Many people prefer to explore the Galapagos on board small vessels because they are less regimented and offer more flexibility. However, when some of those on board are highly active, while others are less agile, it means the entire group is obliged to move at a snail’s pace

Galapagos2Not so from January 2016, when a new luxurious boutique expedition boat called MV ORIGIN, offered by Latin America specialist Pura Aventura, debuts in the Galapagos. The craft will have two expert naturalist guides on board, making it simple to split the passengers according to interest or activity level. Sleeping 20 in 10 spacious staterooms, ORIGIN will offer almost double the space of some other 20 passenger vessels.

“While going to the Galapagos Islands to discover the wonderful wildlife is always a trip of a lifetime, the space or lack of it on some smaller vessels can be a concern,” said Thomas Power, MD, Pura Aventura. “With MV ORIGIN, there will be plenty of cosy corners in which to curl up with a book, and more than one dining room to ring the changes for meal times. With two expert guides on board, if one group is interested in hiking to see the vast crater of Sierra Negra, while the other group prefers to be still and watch for passing albatross, we can tailor guests’ experiences to a greater degree than before, whilst still maintaining the intimacy of a small ship experience. This is of particular value in a sensitive and mostly human-free environment such as the Galapagos.”

Galapagos3Most people who are prone to seasickness have to opt for one of the bigger boats. However, the modern hull design of Ecoventura’s ORIGIN means that it is excellent for stability. Heralded as understated luxury redefined, the new vessel offers 10 deluxe double bedrooms (averaging 140sq.ft), featuring panoramic windows, private bathrooms and all the little touches like bathrobes and the finest bed linen. Other delights for cruisers include a concierge to attend to passengers’ every need, a large wet bar with an open bar policy, a well-stocked library, a sun deck with a Jacuzzi, satellite TV and a BBQ. Those who want to keep active and relaxed while at sea can make use of the spa fitness centre with its cardio equipment, a masseuse, multiple kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, wetsuits and snorkelling equipment. 

In line with Galapagos regulations, there will be a choice of two 7-night itineraries. The Southern-Central route includes the following highlights: seeing marine and land iguanas, magnificent frigatebirds, giant tortoises in the highlands, waived albatross on Española and all three boobies; snorkelling with Galapagos penguins, and kayaking and swimming with sea lions at Cerro Brujo and Gardner Bay.

Galapagos1The alternative Western-Northern route includes seeing Galapagos tortoises in the highlands, red-footed and Nazca booby at Genovesa Island, land and marine iguanas, volcanic formations on Fernandina, flightless cormorants, whales and dolphins, as well as snorkelling with penguins on Isabela, and kayaking at Darwin Bay and Tagus Cove.

Pura Aventura (01273 676 712, www.pura-aventura.com) offers a one-week cruise on board MV ORIGIN from £4,500 per person based on two sharing including one week’s full board, most drinks, guided shore excursions, cruise director, use of wetsuits, snorkelling equipment and sea kayaks, plus transfers in the islands between the airport and dock. Flights to Galapagos, Galapagos entrance fee (park tax) of $100 for adults, transit control card, and tips for guides are all extra. The inaugural cruise departs on 3 January 2016.