Possibly one of the only places on Earth where the description changed from being one of hell by an early shipwrecked member of clergy to paradise as ascribed by nature lovers, the Galapagos Islands are certainly incredible. Given their diversity and area, they represent one of the world’s powerhouses of evolution famously portrayed in biology textbooks worldwide and on the list of everyone who has just the smallest interest in the natural world.
As a place where large lizards dive the ocean to feed from algae, vampire finches drink the blood of other birds and 600lb (300kg) tortoises meander down the mountains, the Galapagos Islands are like a fictional story from Alice and Wonderland rather than a real place. But located 500 miles (900 km) west of Ecuador, you can tour these incredible islands after a short flight from Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, to Baltra or San Cristobal Island on the Galapagos. We recommend visiting the area on the top Galapagos Island tours aboard catamarans, which offer a little more comfort and a more private experience of this incredible location than the larger cruise vessel.
Here we will mention our pick of Galapagos Island catamaran tours that provide environmental responsibility, walking tours of the Galapagos, kayaking, and snorkeling adventures so you can make the most of this truly incredible part of the world. We will go over our selection of cruise vessels and highlight a couple of Galapagos cruise itineraries, but there are more to choose from, including a 15 day mega cruise to cover all the Galapagos has to offer.
First off, let’s introduce the Cormorant Galapagos Cruise and an example itinerary.
The Cormorant Galapagos Catamaran Cruise
The Cormorant Galapagos Cruise is a luxury-class catamaran with jacuzzi, private decks in each of the spacious staterooms, and modern facilities. Aboard the Cormorant Galapagos Cruise you will enjoy comfortable transportation and a base to tour the Galapagos Islands. You have your choice from either four, five, and eight day itineraries or a 15 day mega cruise. The following is a description of the 4 day itinerary, which provides a great opportunity for a short visit to the islands.
4 Day Itinerary on the Cormorant Catamaran Cruise
A great option for a short visit to experience the Galapagos Islands, on the 4 day Cormorant Galapagos Cruise of the Southern Islands you will start on San Cristobal and see its large colony of seabirds. After this, you will travel to Española and Suárez Point, one of the top wildlife spots in the Galapagos. Here you can see blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, waved albatross, red-billed tropicbirds, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks and Nazca boobies, as well as fantastic blowholes that provide great photographs.
While at Española, we will head over to Gardner Bay, on the eastern side of the island, to the breeding site of 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. This is nearly their entire population. This is also a great place to see sea lions and for diving or snorkeling expeditions. It’s also a good place simply to relax on the white sandy beaches.
We will also pay a visit to Osborn Islet to see a busy sea lion colony and an optional swim with the sea lion pups. This particular visit will be marine based and you can enjoy snorkeling and swimming.
After Española Island, we will cruise to Floreana and Cormorant Point, which offers a great place to walk a trail overlooking flamingos in a saltwater lagoon. You can also see other birds like common stilts and white-cheeked pintails. This particular island offers some unique features, such as the Green Beach, colored from the sand’s olivine crystals, and the Four Sand Beach formed from white coral.
While on Floreana, we will visit the Champion Islet for snorkelling and diving to see black coral bushes and yellow cup corals. If you look carefully, you should be able to find Pacific seahorses, hawkfish, as well as green turtles, salema and surgeonfish.
We will then visit Post Office Bay, which is a white sand beach and a great place to relax, before cruising to Baroness Viewpoint. Here you can enjoy the Galapagos environment and think about the Baroness and an old murder mystery which surrounds her life. As you ponder on this, you can enjoy various easy trails to see the flora and fauna of Floreana. The area provides great views and is also frequented by sea turtles.
On the last day, we will visit Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Station. Learn about the work the station is doing to help preserve the Galapagos Islands, see giant tortoises and also giant tortoise hatchlings. After this, it’s time for transport back to the airport and your return journey to Quito.
The Ocean Spray Galapagos Islands Catamaran Cruise
Next up, we have the Ocean Spray Luxury-Class Catamaran. This offers the ultimate Galapagos experience with the best performance and comfort of Galapagos Islands cruises. Enjoy the elegant design, very spacious sundeck, jacuzzi and spacious suites with private balcony. In addition to the comfort of a modern luxury-class catamaran, the cruise offers kayaks, snorkeling equipment, quality control managers, and bilingual naturalist guides.
Aboard the Ocean Spray, you have various itineraries on offer, from four, five, six, eight, and fifteen day cruises. There are also 2 variations of the six and eight day programs to make sure you don’t miss a particular interest. You can fill in the form on the cruise page to receive a detailed itinerary. Here we will mention the 6 day cruise ‘B’ option.
6 Day Ocean Spray Galapagos Islands Catamaran Cruise
The Ocean Spray 6 Day Cruise ‘B’ of the Central and Southern Islands provides high chances of the famous wildlife sightings of the Galapagos, such as the land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and giant tortoises.
You will be greeted on arrival at Baltra Island airport and will be transported to the boat to begin your cruise. In the afternoon, we visit Santa Fe Island where we often see Galapagos land iguanas. The area is also inhabited by giant tuna. Here you can find two different visitor trails you can walk to spot wildlife, the small beach, a tall prickly pear cactus forest, and enjoy the scenic viewpoint.
The next day we head to Española Island and Suárez Point, which is a great place for spotting the famous Galapagos blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, lava lizards, and Nazca Boobies. You will also find a large blowhole which provides great photo opportunities.
After this, we visit Gardner Bay and the Osborn Islet, another fantastic part of Española, to enjoy the white sandy beaches with abundant sea lions. This area is also the breeding site of the world’s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. It’s also a great place for snorkeling to see many colorful fish and a swim with sea lion pups.
On day three, we visit San Cristobal and begin at the interpretation center to learn about their conservation work and the island’s giant tortoises. We then visit the southeast part of San Cristobal to see birds like warblers, finches and mockingbirds then head out on the short trail to spot giant tortoises.
The next day we will visit Isla Lobos, which is named after the colony of sea lions resting and playing among these rocks. This is also a great place to spot blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. This island also offers fantastic snorkeling.
In the afternoon, we head to Leon Dormido, a striking rock formation located a couple hours from San Cristobal. This will be a marine visit for snorkeling to see sharks, tropical fish, turtles, occasional manta rays, hammerhead sharks, spectacular rock formations, and sea birds. The birds here include blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigatebirds.
The following day we visit Pitt Point at the north-eastern tip of the island where we will find hosts frigatebirds, storm petrels, and all three types of booby birds. You have an optional steep walk, which goes up to a cliff and through a ravine to see many birds. This is also a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Saving a true highlight of the island until last, we visit Witch Hill (Cerro Brujo) surrounded by some of the most attractive beaches on the Galapagos. The area has a high abundance of wildlife, including sea turtles, rays, marine iguanas, and various types of Booby Birds.
On day five we visit Floreana, starting at Post Office Bay. This is where the early whalers placed their mail. You will also have time for a relaxing walk or snorkeling opportunities.
After this, we visit Cormorant Point on Floreana with its Green Beach, colored by the sand’s olivine crystals, and also White Sand Beach formed from white coral. As the name suggests, birdlife here is plentiful, including flamingos at the lagoon, as well as common stilts and white-cheeked pintails
Last of all for Floreana, we visit Devil’s Crown, which offers one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos. The volcanic crater was eroded by the ocean causing the north and south sides to poke out of the water. This has created a great place for the coral in the middle to attract wildlife. Snorkelers will enjoy many different types of marine life, including sharks, rays, rock formations, and lots of tropical fish.
For your final day on the Galapagos, we pay a visit to Black Turtle Cove at the northern part of Santa Cruz. The inlet is only accessible by dinghy and is surrounded by mangroves. The shallow cove is a safe place for young and baby marine life, which means you will often spot hammerhead shark babies, whitetip reef sharks, rays, sea turtles, and sea birds. Then, in the afternoon, you will head back to Quito with some fantastic memories of the Galapagos Islands.
To mention two more Galapagos cruise experiences, one of the newest Galapagos Island tours on a catamaran is the Petrel Luxury Cruise. This offers a first class luxury cruise catamaran and itineraries of four, five, six and eight days. Another option is to combine the Galapagos Islands with Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest to see two of the world’s most famous nature areas.