There are 3 trained naturalist guides on-board to ensure small groups. In addition there is a crew of 24. The sun deck is comprised of a bar with ample outdoor seating, an observation area for whale and dolphin watching, a Jacuzzi and a solarium. Isabella also has a glass-bottom boat as an alternative to snorkeling to observe diverse Galapagos marine life. Snorkeling equipment is available. All cabins have a private bathroom. 16 cabins have twin beds, 2 cabins have double beds for either single or double occupancy, 2 cabins have double beds plus a single bed for double or triple use, and 1 owners cabin with double bed. The vessel`s bar and lounge is a popular gathering place; drinks are set out there for passengers as they return from excursions in the islands. The cuisine is a delicious combination of Ecuadorian and continental specialties. There is a large comfortable lounge, and a resident physician.
Independent Vacation (min 2 people):
Day 1: Morning arrival to Baltra Island by TAME flight and immediate transfer to the dock to board the Isabella II. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch. After lunch Isabella II will cruise to North Seymour Island, upon arrival disembark (dry landing) for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island, observing bird colonies of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. A shorter walk is also available. Welcome Cocktail offered by the Captain. Naturalist`s briefing on the next day`s activities and dinner.
Day 2: After breakfast, you will disembark at Gardner Bay (Hood Island) at a white coral beach where you can take a short walk and watch the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach.. There is great snorkeling in this area (snorkeling equipment is available for passengers at no extra cost), or ride the glass-bottom boat around Gardner or Tortuga islets.In the afternoon arrive at Punta Suarez (Hood Island) for an exciting walk on lava terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the Waved Albatrosses (May - December) and the famous blowhole. A shorter walk is also available. For those not planning to walk there will be panga (dinghy) ride along the coastline of Punta Su?rez. Naturalist`s briefing and dinner.
Day 3: After breakfast, disembark at Point Cormorant for an easy walk to see the flamingos that inhabit a brackish-water lagoon, and other birds like ducks, stilts, sandpipers, etc. There is great snorkeling from the beach or near by, at the Devil`s Crown. Those who do not snorkel can enjoy a ride on the glass-bottom boat. Lunch will be served on board. In the afternoon disembark at the historical Post Office Bay to learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. Then, a panga ride will take you to nearby islets to observe sea lions, rays and sea turtles, boobies and possibly the Galapagos penguin. Naturalist`s briefing and dinner.
Day 4: After breakfast, disembark at Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens, an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. Then a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before driving to the highlands for lunch at a farm. The afternoon will be spent in the highlands, visiting the Scalesia forest and the twin pit craters Los Gemelos. From December to mid-April a visit to see the giant tortoises in the wild may be included, if weather conditions are good. Naturalist`s briefing and dinner.
Day 5: Today will be spent at Tower Island. The morning you will land at Darwin Bay for an easy stroll observing thousands of bird life, mainly frigate birds, red footed and masked boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. If you wish you can continue walking over sharp lava and uneven terrain, or just go back to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor. Those most adventurous can look for Hammerhead sharks, snorkeling along the cliffs. Lunch will be served on board. This afternoon will be spent at Prince Philip`s Stepsstarts with a very interesting panga ride along the cliffs and then disembark (dry landing) on rocks for a steep climb (90 feet) and then a leveled walk for about a mile to the other side of this small island observing large colonies of masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and the short-eared owl. Naturalist`s briefing and dinner.
Day 6: On the northwest of Isabella, secluded Tagus Cove was in past centuries a favorite anchor for pirates and whalers. Old graffiti is still found on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the unusual Palo Santo trees. These white-barked trees are leafless and look dead most of the year. They leaf out and spring back to life in the short wet season, which usually begins in March or April. An uphill hike through palo santo forest takes guests to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabella's six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. Lunch on board. The afternoon brings us to the youngest island, Fernandina. Disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness with lots of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant. Naturalist?s briefing and dinner.
Day 7: This morning, landing at Puerto Egas (James Island) for a mid-length walk. Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and there is a colony of fur-sea lions. Good snorkeling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Lunch will be served on board.After lunch disembark at Bartolome Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. This is a steep climb aided by a wooden staircase; the view from the top is worth the effort. There will be time for a panga ride around Pinnacle Rock to observe penguins, to enjoy the beach (wet landing), snorkeling and swimming from the beach, or a ride on the glass-bottom boat. Farewell cocktail and departure briefing.
Day 8: After breakfast, departure to the port and airport to take the flight back to the continent or perhaps stay on in the Galapagos at the Finch Bay Resort for an extra few nights to reflect on your unique experience aboard the Isabella II.
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South America Ecuador Outdoor: Water Drifter Boating and Sailing Wildlife Viewing