7 days discovering the Galápagos Islands by superyacht

days discovering the Galápagos Islands by superyacht

Isolated 500 miles west of Ecuador, but set at a confluence of currents fostering life, the Galápagos islands were made famous by Charles Darwin. The best way to see the islands is still Darwin’s way —living aboard a yacht.

Although a luxury yacht charter in the Galápagos or taking a private yacht comes with specific restrictions, with the government dictating specific routes, the volcanic archipelago still offers some of the most enchanting cruising waters in the world. With unique wildlife and numerous bucket list dives the Galápagos reward the adventurous with a once in a lifetime superyacht experience.

This suggested itinerary, based on the route followed by superyacht Integrity, explores the eastern side of the archipelago allowing to experience the best of what the Galápagos Islands have to offer.

Day 1 - The Highlands of Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station

You can start your Galápagos adventure by visiting the highlands of the island of Santa Cruz. The lush vegetation attracts a host of exciting birds, including the yellow warbler and the woodpecker finch. The highlands are also famous for providing visitors with a rare opportunity to see Giant Galapagos tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.

In the afternoon you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park headquarters. This will allow you to understand more about the conservation and research work being undertaken in the Galápagos.

Integrity  is availble to charter in the Galápagos through Northrop & Johnson.  Integrity is managed for charter byInternational Nature & Cultural Adventures (INCA)

Española and Punta Suarez

After cruising overnight you will awake in the morning of Española Island. At the south-east of the Archipelgo it is believed to be approximately four million years old and is renowned for its variety and quantity of wildlife. The island has a number of endemic species including the Española mockingbird, the Española lava lizard, and the waved albatross.

In the afternoon you can take the opportunity to visit one of the Galapagos' most famed visitor sites — Punta Suarez. The site is famous for its waved albatross breeding colony. The birds, which mate for life, can be observed between mid-April and November performing an intriguing mating dance that can last for several days.

Picture courtesy of Claude Huot/Shutterstock.com

San Cristóbal and Kicker Rock

On your third day you will awake in San Cristóbal — the fifth largest and the furthest east island in the Galápagos. In the morning head for Punta Pitt, which is the only place where you are able to see all three species of boobies: blue-footed boobies, red footed boobies and Nazca boobies. The location also provides stunning views and vegetation.

In the afternoon you will be able to take a short ride in a panga boat alongside the Cerro Brujo cliffs before arriving at Kicker Rock, which is the remains of a volcanic cone. The location offers fantastic snorkelling and is one of the best places in the world to swim to with sharks. If you don’t fancy getting your feet wet make sure you wait to see the stunning sunset against the orange rock formation.

Picture courtesy of Claude Huot/Shutterstock.com

Santa Fé and South Plaza

The following day you will arrive at Santa Fé Island, also known as Barrington Island after British Admiral Samuel Barrington. Its white beaches are normally covered with sea lions and the island is also famous for its Santa Fé land iguana. You will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or snorkelling in its turquoise waters, which are packed with a variety of fish as well as eels, rays and urchins.

In the afternoon you can visit the small island of South Plaza. The island has one of the biggest sea lion colonies in the archipelago. In the afternoon you can sometimes see bachelor sea lions climb steep cliffs in order to spend the night away from the larger dominant bulls.

PIcture courtesy of Jess Kraft/Shutterstock.com

Genovesa and Prince Phillip's Steps

The next morning you will arrive at the horse-shoe shaped Genovesa Island. You will disembark at Darwin Bay Beach onto a small sand and coral beach. Once you are ashore you can follow a short trail along a tidal lagoon which offers stunning views. Genovesa is one of the few places that you can spot Red-footed boobies.

In the afternoon you can take a short ride to visit Prince Philip’s Steps. The natural staircase is named after the British royal who visited the visited Galapagos in 1965 and 1981. The steps have also been nicknamed the "Stairway to Seabird Heaven” because as you will walk through massive colonies of Red-footed and Nazca Boobies and at the end of the trail you can look over a ridge and observe Storm Petrels.

Picture courtesy of Jess Kraft/Shutterstock.com

Santiago and Bartolomé Islands

Your penultimate day will be spent taking in the islands of Santiago and Bartolomé. Santiago is thought to be the second island visited by Darwin and is now one of the most popular tourist sites. You can start your day at Sullivan Bay, which will allow you to walk across recent lava flow.

In the afternoon you will visit Pinnacle Rock, which juts out from Bartolomé’s northern bay. Afterwards you can either climb the trail to the top of the island to take in the stunning views or you can snorkel in the bay, which gives you the rare opportunity to swim with penguins.

Picture courtesy of Wildnerdpix/Shutterstock.com

Rábida Island

On the final day of your adventure you can visit the islands of Rábida and Sombrero Chino. You will land at Red Beach, which is famous for its wading birds and ghost crabs. Behind the beach there is a saltwater lagoon which at certain times of the year will allow you to spot feeding and breeding flamingos.

In the afternoon you can visit the tiny Sombrero Chino island which takes its name from its shape which resembles a Chinese hat. The relatively recently formed island’s waters give you one of the best chances to see Galapagos penguins. On shore you can land at a small white sand beach before walking along a 400 metre trail with allows you to see a variety of different kinds of lava.

You can then head back to your yacht for a final night before disembarking at Baltra Island the next morning.

Picture courtesy of Luminate Photos/Shutterstock.com

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