Come aboard a deluxe cruise through one of the most exotic places on earth! Encounter rare wildlife found nowhere else in the world, from giant tortoises for whom the islands are named, to sea lions, iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling offer astonishing opportunities to get close to wildlife both underwater and on land. After each action-filled day, return to the luxury of your private yacht to rest and re-energize. On this route through the eastern isles you'll discover the natural wonders of Española, Genovesa, San Cristobal and more. Follow MT Sobek's naturalist guide for an immersive and unforgettable Galapagos experience. See below for a sample itinerary of your day-to-day activities.
See the bucket-list bird species of the eastern islands, from Genovesa to Española - home of the waved albatross
Anchor your deluxe yacht at nature's doorstep and take Zodiac cruises to remote coves and lagoons
Explore with the best naturalist guides, hand-selected for their experience, dedication, and expertise
Welcome to the historic city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador! An MT Sobek representative will meet you outside customs at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free unwind, take advantage of the pool's spa services or begin your exploration of this dynamic city. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before setting out to explore Quito. Starting on 2019 departures, day 2 will include a half-day guided tour of colonial Quito. The city's UNESCO-listed old town contains the best examples of Colonial Baroque architecture in South America! After lunch, you are free to explore more of the old town, return to the hotel, or shop for handicrafts made by local artisans.
For all departures, gather in the hotel at 6:30pm for a briefing with your fellow travelers and MT Sobek representative, who will discuss tomorrow's flight to the Galápagos Islands and the adventure ahead. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Rise for breakfast and an early transfer flight from Quito to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. After meeting your naturalist guide, take a short transfer from Baltra to Santa Cruz Island. Here a private vehicle awaits to take you to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz for a special opportunity to see giant tortoises in their wild and natural habitat. Next, transfer to Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in the Galápagos. Stroll the main street to the harbor, where you will board the yacht and your basecamp for activities during the next week. Enjoy a welcome dinner.
Days 4 - 9 may slightly vary depending on your departure date. Wake for a walk on Punta Cormorant, a sandy beach with green olivine crystals. Spot flamingos, sea lions and blue-footed boobies, and learn about the beach's importance for sea turtle nesting. Next, take a short Zodiac ride (small, motorized inflatable boats) to Devil's Crown. Here the current funnels plankton through the small eroded crater, attracting large schools of tropical fish - creating a perfect place to snorkel. In the afternoon, visit historic Post Office Bay for a chance to leave your mail at the famous post office barrel and pick up mail to hand deliver, as was the custom centuries ago.
Experience incredible birdlife at Punta Suárez, including the endangered waved albatross (from April to December) and the Nazca booby. In fact birds are everywhere - underfoot, on the trail, overhead, diving into the sea, taking off from cliffs, sitting on eggs, and engaging in ritual mating dances. A great tangle of marine iguanas is also usually present nearing our landing site. After lunch, you can swim, snorkel or sun bathe in the company of sea lions on the white-sand beach at Gardner Bay.
Isla Lobos is separated from San Cristóbal by a narrow channel, providing opportunities to snorkel with sea lions, sea turtles, and tropical fish. There is also a short rocky trail great for viewing blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, sea lions, and the picturesque León Dormido - a huge volcanic monolith located just offshore. After lunch, journey to Punta Pitt, where all three species of boobies are known to nest. The trail at Punta Pitt winds up through eroded volcanic tuff formations to a plateau for a spectacular view of the island. Along the trail are endemic plants and wildlife unique to San Cristobal, such as the San Cristobal mockingbird and lava lizard.
After breakfast, explore the beautiful bay and turquoise waters of Santa Fé Island. Here you can snorkel and swim with tropical fish, sea lions and turtles, and see a large colony of sea lions basking on the beach. Along the rocky trail, you will find endemic land iguanas, seeking shade under prickly-pear cactus, and many birds - from Galápagos hawks to Darwin finches. Next it's on to South Plaza Island, home to a colony of sea lions and a large population of Galápagos land Iguanas. The southern part of the trail follows the cliff, where you will see many sea birds nesting or flying, including frigatebirds, boobies, and shearwaters.
Genovesa Island is one of the most interesting for visitors! Explore Darwin's Bay - a protected bay in a volcanic crater that long ago broke open to the sea. Enjoy the company of red-footed boobies, who may come aboard, and witness the great commotion between nesting boobies and frigatebirds. Those traveling between February and May could also see a compelling show of frigatebird courtship.
After lunch, explore the cliffs by Zodiac before climbing to the island's plateau. Look out for red-footed and Nazca boobies, large-beaked ground finches, short-eared owls, and thousands of Galápagos storm petrels which nest in the island's lava tubes.
Get a sense of the primordial beginnings of our planet as you walk across black pahoehoe lava flows at Santiago's Sullivan Bay. See early colonizing plants struggling to gain a foothold in the tiny lava cracks as colorful lava lizards flit around. After lunch, visit iconic Bartolomé Island for an exceptional opportunity to snorkel among colorful tropical fish and, if you are lucky, a Galápagos penguin! End your Galápagos experience with a long climb up the wooden steps to the pinnacle of this ancient cinder cone. At the top you will enjoy a truly spectacular view of Bartolomé, Santiago, and other nearby islands. Back on the boat tonight, enjoy a festive farewell cocktail hour and a group dinner with the captain.
After breakfast aboard the yacht, disembark and transfer to the Baltra airport for the return flight to Quito. An MT Sobek representative will greet you at Quito airport and provide assistance to your nearby hotel. You can use your hotel room as a dayroom with extended check-out and depart on a late evening flight home, or you can use your room as an overnight room and depart the next day. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.
After breakfast at the hotel, use the complimentary shuttle to transfer to the airport in time for your outbound flight. Or, stay on in Quito to join us for one of our extensions in Ecuador or Peru!
MT Sobek was one of the first North American companies to bring visitors to the Galápagos Islands, with an inaugural charter for the Sierra Club in 1970.
Guests love our Galápagos adventures because we charter a small yacht for a fully MT Sobek-operated experience with our own expert team of naturalist guides.
Our guides and crew work hard maximizing the amount of wildlife encounters both on land and sea, and guides will always be snorkeling with you.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Island cruising by deluxe yacht with daily Zodiac excursions to explore hidden coves. Hike, snorkel, kayak, and swim among unique endemic wildlife.
Luxurious comfort aboard an 88-foot catamaran yacht with a full crew to cater to your every need and an upscale hotel in Quito.
Mild climate year-round. December-May has daytime temperatures 76-86°F & water temperatures of 70-75°F. June-November has daytime temperatures of 67-77°F & water temperatures of 65-72°F.
Arrive in Quito any time on Day 1. An MT Sobek representative will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Most flights from the US arrive late at night.
With water temperatures from 67-74°F, most people prefer using a wetsuit. This way, you will enjoy snorkeling longer. Wetsuits rentals are available for $45-55 pp for the week. Your guide will assist you.
Western islands are newer geologically-speaking with active volcanoes and lava landscapes. Eastern islands also have volcanic origin but they are older and have more vegetation growth.
The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination, with something to see and do every month. The warmer season is the best time for warmer, calmer seas and good underwater visibility. The water is choppiest in September. Late spring brings the mating season for frigate birds and blue-footed boobies!
Your experience in the islands will not change relative to the yacht you choose. Each of the yachts carry 16-guests and are deluxe motorized yachts with a dedicated crew. Each of the yachts are fully air-conditioned, come with the highest safety standards, and can boast excellent cuisine.
On an Eastern itinerary, you will have the chance to see waved albatross on Española (from April-December) and to see red-footed boobies on Genovesa.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"I have been on adventure travel trips to many places and with many companies, and this trip was the best ever-a wonderful, knowledgeable guide, a great boat and, of course, The Galápagos!"
MT Sobek Guest, Galápagos Wildlife Adventure Cruise
"Simply put, it was the trip of a lifetime. Epic in every sense of the world."
William G. and Rebecca N.
MT Sobek Guests, Galápagos Wildlife Adventure Cruise