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 Galapagos, with the most highly trained naturalist guides in the islands, and the lowest guide-to-traveler ratio
- Snorkel with sea lions, swim with turtles, sunbathe with iguanas, watch for whales and dolphins, and spend a night with wild tortoises at our private camp in the misty forest on Santa Cruz
- You'll also enjoy a 2-night stay at a historic colonial hacienda in the Andean Highlands—the perfect cultural and geographic complement to your Galapagos adventure
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 chartered 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!
- The Best Choice of Vessels
We take great care and pride in selecting only the best small ships for our Galapagos adventures. With a range of styles and price-points, from ultra-luxurious to classic and comfortable, our hand-picked fleet offers our guests a gracious and intimate experience on every vessel. And you'll travel only with a small number of other Nat Hab guests.
- 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 (Tower Island) in the far north, which is 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 on Santa Cruz is Included
Unique to our itinerary alone is an optional overnight at our exclusive Tortoise 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. Reminiscent of an African safari camp, accommodations are in raised canvas tents and treehouses, surrounded by nature.
- See More of Ecuador with a 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 2-night stay at an authentic colonial hacienda 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 trip—inquire with an Adventure Specialist for details.
- Look for Spectacled Bears & See Andean Condors on Select Hacienda Zuleta Departures
Guests who choose certain departures aboard the Origin and Athala II will enjoy a stay at Hacienda Zuleta, 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 hacienda also produces handmade cheeses, yogurt and cream from its herd of dairy cows, as well as organic produce from its extensive gardens. A stay at Zuleta is sure to include excellent cuisine, among a host of noteworthy experiences.
- 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.