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. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike will love the comfort and intimacy of the Galapagos catamaran experience. This dynamic itinerary is designed for the young or the young at heart, catering to the high-end adventurer who wants to explore in comfort.
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
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Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, a guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor and then onboard the vessel. Travel to the visitor site at Dragon Hill, located on northwestern Santa Cruz Island. It consists of a trail that leads to a hyper-saline lagoon behind the beach, frequented by flamingos, pintail ducks and other species of birds. This site has been re-populated with land iguanas from Seymour, Isabela and Santa Cruz islands. There is a short walk to the Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay.
Visit Black Turtle Cove on the northern side of Santa Cruz Island in the morning. The crystal clear waters permit observation of large groups of white-tip reef, black-tipped reef, and hammer head sharks, schools of golden rays, and spotted eagle rays. There are no landing sites, so the visit is done by Zodiac or kayak. Sea turtles are frequently seen and sometimes they are seen mating in the mangrove-lined waters. Pelicans and herons are also seen in this area.
Sombrero Chino is a small islet located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, resembling a Chinese hat when seen from the north side. On the west, you can see lava formations, formed under the sea and raised upward, which is why coral heads are found on the lava. This is an excellent visit for interpretation of geological features such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is covered by sea lion colonies, marine iguanas, and Galapagos penguins.
Darwin Bay formed when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers; red footed-booby, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area. Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing red-footed boobies nesting in the mangrove trees below. Bird watching includes sightings of sharp-beaked finches, large cactus and ground finches, Galapagos doves, and swallow-tailed gulls. Reaching the end of the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.
El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay and it is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. Climb to a plateau that is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of masked boobies and red-footed boobies in the tree; storm petrels and short-eared owls have been found on Genovesa.
Bartolome Island is situated across Sullivan Bay. You can observe one of the most beautiful scenes of the Galapagos Islands, such as volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba formed pinnacle eroded by the sea. There is very little vegetation on this island. It has two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles exist, as well as a very small colony of Galapagos penguins.
Santiago, also called James, or San Salvador Island, is located in the west central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is the fourth largest island in the archipelago (following Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz). Along with some of the large western volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina, Santiago is also volcanically active, with many young flows and cones to be seen, particularly along the south, west, and east coasts. These may even be seen from the summit of Darwin Volcano and from space. A number of historic eruptions have been reported over the last 2 centuries. Santiago actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end.
The trail to the Santa Cruz highlands leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then into the Fern and Sedge zone. On clear weather days, this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round. Transfer back to Baltra for return flights home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Galapagos transfers; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; water, coffee and tea; shore activities and excursions; English-speaking guide; snorkeling equipment; kayaking equipment. Subject to change without notice.
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; items of a personal nature; onboard WiFi access; 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.
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): $500-$700 per adult; $300-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).