Galapagos Classic – Eastern/Northern

Galapagos Cruise

  • La Pinta
  • Expedition Ship
  • 48 Capacity
  • 8 Days
  • 2014 View Departure>
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Summary : Tour the islands aboard a bright and modern ship with Jacuzzi, kayaks, glass-bottom boat and expert guides to enhance your wildlife viewing experience. 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

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Itinerary
Day 1
San Cristóbal Island

Arrival by plane to San Cristóbal Island and transfer to La Pinta for introductions and lunch.

After lunch, land back at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, visit the breeding center of the highly-endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species and the endemic San Cristóbal lava lizard.

Day 2
San Cristóbal Island

Land at Punta Pitt on the eastern tip of San Cristóbal Island. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. Observe two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel by an islet.

In the afternoon, cruise by dinghy along the shores of tuff-stone layers to Cerro Brujo's expansive, white coraline beach; great for walking with rewarding birdwatching and good views of seabirds and shore birds. Keep an eye out for Galápagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835. Explore under the surface with a ride in a glass-bottom boat.

Day 3
Española Island

Morning outing at Punta Suarez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca (masked) boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous blowhole. Among its land birds, the Hood island mockingbird, and three species of Darwin’s finches are common highlights. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas.

In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) at a white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area; or choose to kayak or ride in the glass-bottom boat.

Day 4
Santa Cruz Island

Morning disembarkation (dry landing) to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the ‘rearing in captivity' program for the giant tortoises. Witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. An impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds can be also seen.

Board a bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to learn about the unique mountain ecosystems and biodiversity. Lunch at a local restaurant and then travel by bus to El Chato Reserve, one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools that are common in the reserve. Watch for highland birds like cattle egrets, mockingbirds, finches or flycatchers. There are several lava tunnels in the reserve, a great place to spot the barn owl.

Day 5
Santa Cruz Island / Sombrero Chino

After breakfast, disembark (wet landing) at a beautiful olivine beach (a volcanic crystal that forms in fast-cooling lava). The area has historical relevance since a small community lived in this area in the late 1900s, collecting lichen (Rosella Tictoria), used in the textile industry. Follow the trail to an old water hole used by the former settlers. Observe boobies, land birds and beautiful views of the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island. Several activities are possible after the walk, such as snorkeling or a panga ride along the shoreline.

Less than a quarter-of-a-square-kilometer in size, the tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance: a Chinese hat. Lying just off the southeastern tip of San Salvador Island (James), this island, only formed fairly recently, makes a beautiful visit while exploring its 400-meter long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped white sandy beach. Observe several species of shore birds along with marine iguanas, lava lizards, Galápagos penguins and sally lightfoot crabs. Experience excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities with white-tipped reef sharks and tropical fish.

Day 6
Bartolomé Island / Santiago Island

Disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. A great way to start the day! This is a steep climb up a wooden staircase with handrails and several resting and observation stops; the view from the top is worth the effort. Following the walk, a dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, is rewarding, followed by time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and some snorkeling, with possible Galápagos penguin sightings. Enjoy a ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.

After lunch, board the pangas for a short ride to the landing site at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago. Wet landing on a white coral sand beach and a walk over lava that flowed here less than 100 years ago – the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of the Galápagos Islands.

Day 7
Genovesa Island

In the morning, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing thousands of birds including frigates, red-footed and masked boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Take an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor. The more adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs or paddle sea kayaks.

The afternoon starts with a very interesting Panga ride along the cliffs and then disembark (dry landing) on rocks for a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, the land is flat, allowing for a stimulating walk of about a mile to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of masked boobies, frigate birds and storm petrels.

Day 8
Baltra Island

Disembark on Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Dry Dock Dates: Nov 28 - Dec 19, 2014

Included:
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; taxes and transfers on the island.

Not Included:
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee $100 per person ($50 per child under 12) subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($10 per person); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages and virgin cocktails; 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.

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).