Straddling the equator, some 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador lies perhaps the planet’s most fabled archipelago. Forever fascinating, this is one of Earth’s most active volcanic areas, and the beautiful volcanic formations, together with the matchless wildlife and natural history, make for an utterly unique destination. Perennially popular among birders for the island endemics and stunning seabirds, nearly all the birds are tame, allowing for outstanding photography. In places, one must be careful to avoid stepping on a Galápagos Sea Lion, a Marine Iguana or a Blue-footed Booby. The latter is perhaps the island’s most iconic bird, and seeing pairs of them bow and sway, whistling and honking, as they wave around their cobalt blue feet, is not something one forgets. Equally, the thrill of watching a pair of Waved Albatross performing their intricate dance moves is another of the Galápagos highlights, and our cruise is perfectly timed for this event. The snorkelling is a wonder as well, with swimmers at times encircled by sea lions, sea turtles, and even Galápagos Penguins on occasion. The islands are named after their endemic Galápagos Giant Tortoises (‘galapagos’ means tortoise in Spanish), and seeing these magnificent beasts striding about, or sighing deeply as they wallow in the mud, one feels transported to another time, or even another world.
Based aboard a very comfortable vessel serving excellent food and hosted by experienced local naturalists and crew, we’ll explore these ruggedly beautiful islands in comfort. From the bewildering array of Darwin’s finches (which had their namesake thoroughly confused, triggering his ideas on evolution), to the shrieking Red-billed Tropicbirds, to the curious and endearing sea lions, an experience here marks a personal evolution.
Waved Albatross; Flightless Cormorant; Galapagos Penguin; Genovesa & Common Cactus Finches; Genovesa, Large, Medium & Small Ground Finches; Large, Small & Medium Tree Finches; Grey & Green Warbler-Finches; Woodpecker Finch; Vegetarian Finch; Galápagos Rail; San Cristóbal, Galápagos, Española & Floreana Mockingbirds, Galápagos Dove; Galápagos Hawk; Galápagos & Darwin Flycatcheres; Galápagos Martin; Mangrove Warbler; Swallow-tailed & Lava Gulls; Brown Noddy; Galápagos Shearwater; Lava Heron; Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel; Paint-billed Crake; Great & Magnificent Frigatebirds; Blue-footed, Red-footed & Nazca Boobies; Red-billed Tropicbird;‘Galapagos’ Short-eared Owl, American Flamingo.
Volcanic craters, pelagic, arid scrub, caldera, ‘Scalesia’ forest
Warm and sunny, with a cooling sea breeze
Easy to moderate pace
Marina Iguana, Volcanic craters, Galápagos Giant Tortoise