- Isabela II
- Expedition Ship
- 40 Capacity
- 9 Days
- 2013, 2014
- 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
$5,336 to $6,193
Arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. Take a 30-minute scenic bus ride to the Highlands to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking the vessel later in the afternoon.
Make a wet landing on a sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right of “Beach Master,” while smaller males masking as females make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Enjoy snorkeling and swimming from the beach before returning to Isabela II for lunch.
Discover the channel between North and South Plaza Islands, where the island tilts toward the water and the approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange ‘Sally Lightfoot’ crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline, one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide playing with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.
Today starts with a landing for a view of the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, one of the few uplifted islands in the Galápagos Archipelago. The trail leads guests to explore colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, and swallowtail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. Vegetation is made up of cacti, palo santo trees and salt bushes.
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned at Las Bachas. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that morphed to “bachas.” Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. Enjoy a swim and/or snorkel from this magnificent beach.
Disembark at Bartolomé Island 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, enjoy a dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock with time to enjoy the beach and some snorkeling, with possible Galápagos penguin sightings. Guests can also ride on the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
After lunch, board the panga for the short trip to the landing site at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago. Land on a white coral sand beach and begin the walk over lava that flowed less than 100 years ago. See and feel the volcanic origin of Galápagos and learn first-hand the initial steps of pioneering plants and animals over recently produced volcanic ground.
Enjoy breakfast and return to Santa Cruz Island. Go on a 30-minute bus ride to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
In the afternoon, have an opportunity to spend more time at 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. Then, explore Puerto Ayora and get a feel for local Galapagueño life while browsing the many handicraft and souvenir shops.
Land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. Go on a Panga ride and snorkeling along the maze of channels on the north shore of Floreana and see the sea lion colonies, marine turtles in shallow waters, rays and occasionally penguins.
Visit Cormorant Point's olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others may be observed. Discover a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest (from December to May). There is usually time to enjoy fantastic snorkeling with the option of a glass-bottom boat excursion.
Arrive at Punta Suárez for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls, as well as a view of the Galápagos famous “blow-hole.” 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, set down at a white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. Experience great snorkeling in this area or a ride aboard the glass-bottom boat.
Arrive this morning (wet landing) on the northeastern side of the San Cristóbal 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.
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 views of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds, and more shore birds. 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.
After breakfast, depart to the port and airport for the flight back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Dry Dock Dates: May 5 - Jun 10, 2014
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.
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; airport taxes; 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; fuel surcharge may apply.
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).