M/Y Isabela Yacht II

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Cruise Overview

Yacht Isabela II offers the perfect, intimate space for exploring Darwin’s islands in comfort. Traditionalists will enjoy feeling at home with a crew that has remained almost unchanged for years, leading to seamless attention to detail that will make your stay extra special.

With just 20 guest cabins, the yacht’s convivial atmosphere leads to a close-up experience of this unique world. On board, guests find delicious cuisine, faultless service and excellent facilities, including a Hut Tub, fitness room, bar and outside deck for al fresco meals, drinks, and sunbathing.

As on all our vessels, your groups can expect top facilities and equipment, delicious meals, and safe and stimulating expert-planned expeditions on the islands. Scout the island sites for Big 15 wildlife in groups that average no more than 11-14 guests per naturalist guide which surpass the National Park standard, which permits up to 16 guests per guide. Explore the coast with your guides on our pangas, glass-bottom boat or kayaks, or get wet and snorkel.

Cabin Types
Classic Cabin
Classic Family Cabin
Standard Cabin
Owner's Suite

Northern Itinerary

Departs Tuesdays

DAY 1
Arrive San Cristobal Island
Tuesday

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal Island)
Landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno´s airport. Transfer to the dock and Isabela II. Check in, introductory briefing and lunch on board.

Galapaguera Cerro Colorado (San Cristóbal Island)
After lunch, dry landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and a 40-minute bus ride to the south shore of the island, passing the historical highlands of San Cristobal island. At Cerro Colorado, visit the breeding centre of the highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species and the endemic San Cristóbal lava lizard. Back on board late afternoon for a welcome cocktail, briefing and dinner.

Dinner
DAY 2
Genovesa Island
Wednesday

Prince Philip’s Steps (Tower/Genovesa Island)
Overnight navigation northbound to the incredible bird island, Genovesa, crossing the equator on the way. The morning starts with a very interesting panga ride along the cliffs and then disembark (dry landing) on rocks for a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, the land is flat, allowing for a stimulating walk of about a mile to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs. Snorkelling is possible, paddling kayaks, or riding the glass bottom boat. Lunch on board.

Darwin Bay (Tower/Genovesa Island)
In the afternoon, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing several species of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed boobies, Nazca boobies, lava gulls, swallow-tailed gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour. Expedition plan for Thursday and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
Santiago Island
Thursday

Buccaneer Cove (James/Santiago Island)
After breakfast, enjoy a coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove. Learn about the history of Santiago Island, its relevance for the whalers, pirates and early researchers, including Darwin’s epic voyage in 1835, and the conservation projects aimed at eradicating feral species (a fence stretched along the rocky outcrop is visible to save native plants from the once existing enormous goat population). Today the island is free of feral goats, and the cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkelling too! Lunch on board.

Puerto Egas (James/Santiago Island)
Puerto Egas was only briefly inhabited in the 20th century in an attempt to commercialize salt from a deposit inside a tuff cone. Today, Puerto Egas is one of the most impressive coastal walks in Galápagos (wet landing). 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 also a colony of fur-sea lions which can be observed up-close. Opportunity for snorkelling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Expedition plan for Friday and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
Fernandina & Isabela Islands
Friday

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
During the night the yacht sails over to the north shore of Isabela Island, crossing the equator twice in the process. The morning brings us to the youngest island of the archipelago, 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. Snorkelling is a refreshing reward near the lava shores of Fernandina. Lunch on board.

Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Across the narrow Bolívar Channel, on the northwest of Isabela, lies secluded Tagus Cove. The deep cove provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti is still found carved on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the fragrant palo santo (torchwood) trees. These white-barked trees are leafless and look dead most of the year. They leaf and spring back to life in the wet season.

An optional uphill hike 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 Isabela’s six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. All guests will enjoy a panga ride along the volcanic cliffs of Tagus Cove, teeming with life (boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, martins, terns, iguanas and sea lions). Here there are possibilities to swim, snorkel or ride kayaks. There is no beach in the area, so pangas are employed. Expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Isabela Island
Saturday

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
After breakfast (wet landing) disembark at Urbina Bay, located at the foot of volcanoes Alcedo and Darwin, western Isabela Island, the result of an uplifting of the ocean in 1954. Here you can find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally); a good spot to observe Darwin’s finches. Along the shoreline, after the hike, guests may encounter flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkelling in this beautiful cove. Lunch on board.

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
Depending on the conditions of the ocean, it will be possible to schedule a snorkelling outing along the cliffs of partly-sunken Ecuador Volcano, on the northern tip of Isabela Island. Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by dinghy, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. This is the nesting place for flightless cormorants, the only existing marine birds in the world other than penguins that have changed their condition of flying birds to diving birds. Wildlife here also includes sea lions, Galápagos fur seals, Galápagos penguins, blue-footed and Nazca boobies and noddy terns. This area boasts an impressively-rich marine life, and is seasonally visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola). If conditions are good, snorkelling can be done at the cliffs of a tuff cone. Expedition plan for Sunday and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6
Rabida & Santa Cruz Islands
Sunday

Rábida Island (Jervis)
Disembark at Rábida Island (wet landing) on a red-coloured beach, due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A gratifying stroll along the beach of this small island (1.9 sq. mi.) allows the observation of a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green saltbush, is a salt pond where at times greater flamingos migrate. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non snorkellers will enjoy the glass bottom boat, a panga ride along the coast or paddle out on a sea kayak. During navigation to our next island, dolphins and/or whales are often spotted. Lunch on board.

Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Dry landing and a walk that includes a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings, and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site for land iguanas, constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for bird watching, where Darwin’s finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galápagos flycatcher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings. Snorkelling or swimming is possible out of the beach near the landing site. Farewell cocktail and departure briefing before dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 7
Baltra Island departure
Monday

Baltra Island. After breakfast, departure to the port and airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Breakfast

Central Itinerary

Departs Mondays

DAY 1
Arrive Baltra Airport
Monday
Los Gemelos – Twin Craters (Santa Cruz Island)
 Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride to the impressive site known as Los Gemelos (The Twins). These are a series of geological sink holes. Be impressed by the Scalesia forest, consisting of endemic daisies that took the niche of trees, growing to spectacular sizes, and now home to several species of endemic birds, such as the rare woodpecker finch, one of the world´s few tool-using species. We visit the nearby Tortoise reserve, where most of the year we see the giant tortoises in the wild. Lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens, including tortoise celebrities like “Lonesome George” within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. Expedition plan for Tuesday, Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
Dinner
DAY 2
Santa Fe & South Plaza Islands
Tuesday
Santa Fe Island
After breakfast, a wet landing on a sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right of “Beach Master”, while smaller males masquerading as females make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name with tree-sized trunks! The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Snorkelling, kayaking and/or swimming from the beach rounds off the rewarding experience. Lunch on board.
South Plaza Island
Disembark (dry landing) in the channel between North and South Plaza Islands, where the island tilts toward the water, the approach makes for a lavishly colourful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange ‘Sally Lightfoot’ crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide playing with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island. Wednesday’s expedition plan and dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
North Seymour & Santa Cruz Islands
Wednesday
North Seymour Island
The morning starts with a dry landing for a view of the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, one of the few uplifted islands in the Galápagos Archipelago. The trail leads guests to explore colonies of blue footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, and swallowtail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. Vegetation is made up of cacti, palo santo (torchwood) trees and salt bushes. Advanced snorkelling near the cliffs is possible after the walk. Lunch on board.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that morphed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. Swimming and/or snorkeling from the beach. Thursday’s expedition plan and dinner
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
Bartolomé & James Islands
Thursday
Bartolomé Island
Disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. A great way to start the day! This is a steep climb up a wooden staircase with handrails and several resting and observation stops; the view from the top is worth the effort. Following the walk, a dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, is rewarding, followed by time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and some snorkelling, with possible Galápagos penguin sightings. Guests can also ride on the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Lunch on board.
Sullivan Bay (James Island)
After lunch, board the panga for the short trip to the landing site at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago. Wet landing on a white coral sand beach and begin the walk over lava that flowed less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galápagos and learn first-hand the initial steps of pioneering plants and animals over recently produced volcanic ground. Memorable scenes of the film Master and Commander where shot at these two locations.
Farewell cocktail and departure briefing before dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Depart Baltra Island
Friday

Baltra Island. After breakfast, departure to the port and airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Breakfast

Southern Itinerary

Departs Friday

DAY 1
Arrive Baltra
Friday
Baltra – El Chato Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)
Arrival at Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Arrive at the famous Tortoise Reserve and witness the impressive migrations these giant reptiles must endure every year for feeding and reproduction. Santa Cruz hosts one of the largest tortoise populations in Galápagos. The enclosure is framed with lush vegetation and many unique land birds can be seen, such as the rare woodpecker finch, one of the world´s few tool-using species. Lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the ‘rearing in captivity’ programme for the giant tortoises. Here, guests witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. An impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds can be also seen. Then, a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora allows guests to get a feel for local Galapagueño life while browsing the many handicraft and souvenir shops before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.

 

Dinner
DAY 2
Floreana Island
Saturday
Baroness Cove & Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)
Wet landing at the Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as  a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries, to learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. Panga ride along the maze of channels on the north shore of Floreana, see the Sea Lion colonies, marine turtles in shallow waters, rays and occasionally penguins. Wet Landing at Baroness Cove and a short walk up to the observation tower to enjoy breath taking views of Floreana and its nearby islets. Snorkeling and/or kayaking is possible. Back on board for lunch
Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
Disembark at Cormorant Point (wet landing) at an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others may be observed. This outing also includes a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest (from December to May). The afternoon visit includes a short navigation to Champion Islet near Floreana. Fantastic snorkeling with the option of the glass bottom boat. Expedition plan for Sunday and dinne
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
Española Island
Sunday
Punta Suárez (Española (Hood) Island)
Morning outing at Punta  Suárez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April – December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls, as well as a view of the Galápagos famous “blow-hole”. Among its land birds, the Hood island mockingbird, Galápagos hawks and doves, and three species of Darwin’s finches are common highlights. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) at a white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, paddle on kayaks or a ride aboard the glass-bottom boat. Expedition plan for Monday and dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
San Cristobal Island
Monday
Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island)
Morning disembarkation (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Punta Pitt is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach or, for more advanced snorkelers or kayakers, off the nearby islets. Lunch on board.
Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
A dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes guests to Cerro Brujo’s white coralline beach (wet landing). The beach is a large expanse, great for walking, with rewarding bird watching with good views of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, herons, frigate birds, and more shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. Highlights ashore include the Chatham (San Cristóbal) mockingbird, Chatham lava lizard; both species are endemic to this island, and seen nowhere else in the Galápagos. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galápagos. Farewell cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Depart San Cristobal
Tuesday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island)
After breakfast, departure to the port and airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
Breakfast

Tour Inclusions

  • Shore excursions led by Expedition Team
  • Fleet of zodiacs for adventures ashore
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All meals
  • Conferences and lectures
  • Visits to the islands mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation to / from the airport in Galápagos
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Water
  • * Internet and WiFi * Due to the Galápagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.

Tour Pricing

Isabela II
Single
Twin
Southern Itinerary Departs Fridays
$10,088
$5,044 / person
Central Itinerary Departs Mondays
$10,088
$5,044 / person
Northern Itinerary Departs Tuesdays
$14,812
$7,406 / person

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