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M/V Origin: Western & Northern Route

8 Days FROM USD 7,500

Overview

Set sail aboard the luxury mega yacht, the M/V Origin to explore the Galapagos Islands where the scenery is as diverse and spectacular as the wildlife. Giant tortoises, red-footed and Nazca boobies, land and marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, frigatebirds, tropicbirds, whales and dolphins - the list of fascinating species is endless. Snorkel with Galapagos penguins on Isabela Island, kayak at Darwin Bay and Tagus Cove and explore the volcanic formations on Fernandina Island. Every day a different experience awaits as you explore this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: GATSWNR8

Location: Ecuador

Ship: MV Origin

CRUISE ITINERARY

On arrival into Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, you will be met at the airport by the crew and escorted to the main dock by bus and then to the M/V Origin by Zodiac. A delicious buffet lunch is served after the welcome briefing and safety drill.

We travel by bus to the highlands to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado) where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises that you will see in their natural habitat. At the Visitor Information Centre we learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals. Along the trail, we may see the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and the Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island.

After our visit we return to the yacht for a briefing, followed by the Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our culinary school-trained chefs.

San Cristobal - Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

Today is spent on Genovesa Island, a horse-shoe shaped island located in the north-eastern region of the Galapagos and considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in the archipelago for bird species. There is an abundance of frigatebirds, Nazca and red-footed Boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, red-billed tropicbirds, finches and mockingbirds.

We make a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tidal pools. We enter a forest of opuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigatebirds nest, the males attracting females by inflating their red-throated pouches. The trail takes us through a rich intertidal zone with a diverse range of wildlife.

After lunch, we make a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps, named after Prince Phillip who visited the Galapagos in 1965 and 1981. Red-footed boobies nest here in a Palo Santo forest and Nazca boobies nest close to the trail. There are storm petrels in large numbers in an open lava field and we may even see the elusive short-eared owl.

Head out by kayak or Zodiac and look out for red-billed tropic birds found in the crevices along the cliff. You may like to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions or for those with experience, there is the chance to snorkel in deeper water.

We return to the yacht for our briefing and dinner before we cross the equator.

Genovesa - Darwin Bay, Prince Philip’s Steps

Today sees us landing at “Las Bachas” (Barges), a sandy white-coral beach that is a major nesting site for sea turtles. The remains of a floating dock used by the Americans during World War II can be found here. At a lagoon behind the beach we may see greater flamingos, white-cheeked pintail ducks and migratory birds. There is the chance to snorkel from the beach.

At Black Turtle Cove we head off in Zodiacs through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you may see white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays and pairs of mating sea turtles between September and February.

Dragon Hill is located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz. As we walk along the trail, we may see Darwin’s finches, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers and Audubon shearwaters. The endemic land iguanas are also found here, orange-yellow in colour with large spines along their backs, once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. Pink flamingos can be seen feeding in the saltwater lagoon along with other lagoon birds such as stilts, pintail ducks and sandpipers. From the top of the hill, there is a majestic view of the bay island covered in opuntia cactus, palo santo and cordia lutea.

After our evening briefing and dinner, we sail towards the western islands and cross the equator for the second time.

Las Bachas, Black Turtle Cove, Dragon Hill

Fernandina is the third largest, youngest and most volcanically active of the Galapagos Islands, with no introduced mammals. We make a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza, one of the best places to see the lava cactus. Here recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. You can observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless cormorants build their nests on the point and Galapagos hawks are often seen flying overhead. There is a chance to snorkel here with sea turtles.

After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Chanel where whales and dolphins can often be seen riding the ship’s wake and head to Urbina Bay on Isabela Island, the largest island. An uplift of the island in 1954 resulted in a 6 kilometre stretch of coastal seabed being raised, exposing the coral reef with a new coastline being formed over 1 kilometre away. We make a wet landing on the beach where there are marine remnants of coral skeletons. The large colourful land iguanas are found here as is the occasional giant tortoise. You may also see Darwin’s finches, brown pelicans and flightless cormorants that nest here. Giant marine iguanas are seen along the coast and you may encounter Galapagos penguins if you snorkel here.

At Punta Vicente Roca, we take to the Zodiacs for an incredible view of the tuff walls and to access the wave-sculpted cave frequented by sea turtles. You may spot the dorsal fin of a mola, an odd looking giant sun fish.

Back on the Origin we have our evening briefing and dinner.

Fernandina - Punta Espinoza, Isabela - Urbina Bay

We explore Elizabeth Bay by Zodiac beginning with a visit to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Here we can see turtles, rays and shore birds. We head to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, where colonies of nesting penguins, flightless cormorants and giant marine iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six shield volcanoes flowed together, forming the largest Island in the Galapagos.

Tagus Cove is located on the western side of Isabela and we make a dry landing here. It was a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries, who etched their names on the rocky cliffs. We explore the Cove by Zodiac or kayak looking for Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a saltwater lagoon and a scenic lookout with spectacular views of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. There is the opportunity to explore the shoreline by kayak or snorkel from the Zodiac.

Dinner is taken back on board the yacht. Head out on deck to star gaze as we cross the equator for the last time.

Isabela - Elizabeth Bay, Tagus Cove

Puerto Egas lies on the southern end of James Bay on Santiago Island and here we walk along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tidal pools. At low tide, we may see marine iguanas feeding on exposed green algae. Great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers, Galapagos hawks and yellow-crowned night herons can also be spotted here. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur seals. Before returning to the yacht, there is the chance to go snorkelling.

Following lunch, there is time to sit up on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins as we sail towards Rabida Island, where we disembark. Rabida is considered the geographic centre of the Galapagos due to its diversity of volcanic rocks. The dark red sand beach originated from the high content of iron in the volcanic stones. Along the trail, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches may be seen. The trail leads to a saltwater lagoon where greater flamingos feed and breed. After the walk, there is a great opportunity to snorkel with a large colony of sea lions.

Back on board the yacht we settle in for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner as well as a slide show presentation by the guides.

Santiago - Puerto Egas, Rabida Island

Today sees us travelling by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. As we wind our way through the seven vegetation zones of the Galapagos, the scenery gradually changes. We visit “Las Primicias” tortoise reserve, a private farm in the highlands where giant tortoises can be seen in their natural habitat. We make a stop at “The Tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in the Galapagos. We also visit “Los Gemelos” (The Twins), a pair of large pit craters where we hope to see red male vermilion flycatchers.

After lunch we have our final briefing. We then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where we visit the tortoise and land iguana corrals and the breeding centre where new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated are housed. Scientists from around the world work at the station, conducting biological research from anatomy to zoology. We stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits and a short video presentation.

Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the Galapagos with the largest population of 24,000 inhabitants. You can explore, shop for souvenirs or maybe spend time at an internet cafe. You have the option to remain in town to have dinner in a local restaurant (at own expense) or you can return to the yacht for a buffet dinner. Zodiac transfers will be provided between the town and yacht.

Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Centre, Puerto Ayora

This morning we head out by bus to visit the Galapagos Island Interpretation Centre opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999. The museum provides a complete and documented natural and human history of the archipelago, from its volcanic origins to the present day.

Afterwards, there is time to explore the port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.

San Cristobal - Interpretation Centre
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Pricing & date

M/V Origin: Western & Northern Route from USD 7,500
Weekly
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Important Information

  • Cabin accommodation,

    all meals and snacks,

    All beverages including open bar,

    Captain’s welcome and farewell party,

    Guided shore excursions,

    Cruise director,

    Use of wet suits, snorkeling equipment, stand up paddle boards and sea kayaks,

    Transfers in the Islands between the airport and dock.

    Cruise rates do not include

    International Airfare, Airfare to Galapagos,

    Galapagos entrance fee (park tax), transit control card,

    Premium alcoholic beverages,

    Gratuities to guides and crew, purchases on board laundry service, Wi-Fi (when available) and travel insurance.

    Galapagos Park Tax: The entrance fee to the National Park is $100 for adults and $50 for children 11 and younger and is not included in the cruise rate.

    Transit Control Card – A TCT card or tarjeta de control de transito is $20 per person and is required by INGALA for all visitors to Galapagos to control migration to the Islands.

     

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.

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