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2022 Galapagos Cruise M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz

2022 Galapagos Cruise M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz

DATES:

Start:     Quito, Ecuador:     Tues 15th March, 2022

End:       Quito, Ecuador:     Thurs 24th March, 2022

i) Standard Cabin Twin/Double Share:   AU$ 9,990pp           3 AVAILABLE

ii) Upper Deck Junior Balcony:                AU$10,590pp          2 AVAILABLE

iii) Upper Deck DeluxeBalcony:               AU$10,890pp          2 AVAILABLE

*contact us for solo cabin availability pricing

SHIP DETAILS

Welcome aboard the beautiful M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz!

Experience the ‘Enchanted Islands’ in the newly (2018) custom-built yacht, the Grand Queen Beatriz. Custom built, with a stylish modern design, ensuite bathrooms, outward-facing windows in all cabins (and private balconies in some), and a jacuzzi on the sundeck, the ‘Grand Queen Bea’ will be one of the newest boats operating in the Galapagos.

BOAT FEATURES

Classification:      Motor Yacht               Total Number of Passengers:     16

Total Number of Crew:   8                       Passenger to Crew Ratio:          2:1

Guide:            1 Multilingual Naturalist Guide

Facilities:       Indoor/Outdoor Dining, Indoor/Outdoor bar, Sun-deck and spa, TV/Lounge

Equipment:    Snorkelling equipment, wetsuits, beach towels, hair dryer

Accessibility:  Stairs between levels, no elevator

Technical Specifications:  

Length:                30.2m                                    Decks:             3

Year Built:           2018, Ecuador                       Top Speed:     12 knots

Cruise Speed:     10 knots                                 Electricity:      110V

Life Rafts:            2 of 20pax each                    Zodiacs:          2

Safety:                 ISM, SMC, ISSC, IOPP, DOC

ITINERARY

DAY 1: Start Quito

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 meters, under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned for this day. On arrival to Quito´s airport you’ll be taken from the airport to our hotel.

Settle in and rest up, then meet your QVH Host and tour leader for a welcome briefing and drink before a free evening to relax before our flight to the Galapagos tomorrow!

DAY 2: Galapagos Flight and Cruise Isla Baltra and Isla Santa Cruz

This morning we’ll be transferred to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands! Please note the pick-up time will usually be as early as 4.30 am (a boxed breakfast will be provided), as the airport is a one-hour drive away and we must allow for delays and check-in times. (Our tour leader will confirm this time with us at the welcome meeting on Day 1). The flight to the Galapagos will make one stop in Guayaquil to pick up other passengers. (Total flight time is about 3.5 hours). On arrival in the Galapagos, we’ll be met in the arrival hall of the airport (look out for ‘Grand Queen Beatriz’ signs) by a transfer guide and transferred to our motor yacht – ‘M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz’, anchored on the other side of Santa Cruz Island. Our transfer guide will take us on an airport public bus for a short distance (5 minute drive) to where we board a public ferry across the Itabaca Channel which takes only 7 minutes. Once we reach Isls Santa Cruz, we board a private bus for a 45-minute drive to Puerto Ayora, the main port of the island. Here, there’ll be two dinghies to transport us all to the beautiful M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz. Once on board, cabins will be assigned and we’ll get to meet our crew members and get to know our naturalist guide whilst enjoying a delicious lunch. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. We visit here after our lunch on board. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers an opportunity to see giant tortoises. Here, we will also observe baby tortoises and land iguanas!

DAY 3: Isla Santa Fe and Isla Plaza Sur

Santa Fe is home to many sea lions and these ones are very eager for swimming partners! It’s a lovely place to take a dip, offers a dense concentration of wildlife, and is a fantastic place to see many of the stars of the Galapagos in one relatively small area. Expect to see Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island as well with one of the most attractive coves in the archipelago and the jade-green waters are ideal for snorkelling. A trail follows the coast into the opuntia forest, where you see Santa Fe’s trees – the largest in the Galapagos. The island is also home to a unique sub-species of land iguanas. Hiking towards the cliffs on Santa Fe will lead us to a forest of prickly pear cactus. A member of the cactus family, their name comes from the pear-shaped fruit the plant produces. Santa Fe is home to endemic land iguanas. A small island, Plaza Sur is nonetheless a place of great beauty, where we will get close to sea lions and on to trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, resting amid cacti and volcanic landscapes coloured bright red and green by sesuvium. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are an excellent place to spot tropical birds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as the ‘Gentlemen’s Club’, a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be beachmasters!

DAY 4: Isla Espanola, Bahía Gardner and Punta Suarez

After an overnight night sail we wake up on the island of Espanola – the southernmost island of the Galapagos and one of the most spectacular. Because of its remote location, this island has a large population of endemic fauna. It is the breeding site for nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses and also home to colonies of blue-footed and masked boobies. Trails from the golden beaches, where sea lions bathe and marine iguanas make their way towards the water, will lead us right through the middle of booby colonies, and Galapagos doves and mockingbirds are also often seen. We’ll also visit the beautiful white sandy beaches at Bahia Gardner, which are great places for swimming and relaxing. The rocks off the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities, with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish, including surgeon and angelfish, often seen. The small white-tipped reef sharks are also often spotted resting under the rocks. We will also pay a visit to Punta Suarez, one of the most attractive locations in the Galapagos and home to large and varied wildlife population – a walk along its trails will take you to a cliff top viewpoint, where we’ll gain a magical panorama. Boobies line the rocky shoreline beneath us, while frigate birds may be seen overhead; nearby enormous male sea lions can be seen lounging and albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, helping become airborne by the southeast winds that blow across this part of the island. If we’re lucky we’ll see the elaborate courtship rituals performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate! Stop at Bahia Gardner (Gardner Bay), which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands and full of sea lions and hood mockingbirds. Enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling which could be great for playing with sea lion pups and lots of fish. The rocks off the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities, with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish, including surgeon and angelfish, often seen. The small white-tipped reef sharks are also often spotted resting under the rocks.

DAY 5: Isla San Cristobal, Leon Dormido, Isla Lobos and Punta Pitt

This morning we visit Punta Pitt on the eastern end of San Cristobal Island. Walk to the top of the volcanic hill for expansive views of the sparsely vegetated area. A variety of seabirds nest here, including blue-footed boobies and frigates. On a Zodiac ride we can observe the three varieties of boobies nesting in the Galapagos and enjoy a snorkel from the beach. Close by we’ll pass through Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), the magnificent basalt remains of a crater in the middle of the sea, the shape resembles a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 metres above the surface and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. We’ll cruise through the channel with nesting seabirds on either side of the boat, tropic birds overhead, marine iguanas in the water and many sea lions present including many resting on the rocks. Snorkelling gives us the opportunity to see Galapagos sharks, and possibly a hammerhead shark among sea turtles and an incredible biodiversity of invertebrates on the rock wall. We will also visit Isla Lobos, a tiny island almost touching San Cristobal Island. This is the perfect time to witness the always friendly sea lions as they play in the calm shallow waters here. Blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and marine iguanas are also easily seen.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Pitt to Kicker Rock (San Cristobal): 2.5 hours (27 nautical miles)
Kicker Rock to Isla Lobos: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Isla Lobos to Puerto Baquerizo (San Cristobal): 1 hour (5 nautical miles)

Day 6: Isla San Cristobal

Visit San Cristobal Interpretation Center in the morning. This centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos, and the reality of the problems the islands face today is also explored. Enjoy some free time for shopping before going on board for lunch. This afternoon we’ll travel into the interior of the island (approx. 45 mins bus ride) to visit the highlands site of ‘Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado’ (Red Hill) where the national park has established a breeding program and information centre for tortoises. Here, we will be able to see giant tortoises and learn all about their origin, evolution and their threatened future. We sail to Isla Bartolome overnight.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Baquerizo (San Cristobal) to Bartolome: 8 hours (70 nautical miles)

DAY 7: Bartolome and Bahia Sullivan

Bartolome is one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the Galapagos, full of parasitic spatter cones, lava flows, Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. It’s a relatively new island in the archipelago and traces of its volcanic past can be seen everywhere, as evidenced by the amazing lunar-like landscape. The Pinnacle Rock is one of the most photographed sites in the Galapagos – an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, while nearby two golden bays back onto each other. We can hike to the top of a once-active volcano here (360 wooden steps), and enjoy superb views across to Bahia Sullivan on nearby Santiago Island. If we’re in luck we might catch a glance of the Galapagos Hawk here. We also have the opportunity to go snorkelling with plenty of tropical fish, starfish, white-tipped reef sharks, rays and hopefully penguins. On Santiago’s eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan, also known as James Island. Here we walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava, from an eruption that occurred in 1897, and witness the colonisation of plant species since the last eruption. Hopefully see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins. On a walk, our guide will explain the geological history of the islands.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bartolome to Isla Santiago (Bahia Sullivan): 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Isla Santiago(Bahia Sullivan) to Espumilla Beach: 3 hours (25 nautical miles)

DAY 8: Isla Santiago, Espumilla Beach, Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas

Today we’ll visit some wonderful places. Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, is one of the most idyllic locations in the Galapagos Islands and is an important nesting site for marine turtles. With large waves, it’s also often a favourite amongst beach lovers. Potentially we will see Galapagos hawks up close, ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish) and brown pelicans. It is also well known for its palo santo forest and some extraordinary lava formations. We will also visit Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove), a natural monument of rocks caused by sea erosion. This cove was used by pirates to careen their ships. It is a place of local legends and stories! It is also where Darwin camped for nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are favourable, we can enjoy some further snorkelling. Puerto Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island. South of the beach is Sugarloaf Volcano, which has deposits of volcanic tuff. This site is named Puerto Egas, after Hector Egas who last attempted to mine salt here. The walk along the beach offers hundreds of marine iguanas and Galapagos sea lions. We’ll also see amazing tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. Snorkelling with the seals always offers the possibility of thrilling encounters.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Espumilla Beach to Bucaneer Cove: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Bucaneer Cove to Puerto Egas: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Puerto Egas to Puerto Ayora: 7 hours (60 nautical miles)

DAY 9: Isla Santa Cruz to Quito

As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid morning, it’s an early start for our last morning on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be limited. Our final excursion will be a visit to the Santa Cruz Highlands. We travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where we can see the Unique Scalesia cloud forest, get up close to the dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatchers. This is our final excursion before we return to the airport in Isla Baltra for our flight back to Quito. Sadly, we depart the lovely Grand Queen Beatriz today. Your tips to all crew and  cruise guide are included in your holiday price. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we’ll be transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay and time to share the adventures and amazing sights from the last nine days together!.

DAY 10: End Quito

Sadly, our Galapagos adventure ends this morning after your included breakfast.

Perhaps join us on an optional Quito City Tour with local guide or continue on with your holiday or get ready for the “Cuba Explorer” trip which will start in Havana in just a few days time! Best wishes and safe travels!

DEPARTURE

Cruise 1: Tuesday March 15th – March 24th, 2022 NEW

PRICING

From AU$9,990 per person twin share (Standard Cabin)

HOW TO BOOK

Please contact us directly at info@quovadisholidays.com or 1 800 722 311 (within Australia) or +61 1 800 722 311 to request a Booking Form or more details