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.
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
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New this Season: Stand up paddleboarding (included in cost).
$4,500 to $5,600
Arrive in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Sand Cristobal Island and transfer by bus to the main dock and then by zodiac to the ship anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served on board. In the afternoon, travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas or “Frigatebird Hill” one of two sites where you can see nesting colonies of both species of frigate birds (Great and Magnificent), as well as lava lizards, the medium ground finch and Chatham mockingbird. Walk along the trail to Punta Carola for scenic views, then return to the yacht for a briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner.
Spend the morning at Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, with expansive views and good bird-watching. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, or swim with sea lions from the beach. Take out the kayaks or stand up paddle boards for a different perspective of the marine life. Enjoy a scenic Zodiac ride that takes you through a cave called The Cathedral. Return to the yacht for lunch.
Go ashore this afternoon at Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies – blue-footed, Nazca and red-footed boobies, both frigatebird species, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, shearwaters, and brown pelicans. Punta Pitt is considered one of the best sites for birds in the archipelago, and is also home to a colony of sea lions. At Pitt Rock, snorkel with sea lions and colorful fish such as the King Angel and Surgeon fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Disembark at Punta Suarez home to the greatest number of endemic species found in Galapagos. Sea lions bark noisily as you land on their beach. Curious mockingbirds will investigate you. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Española, perform its wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Spot wildlife like the Nazca boobies busily caring for their young, stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world and red-billed tropicbirds taking shelter under the cliffs. Find Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks, as well as a unique colorful species of marine iguanas. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole, and watch for colorful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline.
Return to the yacht for lunch on board. Disembark at Gardner Bay, where large colonies of sea lions dot the seemingly endless white sand beach. Take a leisurely stroll or relax on the beach, watching for the Galapagos Hawk, Darwin’s Finches or Española Mockingbird. Swim with playful sea lions right from the beach, explore the bay and islets by kayak or stand up paddle board. Take a Zodiac ride to explore the caves covered with invertebrates. Admire the colorful array of underwater life at this excellent snorkeling site near Tortuga Rock. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Step ashore at Punta Cormorant where the olive-sand beach is alive with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons, blue-footed boobies, and penguins. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers and the greater flamingos. Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including the morning glory, cut leaf daisies, mangroves (black, red and white), paldo verde and scalesia. The trail leads to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the powdery sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, there is an opportunity to snorkel at Champion Islet, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and corral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars.
Lunch is served back on board on the sundeck, weather permitting. Floreana is one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos with a rich and intriguing human history. After lunch, visit one of the most famous sites in Galapagos, Post office Bay, where a post office barrel was erected in the late 18th Century to use by English whaling vessels. Visitors are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail destined for their home town. There is a chance to swim from the beach with sea lions. Late afternoon, take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as you wind your way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Visit Rancho El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda where giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. Stop at the lava tunnels at El Mirador, the largest in the archipelago, and visit Los Gemelos, (The Twins), a pair of large craters. Return to the yacht for lunch on board.
That afternoon, visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly Charles Darwin Research Station). Marvel at the tortoise corals and the breeding center with hatchlings and tiny tortoises that will be repatriated once grown. See the exhibit honoring Lonesome George that opened in March of 2017 at the Symbol of Hope Exhibition Hall in Puerto Ayora. George was a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island.
Sop at a local chocolate shop to learn how high quality Arriba cacao is produced in Ecuador. The Chocogalapagos shop is locally owned and located at the entrance of the station and park. Stroll through town to and consider a stop at the new MAPRAE Museum (extra fee) to stimulate the local economy. Learn about ancient cultures of the Amazonian and coastal areas of Ecuador through innovative technology.
Or for those who prefer more active options, kayaking at Punta Estrada can be arranged or a bicycle ride (extra fee).
Return to the yacht for dinner or, if you wish, you may remain ashore for dinner on your own at a local restaurant. Zodiac shuttles from the yachts to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening.
This morning guests on board the Eric will visit Las Bachas, Spanish for “barges” on the northern side of Santa Cruz. Explore the long stretch of soft white sand beach and interior lagoons populated by greater flamingos. There is also a chance to snorkel here from the beach.
Guests on board the Letty will have a Zodiac ride at Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Perhaps see pairs of mating sea turtles (Sep to Feb), white-tipped reed sharks and golden cow-nosed rays.
Return to the yacht for lunch. Disembark at Bartolome, a young Island that is inhospitable to most plants and animals. Climb the long wooden staircase to the summit of a dormant volcano, pausing along the way to marvel at lava formations and cinder cones. It seems as if you are walking on the moon! The panoramic view from the top encompasses the entire island, including the distinctive eroded tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock. The crystal clear water below beckons snorkelers with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins. Take a Zodiac ride along the rocky shoreline. Return to the yacht for the evening briefing followed by dinner.
Today’s visit is at a small geological uplift with tall cliffs where swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds build their nests. The trail leads you through Opuntia (Prickly Pear) and Sesuvium, and land iguanas may be seen here feeding on the cactus leaves. The island is home to a colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory.
Return to the yacht for lunch. Later, snorkel between North and South Seymour in deeper water. Go ashore at North Seymour, a small geological uplift to observe swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in Galapagos, and watch for marine iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells. Return to the ship for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner, followed by a slide show presentation by your guides.
After breakfast, travel by bus to the Interpretation Center to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. The order of visits may vary slightly based on the yacht assigned. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
12/24/2017, 3/18/2018–4/1/2018, 6/10/2018–8/19/2018, 12/23/2018
These departures are offered throughout the year, generally over US school breaks. This operator offers two types of family departures: cruises oriented toward families with teenagers and cruises oriented toward families with younger children. These departures feature age-appropriate activities depending on the ages and number of children or teenagers on board and may include: visits to the bridge and learn about navigational charts and tie nautical knots with the Captain; games with prizes; costume party; board games/books/DVDs; talent shows and ice cream social sundaes. Also, snorkeling equipment, life vests and wet suits are available onboard in child sizes and kid-friendly meals are served. Dates subject to change, contact us for details.
7-Day Cruise Option:
Passengers can disembark on Saturday in Baltra for a shorter, 7-day cruise. Available on select departure dates, the 7-day rate is a 10% discount off the 8-day cruise rate on seasonal departure dates only and cannot be combined with any other promotional or child discounts. On peak departure dates, passengers can still disembark on Saturday, but there is no discount. For those passengers departing early and require a transfer to the airport with a guide, there is an additional charge of $50 per person (max $200). The return flight from Baltra is subject to availability and confirmation is requested at the time of booking. Please add $26 per person for the Baltra airport surcharge.
Transfer between island airport and dock; cabin accommodations; all meals onboard the ship; non-alcoholic beverages, bottled water, Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail, house wine and local beer with dinner; guided shore excursions; use of wetsuits (rent one in advance for $25 to guarantee your size), snorkeling equipment, stand up paddleboards and kayaks. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; gratuities are left to the discretion of the passenger; wetsuit advance reservation; traveler’s insurance; alcoholic beverages not mentioned above; purchases on board; travel health insurance (required to enter Ecuador); 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).