Summary : Observe tortoises of dramatic proportions, superb birdlife and a unique undersea world set amongst a backdrop of diverse and wondrous landscapes. 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.
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, Triple/Quad Cabins
Arrive at Baltra Island this morning and transfer to the dock to board La Pinta. Get settled in with a friendly welcome, introductory briefing, and lunch.
In the afternoon, land at North Seymour Island for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island. Observe colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and well as sea lions and iguanas. Opportunities exist for coastal exploration by zodiac. Conclude the first day of adventure with an evening briefing, welcome cocktail, and dinner.
Since there is no landing site at this location, coastal exploration is by zodiac while the naturalist guide explains the area's dramatic geology of hardened lava. Wildlife here includes flightless cormorants, sea lions, Galápagos fur seals, Galápagos penguins, blue-footed and Nazca boobies and noddy terns. Depending on the conditions of the ocean, you may be able to snorkel along the cliffs in the company of green sea turtles.
In the afternoon, visit the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina. Enjoy a one-mile walk over dark hardened lava. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins, the flightless cormorant and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
Land at Urbina Bay after breakfast. Here you can find corals, shells, colorful Galápagos land iguanas, and possibly Darwin’s finches.
On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Today, old graffiti is still found on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the fragrant palo santo trees. Hike up to the back of Darwin Crater which is filled with salt water. Opportunities to swim, snorkel or kayak will be available amid the dramatic landscape.
Arrive at Rábida Island and land on a red-colored beach. Stroll along the beach to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Enjoy a snorkel from the beach or choose to ride in the glass-bottom boat for an undersea view.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Walk past a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings, and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site for land iguanas, constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station this morning and the giant tortoise enclosures within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration Please Note: Charles Darwin Research Station is undergoing refurbishment. Therefore, trips during the refurbishment may instead visit the highlands to see giant tortoises.
After breakfast, land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries starting with its early inhabitants and whalers. Go on a zodiac ride through a maze of intricate channels to observe wildlife such as rays and occasionally penguins. Snorkeling from the beach is also an option.
Discover Punta Cormorant, an olivine-crystal beach with an easy walk by a brackish lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos and herons may be observed. Arrive at a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest.
Land on a sandy white beach populated by sea lion. Galápagos hawks may be observed perched atop salt bushes. Keep an eye out for endemic land iguanas that are unique to this island. Later, snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier.
Turquoise water contrasts brilliantly with white sand and black lava at South Plaza Island. Along the coastline, find sea lion colonies, while seabirds play in thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.
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.
Shared transfer from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos; cabin accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship, coffee, tea, water, juices and non-alcoholic carbonated drinks; guide and lecture services; kayaking; glass-bottom boat outings; snorkeling gear and wetsuits; internet and Wi-Fi; luggage handling; medical care on board (but not the cost of medication); taxes and transfers in the island. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare and airport taxes; hotel nights before/after cruise; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; alcoholic beverages and 'virgin' cocktails; gifts and personal items; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; laundry service; gratuities to ship staff and crew; 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): $450-$600 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).