Birdwatching as the sun comes up and gazing at the stars during a nightcap on board, with exciting excursions throughout the day in between, will characterize your days sailing on the Mary Anne schooner on this 8 day cruise.
Your multi-lingual naturalist guide will show you the best that the Galapagos has to offer, from rare endemic animals found only here such as the blue footed boobie, to the surreal landscapes that are a result of centuries of volcanic activity.
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: SATURDAY
AM: Baltra Island, Embarkation
After arriving at Baltra airport we will be greeted by a cruise representative to then board the Mary Anne and have lunch.
PM: Santa Cruz Island, Black Turtle Cove – no landing
Activities: panga explorations
After lunch, we will navigate a short distance to Black Turtle Cove, a large mangrove lagoon on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island. Pelicans and herons roost on the branches, while marine dwellers such as Green Sea Turtle or Golden Ray may cruise right next to the panga as it makes its way through the mangroves.
DAY 2: SUNDAY
AM: Genovesa Island, Darwin Bay – wet landing
Activities: hiking, kayaking, panga explorations, snorkeling
We travel to Genovesa Island and reach Darwin Bay, a unique site lined with red mangrove and soft-haired prickly pear cacti where Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds perch tamely.
PM: Genovesa Island, Prince Philip Steps – dry landing
At Prince Philip Steps, we climb the edge of a cliff where Frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, and Red-footed Boobies nest. We will be seeking out the impressive Red-billed Tropicbird amidst Galapagos Storm Petrels.
DAY 3: MONDAY
AM: Bartholomew Island, Pinnacle Rock – dry landing
Activities: hiking, panga explorations
Dry landing at Bartholomew to climb up the wooden steps and reach the summit of this spatter cone for a most breathtaking panorama of the islands’ well photographed Pinnacle Rock, views of neighboring Santiago and many other central islands in the distance.
PM: Chinese Hat – wet landing
Less than a quarter of one square kilometer in size, this island gets its name from being shaped like a Chinese hat. The hat shape is best appreciated from the north side. Lava formations can be seen on the western side of the island, formed under the sea and raised upward and for this reason it is possible to observe coral heads on the lava. Be amazed by the landscapes covered by sea lions colonies, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.
DAY 4: TUESDAY
PM: Rábida Island – wet landing
Activities: hiking, snorkeling, swimming
Land onto Rábida’s deep-red beaches to explore the red island’s fascinating interior and saltwater lagoon. Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, and yellow warblers feed off the vegetation; given the right time of the year brown pelicans nesting on salt bushes that fringe the beach.
PM: Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Dragón – dry landing
We head across to Cerro Dragón on Santa Cruz’s north-west shore ; we visit a saltwater lagoon, home to Greater Flamingos, Black-necked Stilts, and White-cheeked Pintails. Further inland we find a fantastic land iguana nesting site.
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY
AM: Santa Cruz Island, HIghlands – dry landing
We will spend this day visiting Santa Cruz Island ́s most famous highlights. We will have a dry landing at the dock of Puerto Ayora to then board our transportation and head to the island’s highlands. This area, in contrast to the coastal region, has lush vegetation and forest due to the humidity in the higher regions.
We will visit one of the ranches of the area where it is possible to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. As these animals migrate from the coastal area to the highlands and back, the chosen ranch will depend on the presence of the tortoises since they roam free and change locations.
This is also a good place to see the Galapagos hawk and barn owl of this island and the surrounding forests are filled of birds such as the vermilion flycatcher or the yellow warbler.
PM: Santa Cruz, Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center – no landing
We will enjoy lunch at the ranch to then head back to Puerto Ayora for our second visit of the day, the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Here, we will see tortoises from different islands. The animals are found in large semi‐natural pens for their protection, but also to ensure an easy view for the visitors. The pens are divided according to four different stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (held here until they are mature enough to be "repatriated"), and adults.
DAY 6: THURSDAY
AM: South Plaza – dry landing
Dry landing on one of the oldest docks of the Archipelago, colorful Plaza Sur is home to vibrant green prickly pears, deep red Sesuvium and coppery-orange land iguanas; impressive seaward cliffs are excellent for a variety of coastal birds. This is also a great place to observe the adult and pup sea lions swimming along the shores.
PM: Santa Fe Island – wet landing
After a wet landing onto a white beach where sea lions are usually resting, on Santa Fe, we will be looking for the endemic species of land iguana, larger and yellower than land iguanas on other islands. The largest prickly pear cacti in the Galapagos are also found here.
DAY 7: FRIDAY
AM: Española Island, Punta Suárez – dry landing
Punta Suárez is a spectacular walk into the intimacies of life at sea, with nesting sites of Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, as well as the fascinating breeding rituals (April to December) of Waved Albatross. Lined with neon-colored marine iguanas (January), and lazy Galapagos sea lions, we walk up to an amazing viewpoint of the famous geyser near the trail which sprays water some 25 m (75 feet) into the air. The trail is about 4 km (2 miles) long and the walk takes about 2 hours.
PM: Española Island, Gardner Bay – wet landing
Activities: kayaking, snorkeling
We will spend the day in fantastic Española, starting with Gardner Bay an outstanding beach with sea lions, marine iguanas, and the intrepid Española Mockingbird.
Close to Española there is a good spot for snorkeling called Gardner Islet. While snorkeling, there is a good chance playful sea lions will join you. Get ready for more snorkeling at Osborn islet, a great place to observe great quantities of marine life.
DAY 8: SATURDAY
AM: Santa Cruz, Twin Craters – dry landing
This is our last day in the islands. After breakfast we will disembark in Puerto Ayora to take our transport to the Baltra airport, making a short stop to visit the Twin Craters. The Gemelos (twins) are two deep craters located to the side of the road that leads to Puerto Ayora from the other side of the island. These huge holes were probably created in a volcanic explosion or by magma chambers underneath the island's surface. This is also a good place to see the Galapagos hawk and barn owl of this island and the surrounding forests are filled of birds such as the vermilion flycatcher or the yellow warbler. Something worth mentioning is the contrast of the vegetation of the highlands with the arid coastal zones.
AM: Baltra Island, Transfer to the Airport
After this visit we will make our way to the Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador.
- 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.