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8-Day Catamaran Cruise and 3 nights in Quito
per person based on double occupancy
February 16 – February 23
Additional dates are available weekly by request
Deposit: $1000 Meeting Place: Quito, Ecuador Gateway City: Quito, Ecuador River Rating: N/A Age Range: 6-80
Additional costs: Single Supplement: $3000, Return commercial airfare Quito – Baltra, $595
ROAM has been operating a variety of trips in Galapagos for almost two decades. Our all-inclusive charters are the most adventurous and active trips available in the archipelago. These trips utilize the largest of the sail catamarans in the Galapagos fleet (82 & 84 feet), two deluxe power cats and the archipelago’s most luxurious yacht (147 feet). Our vessels can accommodate 12, 16, or 18 guests depending on the program and boat.
Southern routes visit most of the iconic locations in the Galapagos. Tours offer hikes, daily snorkeling, kayaking and land visits to the highlands. Scuba divers can pre-arrange dives (with advance notice) and no Galapagos trip would be complete without classic ROAM hospitality both pre- and post-sailing in Quito.
Our trips are designed for small groups so that you can explore the islands intimately without the crowds. The larger cruise ships are like floating apartment complexes and you can spend hours loading and unloading at visitor sites. ROAM’s smaller group sizes promote efficiencies, options and the ability for you to intimately explore the region at our own pace.
Customized extensions are available in the highlands, jungle and coast and these trips easily dovetail with our legendary Ecuador multi-sport weeks utilizing haciendas and unique lodges. ROAM also customizes nomadic surf safaris and owns and operates a bamboo surf house on the west coast of Ecuador. We have the knowledge, expertise and ground staff in place to ensure you will be immersed in Ecuador’s landscape and culture for a meaningful and wonderful experience.
Itinerary at a Glance
Although every boat and departure has a slightly different schedule, following is a sample of what your trip may be like:
- Trip Day 1 – Arrive Quito and check into your hacienda lodging
- Day 2 – Tour the old city or take an optional day trip to Papallacta Hot Springs or Otavalo Market before returning to your hacienda
- Sailing Day 1 (Sunday) – Flight to Galapagos (Baltra Island) and hike/snorkel Bachas beach
- Day 2 – Hike to see giant tortoises, snorkel, surf, explore the island of Santa Cruz
- Day 3 – Hike and snorkel on San Cristobal, snorkel at Kicker Rock, swim at Isla los Lobos
- Day 4 – See tortoises, albatross, boobies & Tropic birds on Espanola Island
- Day 4 – Visit the white sand beaches of Gardner Bay
- Day 5 – Visit Floreana Island and Post Office Bay
- Day 6 – Meet the denizens of Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands
- Day 7 – Snorkel at Sombrero Chino then visit the iconic Bartolomne Island
- Day 8 – Return to Santa Cruz and Black Turtle Cove before return flights to Quito
- Trip Day 11 – After a restful night sleep in your hacienda in Quito, we’ll shuttle you to the airport in the morning for flights home
What to Expect on the Galapagos Catamaran Cruise
Because of the Galapagos’ famed natural history and remarkable creatures, these remote islands are revered the world over. In an effort to protect and preserve these “enchanted isles”, that literally changed the world, access is restricted and regulated. On these adventures, our special permits allow us to visit these protected sites.
Most flights arrive into Quito in the evenings so we’ve included two nights before your flight out to the islands to allow you time to decompress. It also affords time for flight delays or lost baggage.
Here’s a look at the detailed itinerary:
Trip Day 1 (Friday) – Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met at the airport and whisked to your nearby hacienda.
Trip Day 2 Quito (Saturday) – Optional activities
Today you can sleep in a little and enjoy the great breakfast at this family-owned and operated hacienda. Later in the morning, you can depart to Papallacta Hot Springs to soak and unwind after the flight to Ecuador. It’s about a one-hour scenic drive but a wonderful way to see the countryside. In addition to the private hot pools, we will have lunch and some may choose to do some hiking while others may opt to get a massage or other spa services. If hot springs are not your thing, we can organize a guided visit to Otavalao, Ecuador’s largest open air market. Dinner and overnight at the hacienda
Day 1 (Sunday) – Flight to Baltra and board the Catamaran
After breakfast, take a taxi back to the airport for your flight to Galápagos. The domestic terminal is small but you will want to arrive at least 1.5 hours prior to your flight from Quito to Baltra (which is adjacent to Santa Cruz). Once in Galápagos, your guide will meet you at the terminal and take you to our sailing catamaran moored in the harbor. You’ll check in to your cabins and then regroup to enjoy a delicious lunch. Soon after we will sail to Bachas Beach where you will have an opportunity to unwind, explore the beach and test your snorkeling gear (which is provided for you). The name is Spanglish for “barges” which were wrecked offshore during World War II. A common first landing site, there is a delightful swimming beach and lagoon. This lagoon hosts great blue herons and small waders such as sanderlings and semi-palmated plovers. The beach is a nesting area for green sea turtles, especially November to February. The expansive white sands here are also home to sea lions and flocks of blue-footed boobies demonstrating their acrobatic dives. Pelicans, tropicbirds and herons may also be a part of the mix.
Later in the day we’ll gather for the first in a series of congenial onboard dinners as we get to know our fellow travellers and navigate our way to Santa Cruz.
Day 2 – (Monday) Santa Cruz Highlands and Charles Darwin Research Station
After a glorious ocean-side breakfast, we will explore the island of Santa Cruz. This morning you have the option of hiking to Tortuga Beach for surfing or body surfing in the waves. We have both long and short boards available and your ROAM guide can teach you the basics of surfing. Once you ride your first wave you will be addicted! For those not up to a morning at the beach, we will visit Los Gemelos (the twins) and hike through the unique vegetation rich with birdlife. Biking may also be an option to explore the highlands. In the afternoon we will visit the world famous Charles Darwin Research Centre where most of the efforts to protect and preserve the native flora and fauna are developed. The center also has giant tortoise rearing programs and is home to Lonesome George, the last of his species. Tonight we will dine while we navigate to San Cristobal Island.
Day 3 – (Tuesday) Cerro Brujo, Kicker Rock and Sea Lion Island (Isla de los Lobos)
We awake to new scenery again this morning on the north side of San Cristobal Island at Cerro Brujo. We are greeted here by sea lions, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, egrets and marine iguanas.
We cruise to Leon Dormito or Kicker Rock keeping our eyes peeled along the way for sea turtles, manta rays and birds overhead. This volcanic tuff cone rises almost 500 feet out of the ocean and provides a wonderland for marine life. If the currents are in our favour, we will dawn our snorkeling gear and explore this popular dive site. Drift along allowing big schools of fish to pass and try to keep track of all the species you see; there are over 450 of them in Galapagos!
All that snorkeling works up an appetite and we will re-fuel our bodies with a delicious lunch before jumping right off our catamaran and back into the ocean to swim with the playful sea lions for which this Island was named. Isla los Lobos is a haven for these playful creatures and the more you mimic their aquatic acrobatics the better performance they put on for us!
Dinner aboard the boat and evening cruise to our next spot in paradise!
Day 4 (Wednesday) – Espanola and Gardner Bay
This morning we arrive at Espanola, the oldest and most southern of the Galapagos Islands. We take to the land and walk along the islands coast to Punta Suarez admiring the wildlife all the way. The coast is lines with marine iguanas, a species found nowhere else on earth. This provides fantastic photo opportunities as we watch them pile up on the shore to sunbathe and excrete the salt out of the nostrils after feasting on the algae that grows under the sea. Espanola is also the only place in the world that the stunning Waved Albatross, with its 7-8 foot wingspan, touches land. This is their nesting ground and provides the hatchlings a practice area until their first flight, which will take them all the way to Patagonia! Boobies, Tropic birds and Swallow-tailed Gulls also breed here. If the tide is right, watch as a blowhole shoots water high into the air in a spectacular show of power.
We return to the boat and enjoy lunch on our way to Gardner Bay. Here we find two brilliant white beaches separated by a rocky outcrop. We will take our time here and let the wonders of Galapagos surround us. The inquisitive Hood Mockingbird and Galapagos Hawk may approach you and you may see the tank-life tracks of nesting sea turtles in the nesting season (January to April). As we snorkel through the crystal clear water we may see these turtles among the beautiful fish and sea lions. Watch the sun set over this idyllic bay before we return to the boat for the evening.
Day 5 (Thursday) – Floreana Island and Post Office Bay
We take our panga (zodiak) boat over to Punta Cormorant and debark onto a beach like no other in Galapagos. The green sand is due to the olivine and the Palo Santo forest leads us to a brackish lagoon that hosts flamingos and then on to a white sand beach known as ‘flour beach’ due to the fineness of the sand. Watch the rays flutter in the shallow water, or, if you have unshakable nerves, shuffle into the ocean and watch them swim around your feet. This beach is also a popular nesting area for sea turtles and we may see couples mating in the waves rolling into shore.
Next, we move back into our under-water world and go with the flow of the current as it carries us past steep walls and volcanic formations. This deep blue sea is teaming with large schools of colourful fish. Watch for Parrotfish, Sergeant Majors, Damselfish, even gentle white-tipped skarks!
Moving back onto the land, we learn about the stranger-than-fiction history of Floreana complete with pirates, whalers, convicts and colonists. We will visit Post Office Bay established 1792, but no need for stamps here! Sort through the piles of post cards and letters left by past visitors of the island and if you find a letter addressed to someone close to your home, take it with you and deliver it by hand keeping with this long standing tradition.
Day 6 (Friday) – Isla Santa Fe and South Plaza
We visit the north-eastern corner of the island in the sheltered bay and this shallow area often allows for viewing rays and turtles in the clear water. Santa Fe is noted for its large colony of Sea Lions and we will navigate past the cows and pups being careful not to disturb the bull male who is overseeing his harem. We follow a trail winding its way through Prickly Pear, Cotton Bushes and Heller’s Scalesia to the top of a cliff with a dramatic overlook of the bay. Here we watch for endemic Santa Fe Land Iguana feasting on catcus fruit below the trees and Galapagos Hawks soaring above searching for food.
We’ll set sail now over to the South Plaza just off the eastern tip of Santa Cruz. This is one of the most concentrated wildlife sites in the whole archipelago. We will follow a trail up from the small dock past Sea Lions and Prickly Pear cacti to the cliff where we often spot the endemic Yellow-Tailed Mullet. This is an excellent place to photograph the Swallow Tailed Gull and the Red-tailed Tropic Bird (both breed here). We’ll return to the boat and may have a chance to jump in the water and so some snorkeling before beginning our next evening cruise north.
Day 7 (Saturday) – Sombrero Chino and Bartolome
Sombrero Chino, or ‘Chinese Hat’ will be easy to identify and will also mark our first snorkeling spot for the day. There are often a group of curious penguins here and they have been known to gaze at their reflection in our snorkel masks, then rocket away with impressive speed.
Once aboard the boat again we’ll lunch as we sail to Bartolome Island, one of the most picturesque islands on the tour. The hike to the top provides many great examples to help us understand how this unique volcanic landscape was formed and lends a stunning view from the top of our boat below and Santiago Island to the North. Back in our panga, we will drift past the penguins perched on top of the rocks along shore and then into the water to snorkel along Pinnacle Rock amazed by the incredible marine life once again!
Back on the Catamaran for the night and left the gentle rock of the boat lull you to sleep after a satisfying dinner. We start our journey back to Santa Cruz.
Day 8 (Sunday) –Isla Santa Cruz / Return to Quito
Birdlife abounds as the morning sunrise lights up the pink skies. Soon after, reality sinks in that it is time to leave this island paradise and make our way to the airport at Baltra. But first, a tranquil journey through the still waters and beautiful mazes of mangroves called Black turtle Cove. Marvel at this wild aquarium with spotted eagle rays, turtles and baby sharks swimming around our boat in the quite still of our last morning in Galapagos.
Trip Day 11 (Monday) – Quito
Waking up to the bustle of Quito is quite a contrast to days of tranquil sailing and wildlife viewing. After breakfast in the hacienda, we’ll gather up our gear and take a short shuttle to the airport for flights home or on to your next adventure in Ecuador.