Galapagos Classic – North Central

Galapagos Cruise

  • Silver Galapagos
  • Luxury Expedition Ship
  • 100 Capacity
  • 8 Days
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Summary : Encounter a plethora of flora and fauna in one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Come unimaginably close to an impressive array of creatures – many of them endemic – including the giant tortoise, waved albatross, and colorful land iguanas. After a day of snorkeling and sunbathing with sea lions, return to the unrivalled comforts of a luxury expedition ship on this adventure of a lifetime.

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, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling

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Itinerary
Day 1
Baltra Island

Embark the vessel, and settle in, meet your Expedition Team and enjoy the first of many memorable meals on board.

Day 2
Genovesa Island

Genovesa (“Tower “in English) is dubbed “Bird Island”, a name it lives up to in a spectacular way. Huge colonies of seabirds create a birder watcher’s paradise, and one of the few places where you can see two species of boobies nesting. Take a walk on the sandy beach of Darwin Bay, home to one of the world’s largest Red-footed Booby nesting colonies. Yellow-crowned Night Herons feed near tidal lagoons, while thousands of Swallow-tailed Gulls nest in the cliffs. Climb the “steps”, a steep path named after the Duke of Edinburgh who visited the island in 1965, and you will be well rewarded: a remarkable spectacle of Nazca boobies nesting on the ground, Great Frigate Birds with their fiery red sacs. After a morning walk, have a chance to enjoy your first snorkelling excursion and experience the diverse, underwater wonderland that surrounds the island. You will also have the opportunity to kayak around Darwin Bay—which is actually a flooded caldera—and admire the island’s craggy landscape.

Day 3
North Seymour Island / Santiago Island

North Seymour is a small up-lifted island close to Baltra filled with a spectacular profusion of wildlife — above and below the sea. Two species of frigate birds nest here, one of which, the Magnificent Frigate bird is an opportunistic breeder. At any month of the year we may see males displaying their bright-red gular pouch to attract females. Galápagos Sea Lions snooze in the sand. Blue-footed Boobies perform their courtship dance called “sky-pointing”. Marine iguanas and Galapagos Land Iguanas patrol the beach, while Brown Pelicans and Brown Noddy Terns look for food in the shallow coastal waters. Walk through this spectacular landscape, and afterwards have an opportunity to go snorkeling—perhaps even spotting the impressive white-tip shark.

Coming ashore on the east coast of Santiago Island, witness the marks Nature has left on the islands through its geological forces. Land on a white sandy beach or directly onto lava –depending on the conditions. See lava flows dating back to 1897. Here the very high temperature of the molten material, as well as its gas content, has created a smooth surface. The appearance this lava has is almost like frail rope and the technical term for it is pahoehoe (a Hawaiian name that supposedly suggests the swirls left behind by a paddle (=hoe) in the water). Later, head to a sandy beach and enjoy some time for snorkeling. Keep an eye out for turtles!

Day 4
Rabida Island / Santa Cruz Island

Rabida is a small picturesque island with red rock cliffs and maroon-color sand. Observe Darwin’s finches, lava lizards and Galápagos Mockingbirds. Take a walk along the cliffs where the red rocks, green Palo Santo trees and the blue turquoise sea create landscapes of stunning contrast, while an underwater world teeming with colorful tropical species and vibrant marine landscapes is equally amazing. After a short but rewarding hike, take the opportunity to swim or simply stroll along the beach and admire the sea lions snoozing along the shore. Or go for a stunning snorkel with sea lions, reef sharks, marine iguanas, colorful anemones and parrotfish.

Depending on the landing conditions, go for a walk at Bahia Ballena where whalers left behind some of their pottery, or sail to Eden Islet for snorkeling, kayaking and zodiac rides. Eden is a small, eroded tuff cone and an excellent example of the unique geology of the Galápagos. It is home to Great Blue Herons, sea lions, and Blue footed Boobies, while the small tidal areas can be a resting place for reef sharks, eagle rays and Green Sea Turtles.

Day 5
San Cristobal Island

Discover the Galápagos Giant Tortoise and their babies, and learn more about current conservation efforts at the Galapaguera Cerro Colorado. Breeding and rearing endemic animals in captivity is part of a much broader conservation program aimed at restoring and protecting the Galapagos Islands' natural biodiversity.

San Cristobal is one of the oldest islands in Galápagos and the well-eroded landscape of Punta Pitt creates a dramatic landscape. We may see all three species of boobies here: red, blue and Nazca, as well as both the Great and Magnificent Frigate Bird. After a wet landing on an olivine beach where sea lions doze, climb up a ravine to view one of the most scenic panoramas in the archipelago. Lava lizards guide your way, while Red-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies fly overhead.

Day 6
Española Island

Swim with the sea lions at Gardner Bay’s gorgeous beach or snorkel with large schools of colorful tropical fish and perhaps the occasional manta ray.

Later in the day, visit Punta Suarez, a highlight of the Galapagos as it is the only nesting area in the world for the waved albatross. It also boasts the most diverse wildlife of all of the islands. Look on as marine iguanas lie motionless like sentinels upon the rocks while young sea lions surf the waves.

Day 7
Santa Cruz Island / South Plaza Island

At the Charles Darwin Research Station breeding and rearing center, see both dome-shaped and saddle-backed tortoises, as well as baby Giant Tortoises up to 5 years old that are waiting to be returned to their home island. Towards the end of the morning, there will be time to do some sightseeing and shopping in Puerto Ayora.

South Plaza is a little island located close to the eastern coast of Santa Cruz. It boasts a colony of Galápagos land iguanas, but the setting is also a highlight — Giant Prickly Pear Cactus, the reddish Sesuvium plant, a mat-like ground cover, and a large nesting colony of Swallow-tailed Gulls make this small island an excellent stop. Marine iguanas and Galápagos Sea Lions are also around.

Day 8
Baltra Island

Following breakfast, disembark the vessel and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the mainland.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Dry Dock Dates: Sept 24 - Oct 7, 2016

Included:
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship; all shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture service; butler service; gratuities aboard ship; kayaking; snorkel gear and wetsuits; complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select sparkling wines, wines, spirits, soda, water and coffee); courtesy binoculars and raincoats on loan. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil and luggage handling; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card; international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; government taxes; laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature; Internet (Wi-Fi); premium sparkling wines and spirits; 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-$600 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).