Located in the Pacific Ocean roughly 1000km from South America, the 19 islands that make up the Galapagos are the dream location to charter a superyacht. The islands and the surrounding waters are a melting pot of species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. In fact, human visitors are nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
A whole host of unusual plant and animal life can be seen on a Galapagos yacht charter. This includes marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches. All of these inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit on the Voyage of the Beagle in 1835.
This isolated group of volcanic islands and its fragile ecosystem has taken an almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity. Yet you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist to appreciate one of the few places left on the planet where the human footprint is kept to a minimum. A yacht charter in the Galapagos can deliver that.
Begin your luxury yacht charter in the Galapagos Islands at Lobos Island. It's located 10 kilometres northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the coast of Isla San Cristobal. Home to an array of sea lions, it’s also the ideal place to observe nesting Frigates and Blue-Footed Boobies.
Isla San Cristobal
Head to the eastern end of Isla San Caristobal and enjoy the majestic beauty of Punta Pitt, a ground of eroded volcanic cones, sparesely populated by endemic vegetation. Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido) also known as the Sleeping Lion is the most impressive where there’s the remains of a lava cone eroded by the tides, as well as two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean that form a narrow channel, navigable by small boats.
Start at Gardner Bay, northeast of Española Island, famed for its idyllic beaches, a vantage point to observe sea lions and sharks. Then head to Punta Suarez, a rocky land spot which sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blowhole where water can spout up to 50-75 feet.
Situated between two tuff lava cones lays Punta Cormorant, Floreana probably has the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos. A paradise in terms of flora and fauna, common stilt flamingos, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds mingle in this unique zone of endemic plant species. Post Office Bay is also not to be missed
North Seymour Island
A nature trail meanders leisurely through large colonies of nesting Frigate birds and Blue-Footed Boobies on North Seymour Island. Depending on the time of year, this is an excellent place to witness the thrilling mating rituals these birds are famous for. Fork-tailed Gulls, Lava Lizards and Land Iguanas can also be spotted here. After lunch, explore Pinnacle Rock beach the best way possible: by snorkelling. A quick dry-off then a 30-minute clamber up a wooden staircase takes you to the island’s summit, a must-do for the best views.
Genovesa is the only northern island of the Archipelago open to visitors. This island is the tip of a submerged shield volcano rising 76 metres above sea level, its central crater filled with saltwater. On the southern slope lays Darwin’s Bay, a creation from ocean erosion and home to four species of Darwin Finches. After an amble around the bay, head to El Barranco for swimming, snorkelling and – for the adventurous sort – dingy rides.
Santa Fe Island
South Plaza breeds Sesuvium plants and Opuntia cactuses providing some of the most interesting wildlife observations available in Galapagos. Amble through the plethora of trails to spot land iguanas, frequently poised under the shade of cactuses, waiting for a prickly pear to fall. In the afternoon, pop over to the adjacent island, Santa Fe, to appreciate the colonies of sea lions, lava lizards and sea turtles that inhabit the rocky coast. The shade of the giant cacti and Palo Santo trees provide the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon pause.
End your Galapagos Islands superyacht charter at El Chato, a private reserve with giant tortoises. The journey is a highlight as you ascend through all seven vegetation zones found in the Galapagos. Next, head to a pair of sinkholes aptly named “The Twins” (Los Gemelos) and explore their ancient lava tubes, the largest in the Galapagos, tracing the path of the once molten rock that flowed.