Summary : Discover Ecuador's world-renowned Galapagos archipelago from the comfort of a modern catamaran. See firsthand the abundant, approachable wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin's scientific discoveries. Bask in the sunshine on magnificent white sand beaches with slumbering sea lions. Snorkel with Galapagos penguins, manta rays, and schools of colorful fish. Trek over ancient volcanic rock through lush vegetation to picturesque viewpoints. Learn more about the natural history of the region and contemporary conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
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Upon arrival to the airport in Baltra you will be greeted and taken across the Itabaca Channel to visit the Island of Santa Cruz before boarding. The visit includes a short hike. Dress appropriately with sturdy shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt due to the climate of this area.
You will visit a site called Los Gemelos (The Twins Craters). The Twin Craters or Gemelos, meaning twins in Spanish, are two caved in magma chambers of a previous volcano. After years of erosion and extinction, the once full chambers caved in leaving two similar craters that can be seen on a short hike that passes by a Scalesia forest.
After the visit to the Twin Craters you will be transferred to the yacht. You will then be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before the welcome briefing.
Today starts at South Plaza Island. South Plaza is one of the smallest islands with a visitor site, but is home to an incredible amount of diverse flora and fauna. It has a large population of Sesuvium plants like the prickly pear cactus tree that is an important source of food for the land iguana. Just a few years ago mice were finally eradicated from the island, helping the population of land iguanas grow healthily once more. Enjoy an optional hike here.
In the afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island, home to a small picturesque bay. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. Enjoy optional hiking opportunities here.
Start your morning at Lobos Island, named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores. It is also home to blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. There is good snorkeling in the clear waters of the channel and this is one of the best sites at which to swim with sea lions underwater. Enjoy optional snorkeling, hiking, or a dinghy ride here.
In the afternoon, visit the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal Island. Visitors enjoy expositions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. Or you will have a chance to visit the giant tortoises of La Galapaguera, a visitor site on the southeastern part of San Cristobal Island.
Start your day at Gardner Bay, on the eastern side of the island, is the breeding site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. It has an ample white sandy beach with a myriad of sea lions, perfect for relaxing. Its rocky shores make this site a great place for diving and snorkeling. Or visit Osborn Islet.
After landing, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach among a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. This small island is a marine visit where you can enjoy fantastic snorkeling and swimming.
Start your day on Floreana Island at Cormorant Point. This site hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts, White-cheeked Pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The 'Green Beach' named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the 'Four Sand Beach' composed of white coral. Enjoy an optional hike or dinghy ride.
Alternately, in the morning you will visit Devil's Crown. One of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos, this volcanic crater has been eroded by the waves leaving the northern and southern sides poking out of the water. The coral reef in the middle is perfect for attracting marine life. Snorkelers enjoy the variety of marine life and exciting currents that rush through the crown, creating an exhilarating experience. Enjoy an optional snorkel.
In the afternoon you will visit Post Office Bay or Baroness Lookout. Post Office Bay was visited by whalers in the 18th century, who placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box when they were passing through the islands. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. Enjoy an optional hike.
Baroness Lookout is a basaltic tuff formation located north of Floreana Island in La Olla Bay, between Cormorant Point and Post Office Bay, with spectacular panoramic views.
The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.
After your visit to the research station you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Ecuador.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; shore activities and excursions; soft drinks (plastic bottled sodas excluded) and juices on board; champagne reception; Galapagos National Park certified guide; gear on loan (kayaks, snorkeling equipment, and wetsuits). Subject to change without notice.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages; gratuities to ship staff, crew, and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; travel insurance; passport expenses; plastic bottled sodas; fuel surcharge may apply.
Airfare between Quito/Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands:
The flights between mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil) and the Galapagos Islands are an additional cost. To secure your seats on often overbooked flights, ExpeditionTrips must reserve these flights for you at the time of cruise booking. Approximate cost (including service fee): $500-$700 per adult; $300-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).