- La Pinta
- Expedition Ship
- 48 Capacity
- 8 Days
- Price from
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
Just-Released Offer Free 2 night Quito hotel package and free airfare for kids under 12.
$6,003 to $8,802
Arrival by plane to San Cristóbal Island and transfer to La Pinta for cabin assignment, introductory briefing and lunch.
A dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes guests to Cerro Brujo’s white coraline beach (wet landing). The beach is a large expanse, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching with good views of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds, and more shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. Highlights ashore include the Chatham (San Cristóbal) mockingbird, Chatham lava lizard; both species are endemic to this island, and seen nowhere else in the Galápagos. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galápagos. Evening Cocktail, briefing and dinner.
Early disembarkation (wet landing) for what is the longest hike on the itinerary (4 miles). The trail goes up the slopes of San Cristóbal’s well-eroded shield volcano. The trail takes guests through the arid zone, a great place to see Darwin’s finches and other land birds including the endemic Chatham mockingbirds. Along the way, one can spot some of the last individuals of the San Cristóbal giant tortoise population, living in the wild -- tortoises here were almost hunted to extinction during the late 19th century by local colonizers. After the invigorating hike, enjoy a swim to cool off before returning back on board for lunch.
Afternoon disembarkation (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Pitt Point is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach. Expedition plan for the next day and dinner.
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. Back on board for lunch.
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 snorkelling in this area (snorkeling equipment is available for guests at no extra cost), kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat. Briefing and dinner.
Morning disembarkation (dry landing) to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the ‘rearing in captivity' program for the giant tortoises. Here guests 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 montane ecosystems and biodiversity. Lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, 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. You may also spot some 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. There is also a small lagoon covered in red algae where gallinules and Galápagos pintails can be found. Bus ride to Puerto Ayora to re-board La Pinta.
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. The trail leads guests to an old water hole used by the former settlers. There are also boobies, land birds and beautiful views of the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy. Several activities are possible after the walk, such as snorkeling or a Panga ride along the shoreline. Back on board for lunch.
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 as one explores along its 400-meter long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped white sandy beach. Several species of shore birds can be spotted, along with marine iguanas, lava lizards, Galápagos penguins and sally lightfoot crabs. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities with white-tipped reef sharks and tropical fish. Briefing and dinner.
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. Guests can also ride on the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Lunch on board.
After lunch, board the Panga for the 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. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galápagos. The last major eruption on Santiago was probably in the early 1900’s. One observer aboard a sailing vessel reported that the ship approached the lava flow so closely that the pine tar used to seal the hull of the ship began to soften, and the captain had to hurry the ship away from the bay. Briefing and dinner.
In the morning, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing thousands of birds, mainly frigate birds, red-footed and masked boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else 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. Lunch on board.
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. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer Panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.
Disembark on Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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; all shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services; sea kayaks; glass-bottom boat outings; snorkeling gear; taxes and transfers on the island; fuel surcharge.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, USD$100 (children under 12 subtract $50), subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($10 per person); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; wet suit rental; Internet; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; 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-$550 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).