- La Pinta
- Expedition Ship
- 48 Capacity
- 8 Days
- Price from
Summary : Observe tortoises of dramatic proportions, superb birdlife and a unique undersea world set amongst a backdrop of diverse and wonderous 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
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, make a dry landing on North Seymour Island for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island, observing bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. Opportunities exist for snorkeling or coastal exploration. 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 dinghy while the naturalist guide explains area's dramatic geology of lava flow remains and tuff stone layers. 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, a possible snorkeling outing along the cliffs which are rich in marine life and seasonally visited by green sea turtles.
In the afternoon, visit the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina. Disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk over dark lava. Fernandina boasts a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant.
Make a wet landing at Urbina Bay after breakfast. Here you can find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colorful Galápagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally), and Darwin’s finches.
On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti is still found on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the fragrant palo santo trees. These white-barked trees are leafless and look dead most of the year. An uphill hike takes guests to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabela’s six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. Opportunities to swim, snorkel or kayak will be available amid the dramatic landscape.
Make a wet landing at Rábida Island on a red-colored beach. A gratifying stroll along the beach of this small island (1.9 square miles) allows for the observation of a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Enjoy a snorkel from the beach; a great place for beginners and the more experienced.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Make a dry landing for a walk that includes 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. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for bird watching.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station this morning and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Enjoy lunch at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
After lunch, visit the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, with their impressive Scalesia forest and the geological formation of the twin pit craters known Los Gemelos. From December to mid-April, a visit to see the giant tortoises in the wild may be included, if weather conditions are good.
After breakfast, make a wet landing at the Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries, to learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. Go on a panga ride along the maze of channels in the north shore of Floreana, see the sea lion colonies, marine turtles in shallow waters, rays and occasionally penguins.Snorkeling and/or kayaking is possible.
Disembark at Punta Cormorant (wet landing) at an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others may be observed. Explore a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest (from December to May).
After breakfast, make a wet landing on a sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. Endemic land iguanas, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier.
Disembark (dry landing) in the channel between North and South Plaza Islands, where the island tilts toward the water, the approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! Turquoise water contrasts brilliantly with white sand and black lava. Along the coastline, find sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide playing with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.
After breakfast, depart to the port and airport for a flight back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Dry Dock Dates: TBA
Shared transfer from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Swissôtel, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos; cabin accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship, juices and carbonated drinks; all shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services; sea kayaks; 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 on the island. Subject to change without notice.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card; international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages; gifts and personal items; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; laundry service; gratuities to ship staff and crew are left to the discretion of the passenger; 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).