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
$999,999,999 to $0
Upon arrival at San Cristobal Airport, a guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor. In the afternoon, visit Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Center, located 40 minutes away by bus on the southeast of the island. This center was built to improve the population of the island tortoises. The center includes a large corral, a visitors’ center, breeding center, and an interpretative trail. Along this trail, it’s possible to see different species of native and endemic plants, as well as birds like the the San Cristobal mockingbird, yellow warblers, and many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.
Punta Suarez, a rocky area that sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow hole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf. In the afternoon, visit Gardner Bay located on the northeastern coast of Hood. Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here you can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
Punta Cormorant offers one of the largest flamingo lagoons in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are also many species of shorebirds to observe: common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. You will continue to the north of the island and ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance are the ruins of her house. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay. Also in view are Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and the wide forest of Palo Santo.
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, Santa Fe was formed from uplift, which is why it’s mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, and one of the two species of lands iguanas on the islands. Disembark into the beautiful and clear waters encounter one of the many sea lion colonies. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.
Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found at other islands. Throughout the island are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana. They are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but a face and tail of the marine iguana. The large iguana population is due to the presence of tuna, their favorite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds such as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans.
North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so it is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing. The trees are dotted with male frigate birds trying to attract the attention of the ladies by inflating their bright red skin flaps. They sometimes fly in the air to call more attention to themselves. A circular path takes you through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash.
In the afternoon, visit Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. The soft white sand, composed of disintegrated coral, is a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it's possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The second beach is longer and has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Canal.
Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach, where a big population of sea lions lives. Colorful Sally Light-foot crabs are commonly seen running across the rocks. This site offers great snorkeling, swimming and opportunities to observe several species of shorebirds. After the morning excursion, transfer to the airport at Baltra Island for flight back home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship; water, coffee and tea; all shore activities and excursions; English-speaking guide; snorkeling equipment; kayaking equipment; transfers on the island.
International airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, $100 adults, $50 children under 12, subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, subject to change); wetsuit rental; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; gratuities to ship staff and crew are left to the discretion of the passenger; 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).