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
$4,900 to $5,400
Arrive in Baltra, your first stop in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to the ship for a briefing and lunch. Continue the with a panga ride to Mosquera Islet, a tiny islet home to a huge population of sea lions and many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Evening briefing, dinner and welcome cocktail.
After breakfast, arrive at Sullivan Bay, which is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows, and unique geological scenery. Due to Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful, so pay particular interest to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo,” as well as the lava cactus.
Continue to Bartolome, a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit, you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. See sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays and colorful reef fish.
Urbina Bay is located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. After landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Be on the lookout for wild Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.
Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake. The brisk “power-hike” is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales.
Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine ecosystems in the entire world and also one of the most dynamic. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009, and dominates the landscape with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk. Enjoy snorkeling this morning at Punta Espinoza.
After lunch, arrive at Punta Vicente Roca, a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles and many kinds of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area.
Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The morning landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen. After the walk, there is time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks.
The Espumilla Beach visitor site is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, beach and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also, look out for the Galapagos hawk and Darwin’s finches. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.
In the morning, visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see giant tortoises in the wild. Transfer to Baltra Airport for return flights.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
2016 Ship Dry Dock Dates: Sep 10 - Oct 7, 2016
Included: Cabin accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; all shore activities and excursions; all soft drinks and juices on board (excludes virgin cocktails); welcome cocktail; complimentary one-time fully stocked mini-bar; naturalist guide service; use of snorkeling gear and wetsuits; VIP lounge on outbound flight from Galapagos; shared transfers between the airport in Baltra and the dock; shared transfers between select Quito / Guayaquil hotels and flights to / from Galapagos.
Not Included: Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil (except as noted above); Galapagos National Park entrance fee, $100 (children under 12 subtract $50), subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, subject to change); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages onboard; gratuities to ship crew and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger (cash only); travel insurance; passport expenses; 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).