Galapagos Yacht Charters and Catamarans
Are you looking for a private Galapagos yacht charter?
Galapagos luxury charters of motor yachts, catamarans, tri-marans, and masted sailing ships can all be arranged for private multi-day cruises in the Galapagos Islands.
Most cruises span 7-nights, although we can arrange 3-night, 4-night, and 5-night options. Although the Galapagos has only about 80 vessels for passengers, the fleet has a lot of variety.
Galapagos luxury yacht charter options range from classic sailboats (with four guest cabins), to large luxury motor-yachts (with cabins for 16 or 32 passengers), and even small ships (with a maximum capacity of 100 guests).
We have direct relationships with approximately 30 of the best ships, yachts, and multi-hulled cruisers.
The three pillars of a Galapagos cruise experience are: the vessel, the guides, and the itinerary. Each choice matters.
With this in mind, LANDED created this free Galapagos yacht charter guide to help you navigate your options for touring the Galapagos Archipelago.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE GALAPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
- 2 GALAPAGOS CHARTER YACHTS
- 3 CATAMARANS AND TRIMARANS
- 4 ISLANDS AND GEOGRAPHY
- 5 Henry Miller
INTRODUCTION TO THE GALAPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
The Galapagos Islands, also known as the “Enchanted Isles”, offer some of the world’s best wildlife viewing. The wildlife here interact with humans in a unique manner–a combination of curiosity and playfulness.
UNESCO declared the Galapagos a World Heritage Site in 1975, and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985.
The archipelago and surrounding waters are also protected as a national park, marine reserve, and whale sanctuary.
Galapagos Leisure Activities
Under the supervision of licensed naturalist guides, visitors to the Galapagos can enjoy leisure activities including, but not limited to:
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Observing Mating Rituals
- Walks Along The Beach
- Exploring Volcanoes
- Wildlife Watching
- Horseback Riding
- Mountain Biking
- Panga Rides
- Swimming with Sea Lions
- Dolphin Watching
- Whale Watching
- Sea Kayaking
- Scuba Diving
Visitors to the Galapagos Islands can also learn about the unique adaptations of resident species.
Species of The Galapagos
Some opt for a chartered Galapagos yacht cruise to enhance their wildlife watching experience in the archipelago.
The freedom offered by a Galapagos charter allows visitors to enjoy a tailor-made itinerary, emphasizing their unique interests.
Your Galapagos guide can help you seek out and spend time near the species of greatest interest to you, such as sea lions, giant tortoises, flamingos, penguins, boobies, or marine iguanas.
LANDED can also help you choose a cruise itinerary that increases your chance of seeing the rarest animals, such as flightless cormorants or albatrosses.
Nearly all the reptiles (97%), the large majority of avian species (80%), one-third of the plants (30%) and one-fifth of marine species (20%) found in the Galapagos are endemic.
Notable Galapagos species include:
- Giant Galapagos Tortoises
- Magnificent Frigatebirds
- Galapagos Mockingbird
- Galapagos Flycatchers
- Large Painted Locusts
- Galapagos Hoary Bats
- Red-Footed Boobies
- Galapagos Penguins
- Galapagos Fur Seals
- Galapagos Batfish
- Galapagos Doves
- Waved Albatross
- Marine Iguanas
- Lava Lizards
- Galapagos Pink Land Iguanas
- Nazca (Masked) Boobies
- Flightless Cormorants
- Galapagos Flamingos
- Blue-Footed Boobies
- Sally Lightfoot Crabs
- Galapagos Sea Lions
- Short-Eared Owls
- Galapagos Hawks
- Painted Locusts
- Darwin Finches
- Lava Herons
- Lava Gulls
- Red Bats
Galapagos Seasons and Climate
The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination with two distinct seasons.
During the warm season (December to May) temperatures hover in the 80’s and 90’s. Rainfall is uncommon but strong, with water temperatures near the surface averaging 75°.
The Garua, or cool season (June to November) brings fog, drizzles and cool winds. Air temperatures during the Galapagos Garua reach the 70’s, with water temperatures falling to the 60’s.
These months are the height of the breeding season for many of the island’s avian species.
Many of the species found in the Galapagos can be observed up close. Your guide will help you maintain the appropriate distances. If an animal is curious, you are permitted to stand still while it approaches. For example, it’s not unusual for sea lions to swim playfully and closely with snorkelers.
GALAPAGOS CHARTER YACHTS
LANDED enjoys close partnerships with all of the top yacht proprietors in the Galapagos archipelago.
Some of our favorite Galapagos yacht charter options include:
Stella Maris Charter Yacht
Launched in 2014, Stella Maris is the finest luxury charter yacht in the Galapagos archipelago.
This is a true Galapagos charter yacht, designed for exclusive use by an extended family or a group of close friends—up to twelve guests, served by a crew of ten.
Stella Maris features a steel mono-hull with an aluminum superstructure and two Caterpillar engines, each delivering 625 horsepower.
Featuring a cruising speed of 11 knots and maximum speed of 14 knots, Stella Maris is also appreciably equipped with stabilizers—a rare feature in the Galapagos.
This Galapagos charter yacht houses six air-conditioned en-suite staterooms:
- (1) Master Cabin—(312 sq. ft, king-bedded, on bridge deck)
- (2) Elegant VIP Cabins—(193 sq. ft each, on main deck)
- (3) Additional Staterooms—(129 sq. ft each, below main deck)
The staterooms below the main deck can be configured with a double or twin-bedded layout.
More details are available in LANDED’s M/Y Stella Maris Guide.
M/Y Grace is an authentic classic adventure Galapagos yacht for those seeking to explore the islands in true style.
Her history includes distinguished service in the British Navy during WWII and a pedigree that lays claim to ownership by tycoons, industrialists, and royalty.
Built by Camper & Nicholson in the 1920s, and extensively refurbished several times, the Grace remains one the most elegant yachts in the Galapagos. We’ve chartered this yacht several times. The Grace receives consistently high marks for its itineraries, guides, crew, and food.
Before sailing to the Galapagos, the Grace was completely renovated and retrofitted between 2007 and 2009.
With nine cabins in total (two master suites, two twin suites, and five premium staterooms), this yacht has capacity for eighteen passengers.
This Galapagos yacht is 145 feet long, with a beam of 22 feet and cruising speed of twelve knots.
Detailed information on this charter vessel can be found in our M/Y Grace Guide.
Fully renovated in 2017, the Evolution is a quick and comfortable expedition yacht, boasting a top speed of twelve knots.
This Galapagos yacht carries a crew of eighteen, in addition to two naturalist guides and a cruise director.
The Evolution is 58.5 meters long and 8.9 meters wide, with a steel monohull.
This vessel has capacity for 32 passengers in sixteen passenger cabins. The two master and one twin suite are located on the Albatross Deck (bridge level).
At sunset, happy hour is a highlight atop the sky lounge bar, as is time spent enjoying Evolution’s sundeck and giant Jacuzzi.
In-depth vessel details and sample itineraries can be found in our Evolution Galapagos Yacht Guide.
Integrity Galapagos Motor Yacht
Based in the Galapagos since 2005, the Integrity motor yacht is a first-class vessel with a crew of ten, a length of 141 feet and a 24-foot beam.
Unlike many yachts this size, Integrity is equipped with active stabilizers and an engine-vibration-control system. The Integrity yacht shines in its itinerary design (the only 7-night itineraries without a return to port), guides, and environmental commitment.
This Galapagos yacht has nine staterooms, accommodating a total of 16 passengers.
Integrity’s luxurious 350-square foot owner’s suite is furnished with a king bed and picture windows.
Land tours are led by bilingual naturalist guides, who also offer nightly lectures.
More information can be found in our Integrity Motor Yacht Guide.
With just 20 cabins and capicity for only 40 passengers, Isabela II prides itself on offering an intimate Galapagos archipelago experience.
Isabela II cabin options include:
- (1) Standard Cabin (128 ft²)
- (16) Classic Cabins (139 ft²)
- (2) Classic Family Cabins (139 ft²)
On the Main Deck, the range-topping Owner’s Cabin (170 ft²) is conveniently located in close proximity to the yacht’s social areas.
Isabela II also features a traditional library and state-of-the-art multimedia presentation technology, used to enhance onboard natural history lectures.
This Galapagos yacht also features Gourmet meals, designed by a Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomy director.
More details on this vessel are available in this Isabela II Galapagos Yacht Guide.
Passion Galapagos Charter Yacht
The M/Y Passion stands out among the luxury yachts in the Galapagos—its designed and exclusively offered for charter.
The Passion features two king-bedded suites:
- The Master Suite—(352 square feet, on middle deck)
- VIP Suite—(351-square feet, on the lower deck with an added daybed)
Passion’s Master and VIP suites have two bathrooms each, with one bathtub per suite; no other yacht has such luxurious bathrooms.
The Passion Motor Yacht has large, spacious, comfortable common areas–both indoors and outdoors.
Made to order meals can be enjoyed al fresco on a dining deck or at a family dining table.
Passion’s service ratio—one crew-member per guest—is unparalleled.
Additional vessel specifications are available in LANDED’s M/Y Passion Guide.
Coral I and Coral II
Coral I & Coral II are comfortable, sister yachts, each offering ample indoor and outdoor social areas, distributed across three decks.
With so much choice in outdoor and interior spaces, guests can enjoy a Galapagos charter expedition in their own way.
Coral I and Coral II have capacity for 36 and 20 guests respectively. Both vessels offer an open deck area with a Jacuzzi.
Cabins also offer interconnecting doors, enabling them to be connected for families or friends traveling together.
Matrimonial, double or triple cabin options are each available.
Those interested in more information on Coral I and Coral II can find it in our Coral Galapagos Yacht Guide.
Yacht La Pinta
Thoroughly renovated in 2007, La Pinta is a luxury Galapagos motor yacht, capable of a top speed of twelve knots.
Her expert crew of 24 includes a medical doctor and three highly-trained (Category 3) naturalist guides.
This Galapagos Yacht accommodates up to 48 passengers in 24 cabins.
La Pinta’s cabin sizes are among the largest in the Galapagos.
Double Cabins have an average size of 189 square feet (one or two beds), while Triple Cabins average 247.75 square feet (two beds or a double bed, and a sofa bed).
La Pinta is ideal for families—six of the cabins can be interconnected, and the four cabins in the stern allow triple occupancy.
In need of more information on this Galapagos cruising yacht? Check out our La Pinta Yacht Guide.
M/Y Sea Star Journey
The M/Y Sea Star is a first-class Galapagos motor yacht with a steel monohull.
This yacht combines a contemporary design, privacy and comfort all within the marvelous setting of the Galapagos Islands.
Sea Star Journey has a permit for 16 passengers, with capacity for 20.
Cabins onboard Sea Star Journey include:
- (7) Matrimonial Suites (265 square feet)
- (1) Sea Star Suite (an amazing 376 square feet)
The Sea Star Suite is equipped with panoramic windows, enabling wonderful landscape views of the Galapagos Islands.
Detailed information can be found in our M/Y Sea Star Journey Guide.
In September 2018, MV Origin, became the first luxury Galapagos expedition yacht to become an official member of the esteemed Relais & Chateaux collection.
Launched in February of 2016, this Galapagos yacht was designed for stability, efficiency, and comfort.
MV Origin and twin sister, MV Theory, have the most modern design of any luxury yachts in the Galapagos Islands. The hull was computer engineered to cut through waves.
Origin’s sleek, stylish, and modern spaces were designed to make guests feel like they are onboard a luxury boutique hotel.
Triple-occupancy accommodations are available in two cabins, with an additional two sets of cabins also interconnectable.
Guest rooms average 140 square feet, configurable with either two smaller beds or one king-size.
Those interested in a expedition cruise on a modern Galapagos yacht can find details in our M/V Origin Guide.
This Galapagos vessel features a 100-guest capacity, yet still strives to provide an intimate experience with friends and family.
Guests of M/V Legend can enjoy the Galapagos in total comfort, choosing from a wide selection of itineraries, ranging in length from 3 to 14 nights.
Legend’s open decks allow passengers to admire the Galapagos flora & fauna, enjoy a BBQ at night while stargazing from the Moon Deck, and spend the days sun bathing at the pool and bar area.
This Galapagos cruise ship’s four decks house 56 cabins, fully-equipped with private facilities and ample amenities.
Legend is equipped with a glass bottom boat, transparent kayaks, a kid’s corner, a naturalist center, boutique, snorkeling equipment room, Lonesome restaurant and a full auditorium facility able to cater to corporate conferences.
Looking for more information? Check out our free Legend Galapagos Cruise Guide
M/V Santa Cruz II
Fully refurbished in 2015, Santa Cruz II houses 50 modern cabins with room for 90 total guests.
Firmly committed to protecting the delicate ecosystem of the Galapagos archipelago, the proprietors of M/V Santa Cruz II pride themselves in leveraging “the newest sustainable advances in sailing.”
With five spacious decks and chic interiors designed by Richard Nilsson, Santa Cruz II was built on the principle of stylish simplicity.
Passengers of Santa Cruz II may choose from a variety of options, ranging from single Explorer Cabins (127.0 ft² / 11.8m²) to Darwin Suites (325 ft² / 30m²).
Darwin Suites can be interconnected with an Explorer Cabin, providing an additional 163 sq. ft. (15 m2) of space.
Looking for more information? Check out our free Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise Guide.
Launched in January 2019, MV THEORY is a state-of-the-art luxury Galapagos cruise vessel. (The MV stands for Motor Vessel.)
Theory’s ten spacious staterooms will each offer wide ocean views and two twin beds that easily convert to a King.
Built as the sister yacht to MV Origin, MV Theory will offer a combination of eco-friendly features, modern furnishings and high-end amenities.
Passengers will delight at the luxurious linens, memory-foam mattresses, and soft pillows awaiting their arrival.
Theory offers a generous open bar policy and meticulously-prepared meals, showcasing both Ecuadorian and International specialties.
Dinner will take the form of an artfully plated four-course menu, creatively prepared by culinary-trained chefs using only the finest, locally sourced ingredients.
Looking for more information? Check out our free Theory Galapagos Cruising Yacht Guide.
CATAMARANS AND TRIMARANS
For those looking for a different Galapagos charter experience, LANDED also arranges private cruises aboard Catamarans and Trimarans. These vessels are known for their stability and large cabin sizes. With shallow drafts, they hug the coast to avoid wave action and allow for even better wildlife viewing.
LANDED works directly with the best Galapagos multi-hulled charter vessels, including:
The Petrel Motor Catamaran
Launched in 2015 and renovated in September 2017, the Petrel is one of the newest and most advanced vessels in the Galapagos.
This luxury motor catamaran combines speed—ten knots—and steadiness (catamarans tend to be more stable than monohull vessels).
Petrel is 115 feet long, with a beam of 41 feet.
The Petrel accommodates 17 passengers in nine comfortable cabins.
Four double staterooms (323 square feet) are located on the upper deck, along with a single cabin (151 square feet) able to accommodate one extra.
The main deck has two double staterooms (323 square feet) and two large suites (463 square feet) with private balconies.
Those interested in this luxury Galapagos motor catamaran can find more information in our Petrel Catamaran Guide.
Ocean Spray Motor Catamaran
Launched in 2011 and renovated in September 2016, the Ocean Spray luxury motor catamaran combines surprising speed—a blazing 15 knots—and steadiness.
Large and roomy for a catamaran, the Ocean Spray is 113 feet long, featuring a beam of 43 feet.
Ocean Spray has capacity for seventeen passengers, featuring nine cabins.
The Ocean Spray’s four double-occupancy main deck cabins are very large, with an average size of 334 square feet.
The upper deck’s four double-occupancy cabins measure 248 square feet, and the single-occupancy has an area of 194 square feet.
Each cabin is equipped with a private balcony, portrait windows, air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, and storage space.
Want to know more about Ocean Spray? Check out this free guide.
Camila Luxury Motor Trimaran
Launched in 2018, the Camila is one of the newest and most advanced vessels in the Galapagos.
This luxury motor trimaran combines speed and steadiness, with its three hulls providing exceptional stability.
The Camila accommodates 17 passengers in nine comfortable cabins. The upper deck has four cabins: two with double beds (215 square feet) and two with two twin beds each (258 square feet).
The main deck’s four cabins are slightly larger–247 square feet for the two double-bedded cabins and 269 square feet for the two twin-bedded cabins.
Each passenger cabin includes a private bathroom, private balcony, and individual climate controls.
The crew of ten includes an expert naturalist guide and a cruise manager.
More details on this vessel are available in the LANDED Camila Luxury Trimaran Guide.
Cormorant Motor Catamaran
Launched in 2011 and renovated in October 2017, the Cormorant is one of the most advanced and comfortable vessels in all of the Galapagos.
The Cormorant accommodates 17 passengers in seven comfortable cabins. Four interconnecting twin cabins (301 square feet) are found on the upper deck.
The main deck has two double staterooms (301 square feet) and two large suites (441 square feet) with private balconies.
Cormorant amenities include a spacious lounge, dining area, bar, sundeck with jetted tub, and lounge chairs.
The crew of eleven includes an expert bilingual guide, two chefs, and a cruise manager.
The Cormorant is 108 feet long, with a beam of 39 feet.
Cormorant vessel details are available in this free LANDED guide.
ISLANDS AND GEOGRAPHY
The Galapagos Islands are located in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, 604 miles west of the Ecuadorian coast. They are reached by air from Guayaquil, on the Ecuadorian mainland. Cruises begin on the islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, or Baltra.
The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 main islands, six junior islands, and over 100 islets and large rocks spread out over 45,000 square miles of ocean.
Baltra (South Seymour) is home to the Galapagos Ecological Airport (airport code GPS). In recent history, South Seymour Island was also used as a military base.
South Seymour’s pier is a five-minute drive from the air terminal. Dry, with scrubby vegetation. Baltra is located a short distance north of Santa Cruz.
Bartolome (Bartholomew) is a small island located just off the eastern side of Santiago.
Bartholomew is famous for iconic conical formation—Pinnacle Rock—around which penguins and sea lions can be observed.
Notably, Bartolome island has a wooden staircase leading to its summit and two sandy beaches good for swimming.
Darwin (Culpepper) is the most remote island in the Galapagos, located at the far northwest of the archipelago.
This small island is home to various seabirds, but its main attraction is its sea life.
Divers come to Darwin Island to witness huge schools of hammerhead sharks, a rare sight in the central cluster of islands.
Espanola (Hood) is the large southeastern-most island. Gardner Bay has a white sand beach populated by sea lions.
This is an excellent place to swim with these friendly mammals.
Punta Suarez is a nesting site for blue-footed boobies and Nazca boobies. Marine iguanas, Darwin finches, and Galapagos doves are also found here.
Fernandina (Narborough) is a large island found just west of Isabela, home to flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, sea lions, and mangrove forests.
The primary landing point for this island is Punta Espinoza, where visitors can walk among hundreds of marine iguanas on black lava rocks.
Geologically speaking, Fernandina is the newest island in the Galapagos.
Floreana (Santa Maria or Charles) is a large island due south of Santa Cruz. Post Office Bay, located on the island’s north side, is the site of the do-it-yourself mail barrel set up by 18th-century whalers.
Visitors can spot Flamingos at Point Cormorant and observe sea turtle nesting on Florena Island. Floreana is also home to El Mirador, one of the newest accessible Galapagos sites.
Some of the best snorkeling areas in the Galapagos Archipelago are found off the shores of Floreana.
Home to the famed Centro de Crianza de Tortugas Gigantes, Isabela (Albemarle) is the largest island in the group. At the natural harbor known as Tagus Cove, whalers and pirates carved inscriptions on the rock faces.
Land iguanas and giant tortoises can be seen year-round on Isabela. Urbina Bay, located on the central west coast at the base of Darwin and Alcedo volcanoes, is home to a dark volcanic beach.
To the south, Elizabeth Bay presents a desolate, volcanic landscape populated by Frigatebirds and pelicans.
Marchena (Blindoe) is a large island, located about 30 miles north-northeast of Santiago.
The island has an unusual caldera with fascinating lava formations, as a volcanic eruption took place here in 1992.
While Marchena Island is off-limits to Galapagos tourists, diving is permitted offshore.
Mosquera is a small sandy island, located between Seymour Norte and Baltra.
Mosquera island consists of a long narrow white sand beach and rocky tide pools. Unlike most islands in the archipelago, Mosquera offers visitors the rare opportunity to wander.
This is also an ideal place to swim with sea lions.
Piñta (Abingdon), located about 25 miles northwest of Marchena, is home to marine iguanas, Swallow-tailed gulls, and fur seals.
Piñta was once home to a thriving population of endemic tortoises.
Sadly, these animals were hunted for decades by whalers and fisherman, leading to their extinction in 2012.
Rabida Island (Jervis) is a tiny island (two square miles) located roughly three miles south of Santiago.
The island’s red sand beaches are home to brown pelicans. The saltwater lagoon here is a favorite feeding ground of flamingoes.
Bachelor sea lions are also found on the island.
San Cristobal (Chatham) is the easternmost large island in the Galapagos archipelago.
It was the first island visited by Charles Darwin, and is the location of an Interpretation Center (found at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno).
Visitors can take guided walks in the island’s highlands.
Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) is located near the center of the archipelago, and home to the largest settlement—Puerto Ayora—on Academy Bay (at the southern end).
This small town offers a basic grocery store, several dive shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Santa Fe (Barrington) is located about a dozen miles off the southeast coast of Santa Cruz.
Santa Fe is known for its unusual Palo Santo forests and Opuntia cacti. Here you’ll find land iguanas, lava lizards and sea lion colonies.
Santa Fe’s coast offers excellent swimming and snorkeling.
Santiago (San Salvador or James) is a large island, located northwest of Santa Cruz.
This island experienced significant volcanic activity as recently as 1897. As a result, James Bay, on the west coast, features a black sand beach
This Galapagos Island is home to many species of migratory birds, Darwin finches, Galapagos hawks and sea lions.
Seymour Norte (North Seymour) is a short volcanic plateau, located just north of Baltra.
North Seymour’s rocky shore is home to sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, and bright red and yellow Sally Lightfoot crabs.
The interior is a nesting ground for Magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies and land iguanas are also common here.
South Plaza is a small island found off the east coast of Santa Cruz.
Here you’ll find sea lions and land iguanas, alongside the aberrant swallow-tailed gull.
Tower (Genovesa) is a small island, located about 45 miles north-northeast of Santa Cruz and approximately 25 miles due east of Marchena.
Darwin Bay, encompassing the island’s southern side, was formed by a collapsed volcano.
Tower is sometimes referred to as “Birder’s Island”, named for its abundance of Frigates, Red-footed boobies, Noddy terns, tropic birds, doves, Storm-petrels, and Darwin finches.
Wolf (Wenman) is a remote islet, found to the far northwest of the island chain (about 22 miles southeast of Darwin.
Like Darwin, this island is an eroded volcano, with a peak not much higher sea level.
Wolf’s submerged caldera forms a bay with calm waters. This is an excellent location for diving and snorkeling.
On one day you might take a guided tour of a bird rookery, snorkel with sea lions, and watch dolphins or whales.
On another, you could hike the volcanic hills, observe tortoises, and relax on a powdery beach.
Most of our clients embark on three, four, or seven-day cruises.
Many of these programs visit the major island cluster, offering daily guided wildlife and geology tours.
For those interested in scuba diving, longer cruises to the outlying islands are available.
Galapagos yachting charter itineraries can be customized to fit your interests.
LANDED Galapagos cruise charters are fully staffed with captain, crew, chef, and bilingual naturalist guides. We arrange:
- Private yacht cruises
- Private catamaran cruises
- Private ship cruises
- Private dive cruises
High season Galapagos charters (December to May) should be booked at least a year in advance—the best vessels book up quickly.
Our team includes in-country and US-based experts who can help you sift through the options. Give us a call at 801.582.2100, and we’ll help you make the most of your time and budget.
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