The Galapagos Islands are a nature lover's paradise. Some of the most unusual species in the world evolved here, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and even the world's only equatorial penguin. Over 8 days aboard the comfortable Nemo I Catamaran we explore the central and eastern islands each of which offers something unique, from unusual geological formations, tortoise nesting grounds, rare bird species and winding lava flows
Observe the sea lions scattered on the beach and catch them body surfing the waves
Take a hike to Chico Volcano and watch the striking lava formations
Observe the flightless cormorants and penguins very closely
Enjoy zodiac excursions
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Baltra Airport - Bachas Beach
Day 2: Isabela Island
Day 3: Floreana Island
Day 4: Espanola Island
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island
Day 6: San Cristobal
Day 7: Santa Fe & South Plaza
Day 8: Santa Cruz & Baltra
Day 1: Baltra - North Seymour
Upon arrival to Baltra Airport, you will meet your naturalist guide and fellow passengers, and the airport shuttle will transfer you to the ferry across the Itabaca Channel. On Santa Cruz you continue by bus through the lush highlands to the harbour of Puerto Ayora. Our inflatable dinghies (‘zodiacs’) take you the last stretch to the yacht.
Strolling along its coastline, blinding white Bachas Beach appears full of intertidal and bird life. But the symmetrical tuff cone-islet of Daphne Major will pull your eyes to the horizon as well. Beware of Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, a shark fin or (seasonally) mating Pacific green turtles in the surf! Both quiet beaches have become their preferred nesting site on the main island of Santa Cruz.
Day 2: Whitetip Reef Shark Channel - Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center
Just outside the harbour of Puerto Villamil (Isabela), a group of rocky
islets protrude just above sea level. These are remnants of a lava
flow that is demolished by the waves. A collapsed lava tube forms a
channel that fills-up on high tide, while the entrance is closed on low
tide. Marine life gets trapped, including turtles and elegant white-spotted eagle rays or golden rays. In the crystal clear water of this unique site you can also observe whitetip reef sharks (called tintoreras in Spanish; to which the islets are named after) resting from their nocturnal hunts. This species of shark is
fairly common in the archipelago, and often spotted on the seabed when
snorkelling, but here you can see them dry and comfortably from the
In Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center you can see hundreds of giant Galapagos tortoises of all sizes. Vulnerable hatchlings are not gigantic at all, even smaller than the size of your hand! This project just outside Puerto Villamil is created to rescue the endangered populations of Isabela’s both southernmost volcanoes.
Day 3: Cormorant Point - Devils Crown - Post Office Bay
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which is pockmarked by numbers of smaller volcanic cones and covered by tropical dry forest (predominently palo santo). Please don’t expect to spot the flightless cormorant at Cormorant Point. This emblematic example of evolution lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos on Fernandina and Isabela (Route A). Instead, its salty lagoon is one of the best places in Galapagos to observe a breeding colony of American flamingos. Though, when breeding is done and the lagoon dries up, these exotic birds tend to be on the move to look for shrimps and algae from other saline lakes.
The jagged crater rim of Devil’s Crown just protrudes sea level and
is beaten by the waves. The inner walls of the crater rim are coated
with coral formations and protected against the surf. The depth and very
transparent waters of this deep-water snorkelling site gives you some
sensation of flying once you plunge in this huge tropical aquarium. You
will swim amidst schools of thousands of brightly coloured tropical
fish, as yellowtail surgeon fishes, king angelfishes, and many other species.
Bring your unstamped postcards and post them in the peculiar barrel on this historic site. Together with James Bay (Santiago) this used to be a popular base to complement stocks. Present barrel commemorates the improvised mail service between British 16th century whalers and poachers. Returning vessels also picked-up letters for home delivery. Finally this post box became the termination of the flourishing British whaling industry in this region (Moby Dick), because it let the American frigate USS Essex easily locate and hijack British whalers during the Anglo-American War (1812-1815).
Day 4: Suarez Point - Gardner Bay
Huge ocean waves bang on the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, and form a spectacular blowhole, where a fountain of sea water sprays meters/feet high into the air (depending on the tide and how strong sea breeze pushes the waves). Take a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint to convert this unforgettable moment in a lifetime experience.
Make your first ‘dive’ in the alluring turquoise-coloured Gardner Bay, and admire colourful reef fish, snorkel side by side with a Pacific green turtle, or find yourself in the middle of playful Galapagos sea lions.
The striking white coral sand beach is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. But without doubt its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years, although these start to learn fishing already after 5 months. During the breeding- and mating season the colony becomes even more populous. The strongest bachelors and elder males return from their secluded bases and start again to conquer and defend their part of the 1300m/4250ft long beach. Pregnant females choose the best territory to give birth, and will mate again with their landlord within a month.
Day 5: El Chato Reserve - Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild Galapagos giant tortoises,
roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the transition
zone of El Chato Tortoise Reserve. The pond in the native forest
reserve is the most authentic setting, but sometimes also requires
an adventurous quest for these silent heavyweights. Than you have to
listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and of shrubs being
slowly crushed. Most time of their stretched lives is spent slowly and
silently, except for a warning hiss, or loud screams during mating,
which can be heard from far in the first half of the year
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service share same location on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. From here biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are directed. The complex houses a bunch of interpretation and information centers about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve around.
Most memorable from your visit will probably be the successful breeding centre and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises; even after the death of its world famous resident, emphatically called ‘Lonesome George’ († June 2012; the last known individual of the Pinta subspecies, who sadly failed to reproduce offspring). Most remaining adult giant tortoises in the corals are former pets and many of them are accustomed to human company.
Day 6: Pitt Point - Witch Hill
Two wind sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point constitute the extreme
eastern end of San Cristobal, and thus of the archipelago as well. These
cliffs were the first sight of land when HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin
arrived on September 15th 1835. On the small green sand beach, you will
be welcomed by a cacophony of barking Galapagos sea lions. This is a bachelor colony, where males usually recuperate from and prepare themselves for fighting and mating.
To scout out the dangerous reefs HMS Beagle’s Captain FitzRoy climbed in
1835 to the top of the obvious tuff-cone that overlooks this scenic
bay. Nowadays it is called Witch Hill and not any more the main
attraction of this site, but part of its romantic coastal panorama. Let
your eyes travel from the volcanic cone, over the turquoise bay to the
razor-sharp contours of Kicker Rock at the horizon, one of the
photogenic landmarks of Galapagos.
Day 7: Barrington Bay - South Plaza
Practically every animal on Santa Fe is unique; endemic to Galapagos,
or even to this island alone and extremely
vulnerable! This extraordinary island is remnant of the probably most
ancient volcano of Galapagos, and gave evolution enough time and
isolation to create its wonders.
Your experience starts already before anchoring, when the contours of its bizarre giant prickly pear cactus (opuntia) forests become distinguishable. These largest cacti of the islands have extremely thick trunks indeed, and can grow over 10m/33ft tall! You will land right into a Galapagos sea lion colony on the beach. From their outlooks at the beach ridge surprisingly fearless Galapagos hawks are ready to snatch away a lava lizard; not worrying that even these are unique…
The southern of both Plaza islets is best place to encounter endemic Galapagos land iguanas. Watch your step and don’t stumble over one of them whilst distracted by equally bizarre giant prickly pear cactus-trees! These iguanas are not only ugly as Darwin pronounced, but also very patient and photogenic models with strikingly saffron colours. Overpopulation and severe food competition have affected their smaller size. It is incredible to see how cactus spines don’t harm them while chewing pads, flowers and fruits. Beware as well for some unique hybrids between a male marine iguana and a female land iguana.
Day 8: Black Turtle Cove - Baltra Airport
The ancient mangle at Black Turtle Cove has grown out to forest proportions and forms the backdrop for a distinct adventure. You might even feel yourself a while in the Amazon rainforest instead of close to sea; though on a closer look vegetation mainly exists of red mangroves with characteristic aerial roots that let them survive in salty and brackish water. By inflatable dinghy we will explore the calm emerald lagoon and enter the surrounding shallow creeks of these salt-water marshes.
Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.
Departs - Monday (Fortnightly)
Nemo I Catamaran
The Nemo I
(also known as the Nemo Martinica) is a 14-passenger sailing catamaran,
offering a unique cruising experience in the Galapagos Archipelago. The
catamaran was designed and built in France by Dufour & Sparks.
On this catamaran you will experience the Galapagos Archipelago to
its fullest. Most social areas are open deck spaces where you will
constantly enjoy the most spectacular views of the islands and their
volcanic rock formations.
These areas include various lounges and
catamaran netting at the front. Meals are served in the indoor and
outdoor dining areas. When weather conditions permit we can turn off the
engines and raise the sails, navigating silently through one the
world’s natural wonders.
There are 7 cabins in total on board the Nemo I Catamaran, that will cater to your needs. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom and toilet.
You can choose between a twin cabin or the matrimonal cabin.
SHIP DECK PLAN: NEMO I
SPECIFICATIONS: NEMO I
Catamaran Type: Sailing Catamaran
Catamaran Class: Superior
Capacity: 14 Passengers
Machinery: 2 Engines
Length: 24.9m/ 83 ft
Width: 10m/33.34 ft
Speed: 10 Knots
Snorkeling Equipment: Included
Airport and ship transfers in Galapagos*
All meals, water, coffee and tea during the voyage
Tours led by Bilingual speaking Guide
Activities as specified
Use of kayak and snorkelling equipment
What's not included?
Passport, visa and immigration fees
Airport arrival/departure taxes
Airport transfers in Galapagos*
National Park entrance fee US$100 per person
Transit Control Card US$20 per person
Christmas/New Year surcharge**
Optional wetsuit rental***
Travel protection plan
Alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages
Any items not mentioned as included
All transfers and ground transportation in Galapagos are only included if the flight has been booked together with the cruise.
**Christmas/New Year Surcharge
There is an additional surcharge applied to Christmas & New Year departures. Please contact us for more information.
***Optional wetsuit rental
For wetsuite hire, we need to know your size at least two weeks
before your travel (S/M/L/XL). The additional fee is US$25 per person,
per day and must be paid in cash.