We just returned from an amazing 8 days aboard the Natural Paradise. Our package included a pre cruise stay at the Swissotel. We were all transported by transfer van to the airport and our luggage and boarding passes were all looked after. Seamless and painless. Flights, transit and park admission was included.
We arrived at Baltra and were met by our excellent Guide Andreas Cadena and taken by transfer van to the yacht. Our luggage was transported and taken by the staff into our rooms.
We booked a standard room on the main deck. It was spacious enough. We had a large double shelf for suitcases and other gear plus a separate hanging locker with more shelves. The king bed was really comfortable and we had two large windows. The bathroom was also a good size and there was a very large shower.
The yacht was extremely clean and well kept. Everything looked new. There is a very large comfortable salon near the stern and the dining area is also on the same level. Most people hung out in the salon. However the top deck was well appointed with really comfortable lounge chairs. It was nice to spend time up there and we didn’t miss having our own balcony. There was another outside nook on a lower deck outside the bridge. So lots of outside spaces.
Food - one of our fellow travellers said they chose the ship based on the food and although I chose it based on the itinerary the food did not disappoint. Very well presented and always plentiful - fresh fish, lobster tails, filet mignon and I could go on about it but will just say that we didn’t have a bad meal and there was always fresh creative juices and hot snacks when we returned from snorkelling.
A guide can make or break your trip and our guide was excellent.
Andres was so knowledgeable and excited to shore his appreciation of nature and the Galapagos. He also made sure that everyone was included. When we were on the two pangas he would switch into the other panga so we all benefitted from the information he was sharing. He was also an excellent swimmer and diver and took great care of our safety when in the water. The pangas also accompanied everyone in the water and were available to assist if someone wanted to get out early.
We got to snorkel with reef sharks, huge green turtles, playful sea lions, penguins plus many colourful fish and rays.
The itinerary was really great. I would not have missed the west side if Isabella or Fernanda - we had some of our best encounters there. Each day we had two landings and 2 snorkels. We were never rushed and we were the only ones on each of the landings and sites. One afternoon we had a pod of dolphins swimming around the boat and the captain slowed the boat so we could all enjoy the experience.
I cannot say enough good things about the itinerary, accommodations, the staff and our guide. It was super great to be on a boat with only 13 guests and get such a personal experience of Galapagos. Not sure if I will get back again but would not hesitate to rebook with natural paradise.