The Galapagos draws travelers to its far-off shores with promises of exceptionally diverse landscapes and a wealth of endemic species. Since the archipelago is located 600 miles from the nearest land, getting there is an adventure in itself and so once you make it there’s no way you can leave without seeing everything you had your heart set on. This can make it hard to plan a trip without worrying you might miss out on something. While a two-week cruise is needed to explore the entire archipelago, you can still get the full experience from a 7-day luxury Galapagos vacation itinerary — if it is planned well.
To ensure you experience the Galapagos to the fullest on your vacation, we have curated a thoughtful, well-balanced, and exciting sample itinerary featuring the region’s most luxurious four-day luxury Galapagos yacht cruise and a three-night deluxe hotel stay. While each day is packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences like swimming with sharks and meeting giant tortoises, the evenings and moments of downtime are reserved for soaking in the jacuzzi on your yacht’s sundeck, getting pampered at a sea-view spa, and sampling gourmet Ecuadorian cuisine as you watch the sunset over the archipelago. Read on to find out more.
Days 1-4 A four-day cruise on the Infinity
Your luxury Galapagos vacation begins as you touch down in Santa Cruz and board your five-star yacht, whisking you across the archipelago for the next four days. As you get settled on board and perhaps enjoy your first sundeck jacuzzi dip, the yacht will sail to Black Turtle Cove in north Santa Cruz. After anchoring down, you’ll hop into a dinghy with your yacht’s private guide to venture into the cove’s lush mangroves. More than likely, you’ll return to the yacht having spotted rays, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, and an array of birdlife. To celebrate a successful and rewarding first day in the Galapagos, share a drink with your fellow guests and travel partners for the next few blissful days.
While you sleep soundly, your yacht will sail you to your next destination: El Barranco on Genovesa Island. When you awake, you’ll notice the views from your suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows are much different from the previous day. Characterized by its tall and rocky volcanic cliffs, El Barranco is an intimidatingly dramatic coastline indented with hundreds of small crevices that house over 200,000 red-footed boobies and an array of other birds. It’s best explored by climbing the precarious Prince Philip’s Steps to reach its petrified lava fields for a short hike.
Afterward, you’ll stop by Darwin Bay, home to the Galapagos’ most beautiful coral sand beach and a host of endemic animals to observe and play alongside. Choose to walk its mile-long trail in search of wildlife or snorkel along the reef if you dare to swim beside rays and hammerhead sharks. Back on board, you can reminisce about the day’s adventures over a sumptuous Ecuadorian dinner.
Today you’ll wake up in Santiago Island’s Sullivan Bay, another breathtaking pink-tinged coral beach. But it’s not the beach the guide wants to show you today, it’s what lies beyond: a vast Mars-like pahoehoe lava field that rolls beyond the horizon interrupted by sporadic hills and mounds. As you walk across it, your guide will impart their unparalleled knowledge of the region’s lava activity and its resulting land formations.
Next, you’ll go wildlife-spotting on Rabida Island, which displays some of the weirdest and most wonderful sights in the Galapagos. While the island’s hilly northern coastline is blanketed by dry sage-colored vegetation, the southern side is distinguished by a dramatic red cliff face that descends into a stunning red-sand beach covered in dazzling green foliage. As you walk along the beach, don’t forget to greet the sunbathing sea lions before snorkeling among speedy Galapagos penguins on the hunt for fish along the shore.
Days 4 – 7 Explore the Galapagos from Pikaia Lodge in Santa Cruz
Savour every moment of splendor as you wake up for your final day on board your luxury yacht by devouring the delicious breakfast spread and sipping your morning coffee on the sundeck. Today, you’ll be docking at the Charles Darwin Research Station back in Santa Cruz to spend quality time with the Galapagos’ most adored endemic animal — the giant tortoise. This excursion provides an exceptional insight into the research and conservation efforts that go into preserving the Galapagos’ unique wildlife.
After making a few new shell-backed friends, you’ll wave goodbye to your yacht and be transferred to Pikaia Lodge, the Galapagos’ most prestigious hotel. After a full few days of sailing, you’ll have the afternoon to relax and take advantage of Pikaia’s luxurious facilities like the Sumaq Spa and infinity pool before tucking into dinner at Evolution.
Those with an International Diving Certification will be able to take the opportunity today to squeeze into their wetsuits and descend into the deep seas surrounding the Galapagos. As a world-renowned scuba-diving location, diving in this region amongst sharks, seals, and turtles is a bucket list opportunity that you’ll treasure forever.
However, once-in-a-lifetime memories can be made anywhere in the Galapagos so those without a certification won’t miss out on the fun. Instead, you can opt to spend the morning sport fishing for blue marlin and mahi mahi, or mountain biking across Santa Cruz to see its epic lava tubes, volcanic craters, and coffee farms.
Finish the day at Pikaia’s wellness center for a rejuvenating massage or pool dip accompanied by the sensational sunset views over Santa Cruz. Afterward, choose a bottle of your favorite wine from the lodge’s wine cellar for a divine dinner inspired by the finest Ecuadorian fusion gastronomy.
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Squeezing an extra bit of adventure into your Galapagos trip, you’ll spend your last full day on Pikaia’s luxury private yacht exploring parts of the archipelago you have yet to see. The yacht will sail around Santa Cruz and the neighboring island Santa Fe in search of more of the Galapagos’ mind-blowing marine life, landscapes, and bird colonies. Feel free to get your flippers on and dive into the ocean with the turtles and rays or stay on board to soak up the scenes from the yacht’s luxurious lounges, sundeck, or bow-front jacuzzi.
Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to spend the day on some of the world’s finest beaches found right here in the Galapagos. In the morning, head to Tortuga Bay, the archipelago’s most prized beach to soak up the fresh sea air and sensational scenery as you kayak, surf, and swim off its shores. After an active morning, wind down by sunbathing on the secluded, empty, and still El Garrapatero Beach.
Before you leave the Galapagos, take one last moment to reap the rewards of living amongst the Galapagos’ endemic wildlife on a two-mile walk around Pikaia’s private giant tortoise reserve. Remember to listen to the birdsong of the exquisite bird species nestled in trees around you and look out for giant tortoises that freely roam the grounds.
Completing your sensational Galapagos luxury vacation 7-day itinerary, you will then be transferred to the airport to fly back to mainland Ecuador. We recommend stopping for a few days in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito before your onward flight to experience a completely different side to this wonderful country.
About the Pikaia Lodge
The Pikaia Lodge combines exceptionally well-designed rooms with carefully curated excursions, a taste-provoking restaurant, and a lavish spa to provide the Galpagos’ best stay. Sitting on the ledge of an inactive volcanic crater overlooking the island of Santa Cruz to the sea’s horizon, it provides the best views too. However, the focus remains on the splendor of the Galapagos itself, which can be explored by scuba diving, cruising on their private yacht, and even kayaking around Tortuga Bay.
Choosing your luxury Galapagos yacht
The cruise schedule we have provided as part of this 7-day luxury Galapagos vacation was inspired by the Royal Galapagos Infinity yacht’s 4-day itinerary. We have chosen it because this is one of our favorite yachts in the Galapagos and its 4-day itinerary fits perfectly with a 3-night stay at Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz island. However, TLA offers many equally luxurious and exciting alternatives including the Galapagos’ newest superyacht, the Cormorant II, and the elegant 16-suite Aqua Mare which includes an 80sqm Owner’s Suite. Click here to find out more about our other luxury Galapagos yacht experiences.
Create your dream luxury 7-day Galapagos vacation itinerary
This is just one of the life-changing Galapagos cruises and hotel itineraries we can arrange at Totally Latin America. Remember, it can be tweaked and tailored to include the different island stops and experiences that you’d love to have on your ideal trip, or we can build you your very own from the ground up. To create your very own dream luxury 7-day Galapagos vacation itinerary get in touch with us here.