Classic Galapagos: The Natural Habitat Experience
Our Exclusive Small-Group Nature Immersion Led by the Islands' Best Guides
Six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador, surrounded by open ocean, a volcanic archipelago straddles the equator. The Galapagos Islands, forged of black lava and named for the giant tortoises that are among its most noted inhabitants, are like nowhere else in the world. Home to a profuse array of wildlife, the islands offer an immersion in nature that feels primeval, where iguanas and penguins and blue-footed boobies share the beaches with us, unconcerned by our presence. Herman Melville called the Galapagos Las Islas Encantadas—
the 'Enchanted Isles'—an apt moniker for a realm that remains otherworldly, even today.
Choose between three intimate yachts: our classic M/Y Letty
, the ultra-deluxe M/C Athala II,
or the brand-new, state-of-the-art M/V Origin.
- Our flagship itinerary is simply the best week-long experience of the islands, with the most highly trained naturalist guides in the Galapagos
- Snorkel with sea lions, swim with turtles, sunbathe with iguanas, watch for whales and dolphins, and spend a night among wild tortoises at our private highlands camp
- With the lowest guide-to-traveler ratio in the islands, our guests are ensured personal encounters with the extraordinary nature and wildlife of the Galapagos
There are Big Differences in Galapagos Trips! Why Choose Us?
The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s premier nature travel destinations, and deservedly so: there may be no better place on the planet for close-up encounters with wildlife than this remote archipelago that’s home to an assortment of unique and gentle creatures. It’s thus essential to experience the Galapagos in a way that affords intimate interactions with wildlife, with personalized interpretation by top naturalists – something you don’t get with larger cruise ships and formal lectures, or less qualified guides. With Nat Hab, you’re assured a superior Galapagos nature adventure—here’s how:
- Small Groups Ensure Intimate Nature Encounters
With just 16 to 20 guests aboard our private yachts, and each departure led by two highly trained Natural Habitat Expedition Leaders, you'll explore the Galapagos in a small group with no more than 8 to 10 other travelers—it's the best guide-to-guest ratio in the islands!
- Private Chartered Yachts Keep Operations Within Our Control
Rather than sending you through a local ship owner who takes bookings from many sources, we run every element of our Galapagos trips—from meeting you on arrival in Quito through the chartering of our small ships to escorting you to the Quito airport for your homeward flight. Only by managing each step of our operations can we can ensure that your trip is superlative—and we don’t settle for less!
- Secluded Snorkeling Experiences
Snorkeling is the highlight for many Galapagos visitors. Inquisitive sea lions, graceful sea turtles, agile penguins and schools of vivid fish provide endless excitement in the islands’ clear waters. But it can be disappointing if you’re traveling aboard a larger vessel to find dozens of fellow snorkelers surrounding you, interfering with your experience. In our small groups accompanied by two Expedition Leaders, marine life is front and center, and you’re the sole audience.
- The Itinerary Makes a Difference
As WWF’s travel partner, we're privileged to have some of the world’s top wildlife biologists helping us develop our adventures. WWF is especially active in the Galapagos, and this itinerary has been arranged with their input, designed to provide our small groups with close-up wildlife viewing experiences in the most personalized manner possible. Most ships travel only to the southern or central islands, yet we also visit Genovesa in the far north (the only place we’ll see rare red-footed boobies) and Fernandina, an active volcano that's home to flightless cormorants, in the west.
- An Exclusive Stay at Our Private Camp in the Santa Cruz Highlands is Included!
Unique to our itinerary alone is an optional overnight at our exclusive "safari camp" in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, where wild tortoises roam freely over this remote parcel of private land overlooking the Pacific far below. Accommodations are in raised canvas tents and treehouses, surrounded by nature.
- See More of Ecuador with our Hacienda Stay in the Andean Highlands
Ecuador, though small in size, is one of the world's most geographically and culturally diverse countries. As a complement to your Galapagos immersion, we include a visit to the Andean highlands with a two-night stay at an authentic colonial hacienda, set amid lavish gardens, near the scenic mountain town of Otavalo. From here, we'll visit a local village or two for a rich introduction to a side of Ecudorian culture that's distinctly different from what you'll encounter in the islands. And for those who don't want to miss Quito's historic highlights, we can arrange an optional Quito city tour before or after your —tripinquire with an Adventure Specialist for details.
- Select Departures Stay at Hacienda Zuleta in Otavalo
Certain departures aboard the Origin and Athala II enjoy a stay at the Hacienda Zuleta, which is the top-ranked guest hacienda in Ecuador and also the best place to view wildlife in the region, including wild Andean condors and spectacled bears.
- The World's Finest Naturalist Guides
Natural Habitat Adventures is known worldwide for employing the highest-quality guides in the industry. Our group of elite Galapagos Expedition Leaders averages more than 15 years’ guiding experience each. Additionally, they receive training and resources from WWF’s world-renowned scientists. Our philosophy on this is pretty simple: A nature adventure is only as good as the guide, so we simply must provide the best! See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Galapagos Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee, clearly stating that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and on this adventure you can travel knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100% carbon-offset — Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
- Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel as well as the exceptional quality of our worldwide adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world's leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Galapagos travel books
for this trip.