Ecoventura's MV Origin and MV Theory are premium-class Relais & Chateaux yachts, custom-built for exploring the Galapagos. They are a larger, newer and more luxurious upgrade to the elegant Letty ship (it also follows the same two seven-night routes around the idyllic islands).

Combining modern sophistication with understated luxury, the deluxe staterooms on the Beagle Deck each have their own private en-suite complete with shower. The public areas are spacious and the cosy library is stocked with books on all things Galapagos, so you can learn all about Darwin at your leisure. The Jacuzzi is a great spot to unwind after a day of exploration and the spacious sun deck has inviting chairs, loungers and hammocks; relax while taking in the views and sipping drinks from the wet bar or enjoying delicious barbecue cuisine. There's also a small fitness centre if all of the swimming, snorkelling and walking leaves you wanting even more exercise.

Gourmet menus really bring the region to life, with sustainable produce sourced locally. The cuisine on board is simple but elegant, with cooking demonstrations and the open bar policy (house drinks, teas and coffees). Zodiac rides are by far the best way to explore — you'll have two dedicated expert naturalist guides to teach you all about the incredible wildlife, at a ratio of one guide per 10 guests (the lowest ratio in the Galapagos).

Itinerary A – south/central islands
• San Cristóbal Island
• Española/Hood Island
• Floreana Island
• Santa Cruz Island
• Bartolomé Island
• South Plaza Island
• North Seymour Island
• San Cristóbal Island

Itinerary B – west/north islands
• San Cristóbal Island
• Genovesa/Tower Island
• Santa Cruz Island
• Isabela Island
• Fernandina Island
• Isabela Island
• Rabida Island
• Santa Cruz Island
• San Cristóbal Island

7nights STAY & CRUISE
 
HIGHLIGHTS

Itinerary A – south/central islands

Day 1: San Cristóbal Island
Upon arrival, transfer to your ship for your seven night cruise around the Galapagos Islands. This afternoon travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill) to see nesting colonies of both species of frigate birds – the great and magnificent – as well as lava lizards, the medium ground finch and the San Cristóbal mockingbird. Follow the trail to Punta Carola for panoramic views and return to the ship to enjoy the captain's welcome party and dinner. L, D.

Day 2: San Cristóbal Island Today will start with a trip to Punta Pitt, an eroded volcanic cone that plays host to numerous nesting sea birds including all three types of boobies – blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca, as well as frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, brown pelicans and storm petrels. Punta Pitt is also home to a colony of sea lions. Snorkel and swim with sea lions and colourful fish at Pitt Rock. Following lunch on board, spend the afternoon at Cerro Brujo, a beautiful white-coral beach with incredible views and great bird watching opportunities. Stroll along the beach, swim with sea lions, go kayaking or try stand-up paddle boarding before a Zodiac ride through the Cathedral cave. B, L, D.

Day 3: Española/Hood Island Disembark at Punta Suarez, home to the highest concentration of endemic species throughout the archipelago. On the beach itself you can observe sea lions, marine iguanas and lava lizards while walking along the trail that leads up to the cliff edge you may spot endemic waved albatrosses (April-December), blue-footed boobies, Hood mockingbirds and Galapagos doves, among other species.

Witness the power of the ocean at the nearby blow hole, where water is forced through a lava tube and up to 30 metres in the air. Look for Sally Lightfoot crabs before returning to the ship for lunch. Continue along the north coast of the island to Gardner Bay. Wander along the glorious white-sand beach past large colonies of sea lions or relax on the beach. Swim with the playful and inquisitive sea lions, explore the bay by kayak or take a Zodiac ride to explore caves. Snorkel and admire the colourful underwater life near Tortuga Rock. B, L, D.

Day 4: Floreana Island
Today you will explore the island of Floreana which boasts an intriguing history. This morning visit Cormorant Point where you can witness its distinctive green-sand beach and observe the wading birds that are found in the nearby salt lagoon. Follow a trail to a beach of powder-soft sands that make the perfect nesting spot of Pacific green turtles (seasonal). Head to Devil's Crown, a shallow sunken crater, for the chance to snorkel in search of white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars.

After lunch, visit famous Post Office Bay. Once a haunt of buccaneers, pirates, convicts and whalers this is one of the Galapagos' few sights that is known for its human history rather than just its wildlife. Thousands of ships have passed by the Galapagos since the late 18th Century with many of them stopping for supplies and shelter, or to post missives into the wooden post barrel and receive letters from home. Continue the tradition by posting your own letter or taking home letters addressed to previous visitors to post onwards. There is an opportunity to swim from the beach with sea lions before taking a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. B, L, D.

Day 5: Santa Cruz Island Today you will visit Santa Cruz and the town of Puerto Ayora, the islands' main settlement and social hub which has a population of 24,000. Journey by bus to the highlands, passing through several vegetation zones. Visit Rancho El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda to see giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. See the lava tunnels at El Mirador, the largest in the archipelago, and visit Los Gemelos (The Twins) – two large sink holes formed by the collapse of lava tubes.

This afternoon, visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly Charles Darwin Research Station) and learn about the Galapagos' history, geology, wildlife and the environmental issues that they face. Meet hatchlings at the breeding centre and see a new exhibit honouring Lonesome George, the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island. Stop at a local chocolate shop to learn how Arriba cacao is produced and wander through the town to shop for souvenirs. This evening you will have the chance to dine at sister ship, the Eric or Letty. Alternatively you can enjoy dinner independently at a local restaurant. B, L, D.

Day 6: Bartolomé Island  & Santa Cruz Island

Stop off at the small island of Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) which lies off the southern tip of Santiago. Spot marine iguanas and oystercatchers as you follow the trail to discover cracked lava formations and tubes. You will have the chance to snorkel at a site that is often frequented by Galapagos penguins. After lunch, disembark at Bartolomé Island and climb the long wooden staircase to the volcanic peak for incredible views over deserted coves, moon-like landscapes and the neighbouring islands. Spot various geological formations such as lava bombs and cinder cones before returning to the beach to swim or snorkel (weather dependent). B, L, D.

Day 7: South Plaza Island  & North Seymour Island
Formed by geological uplift, incredible South Plaza island features dramatic cliffs that afford breathtaking views of the surrounding waters and nearby islands. The island is home to the largest population of land iguanas in the archipelago as well as the Sally Lightfoot crab and a colony of bachelor sea lions. Return to the ship and snorkel between North and South Seymour. After lunch, visit North Seymour Island to observe swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and endemic land iguanas. Visit the islands' largest colony of magnificent frigate birds and look out for sea lions and marine iguanas body surfing the northern swells. This evening you can look forward to the captain's farewell cocktail party and dinner. B, L, D.

DAY 8: San Cristóbal Island
This morning visit the Interpretation Centre on San Cristóbal which highlights the natural and human history of the islands. Spend time in the port before tour flight back to the mainland. B.

A different seven night itinerary is also available, please call for details:

Galapagos 'B' itinerary

Day 1: La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, San Cristóbal Island
Day 2: Prince Philip's Steps & Darwin Bay, Genovesa/Tower Island
Day 3: Las Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island
Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca & Uribna Bay, Isabela Island

Day 5: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island & Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

Day 6: Rabida Island & Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove), Santa Cruz Island
Day 7: Puerto Ayora & Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly the Charles Darwin Research Station), Santa Cruz Island.
Day 8: Disembark, San Cristóbal Island.

CRUISE INFORMATION

Good to know

• Tipping – Please budget to pay an additional $350-400 per guest per week in tips (approximately) for the ship’s crew and expedition guides at the end of your cruise. Tipping is entirely discretionary and only payable upon a satisfactory experience
• Dry landings involve guests stepping from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock
• Wet landings involve guests stepping into knee deep water and wading ashore
• This cruise is not suitable for those with mobility problems
• The itineraries maybe subject to late amendments due to seasonal changes in the wildlife, weather or changes in government regulation
• A reasonable level of fitness is required for walks and wet landings.

What to expect

Accommodation
The Deluxe Staterooms are located on the same deck and feature large windows with ocean views, Apple TV pre-loaded with films and a rainfall shower with ocean view.

Dining
Meals are served in the elegant dining room or on the deck for al fresco lunches. Gourmet-style menus feature locally sourced ingredients and a choice of drinks includes house wine and spirits, soft drinks, tea and coffee.

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Cruise dates

Cruise departs on Sunday with alternate south/central and west/north departures; you can also combine the two routes to create an all-encompassing Galapagos itinerary.

Included in price

• All meals
• Snacks
• Open bar for house drinks, tea and coffee
• Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties
• 2 naturalist guides and lectures
• 2 guided shore excursions per day
• Use of wetsuits, snorkelling equipment, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks
• Galapagos transfers.