Up to now, unless you have your own yacht, cruising around the Galapagos has only been possible by renting a cabin aboard one of several local boats. There have been few luxury charter yachts available year round in the Galapagos. A few months ago, however, entered a new player, the 38-meter yacht Stella Maris. Formerly known as Talon, the yacht, built in in 1986, underwent a massive refit in Quayaquil in 2014. The interior was gutted and rebuilt to comfortably accommodate 12 guests in its luxury charter mode and 14 crewmembers.
A few months ago two experienced crew members from the yachting world, South African Matt Hindmarch and Dominique Deacon, temporarily joined the yacht’s Ecuadorian crew as first mate and chief stew with the goal of adding all the details that set a luxury yacht charter apart from a mere boat expedition. Aromatic fresh towel upon returning from a snorkelling excursion? Check. Welcome drink. Check. A new table setting for every meal, inspired perhaps by the day’s excursion and landscape? Check. Turn down service. Check. Check. Check. The yacht’s experienced captain is a native of San Cristobal and has been navigating the waters since 1977.
A chef and sous-chef cater to discriminating palettes and an ever-increasing panel of dietary requirements using wonderful local ingredients, including freshly caught lobster and fish (although highly regulated, some fishing is allowed), but also locally grown beef and fragrant fruit. The Galapagos oranges are small and full of seeds but make delectable juice.
Stella Maris is managed by Worth Avenue Yachts.