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 Galapagos catamaran 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
$5,699 to $7,099
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 crew will welcome you onboard. After lunch, the first island visit will be made.
North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting
sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.
The visitor site of El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island. The trail is on volcanic rock that has a length of about one mile and the tour can be done in about two hours. The youngest area of the island, from a geological point of view, lies in this area. See two species of petrels that nest in cavities and holes in the lava. The red-footed booby nests only in the outer islands of the archipelago: Punta Pitt, Gardner (Floreana), Wolf, Darwin and Genovesa. Also present on this island is the masked booby. Fur sea lions and several species of seabirds can be seen during the panga rides along the cliffs.
Darwin Bay formed when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. Make a wet landing on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers: red footed-boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels, yellow-crowned and black-crowned lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area. Continuing on the trail, climb gradually to the edge of the cliff to see red-footed boobies nesting in the mangrove trees below. Reaching the end of the trail at the cliff's edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.
Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than their relatives found at other islands. Throughout the island are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana; they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana's crest, but the face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tuna, their favorite food.
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, Santa Fe Island was formed from an uplift, which is why it’s mostly flat. There are theories which suggest this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats, and a species of land iguana, one of two in the Galapagos. After disembarking to the beautiful and clear waters, you will observe one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail, many salt bushes can be seen, as well as giant prickly pear cactus. There are great possibilities for snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.
In the morning, visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center, named after a famous settler and located in Cerro Colorado. The breeding center was established in 2004 to care for young tortoises and now assists in a reproduction program on the island. Follow Jacinto Gordillo with an excursion to El Junco Lagoon, a freshwater lake situated in the middle of a dormant volcano. Frigatebirds and bull sea lions frequent the area.
Visit the Interpretation Center’s lush gardens and sweeping ocean views which are a strong contrast to the 1960’s style buildings at the Charles Darwin Center. Visitors to the Interpretation Center can learn about both the geological and human history of the islands, conservation issues, and natural history. The Museum of Natural History attempts to preserve the natural history of the islands. Visit Kicker Rock in the afternoon, known as the Sleeping Lion because of its shape. This Galapagos Island natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many tropical birds, frigates, and boobies that fill the surrounding air. Beneath the sea, the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.
Observe Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat at the San Cristobal Galapaguera Natural. You'll also see the famous magnificent frigatebirds here. Enjoy a hike and explore the island, keeping an eye out for more wildlife.
Later in the day, experience the north coast of San Cristobal at Cerro Brujo, a beautiful beach of white coral where you can swim, snorkel, bird watch, and enjoy the company of playful sea lions. In the vicinity of the beach you can see seabirds such as Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, herons, frigate birds and shore birds.
Located on the northeastern coast of Española, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here you can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
Punta Suarez is a rocky land spot that sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow hole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
Cormorant Point offers one of the best, as well as the largest, flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos Islands. There are various species of shorebirds to observe; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is composed of coral. The Devil's Crown, located just off Punta Cormorant, offers some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos. The only way to see the Crown is by water; it is a Marine Visitor Site, and no landings are allowed.
In the afternoon, visit Post Office Bay and the Baroness Lookout. Historically, Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Continue to the north of the island and ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come to the Charles Darwin Station to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. Some of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. 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.
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).
Galapagos transfers; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; water, coffee and tea; shore activities and excursions; English-speaking guide; gear on loan (snorkeling gear). Subject to change without notice.
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.