Come join us for an exciting photographic adventure to the Galapagos Islands. We have chartered a private motor yacht for 15 people to this exciting location. We will visit many islands and will have the opportunity to photograph up close much of the wildlife on our 8 days and 7 nights aboard the Natural Paradise yacht. The Natural Paradise is the newest motor yacht in the Galápagos Islands, and has all of the best amenities one can ask for. We can take our time on our nature walks, allowing us to bring our large lenses, monopods and tripods. Since we have a small and intimate group, we can take the time to get the shots that we need.

Charles Darwin visited these fantastic islands in the 1830's aboard the HMS Beagle, and his experiences on the Galapagos Islands helped him formulate his theories of natural selection. Our naturalist guides, along with Randy Hanna, will show you the wonders of the Galapagos during interpretive walks and at briefings after dinner. From the deck, watch dolphins ride the bow wave or brush up on the biology of the Galapagos with a book from the library. After dark, stargazing carries you beyond Earth's surface.

The Galapagos Islands offer some of the most spectacular wildlife found anywhere in the world. In Galapagos you can literally walk right up to the hundreds of blue footed booby birds, red footed booby birds, masked booby birds, albatrosses, penguins, land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, fur seals, red chested frigate birds, flamingos, finches, tropic birds, lava gulls, giant tortoises, and flightless comorants which inhabit these islands. You can snorkel with penguins, swim with sea lions, walk through a lava tunnel, and see manta rays, dolphins and whales from your yacht.

About the Natural Paradise Motor Yacht

The Natural Paradise is an all-air conditioned motor yacht, built especially for cruising the Galapagos archipelago. It is the newest yacht in the Galapagos, and accommodations include nine cabins, each with large private bathroom and fresh, hot and cold-water shower. Cabins are furnished with king or twin beds; roomy closet, drawers and storage, plus separate climate controls and intercom system. The yacht features ample public areas; dining rooms both inside and outside, well-stocked bar, comfortable lounge area and air conditioning throughout. The sun deck lounge chairs, jacuzzi and observation areas invite you to catch the ocean breezes. Some of the cabins even have private outdoor decks.

Highly sophisticated navigational and mechanical equipment meet the highest safety standards found in the Galapagos. They are self-contained and ecologically sound, equipped for noise-reduction and fuel-efficiency. False keels provide maximum stability.

Three daily meals feature both international and Ecuadorian specialties and snacks are served following shore excursions. The attentive 10-member crew will make it a trip to remember. This is a non-smoking boat.

The Schedule

This photographic journey requires 8 days and 7 nights on board the Natural Paradise, as well as a day before our Galapagos islands cruise in Quito, Ecuador. We encourage all participants to arrive at least a day before we depart the Ecuador mainland for the Galapagos archipelago, in case of any airline delays or baggage hassles. If you would like to arrive 1 day early, we recommend staying in the city of Quito (a 90-minute transfer) for your arrival night as well as the included night of May 28.  You can meet the rest of the group in the airport when we depart for the Galapagos on May 29.  Here are the dates, an itinerary, and some details on what we will be able to see and photograph.

May 28 (Monday) - You will arrive in Quito, Ecuador and will be taken to your hotel. Most flights arrive at night time, so you will arrive and will likely have a meal and go to sleep. Overnight at the Wyndham Hotel, next to the airport.

May 29 (Tuesday) - Depart Quito by airplane and arrive on SAN CRISTOBAL Island. Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, SAN CRISTOBAL, our crew is waiting at the airport to escort you by bus to the main deck and then by zodiac to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served. During lunch we will move the yacht and will head straight for Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel.

May 30 (Wednesday) - In the morning we will visit North Seymour, home to Galápagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. The island was formed by a series of submarine lava containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.

After our morning excurision, we will reposition the boat in order to do some snorkeling. We will have the option of doing snorkeling almost every day during our week, often twice in the same day. After snorkeling, we will move the ship again and will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.

May 31 (Thursday) - Today we will visit Rabida Island (Jervis) Rabida is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkeling site. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. In the afternoon we will visit Bartholomew. Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.

June 1 (Friday) - Sullivan Bay is on our morning calendar today. A coral beach landing leads you towards a lava field as far as the eye can see. Hunt and peck over the two distinguished types of lava, pahoehoe and 'a'a, for signs of plant life that have managed to emerge over the past 100 years since the most recent volcanic explosion. A truly amazing volcanic experience…up close and personal! This afternoon we have a new landing site on tap: Dragon Hill is one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galapagos walking trails will lead visitors along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted.

June 2 (Saturday) - Today we will spend our time on the Island of Santa Cruz. Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, are located opposite each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. The view is breathtaking. After lunch we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

June 3 (Sunday) - This morning we will be on the island of Genovesa. Also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, El Barranco’s steep, rocky paths leads up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to palo santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves. We will reposition the yacht for our afternoon out at Darwin Bay, one of my personal favorite locations in all of the Galápagos. This white sand coral beach heads a half mile trail (0.75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff.

June 4 (Monday) - Today is all about Santiago, the island. Espumilla Beach is a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eels, and sharks, snorkeling is highly recommended. Our second outing will be by boat to Buccaneer Cove. Buccaneer Cove is a testament to the fact that Santiago Island was once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach, are a magnificent site. Our third stop for the day will be to Egas Port, or also known as James Bay. Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur sea lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.

June 5 (Tuesday) - This morning, we drop anchor on the north shore of Santa Cruz at Las Bachas. Las Bachas is a swimming beach. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach. Afterwards, we head straight to the airport for our flight back to the mainland. Overnight at the Wyndham Hotel near the Quito airport. Many flights depart later in the evening for the USA, however some do leave early in the morning. We have a hotel for the night of the 5th, so we have you covered even if you leave later that evening. You can at least use the room to freshen up for your flight back home.

June 6 (Wednesday) - Depart Quito.

The Cost

The cost of this trip varies, depending on cabin type. You can see a full deck plan of the Natural Paradise here, and these are the costs for each cabin:

Cabin 1 (Suite, sharing accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 2 (Standard, sharing accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 3 (Standard, sharing accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 4 (Standard, sharing accommodations) = $8750pp (1 space available, female needed)

Cabin 5 (Standard, single accommodations) = $9900 for the entire cabin to yourself (or $8750pp x 2 people, sharing)

Cabin 6 (Suite, sharing accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 7 (Suite, sharing accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 8 (Junior Suite, single accommodations) = Reserved

Cabin 9 (Junior Suite, sharing accommodations) = Reserved


Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. The specific itineraries at the Galapagos Islands does change often, and this itinerary is what we know at this time.

A nonrefundable deposit of 50% will be required to secure your spot(s), a second payment of 25% will be due by December 1, 2017 and a final payment of 25% will be due by February 15, 2018.

Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel, Andy Biggs Photo Safaris will refund your monies only after we are able to market and re-fill your spots. We will make every possible attempt to refill your spots. We must receive written notification of your cancellation, at which time the following fees apply:

151 days or more before departure: 100% of payments less the nonrefundable deposit
150 to 91 days before departure: 50% of trip fee
90 or fewer days before departure: 100% of trip fee will be foreited

We recommend that you purchase cancellation insurance as this policy is strongly adhered to. The purchase of travel insurance covering baggage, accident/life and trip cancellation is highly recommended. Andy Biggs Photo Safaris reserves the right to cancel any group due to insufficient registration. In the even of such cancellation, those with reservations shall be notified as soon as possible and a full refund of trip payment will be given. Andy Biggs Photo Safaris is not responsible for refund or additional expenses incurred in preparation for a trip.

What's Included?

  • Air transportation to and from the Galapagos islands from Quito, Ecuador.
  • 7 nights and 8 days aboard Natural Paradise
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee of $100
  • 1 night at the Wyndham Hotel at the beginning and end of islands visit.
  • All meals while on the ship
  • Naturalist on board
  • Snorkeling equipment

What is Not Included?

  • Additional tips for staff such as guides (estimate around $20 per day per person for all crew members = $175 in total)
  • Alcohol
  • International air to and from Ecuador and your home town
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance (highly recommended)
  • Airport departure tax of $25

What do I do next?

Our group size is limited to just seven people and we expect that this trip to sell out. If you're excited by the thought of joining this life-changing trip, then we encourage you to register soon, before the opportunity is closed. If you have any questions, concerns or just want to learn more, please send an e-mail to info@andybiggs.com.

 
 

Trip Details

Trip Leader: Andy Biggs

Dates: May 28 - June 6, 2018

Cost: from $8,750

 

What's Included?

  • Air transportation to and from the Galapagos islands from Quito, Ecuador.
  • 7 nights and 8 days aboard Natural Paradise
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee of $100
  • 1 night at the Wyndham Hotel at the beginning and end of islands visit.
  • All meals while on the ship
  • Naturalist on board
  • Snorkeling equipment


What is Not Included?

  • Additional tips for staff such as guides (estimate around $20-$40 per day per person for all crew members = $175-$350 in total)
  • Alcohol
  • International air to and from Ecuador and your home town
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance (highly recommended)
  • Airport departure tax of $25
  • Equador requires proof of a public or private health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in Ecuador.