Deron Shields: Kicker Rock Eric Rock: Hikers at South Plaza
Andrea Izzotti: Underwater sea lion
Fred Bennett: Woman photographing sea lion
Jessica Cardelucci: Red footed booby
Mario Rosero: NHA'sTortoise Camp
Emily Supernavage: Fun girl with sea lions
On Our Intimate Catamaran-Based Odyssey, Paddle with Marine Life for an Eye-Level View
The far-flung Galapagos archipelago is unique on Earth. Giant tortoises roam misty meadows. Sea lions loll, nonchalant, on pristine beaches. Iguanas bask on sun-baked lava while sea turtles, rays and reef sharks swim with snorkelers in aquamarine waters. Paddling this primeval paradise is a privilege few visitors get to enjoy. We pioneered kayaking in the Galapagos, and our special paddling permits allow us access to places most visitors never see. Our privately chartered deluxe catamaran whisks us between anchorages and provides comfortable accommodations. Each day we explore a different island, on foot, by kayak, via snorkeling, and sometimes all three—you won't sit around on deck on this adventure! The islands are surprisingly diverse, with new discoveries at each spot we visit. "If there's one nature destination you must experience, it is the Galapagos. And in the Galapagos, there is no more hands-on, eye-level adventure than this one."
-- Olaf Malver, PhD, Nat Hab CEO (Chief Exploratory Officer)
A one-of-a-kind active adventure in the world’s most unique wildlife destination—meet marine life at eye level as we paddle in more remote areas where others can't go
Discover wild wonders on a diverse mix of nature walks, snorkeling and tropical sea kayaking—we hold a special paddling permit from Galapagos National Park
Sleep comfortably aboard our chartered sailing catamaran in en suite cabins as we cruise overnight between the islands...and spend a night at our private Tortoise Camp!
The Most Immersive Galapagos Itinerary Available!
The Galapagos is a “must-see” destination for any nature traveler. But how you see the islands is another matter altogether. The vast majority of Galapagos visitors travel aboard larger ships with dozens (and dozens!) of other passengers, all going ashore together in large groups. For more adventurous travelers who prefer an active experience focused solely on nature, rather than fellow travelers, this trip offers a secluded eye-level encounter with the islands and their wildlife. In fact, with our special kayaking permits and very small group size, this Galapagos adventure is truly in a class by itself. Here’s why:
Kayaking Permits = A Unique Itinerary!
Through permits originally secured by Olaf Malver, Nat Hab's Chief Exploratory Officer who pioneered kayak expeditions in the Galapagos decades ago, we have permission from Galapagos National Park for guided kayaking exploration that goes far beyond the standard land- and sea-based excursions most Galapagos visitors participate in. Kayaking lets us discover the water and shoreline at eye-level, with seabirds bobbing alongside and turtles in view just below the surface.
The Smallest Groups—and Best Group-to-Guide Ratio (7:1!)
With a maximum of 14 guests led by two Galapagos National Park-certified NHA Expedition Leaders, this trip offers the smallest group size you'll find in the Galapagos. The typical ratio for most boat tours is 16 guests to one naturalist guide. Our ratio is one guide for just seven guests. This gives us flexibility to offer different concurrent activities: for instance, one group can paddle along the shoreline near while another group opts for a deepwater snorkeling opportunity. With two Expedition Leaders, you don't miss out on any interpretation: equally qualified guides accompany each set of guests when we divide into smaller groups.
Our Catamaran is the Ideal Floating Base Camp
Our motorsailing catamaran is the optimal vessel for this adventure. Stylish, sporty and well-appointed, Nemo III offers an intimate experience just right for explorers with an adventurous spirit who would prefer to navigate the archipelago in a smaller craft with a small crew, instead of a more impersonal larger ship. With a crew of just seven plus two two naturalist guides, Nemo III allows greater flexibility. We can move quickly, embark and disembark with ease, and spend more time exploring from the kayaks and panga, on land, or snorkeling. For a closer look at Nemo III, take a virtual walkthrough—examine the decks, cabins and interior common spaces in detail.
A Private Stay at Our Safari-Style Tortoise Camp
Unique to Nat Hab's Galapagos adventures is a stay at our exclusive Tortoise Camp. Located on private land in the volcanic Santa Cruz highlands, it sits within the natural habitat of the Galapagos giant tortoise, and these placid reptiles often wander right through camp. Stay in raised walk-in safari-style tents and treehouse cabins overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Though the accommodations are rustic, they offer plenty of comfort, with private en suite facilities. Meals are served in the covered open-air dining room, and a sheltered lounge with log fireplace offers a cozy spot for relaxing. There's nothing like a stay at our Tortoise Camp to enhance a sense of remoteness during your Galapagos adventure, with rare proximity to wild tortoises.
The Best Naturalist Guides
Natural Habitat Adventures is known worldwide for employing the finest naturalist guides on the planet. In the Galapagos, our elite Expedition Leaders each average more than 15 years' guiding experience and receive additional resources from WWF scientists, an advantage that further enhances our guests' experience. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
An Itinerary Shaped By World Wildlife Fund As WWF’s travel partner, we are privileged to work with some of the world's most accomplished environmental scientists to develop the best nature travel adventures on the planet. This small-group itinerary, arranged in conjunction with WWF, features walking, hiking and kayaking excursions for close-up wildlife viewing in the most personalized manner.
Active Physical Pursuits Throughout the Itinerary Unlike many Galapagos itineraries, this one includes a mix of active adventures, every day. Via our special kayaking permits, we paddle far more than other tours that offer much more limited kayaking opportunities. We include daily chances to snorkel and walk ashore, offering a multifaceted perspective on the islands' flora and fauna you won't get in other contexts.
Better Snorkeling Experiences
With inquisitive sea lions, sea turtles, rays, dolphins and penguins abundant in the island waters, snorkeling with wildlife in the Galapagos is a huge highlight. However, if you're traveling aboard a large ship, it can be disappointing to enter the water only to find yourself surrounded by more snorkelers than marine creatures. With our small groups, secluded snorkeling encounters are guaranteed, and you'll get much more direction and attention from our guides.
See More of Ecuador with a Stay in Quito or the Andean Highlands
Ecuador, though small, is one of the world's most geographically diverse countries, with a rich history. As a complement to your Galapagos adventure, we also include a visit to Quito (2019) or the Andean Highlands (2018). Stay near Otavalo at an authentic colonial hacienda and sample a taste of Ecudorian mountain culture. Or explore Quito's colonial history, reflected in extravagant churches and European, Moorish and indigenous influences that have made the 16th-century Old Town a World Heritage Site.
The Highest-Quality Gear for Comfort & Safety
If you've ever tried kayaking in basic (cheap) kayaks with subpar equipment, you'll agree that it can be uncomfortable—and, frankly, not much fun. With our decades of experience leading kayak expeditions, we know what equipment is required for the best paddling experience...and we make sure our guests get the very best, for both comfort and safety.
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Special Galapagos Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee: that we will meet the lofty expectations we establish 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 when you travel with us, you can know that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset—Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
Natural Habitat Adventures is World Wildlife Fund's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally conscious travel, as well as the outstanding 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!