanas.

There is also a wonderful chance to take a stroll along the beach or swim from the shore. AtBlack Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra) we have a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves.

Here you can view pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Along the trail, we find Darwin Finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs, were once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. We find pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds; stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more.

From the top of the hill, we enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, we sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the third time.

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WEDNESDAY: We have a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza, FERNANDINA, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos with no introduced mammals. 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. There is a chance to snorkel here with sea turtles and marine iguanas. After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Chanel where we often spot whales and dolphins riding the bow wave.

We disembark at Urbina Bay, ISABELA, where we find four miles of its coastal seabed, with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises and Darwin Finches. Brown Pelicans and Flightless Cormorants also nest here. Giant Marine Iguanas are seen along the coast. You may encounter penguins while snorkeling here.

At Punta Vicente Roca, a Zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls, we can enter the wave-sculpted cave and find sea turtles and penguins, flightless cormorants and fur seals who frequent this area. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.

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THURSDAY: We visit Elizabeth Bay, ISABELA by zodiac starting with a visit to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Here, turtles, rays, and shore birds can be seen.

We motor to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and giant Marine Iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos. Today, lunch is served out on the sun deck in a calm bay. We have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of ISABELA and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs.

galapagos_resized_08Explore the Coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling site is offered from the zodiac or take out a Kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy while crossing the equator for the last time.

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FRIDAY: We stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, SANTIAGO (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction.

Before returning to the yacht, there is a snorkeling opportunity. After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here. We disembark on RABIDA (Jervis), located near James Island. Rabida is considered the geographic center of Galapagos because this island sports the most diversified volcanic rocks.

The dark red sand beach originated from the high content of iron in the volcanic stones. While strolling along the trail, you may find marine iguanas, mocking birds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin Finches leading to a salt water lagoon. After the walk, there is not-to-miss snorkeling option with tropical fish, white tipped sharks and sea lions. We return to the yacht for dinner and a briefing.

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SATURDAY: We travel by bus to the highlands of SANTA CRUZ Island. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, we visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias” one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. After lunch, we will have our last briefing.

Today we visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (Charles Darwin Research Station). See all three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. We stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits.

Visitors can see the tortoise and land iguana corrals. Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000 inhabitants. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and dinner. Zodiacs will be provided for those who chose to return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet café.

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SUNDAY: We visit the Interpretation Centre opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Here we gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands.

Afterwards, we spend an hour in port before heading to the airport for our flight back to the mainland departing before noon time.

Dates & Cost

Dates & Cost 2015

DEPARTURES ALL YEAR ROUND. Please let us know when you’d like to travel. Ex Quito 8 days

 

Cabin Type Twin Share
Dolphin USD 4,900 per person
Booby USD 4,550 per person
Iguana USD 4,100 per person

*Single prices are available for selected cabins – prices available on request.

Dates & Cost 2016

DEPARTURES ALL YEAR ROUND. Please let us know when you’d like to travel. Ex Quito 8 days

 

Cabin Type Twin Share
Dolphin USD 5,150 per person
Booby USD 4,775 per person
Iguana USD 4,300 per person

*Single prices are available for selected cabins – prices available on request.

What’s included

Cabin accommodation, all meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, purified water, Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail, house wine and local beer served during dinner, guided shore excursions, use of wet suits, snorkel equipment and sea kayaks, transfers in the Islands between the airport and dock.

What’s not included

International Airfare, Airfare to Galapagos, Galapagos entrance fee (park tax), transit control card, alcoholic beverages, gratuities to guides and crew, purchases on board and travel insurance.

Galapagos Park Tax: The entrance fee to the National Park is USD 100 for adults and USD 50 for children 11 and younger and is not included in the cruise rate.

Transit Control Card – A TCT card or target de control de transito is USD 20 per person and is required by INGALA for all visitors to Galapagos to control migration to the Islands.

Gratuities to guides and crew – Aboard our vessels, gratuities are not included. We prefer that our guests reward our crew based on their performance. Tipping is a personal matter and passengers are encouraged to tip an amount they find appropriate. For those passengers who inquire, we suggest they follow international guidelines of USD 200 per passenger (per week). Gratuities are divided among all eleven crew members including naturalist guides

How to book

To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form in the brochure is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.

Deposit required: USD 1,000 per person
Balance due: 90 days prior to departure.
If booking within90 days of departure: full payment must be made

For deposits in US Dollars, your local bank will be able to arrange a US Dollar bank draft to be made payable to “Adventure Associates. Alternatively you may make payment by telegraphic transfer. Contact us for our bank details. Deposits only may also be made in Australian dollars (contact us for the applicable amount) which will be converted to US Dollars at the applicable exchange rate. All final payments should be made in US Dollars.

Cancellations and Refunds

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations or airlines, cruise companies, coach and tour operators, hotels and any other Principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable provisions will apply.

More than 120 days prior to departure USD 200 pp*
Between 119 and 90 days prior to departure Loss of deposit pp
Between 89 and 60 days prior to departure 25% of the expedition cost pp
Between 59 and 30 days prior to departure 50% of the expedition cost pp
On or within 29 days prior to departure No refund

If cancellation occurs within the 29 day period and full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and unpaid monies are due immediately. For these and other reasons it is mandatory that you obtain trip cancellation insurance (see terms and conditions).

Vessel

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M/Ys Letty and Flamingo

The M/Ys Letty and Flamingo are first class motor-yachts, custom-designed exclusively for Galapagos excursions and offering spacious accommodations for small groups. Twenty passengers and two guides per yacht ensure that each guest enjoys a personalized voyage.

y_eric_20130828_1067277178-732x494-474x320The interior is designed in polished teak wood and feature fully air conditioned cabins, public spaces, dining room, well-stocked bar, conference area with television, VCR, stereo cassette/CD equipment, and book and video library.

Picture windows surround the upper two decks and offer spectacular panoramic views of the sea and landscape. Enjoy ocean breezes on sun-deck lounge chairs and at observation points. Snorkeling equipment, wet suits, sea kayaks, and beach towels are provided at no additional charge.

Accommodations include ten cabins located on three decks, each with a large private Untitled-1-463x320bathroom and a fresh, hot-and-cold-water shower.

Either two twin lower beds or one double bed, a roomy closet, drawers, overhead storage, separate climate controls, intercom system, bottled water, hair dryer, toiletries, and fresh towels grace the inside of each cabin.

A seasoned captain, 8 dedicated crew members, and two experienced, English-speaking naturalist guides attend to the details of your Galapagos cruise.

Each naturalist takes a group of no more than 10 passengers on letty_20130902_1674809905-732x485-480x318all shore excursions and shares extensive insights into the Islands’ diverse wildlife.

Small wooden boats locally called pangas ferry passengers to shore for Island visits.

deck-plans

y_eric_20130828_15548245901-732x486-480x318dolphin deck

Cabins #1,3 & 4 have two twin lower beds or one double bed and picture windows.

Cabin # 2 has one double bed and picture window. (Cabins average 95 square feet / 8.8 square meters)

booby deck

Cabins # 5 & 6 cabins have one double bed and picture windows.
(Cabins average 90 square reef / 8.4 square meters)

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iguana deck

Cabins #7 & 8 have two twin lower beds and port lights.
Cabins # 9 & 10 have two twin lower beds and one upper berth with port lights and can be sold as triples.
(Cabins average 110 square feet / 10.2 square meters)