Minor but exciting changes in our Archipel and Treasure itineraries, and what they bring in terms of experience
The authorities of the Galapagos National Park closely monitor 24/7 the state of the islands’ delicate ecosystems. Based on their findings, in March of each year, they have the power to notify Galapagos cruise lines to modify their itineraries in order to balance the impact of tourism on each location. Complementarily, cruises are allowed to request changes to the National Park to improve current itineraries for an even greater passenger experience.
With that said, we are thrilled to inform you that we got the approval to make small but exciting changes in the itineraries of the Archipel I and Treasure boats.
These changes, effective April 7, will enrich our onboard safari experience, as well as help reduce our cruises’ carbon footprint thanks to more efficient navigation routes.
Let’s start by talking about the changes in the Archipel cruise itineraries.
On day 5 of its “A” itinerary and day 2 of its“A5” itinerary, our passengers formerly visited Elizabeth Bay, on Isabela Island. We are replacing it with Urbina Bay (also on Isabela Island).
Urbina Bay has the unique feature of harbouring large colonies of turtles and land iguanas, which are a good complement to the rest of the wildlife observed along the route. In addition, at Urbina Bay passengers can now enjoy an immersive land visit PLUS the option of snorkelling, unlike the former visit to Elizabeth Bay, which only allowed a boat ride near the Island’s shores.
Additionally, this change allows the Archipel catamaran to optimise its navigation route, reducing those days’ navigation by 15 nautical miles, thus minimising the cruises’ overall fuel consumption and consequential carbon footprint.
Also on the “A” and “A5” itineraries of the Archipel, on the final day of each we visited Bachas Beach. It is a lovely location, but by being programmed on the last day, our passengers were not able to fully enjoy it as they were rushing instead of relaxing before being transferred out to the airport.
Now, their last visit will be at Black Turtle Cove, a beautiful mangrove reserve that allows for the easy viewing of sea turtles, rays and sharks directly from the dinghy en route to the airport.
In the case of the “B” and “B4” Itineraries of the Archipel, on day 1 we formerly visited Mosquera islet. Sadly, there were times when high tides did not allow the boats to enter Mosquera, and the land visit was lost. Now we guarantee everyone’s satisfaction by offering a visit to Bachas Beach instead, a more accessible sunny retreat with calm waters and interesting birdlife, and a proper choice for the first day.
On another hand, there are changes in 3 Treasure itineraries.
Starting with the “A” Itinerary, on day 1, our passengers visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, which features a breeding centre with Giant Tortoises inside their enclosures. We are replacing the former with a new visit to the Twin Craters in El Chato Reserve, where instead of observing Giant Tortoises in captivity, passengers will be able to approach them in their natural habitat! This is inside a lush scalesia forest that is visited by many endemic species of birds.
In the same “A” Itinerary, we have included a new visit to the spectacular Pitt Point, where passengers will have the unique opportunity to closely admire together the 3 species of boobies: Blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca!, as well as swimming in a Jurassic-looking bay alongside sea lions, eels, marine turtles, reef sharks, and more.
The rest of changes in the Treasure itineraries mostly consist in simply switching visits from one day to the other. The only remarkable addition happens in its “C” Itinerary, with a visit to Punta Vicente Roca, a collapsed volcanic amphitheatre where snorkelling allows the spotting of various species of shark, penguins, pufferfish and even seahorses!
Certainly, it is wise to transform a novel situation into an opportunity for improvement, and this is what we aim to do at Oniric Cruises. With these slight changes in the itineraries of our Archipel and Treasure boats, passengers will have additional opportunities for being touched by the indomitable spirit of nature.