Set sail around the north-central region of the Galápagos on this tailor-made adventure. Spot exotic wildlife, from lava lizards to giant tortoises, and gaze upon Pinnacle Rock as Darwin once did. Take a Zodiac boat along the picturesque coast, discover natural lava tunnels and snorkel in a stunning underwater world. Enjoy world-class dining, free-flowing drinks, and personal butler service in your suite accommodation. With only 100 guests and 86 crew onboard, and the highest Zodiac-to-guest ration in the region, your experience will be second to none. You'll also have the chance to learn more about the incredible ecosystem that supports the region's wildlife, with enrichment lectures and the help of expert Ecuadorian guides - theres one guide for every 10 guests on board. All of this and more awaits, onboard one of the world's most exclusive vessels – Silver Origin.
Begin your journey in style with a private chauffeur transfer to the airport and premium lounge access before boarding your flight to Ecuador's capital, Quito. Check in to your luxury accommodation for a relaxing night ahead of your Galápagos adventure.
Stay: JW Marriott Quito
From your base in Quito you'll have time to explore this ancient Incan city. Set high in the foothills of the Andes, its colonial centre features a blend of architectural styles, including the 16th-century cathedral, magnificent against the backdrop of the Pichincha volcano. Take a stroll through the many cobblestone streets, and sample a quesadilla quiteña, a local delicacy filled with queso dulce and dipped in hot chocolate. This evening, you'll take in a fascinating Quito By Night tour, featuring a guided drive by the San Francisco Church, the Independence Plaza and the Presidential Palace, made even more special by the twinkling city lights. Return to the comfort of your hotel for a well-earned night's rest.
Stay: JW Marriott Quito
Today you'll be whisked to the airport to board your flight to Baltra, the gateway to the Galápagos. The dry climate here supports a diverse ecosystem; it's not unusual to spot land iguanas crossing the old air base runway, among prickly pear cactus and palo santo trees. Upon arrival you'll be taken to your dock by Zodiac boat to board Silver Origin. By lunchtime, you'll sail to Isla Daphne Grande, a volcanic tuff crater island not far from Baltra International Airport. Only scientists are allowed to land on Daphne, so it will be a special event to come in close with the ship and watch for Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, Frigatebirds, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Brown Noddies riding the sea breezes. You'll also have time to explore the many amenities available on board before a delicious dinner in the onboard restaurant.
At Genovesa Island the ship tucks into Darwin Bay, an ancient volcanic crater now flooded by the sea. Your Zodiac boat will land on a picturesque sandy beach where Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas are often found, and by heading inland a short distance you might encounter seabirds of all shapes and sizes nesting in the vegetation. From the bay you can also access an area known as El Barranco, where a brief scramble up the stone steps brings you to the plateau of the island and past more incredible birdlife, including Galápagos Mockingbirds, Nazca Boobies, and Galápagos finches. The highlight however, is arriving on the windward side of the island to see hundreds of Wedge-Rumped Storm Petrels and the predatory Short-eared Owl flying above the lava field where they nest.
This morning you'll land at Seymour Island onto spectacular black lava rock. After a short climb, you'll arrive on the island’s flat plateau where a number of sea lions nurse their pups and frigatebirds nest, alongside native yellow Conolophus land iguanas who live here in large numbers. The undulating terrain is littered with red-brown volcanic boulders and large male Magnificent Frigatebirds can be seen inflating their vivid red gular sacs in hopes of impressing females flying overhead. By lunchtime you'll head to the lava fields of Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, an alien lunar landscape peppered with brilliant red Sally Lightfoot crabs. After walking the exposed rocky terrain, you'll return to the sandy beach and get ready for a swim or a snorkel in the turquoise waters.
Rabida Island is small in size but dramatic in scale. Your Zodiac boat will land onto a beach of dark red sand coloured by iron ore flanked by rugged red cliffs. Snorkelers will find invertebrates including sea urchins and brilliant red sea stars, an abundance of reef fish, and perhaps even reef sharks in the deep water. By lunchtime, you'll arrive at Eden Islet just off Santa Cruz, known for its thick coastal mangrove forest and black volcanic boulders. The shallow waters around the island are ideal for spotting Pacific green sea turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, sea lions, marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Explore by Zodiac or kayak, and watch for Brown Pelicans flying and diving to scoop up their prey, while Blue-footed Boobies enter the water like torpedoes to spear small fish.
Giant tortoises are emblematic of the Galápagos Islands. To experience these ancient animals firsthand, Silver Origin anchors off San Cristobal Island and a Zodiac will take you ashore to the picturesque town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. From here you will set out by bus for the Galapaguera Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve and come face to face with this incredible species. By lunchtime, you'll head to the northern shore of San Cristobal Island to a peninsula known as Punta Pitt. From a sandy beach Zodiac landing you'll take a long walk following a twisting path through black basalt lava rocks and between craggy peaks. If the long walk is not your cup of tea, beachcomb at the landing beach looking for tiny sea urchin skeletons and limpet shells washed up by the tide.
This morning you'll cruise by Isla Champion, revealing a bare, rocky island surrounded by infinitely blue waters. The underwater visibility is generally very clear and snorkelers often spot reef sharks, Pacific green turtles, and playful Galápagos sea lions below the surface. By lunchtime you'll arrive in Punta Suárez at the western point of Española, the oldest island in the Galápagos. Sheer cliffs provide superb thermals for seabirds and you may spot Swallow-tailed Gulls, Nazca Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies on the breeze. The largest seabird to nest in the Galápagos Islands is the Waved Albatross. These ocean wanderers can be seen seasonally here from April through December, and mockingbirds, doves, and occasional Galápagos Hawks can also be seen on the point.
Today Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located, housing the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas. To round out your time in Puerto Ayora, explore the town, full of charming local art galleries and corner cafés. By lunchtime, you'll head to South Plaza, a serene island sprinkled with giant prickly pear cactus, and carpeted with a reddish mat of ground-cover succulents. Here, you'll spy a large nesting colony of Swallow-tailed Gulls, along with marine iguanas and Galápagos sea lions.
After a final breakfast onboard, you'll return to San Cristobal and disembark before flying onwards to Guayaquil. Those with flights after 10pm will have use of a day room at Oro Verde Hotel before heading to the airport to catch your flight back to the UK. End your journey in style with private chauffeur transfer from the airport to your home.
"The Galápagos Islands are famous for their fascinating volcanic landforms and beautiful wildlife. This luxury cruise brings you amongst all of that, with expert guides from the Silver Origin Expedition Team leading the way. This is without a doubt the best way to experience the Galápagos."
Year Round from: £7,470 pp