Galapagos Yacht Charter Guide
A corner of the world that time forgot, the Galápagos are the ultimate cruising ground for a nature loving charterer – visit the islands and step ashore for the ultimate nature high
Reveling in isolation 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos archipelago comprises 12 major islands and a handful of smaller islets, each displaying its own unique flora, fauna and rare animal species. Forever associated with Darwin, the Galápagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. The islands are extremely protected and the number of yachts able to cruise these waters annually is limited. Itineraries also are provided by the Parque Nacional Galápagos, the governing body of the islands, advising where yachts are able to cruise and where guests are able to explore.
PUERTO AYORA, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
Embark on your adventurous charter at Santa Cruz Island. The second largest of the Galápagos Islands, Santa Cruz sits at the center of the archipelago. Gain a better understanding of the stunning archipelago at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND TO SANTIAGO ISLAND (10 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise to the two overlapping volcanoes that have created Santiago Island. Step ashore to mingle with the wildlife, including marine iguanas, sea lions, and sea turtles, to name but a few. Neighboring Bartolomé Island is home to the well-known Pinnacle Rock. Hike up some 400 steps to the highest viewpoint in the Galápagos for spectacular views.
SANTIAGO ISLAND TO MARCHENA ISLAND (21 NAUTICAL MILES)
The outlying Marchena Island lies to the north of the archipelago. Although visitors cannot step ashore, the surrounding waters provide a superb opportunity for those looking to dive with rays and whitetip reef sharks. Only limited, authorized diving is permitted in the Galápagos so plan ahead.
MARCHENA ISLAND TO RàBIDA ISLAND (32 NAUTICAL MILES)
Head back toward Isla Santiago and discover the dark red beaches and unique wildlife on Ràbida Island – the tiny island lies just south of Santiago Island. Clamber over lava and boulders, and wade through the shallows as you discover one of the best-preserved archipelagos in the world.
RàBIDA ISLAND TO ISABELA ISLAND (11 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise to the largest island in the archipelago, Isabela Island. Humans once inhabited the island and a wall built by prisoners held captive on Isabela still exists. However, it is the beaches and wildlife that encourage most visitors to step ashore. Explore the space-like landscapes and wallow in the waves.
DAYS 6 & 7
ISABELA ISLAND TO SAN CRISTóBAL (65 NAUTICAL MILES)
One of the oldest islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobel is where the capita Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is located. Hike up to the El Junco Lagoon – a freshwater crater lake that is said to be what attracted the first settlers to the Galápagos.
An eco-haven off the coast of South America, the Galápagos Islands are a pocket of the world that time forgot. Step back to a world as it may have been before humans walked the earth, where penguins strut alongside tropical flamingos and whales share the waters with giant turtles. The cruising grounds are made up of 12 main islands and hundreds of islets and volcanic rocks floating in one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. A luxury yacht charter through the Galápagos is a remarkable experience for all, but for nature-lovers, it is the ultimate dream. From landscapes of wild mangroves, volcanoes, inland lagoons, cliffs and stunning coastlines, the islands deliver a revelation at every anchorage. As you cruise through the stunning waters you will be escorted by a circus of acrobatic birds, including pelicans, boobies and albatross, to name just a few. Ashore you will encounter land iguanas dozing among the cactus, while at the water’s edge you’ll find penguins and marine iguanas – the only sea-going lizard in the world.
The waters also provide wonderful opportunities for experienced divers as they teem with sharks, sea lions, seals, turtles, rays, mantas and reef fish (authorized diving only). For young adventurers in the charter party days can be spent spotting all manner of sea life, from dolphins and whales, penguins and giant tortoises, and snorkeling coral reefs amid sea lions, seals and turtles. The privileged insight and appreciation of the natural world are invaluable and the memories so spectacular they will last a lifetime.
- Take the Tortoise Trail through the Charles Darwin Research Station
- Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin
- Witness the elusive mating dance of the albatross, Española Island
- Come face to face with sea turtles, manta rays and whitetip reef sharks, San Cristóbal
- Ride along the incredible cliffs of Cerro Brujo, San Cristóbal
- Watch sea lions frolicking on the beach at Santa Fé
- Watch the hunt as the local dragon (marine iguana) catches its lunch, Santa Fé
- Encounter green turtles, giant tortoises and packs of iguanas
- Walk with penguins, Sombrero Chino Island
- Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to the top of the cliffs for ethereal views, Genovesa Island (Tower Island)
- Be entertained by the ritual mating dances of the blue-footed booby
Anyone looking for sheer, utter, blissful peace will enjoy a luxury yacht charter of the pristine wonders and abundant wildlife of the Galápagos where you'll feel like you are traveling to the end of the earth. Home to the only tropical penguin species, Isabela Island is the place to jump in and snorkel with these tropical birds. The world’s second-smallest species of penguin, they are the only ones to venture north of the equator. The island is also home to the Galápagos pink land iguana, which was identified as a unique subspecies just a decade ago.