This 4-day budget Galapagos cruise is one of the most economical ways to cruise the Galapagos while on the Aida Maria, a yacht with an excellent reputation for good service and value. Take this quick private trip to visit places like the Charles Darwin Station, Puerto Ayora, Devil's Crown,and Espanola. While traveling to these places see a variety of wildlife such as the blue-ooted booby, giant tortoises, sea turtles, frigatebirds, and sea lions.
Snorkel with tropical fish around Devil's Crown
Visit the world famous Charles Darwin Station
Take a dingy ride to watch sea lion pups sunbathe on the shore
Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to land in Baltra, look out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly – you’ll truly be landing in a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are completely unique and you’re about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and meet you after customs. Transfer to Puerto Ayora. After lunch on the boat (guests may dine in town if they desire), you’ll explore the highlands or “parte alta” of the island, which is a moisture-rich area with fertile volcanic soils. Learn about the vegetation and animal life of this zone, often strikingly different than that found at lower elevations, and our best opportunity to find the famous giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Darwin’s Finches, Yellow Warblers, and other land birds will fly in and out of the moss-covered trees. From this high vantage point, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the island.
In the late afternoon, you’ll return to town. For those who wish to check out the nightlife, this is your chance; the boat will be docked in port most of the night.
Day 2: Post office bay | Corona del Diablo | Cormorant Point, Floreana
Start your day on Floreana, of the greenest islands in the archipelago. Ask your guide to tell you about its mysterious history laden with rumors of murderous baronesses, blackmail, and dubious disappearances.
Your first stop is Post Office Bay, where the islands’ original post office (really only a wooden barrel) was established in 1793. The current system still functions as it did three centuries ago: Visitors drop off unstamped letters and postcards AND pick up whatever mail they can hand deliver themselves when they return home! (Try it, it actually works!).
Back on the yacht, skirt the island’s coast until you arrive at La Corona del Diablo or the Devil’s Crown, a sub-marine crater that offers some of the most spectacular snorkeling in the Galapagos. This is a great spot for seeing the wide array of tropical fish, many endemic to the islands, including purple sea stars and spiky sea urchins. The crater’s most thrilling undersea creatures, however, are the white-tipped sharks. As with most of the creatures in the Galapagos, they are unperturbed by your presence, so you can swim in their company freely and fearlessly.
After returning to the boat you, visit Punta Cormorant, where you’ll follow a footpath to a lagoon inhabited by flaming-pink flamingos. You will also pass by a white sand beach, a Sea Turtle nesting area, and a great spot for watching sea birds and sea rays.
Espanola is one of the most magical of all the islands. It is a place where the animals reign supreme and we humans are merely guests. As your dingy brings you to shore you’ll see Sea Lion pups sunbathing with Marine Iguanas and Blue Footed Boobies nesting in between, and nearby may be a Galapagos Hawk. If it is Booby mating season watch the bonded pairs do the infamous Booby dance (if it’s not mating season, ask your guide to demonstrate - after all, it’s their job to teach you about the local fauna!).
As you follow the footpath around the island, you will pass hundreds of Blue Footed Booby nesting sites including one colony of masked boobies.
There is a good chance you’ll see the thief-like Frigate Bird (which has the habit of stealing other birds’ food), as well as the stunning Red-Billed Tropicbird and the nocturnal Swallow-Tailed Gull. If it is the right time of the year (mid-April to December) you’ll also encounter the giant Waved Albatross. Apart from a few pairs that breed on Isla de Plata, off the Ecuadorian mainland, all of the world’s 12,000 Waved Albatross breed on Espanola Island. At the end of the breeding season, the entire population leaves the island and heads out to sea, where they spend years without touching land; four or five years may pass before the fledglings return to Espanola.
As you make your way around the island you’ll pass by El Soplador, a giant blowhole that explodes to heights reaching 25 feet. In the nearby tide pools, you can often find lounging sea lions enjoying the blowhole’s misty spray. Following lunch on board the yacht, you’ll visit Garner Bay, a great place for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. Lionfish, Flycatchers, and Galapagos Hawks will keep you company as you relax under the rays of the evening sun. Dinner on the yacht completes your day.
Day 4: Isla Lobos | San Cristobal | Disembark
Arrive early in the morning in San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos. Isla Lobos is a very small islet made of volcanic rocks that gets its name from the colony of Sea Lions (Lobo de Mar in Spanish) that live there. Here you can observe the behavior and interaction of Sea Lions living in a small community.
Before taking the flight back to the mainland you will have some time to visit the town on your own for last-minute shopping or people-watching in the Galapagos. Transfer to the airport.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.