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. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike will love the comfort and intimacy of the luxury catamaran Galapagos experience. This dynamic itinerary is designed for the young or the young at heart, catering to the high-end adventurer who wants to explore in comfort.
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
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Upon arrival at Baltra, guides will meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ will transport you to the vessel and your crew will welcome you on board. After lunch, the first island visit will be made.
Delight in the variety of life and geology while journeying across Santa Cruz into the highlands. Beginning at the coast and traveling across Santa Cruz, the road departs from Puerto Ayora climbing through the agricultural lands and into the mist-covered forests. Santa Cruz possesses all of the various life zones present in the archipelago. Whether it's the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher or one of Darwin's Finches, almost every bird present in the islands can be found here. Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild Galapagos Tortoises. Tracking tortoises is not the only exciting activity to be found in the highlands. There are also plenty of lava tubes, sinkholes and craters to explore. These eerie formations offer a fascinating hike into the belly of the island to view its volcanic make-up.
Off of the eastern coast of Fernandina is Mangle Point, a superior snorkeling site and beautiful location for riding a panga or Zodiac through a grove of mangrove trees. Spend the morning hiking, snorkeling, or relaxing in your panga.
In the afternoon, travel to Punta Moreno, on the north coast of Isabela Island between the Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugations or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons. Its main attraction are several species of birds which can be found around the lakes and mangroves.
Urbina Bay is a marine visitor site where the excursion is carried out in a Zodiac. Urbina is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast of Isabela, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. It is here that you might observe the biggest land iguanas in the Galapagos, hawks, and giant tortoises. Snorkelers will enjoy beautiful coral reefs, giant tortoises, rays and tropical fish.
A favorite spot for pirates and whalers, Tagus Cove can be found west of Darwin Volcano on Isabela Island. Wind your way up a staircase to a small cave where you will find inscriptions dating back to the 1800s. Originally named after a British warship that went through the island in 1814 looking for the Galapagos tortoise, due to explosive eruptions in the area, large amounts of volcanic rocks of different sizes can be found here.
Espinoza Point is famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas and as the habitat of unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, and Galapagos snake.
Punta Vicente Roca is one of the most impressive and spectacular places of the enchanted Galapagos Islands—high cliffs and lava formations give this area a majestic touch, and the large bay is home to spectacular marine life. Here, it's possible to see seahorses, sea turtles, sting rays, puffer fish, and the strange yet fascinating Mola-mola, also known as the sunfish. The bay is great for snorkeling and panga rides, and you might also encounter penguins, blue-footed boobies, terns, and sea lions.
Espumilla Beach is located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last El Niño occurrence, one of the two lagoons on this site underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. A main attraction is the Palo Santo forest. Espumilla Beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.
The black sand beach of Puerto Egas is located at the west side of the island. Its volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of its special black sand beach. This site is called Puerto Egas because there was an attempt by the company of Hector Egas to start the exploitation of salt. The attempt failed because the price of salt on the mainland was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in the Galapagos. The project was abandoned and they left their infrastructure.
Rábida Island is unique because of the red color of its rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous and external factors such as rain, salt water, and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent. A short walk along a trail leads to a coastal lagoon behind the beach which allows you to observe the land birds, including finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mocking birds. Also, a colony of flamingos can be seen at the lagoon.
Chinese Hat is a small islet located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, shaped like a Chinese hat when seen from the north side. See lava formations on the west side, formed under the sea and raised upward. This is an excellent visit for interpretation of geological features, such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is covered by sea lion colonies, marine iguanas, and Galapagos penguins.
Santiago, also called James, or San Salvador Island, is located in the west central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is the fourth largest island in the archipelago (following Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz). Along with some of the large western volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina, Santiago is also volcanically active, with many young flows and cones to be seen, particularly along the south, west, and east coasts. These may even be seen from the summit of Darwin Volcano and from space. A number of historic eruptions have been reported over the last 2 centuries. Santiago actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end.
Bartolome Island has two main visitor sites. The first site offers the possibility to climb to the summit of the island where visitors can observe a variety of volcanic formations including lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones, lava flows, and lava tubes. The moon-like landscape provides one of the most scenic panoramas in the archipelago. At the second site, visitors have the chance to relax on a beautiful beach, which offers great snorkeling opportunities. Multi-colored fish, penguins, and sea turtles have been seen at the base of the tall pinnacle rock, which dominates Bartolome’s landscape. Take a short walk across to Bartolome’s second beach to see white-tipped reef sharks, from a safe distance, swimming along the shoreline.
Bachas Beaches are found to the West of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of disintegrated coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer and has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Canal.
After the morning excursion, transfer to the airport for return flight to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship; water, coffee and tea; all shore activities and excursions; English-speaking guide; snorkeling gear; transfers in the Galapagos Islands.
International airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, USD $100 adults, $50 children under 12, subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, subject to change); wetsuit rental; items of a personal nature; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; gratuities to ship staff and crew are left to the discretion of the passenger; 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).