Experience Mother Nature at her most extra as you glide through the Galápagos Islands on this boutique gay cruise. Things start and end in Quito, the second-highest capital city in the world. A walking tour is the perfect introduction before we head out of town to see The Equator. Then we fly off the mainland and board a yacht to follow Charles Darwin’s trail of discovery. These islands went untouched by civilization for thousands of years and developed exceptional ecosystems. It’s basically Paradise, and the animals are completely comfortable around (or totally indifferent to) the curious tourists. We’ve also planned plenty of snorkelling to immerse you in the marine life.
Hola – welcome to Ecuador, and the second-highest capital in the world. After a Kickoff Meeting we’ve planned a full-day city tour including La Compañia de Jesus, the most beautiful church in the Americas, and Calle La Ronda, Quito’s oldest street. Then we’re off to the Equator museum where you’ll get a keen sense of what it means to be equidistant from the world’s two poles. A Welcome Dinner ends our day, but officially starts the holiday. PLEASE NOTE: Given the city’s high altitude consider arriving the day before, so your body can adjust to the thinner air.
Today we fly to the Galapagos, and board the sumptuous Queen Beatriz, our home for the next week. This is mainly a travel day, but in the afternoon we’ll explore Red Hill, a national park with an established breeding program and information center for tortoises. See the creatures in their natural habitat and learn about their origin, evolution and threatened future.
Bartolomé is a newer island with traces of its volcanic past visible everywhere – it really feels like you’re on the moon. Here’s where you can check out Pinnacle Rock, one of the most photographed landmarks in the Galapagos that thrusts out from the water like a tooth. Then consider a hike to the top of a dormant volcano for superb views of Sullivan Bay across the water. Our day ends with 1.5 hours of snorkelling plus a ride on a panga boat.
Rise and shine as another busy day awaits, starting with Espumilla Beach, in James Bay. The beach is an important nesting site for marine turtles. It’s also known for its Palo Santo Forest and extraordinary lava formations. Check out Buccaneer Cove, a natural rock formation caused by sea erosion, where pirates would careen their ships. Finally, Port Egas is a black sand beach set against Sugarloaf Volcano, where you can walk among marine iguanas and sea lions. Today includes two snorkelling stops.
Today begins with a visit to Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. Puerto Ayora, the island’s hub of life, is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Undertaking vital conservation work, the station offers amazing opportunities to encounter giant tortoises, their babies, and land iguanas. Then it’s off to the highlands with a total change of scenery en route: misty forests, inactive volcanic cones, plenty of endemic plants, and perhaps the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher await.
This morning we venture to North Seymour. The trail crosses inland through the island and on to the rocky coast. Along the way we’ll see colonies of blue footed boobies and even frigates – large black birds known for the red pouch on their necks. During mating season males throw back their heads and inflate the pouch – sometimes to the size of a soccer ball – in a flashy display to woo the females. After lunch the sandy island of Mosquera makes for a picturesque stop. Red lava crabs scamper and skip across pools of water in search of supper. Bright red on top and blue beneath, they are a stunning crustacean contrast to the black lava.
Black Turtle Cove is a mangrove wetland on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. Paddle through and discover the region’s underwater riches. It’s a wonderful place to see green turtles, and is a nursery for rays and Galapagos sharks. Birds like the yellow warbler and lava heron also call the cove home. In the afternoon, a walk on Dragon Hill offers iguana and flamingo sightings.
The small island of Rabida is one of the most striking in the archipelago. Introduced species were eradicated in 1971, letting indigenous wildlife return to a state of splendid isolation. The volcanic activity here produces vivid landscapes like the red sand beaches and scarlet cliffs. Look out for nesting pelicans, pintail ducks, and sea lions. Our last stop is Sombrero Chino, or Chinese Hat islet, which takes its name from the island’s shape: snorkel away!
We’ve planned an early start for our final day on the Galapagos. We’re off to Las Bachas, named after the barges abandoned by the American Navy in the 1940s. The sandy white beaches are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle with marine iguanas commonly seen. The sand here is particularly white and soft, made of decomposed coral. A lagoon near the beach is home to whimbrels and great blue herons. Our Galapagos gay cruise is over, but we have one final night – and a Farewell Dinner – in Quito after our flight to the mainland.
As the last day of our tour no activities are planned. Please confirm departure transfers with your trip leader, and safe travels home.
The trip to the Galapagos exceeded all of my expectations. Every day is full of activities and the size of the group ensures you fully experience all that the islands have to offer. Where else can you be snorkeling with sea lions, turtles, rays and sharks then hiking along to see iguanas, boobies, and giant tortoises on the same day? I highly recommend this experience to everyone!
After 6 years, it is still the top of the list of the dozen out adventures trips I’ve taken. The diversity of the animals is amazing, but snorkeling with Galapagos and hammerhead sharks that were 30 feet below will always remain a thrilling memory.
After five years away, Out Adventures makes another run through the most biodiverse archipelago on Earth on our Galápagos Gay Cruise in the fall of 2020. Here’s ten reasons you might want to set a course for adventure with us.Read More
While these trips typically attract gay men, all genders are welcome, and we encourage friends and family to join the fun as well.Learn More
All accommodations on Out Adventures tours include breakfast and are located in areas central to our activities. All amenities are examples only, and may differ from hotel to hotel.
4-Star Hotel: Very comfortable and well-decorated rooms along with quality amenities such as a stylish restaurant and bar. Customer service is very good, and there is usually a concierge.
Private Yacht: A boutique vessel accommodating 15 passengers, with a sundeck, rooftop sundeck, hot tub, lounge and dining room. Scroll down to ‘Ship Details’ for specific information and photos about the ship used on this tour.Learn More
This trip is fully booked but cancellations occur. If you’d like to be contacted if space opens up, please click “Book Now”, select the appropriate departure and you will be prompted to provide limited information.
If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Shared/Twin Room when booking this tour.
If you are a solo traveller interested in booking a private room, please select single supplement when booking this tour (based on availability). If you are willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Solo Shared.
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