ATHALA II

Athala II

Athala II is an outstanding catamaran that combines adventure with comfort. She can accommodate 16 passengers in 8 spacious fully air-conditioned cabins. There are four cabins on the Upper Deck, which have interconnecting doors, and four cabins on the Main Deck with private balconies.
In addition to an indoor dining room and lounge, the Athala II provides ample outdoor space, including a large sun deck, an open-air bar and an al fresco dining area, where you can take in the islands’ spectacular scenery.
On board, the atmosphere is relaxed, intimate and friendly. Cabins are well-appointed, meals delicious, and the service reminiscent of a private yacht.

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Details

First Class

6 - 8 Days Cruise

16 Passengers

DAY 1, SATURDAY

ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS

Mosquera Islet: This tiny islet is actually home to a huge population of sea lions and is also home to many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Difficulty level: Easy

DAY 2, SUNDAY

SANTIAGO & BARTOLOME ISLANDS

Sullivan Bay is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows, and unique geological scenery. Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful, so pay particular interest to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo” as well as the lava cactus. Difficulty level: Moderate

Bartolome is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Usual fauna and flora also includes sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays and colorful reef fish. Difficulty Level: Moderate. Walk up 375 low-grade stairs to top of volcano at a slow to moderate pace.

DAY 3, MONDAY

Isabela Island

Urbina Bay is located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. After landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Be on the lookout for wild Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation. Difficulty level: Moderate

Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake.
The brisk “power-hike” is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales. Difficulty level: Easy to Difficult (panga ride is easy; hike up to lake can be strenuous for some)


DAY 4, TUESDAY

FERNANDINA & ISABELA ISLANDS

Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine ecosystems in the entire world and also one of the most dynamic. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009, and also dominates the landscape, with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk. Difficulty level: Moderate

Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. For those
who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

DAY 5, WEDNESDAY

SANTIAGO ISLAND

Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen.
After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks. Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate.

The Espumilla Beach visitor site is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, beach and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles. Difficulty level: Easy


DAY 6, THURSDAY

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Breakfast & disembark. In the morning you will visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see giant tortoises in the wild, followed by a transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight back to the mainland.

DAY 1, SATURDAY

ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS

Sombrero Chino is a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means „Chinese Hat‟; a name that makes perfect sense as soon as you take a look at its unique shape. There are various interesting geological formations which make this island a great visit for scenic photos, but there are also various marine species to observe such as very colorful sally lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Keep an eye out for different species of Darwin‟s finches as well. Difficulty level: Easy.

DAY 2, SUNDAY

SANTA CRUZ & RABIDA ISLANDS

The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after
the walk. Difficulty level: Moderate.
Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or on a panga ride. Difficulty level: Moderate.

DAY 3, MONDAY

Isabela Island

Isabela, the archipelago‟s largest island, formed by five volcanoes, is also one of the youngest and a marvelous world within itself. It is home to a small, laid-back island town called Puerto Villamil. This quaint, friendly port is your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound.
The Tortoise Breeding Center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise. Difficulty level: Easy.
The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules and other shore birds. The Wetlands can easily be reached by foot via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps. Difficulty level: Easy
The Wall of Tears: A penal colony existed in Isabela between 1945 and 1959. Prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet (25m) took the lives of thousands during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of the past. Difficulty level: Easy.


DAY 4, TUESDAY

FLOREANA ISLAND

Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous islands due to many strange stories about past settlers. Post Office Bay is home to a unique “post office” inspired by 18th century pirates and buccaneers who used a wooden barrel as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. Floreana is also a magnificent site for swimming. Difficulty level: Easy.
In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. This is one of the archipelago‟s most famous spots. Don‟t forget to look in your logbook for your postcards! For the adventurous a visit to a lava tunnel is included. This tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural, so please, watch your step! Difficulty level: Easy to difficult (lava tunnel) A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where everything from Flamingos to stilts and pintail ducks can be observed. The beach nearby is also quite special and known as: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand. Difficulty level: Easy.

DAY 5, WEDNESDAY

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

ocated on the north coast of San Cristobal Island, this eroding tough cone offers a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming and snorkeling experiences. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is home to many sea lions and it‟s also the coast where Charles Darwin first stepped on in the Archipelago! Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.
Isla Lobos is named after its large colony of sea lions (also called “lobos”, or wolves in Spanish). Usually visitors may have close encounters with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. However, this small islet offers much more including blue footed boobies, frigates and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: the Fur Sea Lion. Difficulty level: Easy.


DAY 6, THURSDAY

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

06:45 Wake up call
07:00 Breakfast
Breakfast & disembark. In the morning you will visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see giant tortoises in the wild, followed by a transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight back to the mainland.

DAY 1, SATURDAY

ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS

Sombrero Chino is a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means „Chinese Hat‟; a name that makes perfect sense as soon as you take a look at its unique shape. There are various interesting geological formations which make this island a great visit for scenic photos, but there are also various marine species to observe such as very colorful sally lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Keep an eye out for different species of Darwin‟s finches as well. Difficulty level: Easy.

DAY 2, SUNDAY

SANTA CRUZ & RABIDA ISLANDS

The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after
the walk. Difficulty level: Moderate.
Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or on a panga ride. Difficulty level: Moderate.

DAY 3, MONDAY

Isabela Island

Isabela, the archipelago‟s largest island, formed by five volcanoes, is also one of the youngest and a marvelous world within itself. It is home to a small, laid-back island town called Puerto Villamil. This quaint, friendly port is your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound.
The Tortoise Breeding Center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise. Difficulty level: Easy.
The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules and other shore birds. The Wetlands can easily be reached by foot via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps. Difficulty level: Easy
The Wall of Tears: A penal colony existed in Isabela between 1945 and 1959. Prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet (25m) took the lives of thousands during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of the past. Difficulty level: Easy.


DAY 4, TUESDAY

FLOREANA ISLAND

Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous islands due to many strange stories about past settlers. Post Office Bay is home to a unique “post office” inspired by 18th century pirates and buccaneers who used a wooden barrel as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. Floreana is also a magnificent site for swimming. Difficulty level: Easy.
In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. This is one of the archipelago‟s most famous spots. Don‟t forget to look in your logbook for your postcards! For the adventurous a visit to a lava tunnel is included. This tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural, so please, watch your step! Difficulty level: Easy to difficult (lava tunnel) A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where everything from Flamingos to stilts and pintail ducks can be observed. The beach nearby is also quite special and known as: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand. Difficulty level: Easy.

DAY 5, WEDNESDAY

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

ocated on the north coast of San Cristobal Island, this eroding tough cone offers a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming and snorkeling experiences. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is home to many sea lions and it‟s also the coast where Charles Darwin first stepped on in the Archipelago! Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.
Isla Lobos is named after its large colony of sea lions (also called “lobos”, or wolves in Spanish). Usually visitors may have close encounters with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. However, this small islet offers much more including blue footed boobies, frigates and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: the Fur Sea Lion. Difficulty level: Easy.


DAY 6, THURSDAY

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station you will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands‟ namesake. Difficulty level: Easy
After the visit we drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

DAY 7, FRIDAY

ESPAÑOLA ISLAND

Punta Suárez is one of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos. Due to its isolation from other islands, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. A few steps inland from the landing site, groups of Española marine iguanas bask in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail, Galapagos doves peck around unaware of visitors and finches go about their day to day business. The trail continues towards a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air like a geyser. The cracks in the cliffs are home to swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find waved albatrosses nesting. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. They perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world. Difficulty level: Difficult
Gardner Bay offers the chance to enjoy a wonderful white sandy beach. It is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions, and it is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Throughout the afternoon there are opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Difficulty level: Easy


DAY 8, SATURDAY

DAPHNE ISLAND & DEPARTURE

Daphne Major is located between Santa Cruz and Santiago Islands and is a spectacular bird-watching as well as scientific research site. A select handful of scientists have long studied bird life on these islands, especially Darwin‟s finches.
Your guide will point out the bird-life as well as explain some of the important research carried out on the islands from the vantage point of the yacht‟s deck, as visitors are not allowed to walk on these islands due to their very fragile nature. Difficulty level: Easy.

DAY 1, SATURDAY

ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS

Mosquera Islet: This tiny islet is actually home to a huge population of sea lions and is also home to many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Difficulty level: Easy

DAY 2, SUNDAY

SANTIAGO & BARTOLOME ISLANDS

Sullivan Bay is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows, and unique geological scenery. Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful, so pay particular interest to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo” as well as the lava cactus. Difficulty level: Moderate

Bartolome is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Usual fauna and flora also includes sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays and colorful reef fish. Difficulty Level: Moderate. Walk up 375 low-grade stairs to top of volcano at a slow to moderate pace.

DAY 3, MONDAY

Isabela Island

Urbina Bay is located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. After landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Be on the lookout for wild Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation. Difficulty level: Moderate

Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake.
The brisk “power-hike” is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales. Difficulty level: Easy to Difficult (panga ride is easy; hike up to lake can be strenuous for some)


DAY 4, TUESDAY

FERNANDINA & ISABELA ISLANDS

Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine ecosystems in the entire world and also one of the most dynamic. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009, and also dominates the landscape, with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk. Difficulty level: Moderate

Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. For those
who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

DAY 5, WEDNESDAY

SANTIAGO ISLAND

Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen.
After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks. Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate.

The Espumilla Beach visitor site is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, beach and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles. Difficulty level: Easy


DAY 6, THURSDAY

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station you will gain insight into the great efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake.
After the visit we drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tort

DAY 7, FRIDAY

GENOVESA ISLAND

Genovesa, or Tower Island, is the northernmost island that is allowed to be visited by naturalist (non-diving) cruises. This island is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species including the red footed booby as well as frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and even endemic owls! There are two sites on Genovesa that are visited by the M.C. Athala.

El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock which leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and petrels. With some luck, you may spot a short-eared lava owl. Difficulty level: Moderate.
Darwin Bay’s soft, coralline white sand is only the beginning of a spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red footed boobies nest. Other locals include sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigates and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays and sea turtles are common. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.


DAY 8, SATURDAY

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND & DEPARTURE

North Seymour may very well be the perfect way to say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands. Although the island is characterized by arid vegetation, fauna abounds and you will soon find yourself surrounded by frigates, blue footed boobies, land iguanas and more. Difficulty level: Moderate.


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La Primavera, Cumbayá - Quito - Ecuador
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E-mail: info@eqt.travel

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Email: akarolys@eqt.travel
Telephone: 593 9 99333698
Skype: andres.equatortrekking

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