Galapagos East & West with Scuba Option 8 days aboard MY Coral I
The best of the Galapagos with this comprehensive itinerary on board the intimate yacht, MY Coral I or II. Travel in style and see the unique wildlife of the islands in a small group with your expert guide. Flights from and to the mainland included and scuba available as an extra option.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Amazing and unique wildlife
- Superb and varied scenery
- Scuba option
- Flights from and to mainland
- Full board accommodation on board yacht
- Free tea & coffee
- Guided landings and excursions
- Group hotel/airport transfers
ITINERARY7 Nights 8 Days
Baltra & Santa Cruz
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (2h30 flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken in a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
Off the western coast of Santa Cruz, Eden Islet offers opportunities to see Nazca and blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and banks of endemic bream fish, either from the dinghy or while snorkelling. Wet landing in “Bahia Ballena,” Whale Bay, a beautiful greenish sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of volcanic olivine crystals, formed when the magma was still underground. Its content is magnesium, iron, and silica. A small tortoise population from Pinzon Island lives in the area, probably left by whalers or previous inhabitants. There is the opportunity to see marine iguanas and sea birds, followed by snorkelling.
Isabela & Fernandina
Vicente Roca point is a promontory created form the remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on either side. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkelling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like: red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks feeding. The sheer cliffs provides the perfect setting for dinghy rides along the coast, observing a great diversity of sea birds, like: noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once in these waters during cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.
Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Fernandina island displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites. The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
Wet landing. On a black volcanic sandy beach, the remains of salt mines still can be seen. This is a historically important site; on 1683 the British sailor, William Ambrose Cowley named the bay as James. Since then, this location became an anchor base to recollect water, tortoises, and salt from the salt-lake that locates in a closer crater. Charles Darwin visited this place in 1835. The first part of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is comprised of volcanic basaltic rock on the shoreline; creating the best tidal pool area in the Galapagos. Here, the fur seals and sally lightfoot crabs populations thrive. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the Galapagos hawk and the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron. Snorkelling in this place is a highlight; it is frequent to see lobsters, starfish, octopuses, squids, and marine iguanas on algae beds. Santiago is one of the few places where fur seals (actually, a kind of sea lion) and Galapagos sea Lions can be found.
Wet landing. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-coloured tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree moulds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.
Dry landing. On the highlands of Santa Cruz Island it is possible to visit private farms- tortoise reserves “El Chato” / “Primicias,” where giant tortoises wander freely in the National Park. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different types of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually on the shells of the tortoises). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in its ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is relevant for birdwatchers, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Dry landing. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding programme, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The centre is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Mosquera Islet & North Seymour
Wet Landing. Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.
Dry landing. Off the Baltra Island and not far from Santa Cruz Island, locates North Seymour. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, which deposited layers of lava on the ocean floor. After arrival and an approximately two hours walk, large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls can be seen. Land iguanas and on a lucky day Galapagos snakes can be encounter along the path.
Santa Fe & South Plaza
Wet landing. Santa Fe shows white sandy beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path an endemic cactus forest is passed. Home of the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including: the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Dry landing. There are two Plaza Islets (north and south) located east of Santa Cruz Island. On the northern part of the Islet, visitors begin the journey along an impressive cactus forest were colourful yellow and red land iguanas live, the population number is around 300 animals; during dry season they survive on fruits and flowers of the opuntia cacti. A peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the hybrid iguana (sea and land). When reaching the highest point, tropicbirds can be seen. During the dry season (June – January) the usually greenish and yellowish vegetation change of colour creating a bright red landscape (sesuviumedmonstonei plant).
Dry landing. San Cristobal is home of the capital town of the Galapagos Province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the Interpretation Centre, which is an excellent place to learn about the nature and history of the Islands, displaying information of Galapagos volcanic origins, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, arrival of the original species, among other points of interest. The human interaction is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events about the colonisation of the islands. Later on a high-intensity hike can be done to visit Tijeretas Hill, a beautiful landscapes ending with a magnificent view of a nearby large frigatebird colony. If there is enough time, a town visit can be planned.
Transfer to airport for flight back to the mainland.
A view from Above
What Our Customers
• Although we thoroughly enjoyed the Galapagos it was mainland Ecuador which really took us by surprise with such a diversity of landscape and wildlife and incredible hospitality everywhere we went. Our local guides were so knowledgeable and helpful and our driver Manuel had a terrific sense of humour. We had some fantastic birding at both Mashpi, Le Selva and of course our day trip to Paz de Las Aves Reserve where we were lucky enough to see both the ‘Cock of the Rock’ and the giant antipitta. The devil nose train journey was as thrilling as we hoped and we even got lucky with Cotopaxi and got some lovely clear photos so all in all couldn't ask for more.
• This was an excellent trip from start to finish. Bellavista Lodge was a particular favourite of ours, so tranquil and a superb base to watch birds and wildlife while experiencing real Ecuadorian hospitality. Our guide, really knew his stuff and was so passionate about his job ,in fact all the local guides were excellent. I have to say a special word about Juan, our driver, who was so charming and funny, he really added to the overall enjoyment of the trip. The number and variety of birds we saw was amazing and I would have no hesitation in recommending Ecuador to other keen bird watchers.
Fantastic holiday with more wildlife than I was expecting. The Napo Wildlife Centre was wonderful, we were looked after with such care and attention and our guides’ knowledge of the areas’ and flora and fauna was outstanding, what they didn’t know probably wasn’t worth knowing. The food was so varied and they coped amazingly with my food intolerances, better than most European restaurants!!! Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys will always live with me as will seeing my first Kinkajou, something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Thank you for an amazing two weeks.
We had an amazing time in the Galapagos, thank you.We really enjoyed ourselves and will certainly come back to you next year.
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