Quasar Expeditions resides at the top of the charts with its stellar reputation for operating well-run, well-guided, one-week Galapagos itineraries away from the crowds, using two traditional-looking yachts that take just 16 and 32 passengers.
The cruises have operated exclusively within the Galapagos archipelago for over three decades, while the land itineraries use lodges along the Amazon in Ecuador, treks in the high Peruvian Andes, and overland journeys in super scenic Patagonia.
These land-based options may be added to the one-week cruises. As an alternative, the firm also offers shorter hotel stays in the Galapagos with exploration on foot and in small boats.
Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers
The yacht Grace was first built before WWII and patronized by nobility in Europe and by Grace Kelly on her honeymoon with the Prince of Monaco. (16 passengers).
The yacht Evolution was completed in 2005 with an attractive traditional design (32 passengers).
Both vessels are available for full charters.
Both vessels have four decks and no elevators.
International but emphasizing English speakers; all ages. Most of the crew speaks Spanish and English and are Ecuadoran locals. A doctor is carried and may accompany passengers on excursions.
Both yachts both operate a pair of distinctive one-week itineraries embarking in San Cristobal or Baltra. Sailings take place year-round. You may want to study the differences, but you can’t go wrong with whichever itinerary you choose.
Excursions in Zodiacs, walks and hikes ashore, kayaking, and snorkeling. Extras include gratuities to guides and crew (guidelines given on website and aboard), alcoholic beverages, and scuba diving.
The Galapagos is nature at its best, with abundant birdlife, land animals and sea creatures seen up close. Many species are found nowhere else, having adapted to this particular island chain pretty much in isolation.
When to Go?
Cruises operate year-round. The climate is subtropical, and the water temperatures are affected by the islands’ proximity to both the cold Humboldt and the warmer El Nino currents.
January to June is warm season with rain, and it’s the ideal period for ocean activities; July to December is cooler and dry.
Both vessels have comfortable all-outside cabins, most with windows, and a few with portholes and a variety of layouts — single beds, queen-size and king-size.
Completed in 2005, Evolution takes 32 passengers in double, queen and twin-bedded cabins that range in size from 140 to 263 sq. ft.
Grace takes just 16 and the Grace Kelly suite is particularly spacious and in a quiet isolated location forward.
The 32-passenger expedition vessel Evolution is noted for its roomy public spaces, indoor/outdoor dining, open decks with outdoor bar and a hot tub forward on a lower deck. The lounges are enclosed and covered, yet can be open to the sides, with deck space out of doors and a small tub at the bow. The observation deck is canopied covered and has a bar for relaxing at the end of the day’s activities ashore or in the water.
The Grace ha an interior lounge and al-fresco dining aft and under cover. At the stern, a small lounge offers views aft. A second covered lounge and bar are aft of the cabins. A sunbathing deck is atop the ship, and a Jacuzzi is forward. Both vessels have wraparound decks for strolling and watching the wildlife.
Meals offer both Ecuadoran and Continental choices at one open seating for everyone.
Activities & Entertainment
Talks aboard and off the ship, guided hikes and walks to lava flows, along cliffsides and on the beach, snorkeling, and zodiacs trips. Two kayaks are available for passenger use, and the bridge has an open policy most of the time. Scuba diving is available at an extra expense.
The line prides itself on banning all single-use plastics such as straw, cups, and water bottles. Yay !!
Along the Same Lines
The higher-end operators with small capacity vessels.
Go to www.quasarex.com. US: 7855 NW 12 St. Ste 111, Doral, FL 33126 (1-888-502-9503, local 1-415-689-8509); UK: 0-800-883-967; Australia: 1-800-312-976.
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