Galapagos Islands’ First True Superyacht Sets Sail

Luxury travelers go to the Galapagos Islands for the dramatic landscapes. The wildlife that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. And to walk the land that inspired Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution and write On the Origin of Species. What they haven’t been able to do, until now, is explore the Galapagos by superyacht. The Aqua Mare is the Galapagos Islands’ first true superyacht, offering a distinctly luxurious voyage to match its singular destination. The Galapagos, a Pacific Archipelago of 18 islands and 100+ small islets located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. It’s a revered yet remote spot among nature and animal lovers, and those who are in awe of its unique biodiversity and ecosystem. This environment is the product of a confluence of factors including the islands’ location near the equator and within three ocean currents—the Humboldt, Panama, and Cromwell—and the ongoing underground volcanic activity that’s responsible for the islands’ formation.

Onboard the Aqua Mare

 The 164-foot Aqua Mare was built by Italian luxury outfit CRN Yachts in 1998 and refurbished in 2021. Its four pristine decks feature custom interiors by famed yacht designer François Zuretti boast and seven luxe sea-view suites. The vessel can accommodate 16 guests and is also available for private charter. Exploring the Galapagos Islands has never been so luxurious, with multiple indoor and outdoor dining areas; a library; a lobby bar; an outdoor six-person Jacuzzi and fitness area; a swim platform and movie room on the lower deck; a panoramic lounge and numerous additional areas from which to enjoy the incredible views of the Archipelago. Attending to the gourmet meals onboard is renowned Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. Each Aqua Mare expedition also disembarks with 16 crew members on board—the one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio creating a pampered and personal experience.

Seeing The Galapagos

With such spectacular scenery to enjoy from the comfort of the superyacht, you won’t be blamed for partaking in extended relaxation on one of the view decks. But when it’s time to go exploring, turn to the two naturalist guides among the on-board crew that lead twice-daily expeditions through the Archipelago. Hike Sullivan Bay’s lava-formed landscapes or the volcanically formed dual sinkholes of Los Gemelos. Stroll the black sand beaches of Egas Port, encountering neon-hued Sally Lightfoot crabs and lounging fur seals. Travel by military-grade black tender to the mangrove estuary of Black Turtle Cove, teeming with sea turtles, pelicans, and rays. Kayak or paddleboard in the deep-water bay of Tagus Cove among flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins or Darwin Bay’s coral beach with sea lions and colorful reef fish. Snorkel or dive among clear, calm waters to get an even closer look.

A Haven for Animal Lovers

There are nearly 3,000 species of animals within the Galapagos’ diverse ecosystem, along with 9,000+ species of flora and fauna. What’s truly remarkable: more than 80% of the land animals are endemic to the Archipelago, so they can’t be seen anywhere else. The Galapagos giant tortoises can live upwards of 100 years, and some to 150. Marine iguanas found on the Archipelago are the only living lizard species that swims. The flightless cormorant, blue-footed boobies, waved albatross, and frigatebirds are all native to the Galapagos. So, too, are Darwin’s finches—15 different species of small birds that are similar in size and coloration but with different beaks and which provided Darwin the spark that eventually led to his theory. In all, there are nearly 200 bird species on the islands, contributing to the Galapagos’ reputation as a birding paradise. With a seven-day itinerary exploring either east Galapagos or West Galapagos, you’ll have time to lounge onboard and explore what makes the islands so unique. Not enough time? Combine the two itineraries to create a 14-night jaunt.


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