The Odyssey 4-night cruise northern itinerary explores the heart of the archipelago and the exclusive bird-island, Genovesa. Expect to see red-footed boobies, frigate birds and the short-eared owl. This route offers opportunities for snorkeling, mostly even twice a day. From Baltra you will get to know centrally located sites such as Dragon Hill, Rabida (with its red beach and brown pelican nesting colony), and the volcanic islet of
Chinese Hat, where you will have an opportunity to see Galapagos penguins, and perhaps snorkel with them. You can go on an impressive ‘moonwalk’ along the barren lava flow of Sullivan Bay and a short climb to the summit of Bartolome where you will see what the volcanic forces have created. On the last morning you will look for Galapagos giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz and continue to the airport.
Please note that the itinerary below is dependent on the Galapagos National Park regulations, weather and sea conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.
DAY 1: SUNDAY – Arrival to Baltra, Santa Cruz, Dragon Hill
This morning you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport.
After welcome introduction, check-in, lunch, briefing and the safety-drill we head for our first visitor’s site, Dragon Hill. It is located just about 25 km / 15 mi West from the Baltra airport (navigation time about 2:30 h). The ‘dragons’ that live on this hill are iconic inhabitants of the National Park, therefore, this guided walk will be an excellent start of your cruise. Dragon Hill offers two key-species very liked to be seen during each Galapagos visit, though not too common distributed throughout the islands: Galapagos land iguanas and American flamingos. (Easy level; about 2.4 km / 1.5 mi.)
Before dinner your guide will give the first daily briefing for tomorrow, and he/she will explain the yacht’s and National Park rules. Then the captain and his crew will present and toast with a welcome cocktail to celebrate your first evening on board.
We will lift the anchor in the dead of the night and sail just about 3 hours northwest to the islet of Rabida.
DAY 2: MONDAY – Rabida Island, Chinese Hat
On a clear morning it could be well-worth getting up early to enjoy an unforgettable sunrise on the flaming red cliffs and beach. After breakfast you will make a wet landing (barefoot) to take 2 short guided nature hikes from the remarkable red beach and along the breeding colony of brown pelicans. (Easy level; about 0,4 + 1 km / 0.25 + 0.6 mi.)
Returning, you will be picked-up by the inflatable dinghies, which will bring you back on board for a snack and give you time to prepare yourself for snorkeling or a dinghy-ride.
Before lunch we lift the anchor and continue about 2 hours to another islet just out off the coast of Santiago: Chinese Hat. Perhaps you can spot some Galapagos penguins, which even can show-up during today’s 2nd snorkeling excursion. During the late-afternoon walk you will learn a lot about the geology on this typical volcano-islet. (Easy level; about 0.7 km / 0.5 mi.)
After dinner we leave for the longest cruise, about 7 hours to the northern island of Genovesa, and meanwhile we will cross the equator.
DAY 3: TUESDAY – Genovesa, Darwin Bay, Prince Phillip's Steps
As one of the more remote islands, Genovesa is well worth the longer trip; it belongs to the more exclusive places that add a lot of value to longer cruises. This birder’s paradise is the only northern Galapagos Island that is open to tourism, and – surprisingly – not frequented too much and quite exclusive.
After an early breakfast, there will be a wet landing on the isolated and peaceful beach, Darwin Bay. Your guide will take you on a guided nature walk. (Moderate level: 3 km / 2 mi.) Tropicbirds, Nazca boobies, storm petrels, endemic lava- and swallow-tailed gulls ,among others, soar along the cliffs. Afterwards you can enjoy a snack onboard and a snorkeling excursion. You can also ask your guide for the alternative option: a sea kayak-tour.
Around lunch-time we will sail to the entrance of the caldera where our second visitor’s site is located: Prince Philip’s Steps. There we have programmed another inflatable dinghy-ride and another spectacular guided nature walk. (Moderate level; about 3 km / 2 mi.)
Heading back to Santiago, we have to navigate about 6 hours again, and lift the anchor after dinner.
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY – Bartolome, Sullivan Bay
Bartolome is located just south of the equator, and close to the eastern coast of Santiago. This is the north-western corner of the archipelago, where volcanoes are still active. So today is largely dedicated to volcanism and the spectacular geologic ‘moonscapes’, but you will also have the opportunities to observe Galapagos penguins again, and a snorkeling excursion.
Early morning, we will go on a charming inflatable dinghy-ride along the barren shoreline of this volcanic islet. After breakfast, when it is not yet too hot, you will follow the steep stairs of the Summit Trail to the top, rewarded by spectacular and panoramic views, hopefully illuminated by the golden, early morning sun. (Moderate level; about 800 m / 0.5 mi. with 114 m / 364 ft. altitude difference).
Next it’s time for a refreshing snorkel at the foot of Pinnacle Rock.
After 15 minutes of navigation we arrive to another fascinating place: Sullivan Bay. You will land on the black lava flow for an impressive moonwalk, whilst you will learn more on the distinct forms of volcanism (Easy level; 1.5 km / 1 mi.). A hot afternoon will be concluded again with another opportunity to explore underwater life.
Before dinner you can enjoy a farewell cocktail with the crew and your fellow passengers. By that time we are already on our way to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), which we will reach before midnight. While floating in the harbor you can enjoy a quiet sleep during your last night on board.
Additional options to scuba-dive: Bartolome or Cousin Rocks (both advanced)
DAY 5: THURSDAY – Santa Cruz, Baltra Airport
After an early breakfast it’s time to leave the yacht and say goodbye.
Our inflatable dinghy brings you to the harbor of Puerto Ayora, from where we will travel by road to the highlands for our last excursion. In an agricultural zone you can see Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. Then we will accompany you and your luggage to the airport, where you can check-in and return to Guayaquil or Quito.
- Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in ocean cruising conditions) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
- Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior.