A pocket of the world that time forgot, the Galapagos Islands offer a unique opportunity to step back to a world as it may have been before humans walked the earth. It is also an eye-popping example of how species co-exist with their environment, a remarkable experience for anyone, but for nature-lovers it is truly spectacular. Prepare to encounter landscapes of wild mangroves, volcanic summits, inland lagoons, cliffs and coasts, and spend days exploring pirate hideouts, spotting dolphins, whales, penguins and giant tortoises, and snorkelling coral reefs amid sea lions, seals and turtles.
The Galapagos Islands bridge the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles from mainland Ecuador. The 13 main islands and hundreds of other islets and volcanic rocks float on one of the most active volcanic regions in the world – the Nazca Plate. As you cruise between the islands you’ll be escorted by a circus of acrobatic birds wheeling overhead or dipping in the sea – these include cormorants, pelicans, gulls, penguins, boobies, and albatross. Ashore you’ll encounter land iguanas dozing among the cacti in the midday sun as you spend days clambering over space-like landscapes and wallowing in waves, but rest assured your yacht will be close to hand to provide the ultimate luxury and comfort.
One of the pleasures of being in the Galapagos is that each of the islands offers something completely different, with landscapes of lush green highlands, turquoise bays and quintessential tropical beaches. There are a limited number of hotels on the islands, so they are best enjoyed in the comfort and convenience of a luxury yacht, leaving you to explore the unearthly and mysterious lands set like dots in the vast ocean.
- Sunbathe on deck whilst scanning the blue skies filled with exotic birds.
- Dive alongside sharks, sea lions, fur seals, turtles, rays, mantas and reef fish.
- View the rugged coastline of Isla Espanola from your yacht.
- Anchor off the San Cristobel Harbour, a wide, horseshoe bay fringed with pastel-painted, corrugated-iron-roofed houses, and see the sea lions basking on the decks of the moored boats.
- See an array of tropical fish, whale sharks, manta rays and sea horses at one of the world-class dive sites the islands have to offer.
- The humpback whales that arrive in the warm waters every June.