Kitted with bold red-brick sails and teak decks, the Samba luxury yacht will take you on a whistle-stop journey across some iconic and intriguing islands. Designed and built by the Dutch in 1966, it has been fully converted to be well suited for cruises through the Galapagos. The vessel can hold up to 14 people including an on-board bilingual nature guide – something which may come in handy during your travels. It’s seven double cabins and spacious dining areas will leave you living in comfort, while on deck, there is plenty of space to soak up the sun or simply watching as the marine life swims by.
But you won’t just be watching the wildlife drift on by, the purpose of your travels is to get a closer look at the archipelagos’ most exciting creatures. Sea lions, penguins, iguanas… the list goes on. You’ll witness the very best of what these islands have to offer from dinghies, kayaks and on foot as you disembark from the Samba to catch a glimpse of the flora and fauna on show. To see the world beneath the waves, snorkelling is on offer, providing a unique insight into the astonishing marine life that exists around the Galapagos Islands.
(Please note that the itinerary below is a sample itinerary - click 'Ask a Question' for more info)
One of the biggest issues facing the tourism industry in the Galapagos islands is the issue of foreign ownership of yachts. This can mean that the money generated from Galapagos cruises leaks out of destination communities, and therefore does not bring many benefits to local economies. In contrast, Galapagos Experience place great emphasis on supporting local people; all of their yachts are locally owned and operated, and all of the food served on-board is locally sourced. This provides a vital source of both employment and investment, as the money from the tours stays within the islands themselves.
As well as the people, the environment is kept in mind too. Galapagos Experience aims to ensure that your experience on board is as environmentally friendly as possible, with one of the best features for achieving this being its yachts' engines. The Samba's twin DAV diesel engines only use up six gallons of diesel every hour, which is highly efficient compared to other models. The Samba is testament to the positive impact that the ecotourism industry can have on local communities in the Galapagos islands - without damaging precious ecosystems.
Arrival: Upon your arrival at Baltra airport, your guide will meet you and transport you to the harbour. The opening day on board *The Samba*will consist of a short trip to Las Bachas, a stretch of pristine white beach which will give you a taster of what is in store over the next few days. There is the chance to swim and try snorkelling from the beach, an experience that will introduce you to some of the island’s regular tenants.
Genovesa: Following an overnight voyage across the archipelago, your next stop will be the island of Genovesa where you can admire the bountiful birdlife on show. Your mornings will be taken up by exploring the frigate birds of Darwin Bay, while your afternoon will consist of a trek along the Prince Philip steps and a lava rock trail where you will witness flocks of storm petrels and other marine birds. The island is also home to the ‘Tower’, an excellent snorkelling site that should not be missed.
Marchena: Despite most cruises heading south after The Tower, *The Samba* continues west northwest towards Marchena, a rocky island rarely visited by humans and mostly inhabited by sea lions. The waters surrounding the lava flows that skirt the island are ideal for snorkelling due to the water clarity and bounty of marine life on show. Not only that, but its twisted lava grottos are intriguing underwater features to explore. As you venture westward from the island, you will journey into deeper waters as you pass over a magnificent ocean drop off!
First day on Isabela: As you make landfall on the island of Isabela, an artefact of human history will greet you. At Punta Albemarle lies the remnants of a former US radar station, different scenery to what you have been used to. Your afternoon will be spent viewing some of the largest iguanas in the archipelago as you explore the shoreline by dinghy. Here you can marvel at wondrous geological formations such as lava dikes and tuff cones, a rocky reminder of how these islands were forged.
Fernandina: Welcome to the youngest island in the Galapagos! Although much of the island is made up of barren patches of lava, the shoreline at Punta Espinoza is teeming with life. Iguanas, sea lions, penguins – it’s got it all! Following a morning on this volcanic outcrop, your journey leads you back to the west coast of Isabela to Urbina Bay, a stretch of beach filled with exposed corals and rocks, providing the perfect platform for resting iguanas.
Elizabeth Bay and Punta Moreno: Where else on earth will you find tropical mangroves and penguins? Time to witness a mind-boggling spectacle as the mangrove forests also play host to eagle rays and sea turtles. In contrast, your journey to Punta Moreno offers a different landscape – covered in lava and cacti with minimal fresh water. These waters attract visitors such as greater flamingos, black-necked stilts and Galapagos martins.
Tintoreras to Sierra Negra: An early wakeup call sees you explore the small islet of Tintoreras, a sanctuary for reef sharks. These fearsome yet elegant fish can be viewed clearly as they rest in the shallow waters surrounding the island. Post-breakfast, your travels will take you to Puerto Villamil, home of the giant tortoise breeding centre where you will be educated about these majestic reptiles. Sierra Negra, a giant active shield volcano, awaits you in the afternoon as you will climb and trek around its vast caldera.
Return to Santa Cruz: Your tour will shortly be concluding but not before you take a journey into the dramatic highlands of Santa Cruz, home of the remnants of a Galapagos mature forest. This green landscape provides a vital habitat for many small birds including the famous Galapagos finches! Departing visitors will be transferred back to Baltra airport to commence their onward travel plans.
- Rate shown is a 'from' price per person
- Click 'Ask a Question' to speak to the operator directly about this tour's departure dates, availability and costs
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Accommodation in double cabins
- Bilingual (English-speaking) naturalist guide
- Snorkelling equipment
- Visits on the islands
- Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park
- Migration card
- Drinks, tips and personal expenses
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator directly and for approximate costs for these exclusions