The Ultimate Galapagos Islands Bucket List
Joining us for an epic adventure through the Galapagos Islands? As Aqua Mare sets sail this June, there are a host of new experiences which we’re excited for. From swimming with endemic Galapagos penguins to hiking past volcanoes and mangrove lagoons, this expedition will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Wildlife like you’ve never seen
Nestled within the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands are like a world of their own. Their remote location supports a vibrant ecosystem, quite unlike anything you’d have seen before. Home to animals such as lava lizards and land iguanas – which share an uncanny resemblance to mythical dragons – the archipelago played a pivotal role in inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Much like Darwin, who unraveled one of life’s great mysteries on these islands, you’ll have the chance to explore and make discoveries of your own.
Journeying through West Galapagos will see us make a stop at Charles Darwin Research Station at the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center. For decades, the station has worked in conjunction with the Ecuadorian government to ensure the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Here, our expedition leaders will guide us through the grounds to observe the famous Galapagos tortoises and land iguanas.
A day later, we’ll be off to a water lagoon on Floreana Island, where sharks swim in the shallows and sea turtles drop by to nest at night. Stingrays and Greater flamingos are among some of the other animals which will welcome us to these shores.
Over on the East Galapagos itinerary, we’ll be taking a tender ride along El Barranco, where fur seals can be spotted resting inside the crevices of volcanic rocks. A few days down the line, we’ll also encounter their big yet equally friendly cousins, the Galapagos Sea Lions. As we visit Bahia Gardner, a stunning coralline beach on Espanola Island, we’ll find ourselves amongst one of the largest colonies of these playful mammals.
The ocean beckons
As it turns out, the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands have just as much to offer as the islands themselves. The archipelago is a perfect getaway to indulge in activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and even scuba diving.
During our expedition aboard the Aqua Mare, there are plenty of opportunities to venture out and discover the waters for yourself.
One of the highlights is a snorkeling session off the coast of Genovesa island. Here, you’ll find yourself swimming alongside bottlenose dolphins and schools of hammerhead sharks. The pristine blue waters also house corals and vibrantly colored fish – all part of an extraordinary ecosystem which is best observed up close.
Also on the table is a chance to swim with penguins. The Galapagos archipelago is one of the few places in the world where this is possible without having to brave ice-cold waters. As we head for a snorkeling session near Santa Cruz island, we may just be lucky enough to see Galapagos Penguins during a feeding session.
Although they can be clumsy on land, the penguins navigate the water with ease. They are known to dive beneath schools of fish and snag themselves a meal on the way back up.
Aboard Aqua Mare, your journey can be whatever you make it. There are opportunities to go scuba diving for those traveling through both east and west Galapagos. You’ll also get to take your pick of activities at select destinations – whether you prefer to hike your way through Isabela island or explore the cove aboard a tender, it’s an adventure curated at your whimsy!
Exploring mangroves and lava fields
The dynamic landscape across the Galapagos archipelago ensures that every island has something unique to offer. From hills and volcanoes to beaches and lagoons, there’s not a dull moment to be had throughout this journey.
At Fernandina island, we’ll set our anchors down near Punta Espinoza. Created as part of a huge lava flow from the many eruptions of La Cumbre volcano – one of the most active ones in the world – Punta Espinoza is famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.
Here, we’ll get to learn about the geology of the Galapagos islands from one of our expert scientist guides. Following that, it’ll be a short trip to Isabela island where we’ll have the opportunity to hike up to the magnificent Darwin lake – a saltwater body trapped inside a tuff cone.
Speaking of volcanoes and tuff cones, the lava fields of Genovesa island are another must-visit site in the Galapagos archipelago. Home to red-footed boobies and Galapagos storm petrels, hiking through here is sure to be a blast for any budding birdwatcher.
Over on Santa Cruz, it’s all about the mangroves and sand dunes. Our hike will begin with a wet landing and continue inland to a lagoon frequented by Galapagos flamingos. There’ll also be an opportunity to visit the aptly named Dragon Hill, which is home to one of the healthiest populations of land iguanas across the Galapagos archipelago.
A world-class dining experience
All this adventure is bound to work up an appetite, and don’t worry, because we’ve certainly got that covered.
Curated by renowned Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, Aqua Mare features a dining experience inspired by the dramatic landscapes of the Galapagos Islands and the Peruvian Nikkei style. Pedro has been a part of Aqua Expeditions since 2007 when he became the consulting chef onboard the Aria Amazon.
With offerings such as the Grilled Paiche with Chorizo sauce and Cause with Shrimp Escabeche, Pedro showcases the dazzling flavors of the South American Pacific coast. All dishes are created using only the freshest local fish and seafood. Sustainability is always a priority for us at Aqua Expeditions, focused on supporting regional farmers and fishermen by selecting a farm to table approach throughout our culinary process.
Curated cocktails and alfresco barbecues are all part of the Aqua Mare experience, where the thrill of adventure meets the comfort of luxury. After spending our days exploring, we’ll have plenty of time to share stories during evening sundowners or over a glass of wine admiring the starlit skies.
Book an expedition on Aqua Mare to discover the elusive wildlife and dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Archipelago. Curated with exclusivity and personalized service enabled in mind, the yacht is the only one in the Galapagos Islands to have a one-to-one crew to guest ratio. Plan your trip now and feel free to reach out to our Expeditions Consultant with any questions you may have.