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Galapagos Islands - Cachalote Explorer (Itinerary A)

10 days
Activity level:
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Small Ship Cruises
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:

Sail around the Galapagos Islands by motor yacht

The extraordinary archipelago of the Galapagos left a lasting impression on Darwin and is likely to do the same for you. An enchanted world: characterised by stark lava fields, cactus forests, volcanic craters, mangrove lagoons and turquoise waters. Step over snoozing Sea lions, watch the courting rituals of Blue-footed boobies or snorkel with turtles, sharks and rays.


  • Seven nights aboard a motor yacht exploring the Galapagos Islands
  • Incredible wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities with near-tame animals
  • Snorkel with iridescent fish, playful Sea lions and turtles 
  • Fantastic on-board service with experienced naturalist guide 
  • Small group - a maximum of 16 clients on board 

Key information

  • Travel by internal flight, motor yacht and minibus
  • 7 nights on board a motor yacht in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, 2 nights comfortable hotel 
  • Napo Wildlife Centre extension available after Galapagos Cruise
  • Countries visited: Ecuador

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) available free of charge on board
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Compulsory Galapagos taxes USD120, paid locally
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • Guides and other staff are local to the area, providing local employment and economy benefits.
  • Although much of this tour is spent on board the boat or in nature, wherever the opportunity arises clients are encouraged to use local businesses and to engage with people they meet in order to promote positive cultural exchange.  


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • The Cachalote Explorer is an environmental conscious vessel that is equipped with a wastewater treatment plant to ensure that no residue goes into the sea. There are tight regulations in place to prevent ecological damage such as: restricting use of electrical products, use of biodegradable products (like shampoo, detergent, soap), recycling of contaminants (oil and fuel) which are sent back to the mainland for disposal and water treatment.
  • We visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island after driving to the highlands to look for wild tortoises. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the ecology of the islands and carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Our entry fees help contribute to all the work going on here by improving demand, facilities and creating employment opportunities for scientists. 
  • We are also careful to adhere to National Park guidelines, which, amongst other things, ask that we keep a safe distance from wildlife at all times.
  • Our Animal Welfare Policy ensures all our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regards to working animals and wildlife viewing.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Through our Planet Promise, we have pledged to halve the carbon footprint of our trips by 2030 and made rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
    • Vegetarian options are available on the Cachalote as well as at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.


  • Day 1

    Start Quito

    Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. A local guide will welcome you to Quito and explain the schedule for the next few days.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Discover Quito at your leisure

    Today is free to relax, recover from the flight and explore the fascinating city of Quito. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, standing at 2,850m on the western cordillera of the Andes. It is one of the smaller and more attractive of the colonial capitals of South America. Because of the altitude visitors to Quito are advised to take it easy at first.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Galapagos. Visit Santa Cruz highlands and Charles Darwin Centre. Embarkation

    Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. We take a short ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island where we drive to the highlands to look for Galapagos giant tortoises. This afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Centre to learn about the ecology of the islands and visit the centre's tortoise hatchery. After this we board our boat at Puerto Ayora, the island's main town. As we may not be able to easily access our luggage from arrival at Baltra until this evening, please make sure that you bring your camera, sun cream and appropriate clothing: comfortable footwear for some short walks (possibly amongst grass), light clothes, a hat/cap and a light waterproof in case of a shower or mist.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Plaza Island & Santa Fe

    Walk on tiny Plaza Island to see a cactus forest, land iguanas and seabirds, then cruise to the white sand beaches of Santa Fe.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    San Cristobal Island

    A day at San Cristobal Island: the white sand beach, Blue-footed boobies and old cone of Cerro Brujo, Galapagos giant tortoise at Galapaguera and crystal clear waters around the striking spear of Kicker Rock.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Espanola Island & Punta Suarez

    Swim with Sea lions and Marine iguanas at the paradisiacal beach at Gardener Bay on Espanola Island. In the afternoon, walk amongst Nazca and Blue-footed boobies and nesting Waved Albatross (in season) next to pounding surf at Punta Suarez.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Floreana Island

    At Floreana Island snorkel in the spectacular sunken crater of Devil's Crown amongst thousands of fish. We visit the lagoon at Punta Cormorant (often with flamingos) and Post Office Bay, the mailbox used by 18th Century whalers.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Dragon Hill & Sullivan Bay

    To Dragon Hill, a nesting site for land iguanas with a large lagoon; dramatic Sullivan Bay with a walk on a huge lava flow only 100 years old before swimming from the beach in crystal clear waters.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Genovesa Island

    Less-visited Genovesa Island is home to an abundance of Red-footed boobies, Fur seals, Storm petrels and Short-eared owls. Here, we look for tropicbirds at Prince Philip Steps before snorkelling, whilst at Darwin Bay, Galapagos mockingbirds can usually be seen.

    Accommodation: Cachalote Explorer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Fly to Guayaquil; end Guayaquil.

    We explore the mangroves of Turtle Cove at dawn watching turtles rising for air whilst rays swim in the water and herons can be seen fishing from the trees.

    After a late breakfast we disembark for the journey back to Baltra to transfer to the airport and fly back to the mainland. We fly to Guayaquil airport where it's possible to connect with international flights this evening from 6pm onwards. Alternatively, you can extend your stay for a few extra nights or join the Napo Wildlife Centre Extension (which starts in Quito). Land only clients may prefer to organise post-tour accommodation for the night in Guayaquil and organise their international flights for the following day.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Ecuador you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners included.

On board meals are plentiful with a wide choice of international and local cuisine. Breakfasts will usually consist of cheese, meats, eggs, cereal, toasts, yoghurts, and fruits. Snacks are provided mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and for lunches and dinner soup usually precedes the main course.

Alcoholic drinks are available on board (approx. USD4 per beer, USD32.50 for a bottle of wine, around US10 for selected cocktails) and the crew request that you do not bring your own alcohol with you. Drinking water, tea, coffee and juice is freely available at no additional charge.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.


In Quito and the highlands, it should be warm by day and generally dry. Maximum daytime temperatures are almost constant throughout the year at 20ºC, nights 8ºC. Some rain can be expected in February to May and October to November but storms, though heavy, are generally short, and Quito is considered to have quite a pleasant climate.

It is possible to visit the Galapagos at any time of year, but seasonal variations do affect what you see and there are climatic changes to be aware of. The weather is controlled by the two main ocean currents of the region, the Humboldt, bringing cold water from the Antarctic, and El Nino, which brings tropical water from the Gulf of Panama. How close to Galapagos they converge (which varies from year to year) is the key to the weather.

'Dry season'

Generally speaking, late May to early December is the cooler 'dry' season. In this period it is not necessarily dry, as there is a persistent light mist (garua) and often light drizzle, and the higher mountain slopes are covered in cloud and fog or rain. At this time the winds are in the southeast and are higher than at other times, so seas can sometimes be choppy, and anyone worried about seasickness might be better advised to avoid it. Daytime maximum temperatures lie between 27ºC and 31ºC, the cooler months being July to November. In July and August, the fairly strong winds introduce a chill factor, and it can feel quite cold at nights, though throughout the year the official night temperatures vary between 19ºC and 24ºC.

'Wet season'

Depending on how close the convergence of the two currents comes to Galapagos, there may or may not be a wet season from January to April or May. Approximately every seven years the El Nino current actually hits the islands and there will be heavy rains in these months. In other years rain usually falls sporadically from otherwise clear skies. The ocean temperatures are higher, with generally calm seas and strong sunshine: pleasant, but potentially very hot. Apart from an El Nino year, the weather is usually better from December/January to April/May than at other times even if there is some rain, and most people would regard these months as the best time to go.

There are plenty of wildlife highlights throughout the year:

January: Nesting land birds; Green sea turtles arrive to lay eggs on the islands beaches; land iguana’s start breeding on Isabela.
February: Nesting Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz; Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana. 
March: The bright red throat pouches of frigatebirds are inflated during mating season on Genovesa and San Cristobal. 
April: Huge numbers of Waved albatross on Española displaying courtship rituals; eggs of Green sea turtles begin to hatch; land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela. 
May: Courtship of Blue-footed boobies begins on North Seymour; Waved albatross on Española start laying eggs. 
June: Giant tortoises migrate to the lowlands and start nesting; migrating birds stop in the Galapagos to rest; migrating Humpback whales can often be seen around the western islands. 
July: Dolphins and whales are more likely to be seen around the western islands; Blue-footed boobies on Española start breeding. 
August: Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa Island; Sea lions start giving birth to pups. 
September: Penguins seen in the water when snorkelling around Bartolome. 
October: Galapagos Fur seals start mating; Blue-footed boobies start raising chicks. 
November: Curious Sea lion pups found in the water amongst snorkelers. 
December: Mating Green sea turtles; Waved albatross chicks fledge.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 5.

This trip is great for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history or geology. Though you do not need to be particularly fit, you should note that due to the volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands there will be some walking on rough ground and sharp volcanic rocks. The ability to withstand high temperatures and to swim will maximize your enjoyment. Due to local regulations in the Galapagos, we have specific time slots for making our landings and site visits. There is usually very little disruption to the schedule, but this can mean little room for deviation in the event of poor weather or other circumstances.

In the Galapagos, each day will feature a mixture of walking, snorkelling, and exploring the islands by boat. To get closer to the designated landing sites on each of the islands we disembark into small pangas (motorised dinghys). Landings on the islands are divided into two types - wet and dry. For dry landings, the panga will take you right up to a landing stage or rocky outcrop where you can disembark without getting wet. However, in some places where there is no landing stage the panga will stop close to a beach, and you will be expected to walk through shallow water (generally no more than ankle-deep) to the shore. The leader will always advise conditions prior to leaving and it is possible to skip any particular excursion if you would rather relax on board the boat.

There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling in the Galapagos and this is one of the best ways to experience the marine life. A mask and snorkel will reveal an exciting underwater world with Sea lions, rays, turtles, Marine iguanas and a colourful array of fish. On most days of the itinerary there will be one or two snorkelling sessions.  Snorkelling in the Galapagos does not require any special skills, however, at times you will be snorkelling in open water where there are fairly strong currents. Before going into the water, the guide will evaluate the strength of the currents and the general condition of the sea to make sure they are right for this to be a safe and enjoyable activity. The dinghy will remain very close at all times; if you get tired or feel like coming out of the water you only have to raise your arm and they will come to pick you up so you can rest for a while before going back in or stay in the dinghy until it is time to return to the boat. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, fins, and masks) is provided, however, is advisable to wear a wetsuit which not only protects you from the cold but also makes floating much easier without as much effort.

We offer this Galapagos cruise in conjunction with our Ecuadorian partners, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than Exodus' minimum age for this trip.


Please see our COVID Travel Guide for Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands) for more information on current guidelines for travel in Ecuador.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels & Motor Yacht

7 nights on board a motor yacht the Cachalote Explorer, in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, and 2 nights comfortable hotel.

Single rooms can be arranged for a supplement for the two hotel nights in Quito, subject to availability – please enquire at the time of booking. Unfortunately, we cannot offer single cabins on board the boat in the Galapagos, and you will be paired up with another traveller of the same sex for the 7 nights on board.


Cachalote Explorer

Originally a fishing boat, this large and spacious First-Class Motor vessel was converted to accommodate passengers and re-named The Cachalote Explorer, undergoing a major re-fit in 2018. Accommodating 16 guests in eight comfortable double/twin cabins, all but two of which are on the lower deck. All cabins are airconditioned with en suite bathrooms.


Cachalote Explorer Cabin

Cachalote Explorer Lounge/Dining Area

Cachalote Explorer Outside Seating Area


  • 6 twin cabins with 1 single upper bed and 1 double lower bed
  • 2 cabins with one double bed
  • All cabins air conditioned and en suite
  • 2 cabins located on the upper deck and 6 cabins on the lower deck



Cachalote Explorer Upper Deck

Cachalote Explorer Main Deck

Cachalote Explorer Lower Deck


Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Maria Simovic

    Amazing Trip

    An absolutely amazing trip!! The islands were beyond words - truly amazing. All other aspects where great - from the Mauricio (the tour guide), the crew on the boat and the boat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The islands and seeing animals in their natural habitat both on land and in the sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mauricio was great - very knowledgeable and friendly.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Cassy McGuinness

    Everything was first class but the boat

    We toured the Galápagos Islands for 7 days. We saw so many unique animals. The trip really made me realize how completely special the Galápagos Islands are. Riss, our guide, was a Galapaguano and was proud of his heritage. He had excellent knowledge of the wildlife we saw, the history of Darwin and the researchers who came after him and the forces which brought the islands into being.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sea turtles and the white tipped reef shark. Also walking on the recently-140 year old lava. Watching the mating rituals of the frigate birds and the boobies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Please see the summary. He was excellent in every way, Knowledgeable, patient, flexible, excellent English.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Apply sun screen 15 minutes before leaving, use zinc oxide sunscreen as it is less damaging to the wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our crew and the food were first class. The ship was not. It was a replacement for a ship which was sunk in dry dock and was noisy with diesel fumes. I realize Exodus offered us a chance to rebook but we had made our air arrangements by then. Exodus does not offer airfare from the US. I think we should be offered some compensation for the inferior ship. As noted in my evaluation, I found a roach in the bathroom. Our toilet leaked and required emergency repairs.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Cassy for her feedback. We are pleased that she enjoyed her trip overall, but we are sorry that she was disappointed with the Astrea, which replaced the original vessel, the M/Y Cachalote, after it suffered irreparable damage prior to this trip. Following the feedback we have received, I can confirm that we will not be using the Astrea for any future departures.

    Sarah Ahern – Product Manager for the Galapagos

  • Reviewed April 2016
    Roger Tiffin

    Galapagos Islands

    We travelled on the "A" itinerary. An excellent holiday, above our expectations. The boat (Cachalote), guide and the crew were superb. The chef was innovative and produced fantastic meals. The wildlife was extremely varied and very accessible on the walks and snorkeling sessions. All in all a very professional and well organised trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkeling close up with sea lions, turtles and rays. Turquoise seas and deserted beaches. Wildlife round every corner - iguanas, giant tortoises, albatross, boobies, frigate birds and pelicans. Walking on the most recent lava flows. Travelling with the sails up.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Billy' was a very personable guide. His knowledge was encyclopedic. He lives on the Islands, knows them very well, is very willing to share his information, answer questions, and seems to know how to avoid the few other tourist groups we came across. We could not fault him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light. You don't need much on the boat. It's warm/hot and T shirts/shorts are the order of the day. The coldest bit was the air conditioning on board! The sun is almost overhead so hat and long sleeves are a good idea. Good firm soled walking shoes/boots are essential due to the rough nature of the lava terrain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We loved the boat. It is beautifully maintained, polished wood everywhere inside, and scrubbed decks outside. Obviously well loved. We were very sorry to have to leave at the end of the holiday.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Deborah Smith

    Galapagos - March 2016

    The wildlife was amazing,especially the snorkelling where we got to see penguins,white tipped reef sharks,green turtles,eagle rays and numerous colourful fish and rays. The crew of the cachalote and guide Christina were all very good and the food was great The only gripe i have,is that exodus flew us to quito on the return journey where we had anight in quito and flew home the next day.we left the ship early and our return flight from galapagos stopped at guayaquil before going on to quito. most passengers got out at guayaquil and connected to flights home that day, but we went on to quito,only to board a plane the next day that stopped at guayaquil,where we had to get off the plane for an hour and then fly back in the direction quito for amsterdam! this resulted in at least one days wasted holiday day,extra flight time and the price of meals and accommodation at quito.Suggest in future,passengers fly into quito at start hol and then fly home via guayaquil.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    snorkelling with apenguin chasing fish next to me. the penguin then swam under my legs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    group leader was very good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    take a neckerchief and sun hat,the sun is very hot. wear t shirt snorkelling so don't burn Mke sure you know how to stop the flash going off on your camera,since use flash is not allowed

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip,but would have been better if flew into Quito at start hol so can enjoy rainforest, but fly home from guayaquil

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We are glad that Deborah found the wildlife to be amazing during her trip, but we are sorry that she was disappointed with the flight arrangements during her inbound journey. We appreciate that there is a significant amount of travel involved in getting to and from the Galapagos Islands and we endeavour to forewarn clients of this in our trip notes. We start and end our Galapagos tours in Quito as this gives more airline options to clients booking their own flights and gives all clients greater flexibility in terms of accommodation choices, extensions and onward travel plans. It can also be cheaper and easier to book international flights which fly into and out of the same destination (i.e. flying in and out of Quito rather than flying into Quito and out of Guayaquil), but we appreciate that touching down in Guayaquil on numerous occasions can be frustrating. It is a situation we are aware of and are considering all of the available options, but at the moment we do not feel there is a clear solution which could be implemented across the board to improve all our clients’ experiences.

    Vicky Boughton - product manager for the Galapagos

  • Reviewed October 2015
    Ann Bennett

    Galapagos Wildlife

    Well, what can I say? Everyone will tell you how you get to the animals and birds in the Galapagos; but you really do! Watch your feet or you could trip over sea lions or iguanas. Not to mention stepping on the gulls or boobies. One of our party had a red footed boobie land on her hand. Another had a sea lion sniff his toes! Everywhere you look there is another creature. Mockingbirds insisting that they have their picture taken. Sea birds swooping low overhead. A truly AMAZING place. And snorkelling; so close to the wonderful aquatic life. Feeling like sea lions yourself due to the wet suits.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming above a turtle; the penguin that swam back and forth in front of me, then under my belly; the fur sea lion that I swam with on my last snorkel experience. All WOW factors. Watching the frigate birds swooping down to steal fish from the other birds and sea lions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was a truly wonderful, inspirational leader. Flora and fauna, lava flows, topography; he knew it all and imparted his knowledge with a lovely sense of humour too. Always encouraging, always helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would say you need a good level of fitness; some of the walks are a little "challenging", either tough going or steep drops at times. And getting in and out of the panga could be interesting when the sea is rough. There was a supply of sea sickness tablets available on board; they worked very well, apparently. Cabins are small but adequate. Don't take too many clothes; no one dresses up and you can wash what you take. And the wet suits are well worth hiring. Recharging points available, but take lots of memory on your cards as you will need it. We only had one chance to shop, on San Cristobal, for around half hour. Otherwise, it's Baltra Airport.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go! Even if it takes a while to save up for this trip, do it.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Winnie Dhaliwal

    Galapagos trip

    The Cachelote sail boat and crew were magnificent! Our guide Juan was incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The itinerary is excellent as it really takes in the diversity of each of the islands and the amazing wildlife. The hotel in Quito (Hotel Vieja Cuba) and the staff were also excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing such close encounters with the wildlife - really thrilling!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gloria was our group leader on the mainland and Juan was our leader on the islands. Both were helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. Couldn't ask for more.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of SD cards, sunscreen, insect repellent. If you have your own snorkelling gear, take that too. After dark, take taxis in Quito - the hotel staff will help you do this.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A brilliant holiday which I would highly recommend. Can't wait to go back and do the Western islands!
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Christopher Dawson

    Galapagos on the Cachalote

    We spent two weeks on the Cachalote exploring the many islands of the Galapagos. Overall, the trip was very good with a couple of exceptions. 1. We had one afternoon in a town with nothing to do except sit in a bar - we were told we could swim in the sea, but it was very rough. (According to the trip notes, we could have visited a Giant tortoise breeding centre, but we were not given that option). 2. On the changeover day (between itineraries) we had to waste a few hours in Puerta Ayora. However, we did expect this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife! Getting so close to the birds and reptiles was amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was excellent - his knowledge was extensive. The chef was also excellent, producing good quality food despite the tiny kitchen. The rest of the crew on the boat were not so good - very little English was spoken and they were more interested in watching football (we were there when the Copa America was on) than attending to the needs of the guests

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When taking into account the advice to pack light for the Cachalote, put out everything you think you need and then leave most of it at home. The rooms are **VERY** compact. We had a small amount of space under the bunk beds, a couple of small shelves and a few hangers on the back of the door. Also be prepared to leave everything on the floor if the sea is rough (only occasionally) as everything ends up there anyway.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't bother packing any shower gel or shampoo as environmentally friendly products are provided.
  • Reviewed April 2015

    Galapagos Cachalote tour

    The reality of this tour far exceeded my expectations. I elected to fly with KLM from UK. No great shakes but it was OK. The representatives who dealt with my Quito arrangements were helpful, knowledgeable and on time, greeting me on arrival and handling all arrangements of my transfer to the hotel and eventually to the Galapagos. Monserrat even obtained my TAME boarding pass for me. Gloria was a mine of information on my visit to Quito which I extended by one day. The new road from airport to hotel allows a 45 minute transfer time. The hotel Viejacuba was quaint and clean. Helpful staff always on hand, however, the promised early breakfast on the morning of my Galapagos departure did not materialise. Christina, my guide met me at Baltra airport. What a gem. At 24yrs she was an encyclopedia of local knowledge on all aspects. Fauna, flora, geology. Couple this with her customer care and enthusiasm, take my tip, tip her well. The Cachalote although not luxury, is first class. Helpful crew and good wholesome and plentiful food.(How did Pedro, the chef, perform so well?) The cabins are miniscule and, although I was lucky enough not to share, two people sharing would have to be very considerate to one another and arrange a dressing, washing and toiletry rota. Again, the crew were well worth a generous tip. The weather was hot without being unpleasantly so and, apart from a T shirt to protect from the sun, only shorts were required to swim in. Now, about the wildlife. Well, this is why I went. It is so fearless you have to take great not to bump into it, tread on it or disturb it. It is in abundance and Christina's information was boundless. Resist the temptation to touch. I came home tired but feeling totally satisfied that what I had done could not be bettered.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It had to be the wildlife, after all, that is why I went but was all the more appreciated by the knowledge and information our guide imparted.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Words fail me. Christina was superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mulling it over ? Just get up and go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I referred to it as a trip of a lifetime. Not if I can help it! Wanna go again.
  • Reviewed November 2014

    Galapagos trip

    If you enjoy watching wildlife - go!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cannot swim so snorkelling was something I thought I would never do - wrong!! The group leader guided me, for which I was really grateful. Never thought I would be able to say I had snorkelled with Penguins, sea lions, turtles, iguanas, sting rays, gorgeous fish and sharks!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - his knowledge was superb it really enhanced the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go - do not worry, easy walking and brilliant once in a lifetime experience (unless decide to go again!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it!
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Margaret Baker

    Galápagos Islands aboard the Cachalote yacht

    This is a most amazing trip for wildlife enthusiasts. I had never been so close to wildlife that was so indifferent to our presence. We were merely another non threatening species and as such were not to be feared or shunned, simply accepted. To see the bird and animal life living and behaving so naturally was a real privilege.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights it would be difficult to choose; the blue footed boobies' mating rituals, the waved albatross sheltering its chick on a nest, the frigate birds v. red billed tropic birds in aerial combat, the suckling sea lions, the iguanas piled high as if tipped out of a bag onto the rocks and ....... I could go on for a long time. Snorkelling as incredible, the sharks, turtles, rays and fish almost within touching distance-so were the rocks and sea bed but great fun and help at hand at all times.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader David was very knowledgeable about the Islands and the wildlife and a good 'people person' who interacted well with all of us with humour and care.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes were good but perhaps it should be mentioned that the Cachalote is a very small boat and the ocean is a very big one! As a result the boat was noisy and when sailing the engine was even noisier and appeared to be behind the wall in every cabin. The sailing could be very rough at times and sleep didn't always come easily. Things had to be battened down carefully one night as we were tossed around a lot. Having said that, it didn't bother me as it was all part of the experience but this is no smooth ocean going liner and some fellow passengers hadn't expected this. Don't let this put you off, it is only a week and actually a fun challenge to those of us with a warped sense of humour like me!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it. Trip of a lifetime :-)

Dates & Prices

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