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8 Day Luxury Cruise
per person based on double occupancy
Confirmed: January 4 – 11, 2020
Open Dates Available
Deposit: $1000 Meeting Place: Quito, Ecuador Gateway City: Quito, Ecuador Age Range: 6-80
ROAM has been operating a variety of trips in Galapagos for more almost two decades. Our all-inclusive charters have been the most adventurous and active trips available in the archipelago. Now we offer the most luxurious adventure. The M/Y Grace is 147-feet long and accommodates 18 guests in 9 staterooms. Originally owned by Aristotle Onassis and given to Price Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco as a wedding gift, the M/Y Grace now plies the turquoise blue water so Galapagos and houses ROAM guests! Be part of history and join us in week long adventure in style.
The ship has spacious cabins, a main saloon for daily briefings, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, sun decks and lots of space for private reflection. As exciting as it is to explore the magic of the Galapagos, we’ve found that our guests are almost as excited to sit down to delicious meals at the al-fresco dining area while enjoying to panorama. ROAM trips always stay away from the crowds and this luxury yacht is more personal than a massive cruise ship. The boat has even been equipped with a rolling keel so it minimizes rocking during rough seas.
Both the northern and southern itineraries offer hiking and snorkeling everyday. We travel in small intimate groups so you will spend time seeing the marine life instead of hordes of human flippers. The yacht is equipped with sea kayaks, which are an excellent way to discover the Galapagos on your own. When you travel in a small yacht, you minimize human impact and not the islands. Your presence will almost be unnoticed by the wildlife. For this reason the more fragile visiting sites are only available to small group vessel like ours. The chances for unexpected wildlife encounters increase the further you are from populated towns.
With such intimate group sizes, we can turn the yacht to follow a humpback whale or stop to snorkel with a school of dolphins. Scuba divers can arrange dives (with advance notice) on the main islands and no Galapagos trip would be complete without classic ROAM hospitality both pre- and post-sailing in Quito. 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 rustic 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
Batra to San Cristobal:
- Saturday arrival to Baltra, circumnavigate Daphne Major
- Hike snorkel and kayak at Sante Fe
- Journey across the equator to Genovesa Tower, hike Prince Phillips steps and explore Darwin Bay b foot, snorkel and kayak
- Round the northern tip of Isabela island to Fernandina, the Galapagos’ youngest island, explore Urbina Bay
- Hike, snorkel and kayak at Tagus Cove and take a panga ride at Punta Vincente Roca or Punta Albemarle
- Boat, snorkel, kayak and hike on Santiago at Espumilla and James Bay
- Visit the famous Darwin Centre and tour lava tunnels on Santa Cruz
- Tour the San Cristobal interpretation center
San Cristobal to Baltra:
- Saturday arrival to San Cristobal Island, snorkel and panga rides at Isla Lobos and Kicker Rock
- Hike, snorkel, kayak and panga rides at Espanola also known a shooed Island
- Visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez
- Travel to Floreana Island and visit Post Office Bay and Baroness View Point
- Snorkel at Cormorant Point and Champion Islet
- Tour the highlands of Santa Cruz, Dragon Hill and visit galleries in Puerto Ayora
- Kayak, snorkel hike and/or boat at Bachas Beach and the amazing aquarium like Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino)
- Explore Jervis inlet at Rabid Island with opportunities to kayak, hike and snorkel at Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island
- Hike to the top of Pinnacle Rock before exploring its marine rich waters
- Look for sharks at North Seymour Island
- Float through Black Turtle Cove
- Accommodations 7 nights/8 days
- All meals and snacks during the trip
- All transfers while in Galapagos
- All guided services through the sailing
- Non-alcoholic bevergage consumed onboard
- All snorkelling gear (mask, snorkel, fins, shortie wetsuit)
- Sea kayaks
What to Expect on the Galapagos Luxury 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. Our itineraries only visit one sight every 14 days so we run two versions on alternating weeks. Here’s a sample itinerary for Baltra to San Cristobal.
Day 1 (Saturday) Arrive Quito, Ecuador
This morning we fly into Baltra island in the Galapagos. The flight is approximately 1.5 hours. Upon arrival we board the M/Y Grace where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en route to our first site: Daphne Major Islet. We will circumnavigate Daphne Major Islet which is home to a variety of birds including Galapagos martins, blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, short-eared owls, red billed tropic birds among others. (lunch, dinner)
Day Two (Sunday) Santa Fe Island & South Plaza
Morning visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago, and to some of the best snorkeling – with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.
In the afternoon we visit South Plaza Island and its land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed. We will see swallow tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays.
Day Three (Monday) Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip’s steps & Darwin Bay
Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southwestern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as “Bird Island,” a name it lives up to in a spectacular way!
Day Four (Tuesday) Fernandina Island: Punta Espinosa & Isabela Island: Urbina bay
In the morning we visit Fernandina Island, home to La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). We visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity.
Afternoon visit to Urbina Bay, directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, where we will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). We walk on a stretch of three miles (5 km) of the marine reef that has been uplifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) out of the water. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkeling among marine creatures, or just relaxing on shore.
Day Five (Wednesday) Isabela Island: Tagus Cove & Punta Vicente Roca
Morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of our anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes.
In the afternoon we head north to Punta Vicente Roca. Snorkeling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that bathe the western side of the archipelago. We will have a chance to see colourful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. This is also a great spot to take an interesting panga ride to spot wildlife along the shores and cliffs.
Day Six (Thursday) Santiago Island: Espumilla Beach & James Bay
The short walk up the beach leads inland to a mangrove typically inhabited by the Common stilts. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wade in search of mollusks. The trail makes a passes over a tiny hilltop through a sparse Palo Santo forest before looping back to beach. Galapagos finches and Vermilion fly catchers inhabit the area. The tuff formations that form the cliffs that surround the cove have created a natural sculptor gallery rising from the sea with formations including the Monk and Elephant Rock.
Afternoon visit to James Bay, where we land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottoes formed of broken lava tubes, which are home to sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas and tropical fish. Snorkeling in the late afternoon to at one of the best sites on the islands to see Green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Penguins swimming.
Day Seven (Friday) Santa Cruz Island: Highlands and the Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. Here we used to find Lonesome George (now deceased), the last of his particular race of tortoise.
Afternoon visit to the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these animals in the wild.
Day Eight (Saturday) San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Grace we visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Center that presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. From the Center, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” can be seen in the same colony. Next we return to the airport where we began our journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.
Featuring comfortable and luxurious suites, an on-site restaurant with cozy fireplaces and an extensive garden, Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita offers free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast. The suites in Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita feature private bathrooms with vertical hydro-massage showers, fireplaces, hand-made furniture and splendid scenic views. La Jimenita has a 90,000-square-meter private natural reserve, natural trails and an archaeological tunnel on-site. The friendly staff at La Jimenita provide tourism information and tips to explore the area.
About the Region
In 1835 Charles Darwin sailed on the British ship H.M.S. Beagle and visited the islands. His theory of the origin of species, which shook up the scientific world, was inspired by the evidence he found in this unique volcanic archipelago. The islands provide a living museum of evolutionary changes that profoundly affect all those who witness their splendor. In 1936 the Galapagos was declared a National Park to preserve its unique vegetation and wildlife. UNESCO declared Galapagos a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and subsequently a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985. Protection was further strengthened in 1994 with the creation of the Reserva Marina de Galapagos, which was recently extended to cover the 130,000 square kilometers within a 40-nautical mile radius of the islands making the Galapagos the second largest marine reserve in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The archipelago is purely volcanic in origin and features beautiful volcanic formations not found on the mainland. The islands emerged from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and rise as much as 2,600 feet above sea level. Lava from more than 2,000 craters has continually altered the terrain of this region. Currently the archipelago contains 13 large islands, 6 minor ones, and more than 40 islets. Some of the younger islands still have active volcanoes. Many variables, such as isolation, climate, altitude, and the unique terrain account for the archipelago’s distinct flora and fauna.
From the world’s only seagoing lizards to flightless cormorants and penguins, flamingos, inflatable frigate birds, wave albatrosses, clownish boobies, giant tortoises, and 13 species of finches, you can enjoy thrilling encounters with animals-up close and in large numbers-who are completely at ease among human visitors.
There are extraordinary opportunities to swim with marine animals such as sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and manta, eagle, and golden rays, as well as 300 species of colorful fish. The more adventurous may relish the chance to snorkel with the friendly Galapagos sharks, white-tipped reef sharks or even hammerheads.
The plants of Galapagos are equally fascinating. Many species of indigenous Scalesia (“tree daisies”) as well as tree ferns, bromeliads, and orchids are found in the highlands. Giant prickly pear and candelabra cacti abound on the coast while tiny Brachycereus cacti grow on barren lava flows. Vivid morning glories and mats of bright red sesuvium blanket the shores. Galapagos also has its very own native species of cotton, tomato, pepper, guava, and passionflower. Many kinds of plants, particularly those belonging to the daisy family, have evolved into whole arrays of endemic species on the different islands, providing scientists with perfect examples of adaptive radiation.