Summary : Experience a truly intimate encounter with the Galapagos. Excursions range between high, medium and low intensity so you can explore the islands at your own pace discovering blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and playful sea lions. Experienced naturalists, certified by the Galapagos National Park, share their knowledge throughout the voyage. Operated by the only major cruise line sailing these waters, offering touches of the familiar, such as complimentary plush bathrobes, a hot tub, sauna, and fitness room.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
$5,699 to $8,349
When you arrive in Quito on the first day of your journey, a cruise representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to the JW Marriott hotel. Enjoy free time to relax and settle in.
Start your day with an included breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a guided tour of Quito, the capital of Ecuador – situated at an altitude of 9,350 feet – and stand on the equatorial line at the Half of the World Park and Museum. Marvel at the monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. A tour director will guide throughout Quito and serve as personal concierge. Enjoy lunch with a spectacular view of the city, and a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Quito airport for your flight to Baltra Galapagos. During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region’s main airport and where you will meet the ship. From the airport, it is just a short bus and Zodiac ride to the ship for embarkation.
Daphne is a volcanic cone located north of Santa Cruz Island. The crater floor is an important breeding site for blue-footed boobies. Famous for the scientific investigation of the finch population that supports Charles Darwin’s theory, the island is also home to sea lions, pelicans and tropical birds.
With its sandy beach, black rocks, and blue-water grottos, Puerto Egas offers a taste of geology, great snorkeling, and an opportunity to see shorebirds and Galapagos fur seals. Excursion options include a long walk along the shore to the grottos to see fur seals, or a shorter coastal walk. Both options are followed by optional swimming and snorkeling.
Best known for its red sand and eroded volcanic landscape, Rabida is a small island south of Santiago. A nesting colony of pelicans make their home here along with sea lions and seabirds. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and short walk, swimming and snorkeling from the beach, or a deep water snorkel for the more experienced.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the western-most points in the Galapagos. A scenic Zodiac ride along this sheltered inlet offers viewing of a wide variety of wildlife and a wonderful mangrove ecosystem.
Historically an anchorage for pirates and whalers, Tagus Cove offers a breathtaking view of Isabela, its volcanoes, and a saltwater lagoon. Along the shore, seabirds, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and nesting Flightless Cormorants can often be found. Excursions options include a scenic Zodiac ride for wildlife viewing, a brisk long walk or snorkeling in the crystal blue water.
During a volcanic eruption in the early 1900’s, Sullivan Bay was covered with flowing lava. Enjoy a walk led by an informative naturalist discovering the geological wonderland of rocky black fields.
Bartolome Island hosts one of the region’s most photographed views in a spectacular geological setting. Its barren moon-like volcanic landscapes, spatter cones, and pinnacle rock make for a unique stop. Home to the endemic Galapagos penguin, it provides an excellent snorkeling experience. Excursion options include a hike up 350 stairs “to the top” of the volcano, a Zodiac ride, and an optional beach swim or snorkel.
Explore Las Bachas, one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in all of the Galapagos where Pacific green sea turtles nest. Behind it are two small ponds where flamingos often feed in the shallows. Excursion options include relaxing on the beach or a short beach walk to look for flamingos, followed by an optional opportunity to swim and snorkel.
Home to the largest colony of frigate birds in the Galapagos, North Seymour is located just north of Baltra. Keep an eye out for male frigates trying to impress potential mates with red inflated neck pouches, and Blue-footed Boobies dancing their timeless courtship ritual. Sea lions and large land iguanas also roam about this rocky terrain. Excursion options include a guided long, rocky walk, or a Zodiac ride and short, easy walk, or a scenic Zodiac tour along the coast to view wildlife and the geology of the area.
Visit the islands' capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a serene waterfront town. Excursion options include a tour of the local interpretation center with time for shopping, or a brisk long walk to scenic vistas, followed by a visit to the interpretation center.
In the afternoon, sail onward to Punta Pitt. Your visit to this location, thought by many to be the most spectacular site in San Cristobal, will offer you the rare opportunity to visit the only place in the Galapagos where you can observe all three species of boobies: blue, red, and masked, and two species of frigates birds nesting in the same area. In addition, there is an opportunity to explore its volcanic terrain as well as beach swimming.
Puerto Ayora, the islands' most populous center, is home to the National Park Tortoise Breeding Center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will be able to visit the tortoise-breeding center and walk through the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will also have the chance to take a bus ride to the highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. In addition, you will have an exclusive opportunity to participate in the Scalesia reforestation project in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
Return to Baltra Island and bid farewell to the enchanted islands. Upon arrival in Quito, a cruise representative will escort you to the JW Marriott hotel. Enjoy an optional afternoon excursion, time permitting, to the local craft market. Dinner is served at your hotel.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
Round-trip air transportation from Quito to Baltra; pre-cruise transfers between the Quito Airport and the JW Marriot Hotel; two pre-cruise nights in a shared double occupancy hotel room in Quito; meals during the land portion of the itinerary (excluding dinner on the day of arrival in Quito); a guided full-day tour of Quito; transfers between the Baltra Airport and the ship; one post-cruise night at hotel with dinner and breakfast; post-cruise transfers between the Quito Airport and the JW Marriott Hotel; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; select beverages; room service; onboard programs and lectures; Galapagos National Park fee; Galapagos Tourist Card fee; gratuities for hotel staff and Quito tour guides; gratuities while onboard for crew, lecturers, and guides; gear on loan (complimentary snorkeling equipment, short wetsuits, binoculars, and walking sticks); Wi-Fi. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation between home city and Quito; any food or beverages obtained off of the ship (except as noted); purchases of souvenirs, gifts and other personal items on board; personal services such as spa, laundry, and telecommunication charges; baggage, travel/cancellation and personal insurance; optional pre/post packages; certain premium beverages; fuel surcharge may apply.