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Land Iguana

Private Charter - Northwestern Islands Aboard Hermes Ultra Luxury Cruise

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Hermes Ultra Luxury Cruise
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Set sail on a private 8-day, exciting trip to the Northwestern Galapagos Islands aboard the Hermes Ultra Luxury Cruise. Explore Santa Cruz's highlands, see Galápagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat, and delve into underground lava tunnels. Visit Cerro Dragón to witness land iguanas and a saltwater lagoon filled with flamingos. Marvel at Scalesia trees, an endemic species, and then head to Chinese Hat for snorkeling. On Genovesa Island, encounter red-footed boobies. El Barranco and Darwin Bay offer birdwatching opportunities, while Black Turtle Cove and Bachas Beach provide unique wildlife experiences. Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay introduce you to flightless cormorants and penguins. End your adventure with North Seymour Island's vibrant birdlife before departing from Baltra. 
Wildlife in the GalapagosBlue-footed boobies perched on volcanic rocksBrilliantly colored flamingosFamily fun in the GalapagosWildlife in the GalapagosGiant tortoises in the GalapagosTwo Galapagos tortoisesSnorkeling the tropical waters of the Galapagos islands.Land Iguana
Highlights
  • Encounter pink flamingos, unique Scalesia trees, and more at Dragon Hill
  • Discover Chinese Hat, spot penguins, you can enjoy snorkeling, and hiking
  • Explore Genovesa, home to 200,000 Red-footed boobies, bird lover's paradise
  • Visit Bachas Beach and witness wildlife and sea turtle nesting
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra | Embark | Highlands, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at Baltra then transfer to the boat to meet the guide and get on board.

In the afternoon enjoy the highlands of Santa Cruz and see the Galápagos giant tortoise in its natural surroundings. Explore the area and its incredible underground lava tunnels – some are more than 1km long! Wander along the volcanic tubes and keep an eye out for the (mainly) nocturnal barn owls that sometimes roost here.
Activities: Hiking

Day 2: Dragon Hill | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) on the west coast of Santa Cruz to see land Iguanas and a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds. Take a short walk from the beach to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks, and other species of birds. Pass through a Scalesia tree forest; endemic to the area, there are only 400 specimens of Scalesia trees left in the world.
Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

In the afternoon, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkeling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano. Snorkel right from the white-coral sand beach and come face to face with playful sea lions and large schools of tropical fish. Keep an eye out for marine iguanas and penguins too! 
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking

Day 3: Prince Phillips’s Steps (El Barranco) | Darwin Bay, Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, visit the beautiful and remote Genovesa Island. This northern island, famous for its red-footed colony, is a paradise for bird lovers. It is estimated that about 200,00 Red-footed boobies live on this island. 

El Barranco or Prince Phillips’s Steps as otherwise known, was named after a visit by the British Monarch in 1964. El Barranco's steep 81-foot stairway leads up to a high cliff face that opens out onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay. Here an amazing view can be appreciated. Once at the top of the stairway, we will meet Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, mockingbirds, and finches along the way to a palo santo trail. It will also be possible to see wedge-rumped storm petrels swarm and short-eared owls. 
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking

Darwin Bay was formed by the collapse of the flooded caldera of Tower Island, another name used for Genovesa. After landing at a small sand and coral beach, it is easy to realize why this island is a bird-lover paradise. Among the bird species found here, the most common are swallow-tailed and lava gulls, mockingbirds, yellow-crowned night herons, lava herons, Galapagos doves, and yellow warblers. We will continue on a short and flat trail to encounter red-footed booby and great frigatebird nests. Visit a tidal lagoon where sea lions swim playfully ending our path on a cliff with magnificent views of this remote part of the Galapagos. 
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking

Day 4: Black Turtle Cove | Bachas Beach

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove. Explore the mangroves by panga to find rich marine wildlife between the fresh and salt waters. Keep an eye out for manta rays and sea turtles in this tranquil ecosystem. Whitetip reef sharks can also be seen gliding by.
Activities: Panga ride

In the afternoon, head to Bachas Beach where the sand is made of decomposed coral, making it soft and white, and a favorite site for nesting sea turtles. Spot abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs on the lava rocks along the water's edge -- these crabs will eat anything they can get their claws on! Trek to see a wide range of wildlife, including flamingos, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and sea lions. 

Go snorkeling or swimming right off the white sand beach of Las Bachas. Spot all sorts of marine wildlife in its shallow waters and tidal pools. Bachas is also one of the most important beaches for the green turtle as a nesting site.
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking

Day 5: Tagus Cove | Urbina Bay, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a long journey from the central part of the Galapagos, arrive at the pristine and remote West of the archipelago. The visits today are to Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay on the west of Isabela Island, where you will have your first encounters with flightless cormorants, penguins, giant tortoises beautiful landscapes, and amazing snorkeling opportunities.

Tagus Cove is located on the Northwestern coast of Isabela. It is a historical site visited by Charles Darwin in 1835, where graffiti has been carved into the rock walls by visitors over the past centuries. This spot has been frequented by whalers and pirates since the 1800s that used the area as anchorage. The name of the site dates back to 1814 when it was visited by a British ship, The Tagus, which had anchored there in search of giant tortoises to be used as food supplies on the boat. 

Here, admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, flightless cormorant, and Galapagos penguins depending on the season. Occasionally you might see woodpecker finches, the Galapagos hawk, the yellow warbler, or a large-billed flycatcher. 

After a dry landing, you can climb up the trail to visit Darwin's Lake. The lake is located on the slopes of Darwin Volcano and is, surprisingly, a saltwater lake above sea level. The naturalist guide will tell you what are the different scientific theories for this occurrence. Meanwhile, in your snorkeling, there are chances to see sharks, turtles, and sea stars. You may also see various different types of colorful fish. 
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling, Kayaking

Urbina Bay is a fascinating visitor site that came to be as the shallow sea bottom uplifted in 1954 showing a large coral reef sticking up above sea level. Because of this, Urbina Bay is one of the newest features in the Galapagos. This visitor site is located west of Isabela and provides spectacular views of the Alcedo volcano. The long trail starts on the beach where a wet landing is made. In this location, you will likely see wild Galapagos Giant Tortoises and Galapagos Land Iguanas. As the trail circles back towards the shoreline, you'll come across colonies of the unique Galapagos Flightless Cormorant which lost its ability to fly. This is also a great spot for snorkeling, as you can come close to a Galapagos Penguin Colony and see Galapagos  Marine Iguanas feeding underwater.
Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Day 6: Espinoza Point, Fernandina | Vicente Roca Point, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit the most western visitor site of the Galapagos, Espinoza Point in Fernandina Island. This island is also one the most pristine on the archipelago as no foreign species have been introduced. In the afternoon, visit Vicente Roca Point, on Isabela Island, famous for its rich underwater sea life thanks to its location on the Bolivar Channel. 

Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine islands in the world, with none of man’s introduced species to date. From here you can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Fernandina is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands and a visitor favorite. When landing, check out the tidal pools where there is an abundance of sea life, including small fish and mollusks. If you are lucky, a sea turtle or ray may be trapped in the pools. A little further ahead, pass through some marine iguana burrows and sea lion colonies. The trail continues to where several flightless cormorants have their nests. This remarkable bird is only found in the western Galapagos, and experts estimate that there may only be a few hundred individuals in total. 
Activities: Hiking, Panga ride, Snorkeling

Vicente Roca Point has great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolivar Channel). Vicente Roca Point is renowned for its Galápagos green turtles, which are very numerous on the bay. Although the spot is known for its high concentration of green turtles, sharks, and rays can also be observed when underwater visibility is good. Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of coldwater currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life. The snorkeling will take you along the cliffs and offer the chance to explore two shallow underwater caves with rich marine wildlife.
Activities: Panga ride, Snorkeling

Day 7: Puerto Egas | Espumilla Beach & Bucaneer Cove, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Morning excursion to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools. Continue to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which boasts thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Head to Buccaneer Cove to witness the towering cliff wall rock formations. 

Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water. 

Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay. Spot a great number of shore birds and reptiles – the beach area is home to a plethora of wildlife. Grab a snorkel and jump into the water right off the beach to explore Puerto Egas' interesting underwater world. Keep your eyes peeled for rays, turtles, and reef sharks while snorkeling. After, visit the large tidal pool area – marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs are everywhere. 
Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Head to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites. Jump into the panga and cruise alongside high cliffs and rock formations on this visit to Buccaneer Cove, which was a favorite hideout for pirates looking to stock up their boats with food and water. Spot sea lions relaxing on the beach and sea birds nesting in the cove – there’s lots to see at this site.
Activities: Panga ride, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking

Day 8: North Seymour Island | Baltra | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Have an amazing wildlife experience visiting North Seymour Island – this island is teeming with life! Follow trails to see all the action (you may need to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana while walking). See blue-footed booby nests where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Head to a rocky shore to see flocks of pelicans having lunch in a dive bomb-feeding frenzy, then turn inland to a large nesting site of magnificent frigate birds. These huge, dark acrobats have two-metre (6.5 ft) wingspans, and males, with their puffed-up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. Top off the excursion with a snorkel among sea lions and rays.
Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Disembark at Baltra for a flight back to Ecuador's mainland.

Ship/Hotel

Hermes Ultra Luxury Cruise

Hermes Catamaran
Luxury Aperitif Lounge
Main Salon

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$246,905
Suite King
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Upper Deck Suite
Cabin size: 35 m² / 376 sq ft 6 convertible (twin/king size) double suites All suites feature a private balcony, mini bar, walk-in closet, and jacuzzi.
Suite Twin
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Main Deck Suite
Cabin size: 35 m² / 376 sq ft 4 convertible (twin/king size) double suites All suites feature a private balcony, mini bar, walk-in closet, and jacuzzi.
Hermes Single Room
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Main Deck Single Suite
Single cabin size: 20 m² / 215 sq ft 2 single suites All suites feature a private balcony, mini bar, walk-in closet, and jacuzzi.

Notes

  • Single supplement: 50% if both single cabins are already booked.
  • Child discount is 15% if travelling with 2 adults and under 12 years of age. Discount does not apply on discounted, promotional rates, or peak season.
  • Minimum age aboard is 6 years old. Children under 6 years of age are welcomed in charters and family departures with a waiver signed by their parents. They are and will be held fully responsible and liable for their kids’ safety during the entire cruise.

Child Discount

The minimum age aboard is 6 years old. Child discount is 15% if traveling with 2 adults and under 12 years of age. Discount does not apply on discounted, promotional rates, or peak season.

Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Laundry Service
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide 
  • Use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.
  • Satellite internet
  • Signature Menu by a Renowned Chef
  • Use of Library
  • Use of Hammam
  • Cocktail and Cooking lessons
  • Butler Service
  • Unpacking Service
  • Access to Galapagos Airport VIP Lounge
  • Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages from Selected Menu
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Galapagos Park Entrance Fee: $200 per adult, $100 per child under 12 (fees of $100 per adult and $50 per child valid on arrivals through Aug 1, 2024). Payable upon arrival to the Galapagos, only in cash dollars. Subject to increase by Galapagos Park Service.
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • Massage services
  • Drinks not included in the Menu

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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