The zodiac pulls up to a beach littered with sleeping sea lions, and further on, a Blue-footed Booby sits guarding its egg. Luxury adventure operator INCA offers these experiences and more aboard the best luxury yacht sailing the Galápagos. Fresh from a major refit, the 141-foot INTEGRITY is now also the greenest vessel in the Islands and to celebrate the newly minted yacht, INCA - International Nature & Cultural Adventures, an Ecuador specialist for 40 years, is offering $1,000 off select departures in December and January.
With more than 80 vessels now cruising Darwin's Islands, travelers can be overwhelmed choosing a Galápagos cruise. INCA can help guide them. And when you have the "finest" and the safest yacht in the Galapagos, it is natural that you want to keep it in excellent shape. The team was able to harness the latest in ship technology, installing state-of-the-art propellers and shafts to make the 16-passenger Integrity cruise more smoothly and quietly. German-Ecuadorian owner Rolf Sievers, who partners with Bill Roberson, President of INCA, said "after this extensive $150,000 refit, Integrity is running like a new Mercedes."
"We have always been sticklers about maintenance and safety, and we do an extensive refit annually,” explained Sievers. The yacht earned the Galápagos Quality Gold Seal for its sustainable practices including on-board waste-water treatment and recycling. Last year, Boats International Magazine called Integrity, the "finest yacht in the Islands."
Cosmetic changes in the guestrooms and public areas include:
• New bathrooms with new porcelain sinks and new fixtures. New countertops of Spanish cedar, a native tropical hardwood, come from the Sievers' farm on Santa Cruz
• New Hunter Douglas shades for the staterooms' large picture windows
• New furnishings and new upholstery for the guestrooms
• Upgraded Bluetooth sound system
• New Jacuzzi and new cushions for chairs and lounges on deck
"Sailing these waters can be tricky, explained Sievers. "In the last few years, there have been several mishaps with both old and new boats," he said. As the former manager of the Charles Darwin Research Station, Sievers is proud that Integrity has not missed a day of sailing in more than 10 years.
With 40 years experience creating voyages in the Galápagos, Roberson understands that not all yachts are created equal. "With more vessels – including many large cruise ships – entering the destination each year, it has become more difficult for travelers to know which vessel and operator is right for them. A new vessel does not necessarily deliver a better experience for the guest," he explained.
"What is clear: a small, well-maintained yacht like Integrity with its experienced crew has more access to more visitor sites, can tuck into calmer anchorages while large ships must remain offshore, and is able to provide the high level of service that luxury travelers expect. And getting 16 guests to a landing site takes far less time than bringing 96 people ashore, giving our guests a more intimate experience with the fascinating wildlife," Roberson said.
For further information, contact www.inca1.com or call 1-510-420-1550.