Summary : The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the most spectacular and pristine National Parks in the world. Visitors delight in the abundant, unusual, and surprisingly approachable wildlife--from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed boobies. This itinerary focuses on the Central, Southern, and Northern Islands, including visit to Tower and Hood Island, two of the highlights of the Galapagos Islands. Whether you enjoy hiking, snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, or unusual wildlife encounters, visiting the Galapagos Islands promises to be a memorable, awe-inspiring experience.
We strongly recommend two pre-cruise nights and one post-cruise night in Quito or Guayaquil. Please inquire about adding these or other services to your trip.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
$2,960 to $3,600
Today your Galapagos journey begins! Fly in to Baltra Airport, then transfer to Santa Cruz Island. Highlights here include the colossal Galapagos giant tortoises. Spot them in the wild in the highlands of Santa Cruz. Go next to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a research facility and national park information center with a giant tortoise and land iguana breeding program.
Welcome to South Plaza Island. Plazas actually consists of two very small islands that were uplifted from the sea, separated by a channel. Highlights of this enchanted island include tall Opuntia cactus, land and marine iguanas, a rocky cliff that looks out towards open ocean which is also a nesting site for red-billed tropic birds and gulls, and a seal lion bachelor colony. Cruise onward to Santa Fe, a smaller island with a visitor site located on the northeastern end of the island. Highlights here include Santa Fe land iguanas, pelican nesting site, sea lion colony, mockingbird, and Palo Santo trees.
San Cristobal is the easternmost island of Galapagos and also one of the oldest. Visit Cerro Brujo, a white sand beach on the west side of San Cristobal. Delight in the dance of the Sally Lightfoot crabs, marine iguanas, sea lions, Chatham mockingbird, and lava lizards. Visit Galapaguera and El Junco – this lagoon is the only fresh water reservoir in Galapagos and has great views from its altitude of 2,300 feet in the highlands of San Cristobal. Rainwater has collected in the caldera for hundreds of years and formed this lagoon. Galapaguera is a good area to see tortoises in their natural environment.
Española Island is the oldest of the Southern Islands and is the southernmost in the archipelago. Because of its remote location a unique range of endemic species evolved here. You will visit Gardner Bay (off of Española Island), a spectacular beach inhabited by sea lion colonies. The wildlife at Punta Suarez is plentiful and varied. Along the cliff visitors can enjoy the blowhole where seawater is forced about 20 meters into the air. Highlights include the waved albatross (April-Dec) that are only found on Española, Galapagos hawks, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and Española lava lizards.
Today you will go to Point Cormorant, where you can visit a lively flamingo lagoon and snorkel at the Devil’s Crown, a submerged volcanic cone. Send a letter to a loved one back home from Post Office Bay, just like whalers did in the 18th century.
Your adventure continues today on Dragon Hill – located on the northwestern side of Santa Cruz Island with highlights including small lagoons with flamingos, Palo Santo trees, and Opuntia cactus. Visit Santiago Island located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. This Island offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. Sullivan Bay is of great geological interest with a 100-year-old lava flow field, pahoehoe formations, and lava bubbles.
Genovesa is an eroded, flat volcanic island, with a natural harbor, which is actually the submerged caldera of this volcanic island. You will visit El Barranco where there is a good possibility of seeing the unique Galapagos short-eared owl. During the dinghy rides along the cliffs, fur seals and several species of seabirds can be spotted. At Darwin Bay, steep cliffs dominate the island. This area is home to thousands of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Noddy terns, lava gulls, tropicbirds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin's finches.
Your journey will come to an end today on Santa Cruz Island. Your last visit will be to Turtle Cove, a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz and a perfect example of how mangroves alter the marine environment to create a rich and unique habitat. Continue toward Baltra to disembark and board your return flight to Quito or Guayaquil.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Ship Dry Dock Dates: Aug 24 - Sept 14, 2016; Aug 30 - Oct 4 2017
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard ship; purified water; shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services with English-speaking naturalist guide; snorkel equipment; kayaks; transfers and baggage handling between island airport and ship; fuel surcharge. Subject to change without notice.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD $100 per person, children under 12 subtract $50, subject to change without notice); Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, subject to change); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; bottled drinks aboard ship; gratuities are left to the discretion of the passenger; traveler’s insurance; wetsuits ($30 per person / week, for snorkeling use only).
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): $450-$600 per adult; $250-$400 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).