Island-hopping through the Galápagos Archipelago aboard a comfortable yacht has long been one of the premier travel experiences in the world. The combination of close-up wildlife viewing — on land and under water — along with spectacular island scenery has made Galápagos National Park among the most sought-after adventure destinations on earth. Now the active travel specialists at O.A.R.S. (http://www.oars.com/) are raising their own bar on intimate small-group departures thanks to a new partnership with the Sieverts family—longtime Galápagos residents and pioneers in the development of Galápagos cruise itineraries.
O.A.R.S.’ new Galápagos Islands Explorer program, based aboard the Sieverts’ stately M/Y Reina Silvia, is designed to appeal to a more adventurous and active demographic including young families (minimum age six), with ample time ashore for hiking through the natural wonders of this archipelago and also for snorkeling with sea lions, turtles and marine iguanas and kayaking pristine shorelines. The 11-day/10-night tour includes two nights at a hacienda near the Quito airport, a full day and night in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, and an eight-day, seven-night exploration of Darwin’s Enchanted Islands aboard the Reina Silvia. With a highly-trained crew of eight, including an English-speaking park naturalist, the Reina Silva is a 90-foot deluxe yacht that accommodates her 12 – 16 passengers in six air-conditioned cabins.
The per person rates start at $5,295 ($4,795 for triple occupancy) plus $530 for the in-country flight to/from Galápagos, $100 National Park Entrance Fee ($50 for children 11 and younger), $20 transit fee and airport taxes. In addition to chef-prepared meals while aboard the yacht, draft beer while cruising, snorkel gear and group airport transfers (for flights to and from the islands), guests will enjoy exotic and abundant wildlife and classic Galápagos sites — without the crowds associated with larger cruise ships. Each day brings opportunities for swimming with sea lions and snorkeling in the equatorial waters of the Galápagos. Guests will experience the eco-diversity of this renowned cluster of islands, exploring its arid and tropical side while hiking, observing whales and dolphins from an extended bow on the yacht, and visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station.
This yacht travels only at night and by breakfast guests find whole new worlds to explore. Cliff faces towering high over the ocean, lava beds, white sand beaches and simmering volcanos compose some of the fascinating scenery here, with numerous endemic birds and animals waiting to be discovered.
Quito, Ecuador, is the gateway city with connecting flights into Baltra, Galápagos, the world’s first “green” airport serving this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quito is a similarly U.N. designated site for its distinguished colonial architecture that compliments a bustling urban ambiance.
O.A.R.S. is a member of the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association whose mission is to preserve the Galápagos Islands as a unique and priceless world heritage that will provide enjoyment, education, adventure and inspiration to present and future generations of travelers. This organization assists Galápagos residents to be stewards of their own natural heritage. Through annual membership dues and voluntary traveler donations, members contribute directly to the preservation of the islands.
For more information, questions about specific trips, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2016 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: http://www.oars.com/.
Some 500,000 guests later, O.A.R.S. has been providing award-winning whitewater rafting and adventure travel vacations since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking, hiking and multi-sport adventures, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines of the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the “Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine. In 2015, Sunset recognized O.A.R.S.’ Salmon River trip as the “Best Guided Outdoor Trip” of the year and Outside presented O.A.R.S. with two Best of Travel awards: one for “Best River Guide” and one for “Best River Trip.”