luxury galapagos cruise

Galapagos Cruise Petrel


The best way to see the Galapagos Islands is, arguably, on board a luxury cruise, and the newly built Petrel is definitively one of the best options. Guests travel in comfort to the different islands, where they have up-close encounters with blue-footed boobies, iguanas, giant tortoises, whales and more.
One of the newest ships in Galapagos, the Petrel catamaran offers a true luxury Galapagos cruise and certainly one of the best ways to visit these magical islands. Named after a sea bird common to Galapagos, the Petrel is like its namesake: elegant, swift and silent at sea. A motorized catamaran, the Petrel Galapagos experience will be marked by comfort and stability, the catamaran outfitted with spacious cabins, a comfortable lounge, and Jacuzzi.

Highlights: Galapagos cruise aboard a true luxury catamaran.
Number of days:
Regions: Galapagos
Interests: Cruise, Nature & Wildlife
Category: Luxury
Total CO2 emission, in lb (per day for cruises): 170



Click on the icons to see details about each visited place.

Itinerary

The Petrel’s 15-day route can be split up in various itineraries of 4, 5, 6 and 8 days. We list the short version of each itinerary. In the description part, please look for the information where each itinerary starts and ends.

Itinerary A, 8 Days

Baltra – North Seymour – Isabela – Fernandina – Isabela – Santa Cruz – South Plazas – Santa Fe – San Cristobal

Itinerary B, 8 Days

San Cristobal – Española – Floreana – Santa Cruz – Santiago – Bartolome – Genovesa – Santiago – Santa Cruz – Baltra

Itinerary A, 6 Days

Baltra – North Seymour – Isabela – Fernandina – Isabela – Santa Cruz – Baltra

Itinerary B, 6 Days

Baltra – Santa Cruz – South Plazas – Santa Fe – San Cristobal – Española – Floreana – Santa Cruz – Baltra

Itinerary B, 5 Days

Baltra – Santa Cruz – Santiago – Bartolome – Genovesa – Santiago – Santa Cruz – Baltra

Itinerary B, 4 Days

San Cristobal – Española – Floreana – Santa Cruz – Baltra

 

start itinerary A 8 and A 6

Day 1 – Friday: Baltra, North Seymour

Arrival in Baltra Airport and transfer to the boat. Briefing onboard about the boat and the island.
Galapagos Sea Lions, Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds are abundant on North Seymour Island. The island was formed by a series of submarine lavas containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.

Day 2 – Saturday: Isabela (Vicente Roca Point, Espinosa Point)

The largest in the archipelago, this seahorse-shaped island is also one of the youngest and most volcanically active. The morning visit is to Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola-mola (sunfish).

Crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, we will land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, we’ll reach the island’s highlight: the Flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos Hawk.

Day 3 – Sunday: Isabela (Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay)

Tagus Cove is located across from Fernandina Island, near the Bolivar Channel dividing the two islands. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s, using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge display wonderful views. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another lovely beach surrounded by mangroves.

Urbina Bay is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954, causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling.

Day 4 – Monday: Isabela (Elizabeth Bay and Moreno Point)

Elizabeth Bay is located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.

Moreno Point is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted.

Day 5 – Tuesday: Isabela (Sierra Negra Volcano and Puerto Villamil)

The Sierra Negra Volcano boasts the largest basaltic caldera in Galapagos at 9 x 10km. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to 7 species of finch and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.

The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The Wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as Common Stilts, Whimbrels, White-Cheeked Pintails, and Gallinules. The Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path that winds through the swamps.

From 1945-1959, a penal colony hosted prisoners who were forced to build the Wall of Tears, stone by stone, in isolation. This now historical site (El Muro de las Lagrimas), towering at 65 feet (25m) high, took the lives of thousands during its construction. Locals claim to hear cries emanating from the heavy energy surrounding the site.

Day 6 – Wednesday: Santa Cruz (Charles Darwin Research Station and Los Gemelos)

The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

end itinerary a 6 – start itinerary b 6

You’ll also visit the highlands. A place you can walk along a path, observing the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, White-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. You will come upon the underground lava tubes, which are more than one kilometer (half a mile) long. Local guides are will provide information and flashlights. Walking through the lava tubes is a unique and surreal experience.

Day 7 – Thursday: South Plaza and Santa Fe

In the morning, you will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is the Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red. 

Santa Fe (Barrington) is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest.

Day 8 – Friday: San Cristobal (Lobos Island and Interpretation Center)

Isla Lobos or Lobos Island is named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores. It is also home to blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. There is good snorkeling in the clear waters of the channel and this is one of the best sites at which to swim with sea lions underwater.

end itinerary a 8 – start itinerary b 8 and b4
The Interpretation Center was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Visitors enjoy expositions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. The Interpretation Center has an outdoor stadium, audio-visual equipment, and meeting rooms.

A visitor site in the southeast part of San Cristobal Island is La Galapaguera. It can be reached in roughly one hour by road from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On the trees and shrubs surrounding the site, you may see land birds like warbler, finches and mockingbirds, and on the trails, Giant Tortoises.

Day 9 – Saturday: Española (Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet – Punta Suarez)

Gardner Bay, on the eastern side of the island, is the breeding site of nearly all of the world´s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. It has an ample white sandy beach with a myriad of sea lions, perfect for relaxing. Its rocky shores make this site a great place for diving and snorkeling.

After landing at Osborne Islet, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. This small island is a marine visit where you can enjoy fantastic snorkeling and swimming.

Suarez Point is great for spotting Blue-footed Boobies, albatrosses and Nazca Boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large Waved Albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.

Day 10 – Sunday: Floreana (Cormorant Point – Devil’s Crown – Post Office Bay)

Cormorant Point hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts, White-cheeked Pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” composed of white coral.

Devil’s Crown: One of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos, this volcanic crater has been eroded by the waves leaving the northern and southern sides poking out of the water. The coral reef in the middle is perfect for attracting marine life. Snorkelers enjoy the variety of marine life and exciting currents that rush through the crown, creating an exhilarating experience.

In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors at Post Office Bay leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.

Day 11 – Monday: Santa Cruz (Charles Darwin Research Station and Highlands)

The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of tortoises interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

end itinerary b 6  and b 4 – start itinerary b 5

In the Santa Cruz Highlands, you can walk along a path, observing the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, White-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species.

Day 12 – Tuesday: Santiago (Sullivan Bay) – Bartolome 

Located southeast of Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay is of great geological interest. The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows combined with A’A lava.  It was very active 200 years ago. This flow is geologically very young. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places.

Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos Penguin.

Day 13 – Wednesday: Genovesa (Darwin Bay and Prince Phillip’s Steps)

The white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay heads a half mile trail (.75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff.

Also known as El Barranco, Prince Phillip’s Steps’ steep, rocky paths leads up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to Palo Santo vegetation as well as Red-footed Boobies, Short-eared Lava Owls, Galapagos Swallows, and Galapagos Doves.

Day 14 – Thursday: Santiago (Puerto Egas – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove)

Also known as James Bay, Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos Hawks and Quick-footed Galapagos Lava Lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos Fur Sea Lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.

Espumilla Beach is a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons, performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eel, and shark, snorkeling is highly recommended.

Years ago, Buccaneer Cove was a safe haven where pirates in the 1600 and 1700’s would stake out on the Northwestern side of Santiago Island.  Sea turtles now take the pirates place and dig their nests for their eggs near the Mangrove trees.  It is a great location for snorkeling and many marine birds and sea lions can be found here.

Day 15 – Friday: Santa Cruz (Carrion Point), Baltra Airport

Carrion Point creates a sheltered lagoon with beautiful, turquoise water. During this visit you can snorkel and see a variety of fish, rays and perhaps the harmless white-tip reef sharks. The point is on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island at the entrance of Channel of Itabaca.

Please keep in mind that on departures days, your morning visit will be early and short since we need to be prepared before heading back toward the airport for your returning flight to Ecuador’s mainland.

end itinerary b 8 and b 5

Rates and Services

Price per person: US$ starting at 2,880 (4 days)
(based on 2 people traveling)

Price includes:

  • Accommodation aboard the Petrel yacht
  • Full board
  • Excursions and activities with English-speaking naturalist guide
  • Transfers
  • Snorkeling equipment, wetsuits and kayaks
  • Champagne reception and complimentary fruit platter

Not included:

  • Flights from/to Galapagos
  • Entrance Fee Galapagos National Park ($ 100 per person)
  • Migration Control Card INGALA ($ 20 per person)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Alcoholic drinks

Accommodation

The Petrel is one of the best yachts for a luxury Galapagos cruise. Capacity for 16 passengers in standard cabins and spacious suites. Each cabin has a private balcony.

Deck Plan:

Main Deck

petrel-main-deck

Upper Deck

petrel-upper-deck

Sun Deck

petrel-sun-deck

Additional Information

For more information about the Galapagos, check out our Galapagos Information Page. We have also compiled a list of Galapagos travel tips. Maybe we have a last minute offer for the Petrel or a similar yacht? Have a look at our Special Offers Galapagos Page.

Wondering what to pack? We created a packing list which can help you get started.

Find some more general information about Ecuador as well as practical travel information.

Purchases can be made conveniently via credit card and check wire transfer.

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