Travel aboard the
Experience the very best of the Galápagos Islands aboard a luxury yacht, the 16-passenger Integrity. Retrace Charles Darwin’s route of 1835 on 8-day cruises to the western islands, including Floreana, Isabela, and Fernandina Islands. Superb naturalists explain the history of these islands while pointing out unique wildlife at every turn. Dine on exquisite traditional cuisine, relax on the sun deck or in the jacuzzi, and nestle into your spacious stateroom. With its state-of-the-art stabilizers and engine vibration control system, the Integrity carries you through Darwin’s islands more smoothly than any other yacht.
Baltra Island / Santa Cruz Island
Before boarding, jump right into the Galápagos. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz Island where the infamous giant tortoises rove in their natural habitat. See them up close as these endangered species laze in lush vegetation. Step into a forest of native daisy trees as vermilion flycatchers with their scarlet feathers flit against an emerald green backdrop. Darwin’s finches, particularly the woodpecker finch, also reside here.
At the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galápagos National Park headquarters, learn about the conservation and research efforts taking place on the islands. Several subspecies of adult tortoises, their hatchlings, and iguanas are nurtured here, helping them build their numbers.
Board the Integrity just in time for dinner. Set sail as you sit down to a gourmet meal made especially from local ingredients while the staff and crew welcome you.
This morning, find yourself on the green, olivine sand beaches of Floreana Island next to a large lagoon filled with flamingos and other water birds. Take a short hike to Flour Beach where sea turtles nest and small rays frolic in the surf. Snorkel at Champion Island with curious, playful sea lions. Try to catch a glimpse of the rare Floreana mockingbird.
Next, stop at the wooden barrel at Post Office Bay that has served as a mariner’s “post office” since the 18th Century. Leave a postcard, or take a postcard to continue the “postmaster” tradition. Afterward, head into the highlands to visit a collection of tortoises and learn about the island’s ghostly human history at Wittmer Caves. End the day with a walk along Black Beach followed by an onboard barbecue as the sun sets.
Today’s adventure begins on Isabela Island at Punta Moreno. Walk along volcanic terrain, over lava flows, past numerous prickly pear cacti. The area is dotted with numerous oases of brackish lagoons containing a wide variety of wildlife, including flamingos, paint-billed crakes, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules.
By the afternoon, float through the narrow channels of Elizabeth Bay aboard a comfortable skiff. Pass mangrove lagoons filled with rays, flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, and lava herons. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and the many exotic fish so close to touch.
Isabela Island / Fernandina Island
Urbina Bay on Isabela Island is a visually stunning landscape. In 1954, volcanic activity caused a six-kilometer stretch of coral reef to shift upwards of five meters in a matter of hours. Walk along the skeletal coral garden, now home to lizards and mockingbirds. Large, colorful land iguanas also reside here. During certain times of year, encounter Alcedo tortoises that have come down from the highlands to nest in the warm sands of the bay.
The peninsula of Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine of the Galápagos. Upon landing, an abundance of marine iguanas and brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs litter the sands like drops of paint. Walk out onto the lava flow where, along the sandy shore, you can see flightless cormorants, pelicans, and numerous lounging sea lions.
Along the western coast of Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago, sits to Tagus Cove. Named for a British warship that moored here in 1814, the cove was used as an anchorage for pirates and whalers. You can still find the names of these ships carved into the rocks. A short, steep hike takes you to Darwin Lake, set within a tuff cone filled with salt water. The cove is an excellent place to view tree finches, Galápagos hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and sometimes the woodpecker finch.
At Punta Vincente Roca, the large cave and caldera wall are impressive geological formations that provide a beautiful backdrop for blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and brown noddy terns. It also forms a calm gathering area for sea turtles, making it a desirable snorkeling spot. See many species of colorful fish, penguins, sea lions, sea anemones, jellyfish, and other sea life.
This morning, choose one of the trails to explore Puerto Egas. One meanders along the coast to where the shy Galápagos fur seals swim amongst the crags and swimming inlets. Spy American oystercatchers, marine iguanas and more sea lions. The other trail leads inland to a lagoon at the Salt Mine Volcano where flamingos and other birds can be found.
Afterward, sink your toes into the red sands of Espumilla Beach, a sea turtle nesting site. Hike inland to a small lagoon where many land birds fly overhead, including Galápagos hawks. Snorkel or kayak Buccaneer Cove, home to sea lions, fur seals, sea turtles, rays, and sharks, and amazing underwater geologic formations.
Santa Cruz Island / North Seymour Island
Enjoy a quiet and peaceful morning at Bachas Beach, an exquisite white sand beach. Two small lagoons just over the dunes often host flamingos. “Bachas” is so named due to the remains of a barge that ran aground decades ago, leaving just a few rusty spines still visible today.
In Caleta Tortuga Negra take a silent skiff ride to where sea turtles feed and mate, and where three species of shark, spotted rays, egrets, and lava herons live.
Make the most of today’s final chance to snorkel the Galapagos before landing on North Seymour Island. The trails here head inland to where the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds call home.
Catch your last island sunset as the ship travels along the coast, catching one last look at sea lions and marine iguanas on the shores.
Enjoy a gratifying breakfast on board the Integrity before returning to Baltra Island for the flight home.
NOTE: The above itinerary reflects the intended program, however, should be read as a guide only. The actual itinerary will depend on weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control.