Galápagos is like no other place on Earth. And being on expedition is unlike any other kind of travel. So, what does it mean to be ‘on expedition,' when no two days are alike? Here’s a look at the unique shape a given day might take. (And don’t miss the video below—or the special offers.)
Early-risers find sunrise coffee, fruit, and fresh pastries served on the Bridge Deck forward, where today’s new vista greets you. Hang out with naturalists looking for whales and wildlife. Or head to the observation deck for yoga with Juliana at 0700 (and a post-class smoothie). Or make your way to the breakfast buffet with its rainbow of fresh juices and fruits, Andean super-grains and bespoke omelets—only a few of the daily choices. Coffee is locally grown and world-class.
A thrum of activity fills the ship as breakfast ends and everyone heads out on varied adventures in smoothly orchestrated waves. Two Zodiacs in the distance hover, clearly observing a marine animal. Other guests are already starting their wildlife stroll along the coast. You grab your camera and catch the waiting Zodiac.
Back from the morning’s activities, you swipe an icy fresh juice from the tray as you head to the lounge to join Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, (and author of Galápagos: Life in Motion) Walter Perez, for a session on capturing animal behavior. Some people head to the gym; some to a top deck hammock to read until lunch. Others lean against the deck rail watching frigates sail above.
Lunch today is a riot of color and texture: an authentic Ecuadorian buffet, featuring a roast suckling pig from the island of Floreana, with produce, herbs and condiments, exclusively sourced from Galápagos. The dining staff, dressed in guayaberas and Panama hats, weave nimbly round the tables, while the chefs skillfully carve the roast. Delicious odors fill the dining room, flavoring the animated conversation.
While adults drift into their post-lunch pursuits—exploring new nooks and crannies on the ship, browsing the Global Gallery, checking email or downloading memory cards to laptops—teens participating in the National Geographic Global Explorers program are meeting José in the library to finish their trailer for the ‘Darwin Comes to Galápagos’ movie, while the younger kids are in reception getting the details on their Zodiac driving lessons.
Zodiacs depart for snorkeling along the coast of Isabela Island—Expedition Leader Paula had announced that the team had spotted a large number of green sea turtles, so anticipation is high. You watch a marine iguana, the world’s only undersea feeding lizard, grazing on seaweed, and turn your head to catch sight of two small, torpedo-shaped Galápagos penguins, flying through the water after a school of tiny fish.
Gear stowed and showered, you’re catching another Zodiac to cruise along the coast—geology as art—with fascinating volcanic features, forms, and textures. Your Zodiac bobs near ledges studded with flightless cormorants, alongside nesting penguins. You see Galápagos fur seals hauled out to rest. And you do some citizen science, searching for the elusive Galápagos martin. Your naturalists report the sightings to researchers at the Charles Darwin Foundation.
Crossing the Equator is an event in a traveler’s life, and on a Lindblad-National Geographic ship, it’s celebrated. Gather with fellow guests on the observation deck for a wine tasting and some fun, as the Captain navigates north to cross the Equator at sunset. Will there be bragging rights swag? Definitely.
On a Lindblad-National Geographic expedition the daily cocktail hour is called Recap, and everyone attends. Meet in the lounge, order your drink, help yourself to hors d’oeuvres, and settle in; the review of the day is interesting, often funny; the presentations and photo slideshow are engaging; and the preview of tomorrow’s activities is always exciting. Tonight, the Zodiac ‘driver license certificates’ are being awarded, and the kids’ reactions, from solemn to exhilarated, are priceless.
The Southern Cross is at its highest point in the sky after dinner tonight. You bring your binoculars for this show-and-tell with Carlos. As others drift away you find yourself needing to stay, to lie down on a lounger to watch tropical stars wheeling above. Later, you sleep as deeply as a child.