A unique gem in the Pacific Ocean. Experience what it is like to detach from daily life and truly be at one with nature, not found anywhere else on earth....
An authentic nautical experience on a majestic sailing ship
“Travel back in time to whalers and pirates. This perspective of the Galápagos Archipelago will make your stay impressive and comprehensive”
On the beautiful motor sailor Mary Anne you will experience the authentic nautical adventure and it will seem like you have traveled back in the time to Darwin’s expedition. On this route you will become acquainted with all facets of the Galápagos: the unique flora and fauna, the volcanic landscapes and the history of mankind.
You will go on a voyage of discovery with the Mary Anne through the central, southern and western parts of the Galapagos Islands. All aspects will come to your attention on this route. Obviously the unique wildlife with the chance to see iguanas, giant tortoises, the Galápagos flightless cormorant, penguins, sea lions and the blue-footed booby, just a small selection of the fantastic encounters you will experience. The special volcanic geology and flora of these islands are also amply covered. Some landscapes will seem absolutely surreal. But mankind is not forgotten on this route either. You travel back to the times of whalers and pirates and even to the place where the very first real Galapegueño was born. This 360° perspective of the Galápagos Archipelago will make your stay impressive and comprehensive. For more information about the Mary Anne click here.
For a day to day overview, click here to see the itinerary.
In the morning you will fly to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival at Baltra airport you will be greeted by a representative of the sailing ship Mary Anne. Together with your fellow passengers, you board a bus that will take you to the highlands of Santa Cruz for your first introduction to the Galápagos.
The highlands are lush and green in contrast to the dry coastal vegetation. The forests in the highlands are dominated by the endemic Scalesia tree and are home to many bird species, including the barn owl. In the highlands you will have lunch at a local ranch and you will most likely see your very first giant tortoises! These beautiful animals are constantly migrating from the highlands to the coast on Santa Cruz.
After lunch you will go to Puerto Ayora for your second visit, the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena – an important breeding centre for the conservation of giant tortoises.
In this centre you will find tortoises from various Galápagos Islands, divided into four different stages: eggs, newborns, young adults and adult tortoises. As soon as the tortoises are old enough, they are released into nature on their home island.
After your visit to Santa Cruz, you will be welcomed aboard the Mary Anne and you can enjoy your first evening and night on the water.
Today and tomorrow you will explore the island of Floreana. Floreana is the island with the most fascinating history of all the islands in the Galápagos. Over centuries this place has had a great attraction for a very colourful group of visitors: pirates, whalers, convicts and a small group of somewhat peculiar settlers, including a self-proclaimed baroness (Eloise Von Wagner de Bousquet) who chose a Robinson Crusoe existence that ended in death and is covered with mystery. Today about 100 Ecuadorians live on the island.
The day starts with a wet landing at Punta Cormorant. You arrive at a beach that sparkles in a beautiful green colour due to the presence of olivine mineral. We walk further in this special environment, a path leading to a lagoon. This lagoon is frequently visited by the beautiful pink flamingos. Here, you will also find pintail ducks, whimbrels and turnstones. At the end of your walk you will arrive to a second beach. This beach is seen by many as one of the most beautiful in the Galápagos. It consists of white coral that is so finely ground and soft that it feels like you are walking on feathers. This beach is used from December to May by sea turtles to lay eggs. Here it is also teeming with stingrays in the water.
You end the morning with a short panga ride to Corona Diablo where you will go snorkelling. Corona Diablo is the name of an ancient volcano crater that rises from the sea and is an important snorkelling spot. Blue-footed boobies, red billed tropic birds, lava gulls, frigate birds and pelicans nest on the crater itself. The wealth of life above water competes for your attention with the colourful marine life below the surface of the water. Immerse yourself in the current around the rocks and look out for sightings of white-tipped reef sharks, parrotfish, yellow-tailed surgeon fish and the white-band kingfish. You may even catch a glimpse of a hammerhead shark.
After a delicious lunch on board, visit the Bahía Post Office (wet landing) in the afternoon. In 1793, British whalers set up a barrel, which served as a post office, to send letters home with passing ships. This beautiful tradition continues to this day! The unique system works as follows. You put your postcard in the barrel without a stamp. At the same time, take a card from someone who lives in your area. To really honour the system, you should then personally hand this card over to the addressee when you return home. There is no stamp involved and you will sometimes be amazed how quickly the mail that you have left is delivered.
After breakfast you will start a second day at Floreana. Although you visit the same island in the morning as you did yesterday, you will be surprised by the differences between the various visitor locations.
Where you were admiring a green and white beach yesterday, this morning you will land at a black beach – Playa Negra. Today you will learn all about the intriguing history of the Galápagos Islands and its first inhabitants. The first Galapegueño was born on Floreana. You will visit Asilo de la Paz – the island’s freshwater spring that made life possible for humans and the caves that were used by pirates. Let yourself be carried away in the stories and the beautiful history.
In the afternoon you set sail for Isabela. In this part of the Galápagos you have the best chance to spot whales and dolphins! The afternoon ends with a view of the impressive landscape of Isabela and the Cerro Azul volcano.
Arriving at Isabela, your first visitor site is Punta Moreno.
Here you also have your first introduction to the impressive powers of mother earth. This is the most active volcanic area of the Archipelago. You have views of the volcanoes Sierra Negra (most recent eruption 27 June 2018), Cerro Azul and La Cumbre (volcano on Fernandina, most recent eruption 16 June 2018). You enter the solidified lava flows directly from the panga. On the coast, the green of the mangroves contrasts beautifully with the black of the lava. Watch out while walking. The lava rock is uneven and can be very sharp, so good shoes are a necessity. In addition, you should probably be careful to avoid marine iguanas on their way to the sea to enjoy their algae breakfast. Take a good look at the shapes that have formed in the solidified lava. You will find here examples of the beautiful pahoehoe lava or rope lava. When lava flows, while the top is already solidifying, ripples occur in the crust. These ridges look like a rope. On your walk further inland, the vegetation becomes scarcer and the landscape seems deserted. Nothing is less true! Sea lions and turtles find a wonderfully sheltered spot in small pools. In the coastal lagoon, in the middle of a stream of black lava, ducks, oystercatchers and moorhens colonize the water. Blue herons and the Galápagos flightless cormorant are also found here. Finally, the flamingo sometimes wants to stretch its long legs in this part of the islands.
In the afternoon you will visit Bahía Urbina. This bay is located directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo. Urbina Bay is very special. This landscape was formed in 1954 as a result of volcanic activity. The bottom of the ocean was lifted by no less than 4 meters, extending the coast by more than 1 km! We reach this unique area with a wet landing. After you have dried your feet, we walk a distance of approximately 5 km through this newly formed landscape. During the walk you can encounter remains of aquatic organisms and even parts of the coral reef, elements that remind you of the time that all this was still a seabed. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises. Finally, you have the opportunity to snorkel or simply relax on the coast.
Today you go back into the history of the Galápagos, back to the 1800’s when pirates and whalers dominated the waters: you will hike at Tagus Cove.
Pirates anchored their ships in this bay. When you go ashore you will find a small cave with ancient inscriptions, left by the crew members of these ships. After a dry landing you climb a wooden staircase to the edge of the crater to continue the path along Lake Darwin, a salt water lake with a depth of 9 meters. At the end of the hiking trail you have a spectacular view of the Mary Anne in the bay and of the Darwin and Wolf volcanoes.
In the afternoon you cross the street of Bolivar and set foot at Punta Espinoza on the island of Fernandina. Fernandina is the youngest island in the archipelago and one of the most pristine places in the world. All animal species on this island are endemic. The combination of landscape, animal life and the fact that this area can only be reached with an expedition cruise make Punta Espinoza one of the most beautiful visitor sites in the Galápagos. Punta Espinoza is a narrow headland where you can see a number of unique species such as the Galápagos penguin and the Galápagos flightless cormorant. This cormorant is the heaviest of its kind, but also the only cormorant (out of 29 cormorant species) that cannot fly! Because of this, they only exist on Fernandina and Isabela and nowhere else in the world. Here on Fernandina, the huge numbers of marine iguanas will impress. Thousands are present at Punta Espinoza alone.
After a nightly trip around the island of Isabela you will arrive in the early morning in the centre of the archipelago on the island of Santiago. Santiago offers a wonderful variety of walks, panga tours and snorkelling. Your first visit is Puerto Egas, on the northwest side of the island.
The visit starts with a wet landing on an intriguing black beach. Here you will find beautifully eroded rock formations, full of sally lightfoot crabs. From this beach you continue a path inland and then you will return to the coast. The liquid lava has formed a surreal landscape. You will marvel at the beautiful structures in the lava on a seemingly empty plain. The lava has formed caves that offer a home to the Galápagos fur seal. This is even the best location in the Galápagos archipelago to see this endemic species! It is the smallest type of ear seal. The fur seal looks a lot like the Galápagos sea lion, but distinguishes itself especially by its much thicker fur. That is why you will find it in the shade of the lava caves, shielded from the hot sun.
After lunch you will make a beautiful panga ride along Caleta Bucanero. Caleta Bucanero means pirate bay. The name reminds us of the time when pirates anchored here to supply and repair their ships. The cliffs along the coastline are home to a diversity of seabirds, which use the ridges as food shelters and breeding ground. Watch out for the blue-footed boobies, seagulls and pelicans. Galápagos fur seals find shelter among the rocks and sea lions swim along the coast. The rocks themselves are also fascinating due to their special shape. Can you discover “the praying monk” and “the elephant”?
After this panga ride your adventurous journey continues towards Playa Espumilla. With a wet landing you set foot on this golden sandy beach. The beach is used as a breeding ground for sea turtles. A forest path from the beach takes you past some of the largest specimens of Palo Santo trees in the archipelago. They offer a home to yellow warbles, the Galápagos flycatcher and Darwin finches. You end the day snorkelling from the beach and enjoy, among other things, seeing octopuses and moray eels. It is also possible to find sharks here.
Today you will visit two places that could not be more contrasting when it comes to their geology, flora and fauna.
The first visit starts with a dry landing at Sullivan Bay on the island of Santiago. You will find a lava field as far as the eye can see; you feel like you have landed on an alien planet. Look for the two types of lava that have given this landscape their distinct form: pahoehoe (you can still recognize this from Punta Moreno on Isabela) and a’a lava.
The term a’a comes from Hawaiian and stands for “auw-auw” because it will be difficult and painful to walk barefoot on this rock. A’a lava flows have a spiky, pueraceous surface and are made of broken lava blocks. A’a is created with fast-flowing lava. The blocks cover a dense core, the most active part of a lava flow. As the sticky lava flows down the slope of the volcano in the core, the solidified rocks are carried along on the surface. You will be surprised that even on this inexorable landscape, plant life is possible.
The animal life on this side of the island of Santiago is also very interesting. If you were not lucky enough to see the Galápagos penguin on the west side of the archipelago, you have a second chance here.
You leave Santiago and enjoying your lunch, the Mary Anne sets sail for the island of Seymour Norte.
Where Sullivan Bay was desolate and inhospitable, Seymour Norte is teeming with wildlife. This is the Galápagos mecca for birdwatchers! Seymour Norte is a small island, but you will find large breeding colonies of the blue-footed booby, the swallow-tailed gull and the frigate bird. The mating season of the Blue Footed booby runs from June to August. This is the best time of the year to see the couples dance. The male tries to impress the female by first offering a gift in the form of a stick or a stone. Then he points his beak, tail and wings to the sky and starts to dance around the female. By showing his blue feet, he wants to show the female that he is her suitable partner. The great frigate bird uses a completely different method to find their female all year round. He tries to lure her by inflating his red pouch. These beautiful rituals all come together at Seymour Norte. You would almost forget that you will also come across sea lions and iguanas!
Unfortunately you wake up this morning on your last day in the archipelago. But you do not leave the islands without saying goodbye to the playful sea lions that accompanied you during your journey. Before leaving, you will visit Islote Mosquera
Mosquera is a small island of only 160 by 600 meters between Baltra and Seymour Norte. However, one of the largest colonies of sea lions is located on this small piece of paradise-like sandy beach. Sometimes Orcas are also seen here who come to hunt the sea lions.
After this visit it is really time to say goodbye to the archipelago, the crew of the Mary Anne and your fellow passengers.
From here you can go to the airport to fly back to mainland Ecuador. However, you also have the choice to extend your stay in the Galápagos with one or more nights in a nice hotel. Contact us to discuss the options. We are happy to offer you a customised offer.
The Galápagos Islands are a protected nature reserve. It is therefore always possible that your trip or activities must be adjusted as a result of decisions made by the National Park Directorate. The captain of your ship may also decide to change the program if the weather or other circumstances so require.
This voyage combines one of the best possible itineraries with by far the most elegant ship in the Galápagos Islands. You visit spectacular locations aboard a historic yacht; a journey that touches the soul.
A somewhat smaller ship, a somewhat shorter itinerary. Adventurous with great visitor sites! During this trip you will visit some of the best snorkelling areas in the Archipelago.
Would you prefer to stay in hotels instead of on a ship? Then island hopping is the best for you! During this 10-day holiday you will stay in a hotel of your choice (from budget to luxury is possible) on 3 different islands. You cross from island to island by plane, quickly and comfortably. In addition, we have chosen the most beautiful day trips for you, so that you can spot all the unique wildlife on the islands.
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