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Enchanted islands - The Galapagos with Tandayapa

22nd January 2008 Print

Cruises for Nature have chartered the comfortable air-conditioned 98-foot motor-yacht, Galapagos Adventurer V, for 15-guests on their wildlife and photography tours of the Galapagos Islands in September and October 2008.

Small enough to navigate the coves and inlets inaccessible to the larger vessels, yet with spacious outdoor decks for wildlife watching, the Galapagos Adventurer V provides an ideal platform to explore the islands. Three nights at the superb Tandayapa Bird Lodge in Ecuador’s subtropical forest ensures a spectacular finish to this 14-day escorted wildlife trip.

Situated in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Marine Reserve was designated a protected area in 1998 and is one of the largest marine reserves in the world, covering approximately 50,000 square miles. The area’s spectacular tropical ecosystems, nutrient rich waters and overwhelming diversity of wildlife all contribute to the reason why this archipelago is famous for its complex one-of-a-kind ecosystems.

The Galapagos Islands’ diverse wildlife is so abundant and without fear, it would be unusual for visitors not to find themselves treading lightly around a sleeping Galapagos Sea Lion or a Marine Iguana basking in the sunshine. The photographic opportunities are excellent; the islands are home to some of the world’s most photogenic wildlife from courting Blue-footed Boobies and nesting Waved Albatrosses to Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Lava Lizards and endangered giant tortoises.

Nineteen islands make up the Galapagos Island group and Cruises for Nature plan to visit at least seven of these during the seven-day cruise around the islands (subject to weather and permissions). Close encounters with Pacific Green Turtles, Bottlenose Dolphins and some of the great whales are likely and, with a Galapagos naturalist guide on board as well as the Cruises for Nature escort, the group will be well informed on the islands’ history, culture and fascinating variety of birds, animals and plants.

Santa Cruz – home to the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station this island is where the voyage will begin and end.

North Seymour – the islands’ largest frigatebird colony is here with an astonishing number of Magnificent Frigatebirds nesting along with Great Frigatebirds. The coastline provides a popular sunbathing site for Marine Iguanas and Galapagos Sea Lions.

Bartolome – here you can swim off the island’s golden beaches with the world’s most northerly penguin – the Galapagos Penguin.

Sante Fe – dominated by tall forests of Opuntia Cacti, this island is home to the endemic Santa Fe Iguana as well as the Galapagos Hawk and Galapagos Dove.

San Cristobal (Chatham) Island – this island has the second largest human settlement in the Galapagos as well as the islands’ only freshwater lagoon, a rain filled crater about 6m deep offering breathtaking views and spectacular bird watching.

Espanola (Hood) – the only island in the world where Waved Albatross nest and the endemic Hood Mockingbird is found. Confiding Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies nest close to the footpaths and Galapagos Sea Lions are on the beach at Gardner Bay.

Floreana – feeding American Flamingos and the endemic Large-Billed Flycatcher are on the island’s large lagoon, whilst snorkellers may have an escort of playful Galapagos Sea Lions. Mail can be posted in the pirates’ barrel, the island’s post box since the 1700’s.

On return from the Galapagos Islands to Quito, the group will transfer to the superb Tandayapa Bird Lodge on the west slope subtropical forests of the Ecuadorian Andes, for the final three days of the trip.

Tandayapa is a lodge designed and owned by birders, where the intense bird activity has to be seen to be believed with Booted racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Western Emerald, Rufous-tailed and Speckled Hummingbirds all competing for a place at the feeders.

Using the lodge as a base, the group will be searching the forests for two particular species endemic to the Choco region of Colombia and Ecuador: the plate-billed Mountain Toucan and Toucan Barbet.

Departure dates: 25 September – 8 October 2008 and 30 October – 12 November 2008

Prices: £3699pp sharing a twin cabin including flights to/from Quito, 7-day cruise around the Galapagos Islands, 3-days in Tandayapa Lodge, all transfers and guide services.

For more information on the voyage visit