Galapagos Cruise: Sailing on the Golondrina Yacht
This was my first trip on a cruise in the Galapagos Islands and I’d like to thank Golondrina Yacht for the invitation.
I visited a few islands and places that can only be accessed on a cruise and the best part was that I didn’t have to worry about where to sleep of what to eat.
Golondrina Yacht is a cruise ship/yacht for tourists, and follows Itinerary B (below), giving you the chance to visit unique islands like Fernandina and the north of Isabela. If you prefer to travel in first class by cruise ship, you can follow this same route on Fragata Yacht, which always travels with the Golondrina Yacht.
While i slept in the evening, the Golondrina Yacht moved to the next location so that, when I woke up, everything was prepped for our next adventure on the Islands.
If you’ve seen my blog, you’ve probably read through all the information I have about how to travel to the Galapagos on your own. However, the reality is that even if you explore the Islands on your own and organize day trips, you won’t be able to access certain islands and places. These destinations can only be reached by cruise ship.
On Itinerary B, you can visit the following destinations:
BEFORE YOU GO:
TOURIST CLASS GALAPAGOS CRUISE
This cruise boat has 8 cabins/rooms, each equipped with bunk beds and a private bathroom. A dining room provides 3 buffet-style meals. There are a few different shared spaces depending on what you want to do. There’s a space to sunbathe while the boat travels between stops, or there’s a space at the bar to have a beer. There’s always something to do on the cruise boat; I never got bored on board.
– DAY ITINERARY:
- Day 1: The guide waits for you at 11am at Arrivals in Baltra Airport. We had to wait until all passengers arrived and were gathered.
Then we went to the loading dock for cruise boats and were taken to Golondrina Yacht. After we were shown to our rooms, we received a review of the itinerary and had lunch.
Around 3pm, we make our first stop with a wet landing at Mosquera Islet, one of the beaches I hadn’t had a chance to visit. I was surprised at how white the sand was, though I had hoped to see more marine life. As usual, the sea lions saved the day and energetically swam close by.
Back on the cruise boat, we had dinner and then were given information about the next day’s activities. Meanwhile, the boat traveled along the West of Isla Isabela.
- Day 2: Make sure you’re having breakfast at 7am to make the most of the day. If you wake up before 6am, you can see a beautiful sunrise at the northernmost point of Isabela.
Our first activity on the second day was the Panga ride through Punta Vicente Roca where we could observe Nazca Boobies, Blue-footed Boobies, Cormorants and other bird species. You might also see another type of sea mammal called the Fur Seal, which is smaller than a sea lion and has much larger eyes.
WE waited for the sun to come out before diving into the ocean for 2 hours of snorkeling, observing various schools of fish, sea turtles and sea lions. Every day’s activities is organized a lunch hour, and after lunch we went to Isla Fernandina, to Punta Espinoza.
The only place on the Galapagos where you can see the Marine Iguanas forage underwater is on Fernandina. I think this was the best snorkeling I’ve ever done in my life because of all the underwater vegetation and marine life that relies on this food, including the sea turtles, iguanas and fish. Here, also, the sea lions swam and played around our group, posing for photos.
After enjoying snorkeling on Fernandina, we made a dry landing for a 1.5 hour hike to see a colony of marine iguanas, zayapa crabs, lava lizards, sea lions, and the impressive Galapagos hawk. To end the hike, we watched as the sun set behind the summit of the volcano.
- Day 3: We had more time to walk and, like the day before, began early, eating breakfast at 7am, so that we were ready to make our first dry landing that day at Urbina Bay, or Bahía Urbina.
During the hike we could observe land iguanas and Galapagos Tortoises in their natural habitat. We also found the empty shell of a tortoise and heard the calls of the Monkeybird along the trail.
From Urbina Bay we sailed to Caleta Tagus and took advantage of the time to have lunch a recharge from the hike that morning.
The people of Caleta Tagus, centuries past, wrote on the rocks with paint. I don’t understand how they managed to get to these hard-to-reach places and only to write a nonsensical phrase but maybe it was just part of life’s adventure back then.
The activities on Caleta Tagus are divided into a hike and snorkeling. The trail took us to a lookout where you can see a lake which is very close to the sea. After this hike in the sun comes the snorkeling and, fortunately, we also went on a panga ride to observe penguins basking on the rocks. Before the end of the day, we crossed latitud 0º 0′ 0” from south to north and could watch the captain’s GPS as we crossed from one hemisphere to the next. Pretty cool!
- Day 4: The trip from Caleta tagus to Puerto Egas on Isla Santiago lasts about 11 hours and, if the sea isn’t too choppy, you can sleep without a problem.
Since this day is divided into two islands, you have breakfast really early at 6:30am and then make a wet landing on Puerto Egas where you go on a hike along the coastline for an hour and a half. During the hike you can see zayapa crabs, sea lions and the famous Galapagos hawk.
After our time on Puerto Egas, we returned to the cruise boat to reach our next destination: Isla Sombrero Chino.
While we sailed to Sombrero Chino, we had lunch and a moment to recharge before landing on the next Island.
Isla Sombrero Chino has a beautiful turquoise ocean canal where you’ll see a colony of baby sea lions that watch with curiosity (not fear). The trail is covered in red and green vegetation, which contrasts the black volcanic rocks in a beautiful way. Beside the marine iguanas you’ll see a lot of zayapa crabs – another beautiful color contrast on this special island.
Once we completed the hike, we returned to the Golondrina Yacht and got ready to snorkel.
We snorkeled in front of the Sombrero Chino Island, along the coast of Isla Santiago in a beautiful white sand, turquoise ocean. We got to see more penguins, starfish and a variety of fish. We also finally observed the tintonera sharks while they slept.
- Day 5: Heading back to Puerto Ayora, we said our farewells to the crew and other travelers. After breakfast we visited the famous CHarles Darwin station and, after doing the turtle route and seeing the dissected Solitary George, each one of us went on our way to our next destination.
Check out this map that includes photos and video of each stop along this cruise
– TRAVELLER’S CHECKLIST
Here are a few things you need to ensure you have a great experience in this magical place. Some of these things you can obtain in town, thereby also contributing to the local economy:
* NOT ALLOWED:
GALAPAGOS CRUISE PRICES AND AVAILABILITY: GOLONDRINA / FRAGATA YACHTS
DON’T MISS OUT!
If you’re interested in traveling by cruise in the Galapagos, I can help you find availability for your dates on the Golondrina Yacht (Tourist class) or the Fragata Yacht (First class).