The Galapagos islands are absolutely amazing. The unique landscape, the dedication to preserving the islands, the knowledge of the guides and most of all, the yacht we were on was MAGNIFICENT!
The Aqua Mare is, hands down, the finest ship in the Galapagos. There are no words to express how incredible, other than magical! Everything was amazing – the yacht, the crew, the menu and food, the guides (best individual attention - they assign one guide per 8 guests, where the standard is one to sixteen). This ship only has 7 cabins, so no more than 16 guests, and with 16 crew, the service is truly first class. No detail is overlooked and you are treated like royalty. I know we had an much higher quality experience that was more intimate than any other group or ship we observed while we were in the islands!
We did the 14 day itinerary, so were fortunate enough to have a very full experience and saw almost all of the islands. The first three days, we didn’t see another person or ship, which is incredible and not what I expected (knowing how popular the Galapagos is). Over the 14 days we were on board, we only encountered a few other groups, but never felt crowded. The itineraries were well planned and included an exploration (by panga or on foot) each morning and afternoon, along with at least one snorkel opportunity each day. You could do as much or as little as you wanted, and there were custom options for those that wanted to dive, kayak or paddleboard (depending on location). There was ample opportunity to make the most of each day, but even participating in every activity, it never felt rushed. There was plenty of leisure time to enjoy the sun deck, nap, look at photos or browse the wonderful assortment of books on board. Our expert guides (Jamie, Yvonne and Vicky) were very knowledgeable and fun, ensuring we saw as much wildlife and landscapes as possible, while also providing us with the history of the islands. Because of this, we were able to check off practically every species on the checklist, including sea lions, sea turtles, numerous fish, multiple types of iguanas, lizards, sharks, dolphins, sea horses (!), tortoises, and the most unique birds on the planet.