West Galapagos Expedition Cruise

West Galapagos Expedition Cruise

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Reward yourself with the adventure of a lifetime in the islands born of fire, the Galapagos archipelago. Witness one of history’s greatest scientific discoveries by experiencing the extraordinary power of nature to adapt to its environment: evolution. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this remote Archipelago of 18 islands and more than 100 small islets lies around 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Its proximity to the equator, volcanic activity, and influence from three ocean currents (Humboldt, Panama, and Cromwell) created a distinctive set of environmental conditions that allowed for a unique land and marine ecosystems to develop over the course of four million years. The Galapagos Islands were created as a result of centuries of volcanic eruptions caused by the gradual movement of the Nazca tectonic plate. Today, each island offers a different landscape, from mountainous terrains scattered with shield volcanoes and lava fields, arid zones covered with endemic cacti, to beautiful white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. The Galapagos Islands’ marine reserve is one of the largest and most biologically diverse in the world. What sets the Galapagos truly apart is its remarkable levels of endemic wildlife and plant life, more than anywhere else in the world. Nearly 80 percent of land birds and mammals, over 90 percent of reptiles, more than 30 percent of plants and around 20 percent of marine life are native to the Galapagos Islands.

Trip Name
West Galapagos Expedition Cruise
Vessel Type: Superyacht Length: 163.1 feet / 49.73 meters Passenger Capacity: 16 Year Built / Refurbished: 1998 / 2021 The Galapagos Islands’ first true superyacht experience As the first true superyacht in the Galapagos Islands, the 50m Aqua Mare takes an iconic once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the next level. With her expansive size and world-class pedigree, she boasts 30 percent more indoor volume than most yachts her size, making her the perfect respite after active days exploring the remote wildlife and dynamic nature of the Archipelago. Aboard the Italian CRN Yacht-built Aqua Mare, guests will find seven large Zuretti-designed suites, including an 80 sqm Owner’s Suite, extravagant indoor and outdoor social spaces, elegant finishing, and immaculate attention to detail, making it the first of its kind in the region, and the ultimate retreat while exploring the dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Archipelago. Exclusivity is combined with the most personalized service enabled by two naturalist guides for 16 guests, on top of the islands’ most exclusive one-to-one crew to guest ratio. A tale of elegance and legacy A truly stunning example of signature Italian luxury mega yacht builders CRN Yachts, Aqua Mare is a vessel of distinction in every way. Designed and built in 1998, the 50m superyacht incorporates original custom interiors by famous yacht designer François Zuretti, and timeless exterior styling by the Italy-based Studio Scanu. Originally consisting of five elegant staterooms, the 2021 refurbishment led by Aqua Expeditions Director Birgit Galli Zugaro sees Aqua Mare add two spacious cabins to the already luxurious mix. A personalized interior makeover that complements the rich history of its destination, Aqua Mare reveals the personalized Aqua Expeditions touch and is ready to be enjoyed in all her sophisticated and contemporary glory. Sophistication and safety Having attained the highest international classifications (ISM, Lloyd’s Register) in safety, the vessel is additionally equipped with Koop Nautic Sea Rocq Underway stabilizers that allow for comfort at rest or while sailing at a maximum speed of 17 knots, faster than anyone in the Archipelago. Aqua Mare’s range outperforms any other yacht in the region, with a cruising range of 4,800 nm, allowing for explorers on board to experience the entirety of the wild and magnificent Archipelago at its most varied and intimate. Accommodations and Cabins Passengers are accommodated in seven sea-facing Design Suites across three decks. Upper Deck: 1 Cat V Design Suite measuring 16 square meters / 172 square feet Main Deck: 1 Cat I Owner’s Suite measuring 80 square meters / 861 square feet, 1 Cat II Design Suite measuring 26 square meters / 280 square feet Lower Deck: 2 Cat III Design Suites measuring 28 square meters / 301 square feet 2 Cat IV Design Suites measuring 22 square meters / 237 square feet On-board Living and Social Areas Sun Deck with Panoramic Dining, Outdoor Seating, Lounge Sofa, Outdoor Barbecue area, Outdoor 6-person Jacuzzi, and Outdoor Workout Zone Upper Deck with Bridge, Main Panoramic Lounge, Library, Lobby Bar, and Outdoor Deck Main Deck with Indoor Dining Room, Pop-Up Boutique, and Outdoor Dining and Lounge Area Lower Deck with Swim Platform, and Indoor Panoramic Beach Club / Movie Room


Day 1 - Day 1 ECUADOR Embarkation At Puerto Ayora, And Manzanillo Ranch, Santa Cruz Island
Once you arrive at the airport, you will be met by our team and escorted on a cross island van and ferry transfer of approximately 1.5 hours to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. On the way there, enjoy a delicious outdoor lunch at a Giant Tortoise Reserve, followed by your first excursion to the highlands of Santa Cruz. Receive a warm welcome aboard Aqua Mare, the Galapagos Islands’ first 50m luxury superyacht with our 16-strong crew where you will be treated with the utmost attention courtesy of our 1:1 crew to guest ratio. You will also receive as a welcome gift a special waterproof bag to place your belongings during wet landings and an Aqua Expeditions water bottle. In the evening, you will have some leisure time to explore the main town of Puerto Ayora. We recommend strolling along the main waterfront where you can stop by the many boutiques and jewelry shops before heading back to the ship for an evening of lecture and inspiration for the next day, then to indulge in your first taste of fresh seafood dining in the Galapagos Islands. *Recommended flights: EQUAIR
Day 2 - Day 2 ECUADOR Punta Cormorant, Bahía Post Office, And Mirador De La Baronesa, Floreana Island
For your second morning in the Galapagos, we will be anchored in the southern part of the Archipelago at Floreana Island. After breakfast, the morning wet landing excursion will take you to a big brackish water lagoon to observe Greater Flamingos, ducks, black-necked stilts, and other shore birds at Punta Cormorant. You will be able to observe where sea turtles nest at night, and spot stingrays and sharks swimming very close to the shore. Enjoy a splendid lunch consisting of fresh Ecuadorian recipes with an Andean twist before heading back out to Floreana to pay tribute to an old island tradition at Bahia Post Office. The visit will follow another quick tour of what once was a fishing enterprise in the 1920s before continuing onboard the tenders to visit Mirador de la Baronesa. Upon returning onboard Aqua Mare, enjoy another feast showcasing a blend of Japanese technique and Peruvian seasoning through delicacies such as tuna tartare and quinoa yakimeshi. Stay out on the upper deck with a cocktail if you would like to admire the northern and southern hemispheres’ starlit skies tonight. * Morning rendezvous diving option available
Day 3 - Day 3 ECUADOR Punta Moreno And Bahía Urbina, Isabela Island
After a night of sailing, the morning sees our beautiful superyacht anchored on the western side of Isabela Island. As the biggest and youngest island in the Archipelago, Isabela was formed by five relatively young volcanoes and is characterized by giant tortoises and marine iguanas. For the morning excursion, a hike at Punta Moreno takes us to the mangroves and gas-rich basaltic lava rocks resulting from a large basaltic lava flow which came from the Cerro Azul volcano on Isabela hundreds of years ago. There are mangrove lagoons along the shore, where you will embark on a dinghy ride to observe marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and penguins among other species. In the afternoon, the Aqua Mare will sail north to Bahía Urbina, a 6km2 point, once underwater and uplifted in 1954 up to 3m above sea level. Here you can see land iguanas, some of the biggest marine iguanas roaming free in the Archipelago, and on occasion, tortoises as well. We’ll end the day with an unforgettable view of Isabela’s five volcanoes while dining on macambo rice, fish maito, and candied pear beneath the stars.
Day 4 - Day 4 ECUADOR Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island, And Caleta Tagus, Isabela Island
Start the morning early with a workout on our sun deck at our next anchorage point of Punta Espinoza, part of a huge lava flow formed from one of the many eruptions of the La Cumbre volcano, known to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The region is famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and lizards. We might come across Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks, and snakes as well. You will spend the morning on shore with the option to snorkel before returning to the yacht for a sumptuous lunch. As Aqua Mare crosses the Bolivar Channel back towards Isabela Island, prepare to channel your inner pirate for the afternoon excursion visiting Caleta Tagus, once a favorite anchorage spot for pirates and whalers. Here we will hike to see Darwin Lake, a saltwater lake trapped inside a tuff cone. If you would rather not hike, you can take your pick from our four double kayaks, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, or a ride on our elegant black tenders to explore the cove and its surroundings. Return to the yacht for evening sundowners and head to the bridge after dinner for a chat with our captain as we cross the equatorial line twice.
Day 5 - Day 5 ECUADOR Puerta Egas, Playa Espumilla, And Caleta Bucanero, Santiago Island
This morning, we’ll take a tender ride to Caleta Bucanero, a 17th century pirate rest stop where pirates used to stock up on fresh tortoise meat and fresh water. In case ocean conditions are unfavorable, we’ll visit Playa Espumilla instead, a golden sandy beach which is a well-known breeding ground for sea turtles. We head back to the yacht for lunch encompassing flavors of the South American Pacific coast through specially prepared dishes like the linguine ai frutti di mare. Next, disembark on the black sand beaches of Puerto Egas, northwest of Santiago Island. You will be able to walk the intertidal zone to the fur seal grottos or snorkel to watch sea turtles, sea lions, and white-tipped sharks. Wind down back onboard with Happy Hour over a glass of our special Aqua Bloody Mare as the crew prepares for departure to our next adventure.
Day 6 - Day 6 ECUADOR Rábida Island And Caleta Tortuga Negra, Santa Cruz Island
Awake to the sounds of nature and a fresh breakfast before departing by tender to Rábida Island, also known as the red island. The color is the result of oxidation of very old porous lava. You will be able to hike, take out one of our eight double kayaks, stand-up paddle board, or snorkel, as well as observe hundreds of sea lions who have made their home on the beach. After a delicious lunch, you can listen to an afternoon lecture presented by our expert guides in the panoramic lounge. The Aqua Mare will sail towards the north of Santa Cruz Island, to Caleta Tortuga Negra, a mangrove estuary that is home to sea turtles. This is a tender ride excursion as there is no landing site, but you will be able to spot green sea turtles, as well as blacktip and Galapagos sharks. End this glorious day discovering more of our signature cuisine courtesy of Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. * Morning rendezvous diving option available
Day 7 - Day 7 ECUADOR Seymour Norte Island And Mosquera Island
Your penultimate day in the Archipelago begins with refreshing breakfast before heading out to Seymour Norte Island, formed by uprisings of underwater volcanic lavas some 3.1 million years ago. The island is mostly known for its healthy population of land iguanas, blue- footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and great frigate birds. After a morning full of fun activities, you will head back to the yacht for a delicious lunch aboard Aqua Mare. For the afternoon excursion, hop on to one of our tenders for a wet landing onto Mosquera Island. Although it’s one of the smallest in the archipelago, Mosquera Island is one of the hotspots for spotting sea lions. Around sunset you will return to the sleek comfort of Aqua Mare for your last evening aboard. Swap notes on everything you’ve experienced during this most incredible adventure with your friends onboard and toast farewell with something special from our curated wine list. * Morning rendezvous diving option available
Day 8 - Day 8 ECUADOR Daphne Island And Disembarkation At Baltra Island
The last day begins with a luxurious breakfast set against the morning sunrise. Enjoy the views from Aqua Mare as we circumnavigate Daphne Island before making our way to Baltra Island for disembarkation. Bid farewell to the crew and your beautiful home for the past week. You will be escorted to the airport for your flight back to the mainland and onward journey home, with all the wonderful memories which we hope you will cherish forever. * Recommended flights: EQUAIR
Day 9 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

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    • Every day, guests will also embark on snorkeling excursions in the surrounding waters to see the region’s marine life. The waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands are home to a variety of sea creatures including species of sharks, rays, reef fish, and occasionally, even whales!
    • Over on land, Aqua Mare guests will embark on guided hiking adventures to some of the islands’ hotspots for spotting wildlife. There’ll be opportunities to spot land and marine iguanas — striking creatures which look like they were descendants of the mythical dragons. There’ll also be visits to see the remarkable Giant Tortoises which make for one of the highlights of an expedition to the Galapagos Islands.
    • Finally, we’ll look to the skies for even more exciting sightings. The archipelago is inhabited by unique species of birds such as flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, and Darwin’s finches — named after the biologist, who used his experiences on the islands as the foundation for his theory of evolution.