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
Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island, the crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to the yacht. After a welcome briefing, buffet lunch and safety drill, travel by bus into the interior of San Cristóbal to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, where the National Park has established a breeding program for the tortoises and set up an information center for visitors. Along the trail, find the San Cristóbal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Here, you will see terrestrial tortoises and learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals.
Considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species, land at Prince Philip’s Steps in the morning. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca boobies nest near the trail. If you are lucky, you will see the elusive short-eared owl. After the walk, kayaks are available to paddle along the shoreline. Look for the beautiful red-billed tropic bird usually found in the crevices.
This afternoon, land at Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tail and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of Great Frigate birds nest. Males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich inter tidal zone with diverse wildlife. After the walk, enjoy a swim or snorkel and watch for sea lions.
Visit Las Bachas with its long stretch of soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where flamingo live. Enjoy time to snorkel at the beach. Or perhaps take a zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Perhaps you may see pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays.
Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon aka Dragon Hill. Along the trail, find Darwin Finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs. Discover pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After dinner, sail toward the western islands and cross the Equator for the second time.
Land at Punta Espinoza, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos with no introduced mammals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Watch hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Watch Flightless Cormorants build their nest on the point and maybe see a Galapagos Hawk fly overhead. Enjoy a chance to snorkel and look for sea turtles. After lunch, cross the Bolivar Channel where you might spot whales and dolphins riding the bow wave.
Arrive at Urbina Bay, home to large colorful Galapagos land iguanas and Darwin Finches. Brown Pelicans and Flightless Cormorants also nest here. Giant marine iguanas can be seen along the coast. Watch for penguins while snorkeling here. Or at Punta Vicente Roca, a Zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls. Enter the wave-sculpted cave and perhaps find sea turtles who frequent this area. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish.
Visit Elizabeth Bay by Zodiac starting with a trip to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Watch for turtles, rays, and shore birds. Cruise to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and giant marine iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos.
This afternoon land at Tagus Cove. During the walk, discover a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular ocean view, lava fields and volcanic formations. Graffiti dating back to the 1800's is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the Coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. Enjoy excellent snorkeling after the walk.
This morning land at Puerto Egas, Santiago. Stroll along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. The walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where you may see fur sea lions. Before returning to the yacht, there will be a chance to snorkel.
Disembark on Rabida Island in the afternoon. Rabida has the most diversified volcanic rocks of all the islands and is considered the geographic center of Galapagos. Dark red sand beaches originated from the erosion of volcanic stones. Follow a trail that leads to a salt water lagoon, and look for flamingos as they feed. After the walk, enjoy an opportunity to go snorkeling.
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.
Visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristóbal Island in 1999. Gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands. Afterwards, spend an hour in port before heading to the airport for the 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.
Family Cruises: 6/18/2017, 7/2/2017, 7/16/2017, 7/30/2017, 8/13/2017, 11/19/2017, 12/17/2017, 12/31/2017, 3/11/2018 - 4/8/2018, 6/17/2018 - 8/12/2018, 11/18/2018, 12/16/2018 - 12/30/2018
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.
Cabin accommodation; meals and snacks aboard 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; transfer between island airport and dock. 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; fuel surcharge may apply.
We are happy to add hotels, air and land arrangements as requested, and you will be quoted for services.
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).