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
Arrive in Baltra, your first stop in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to the ship for an introductory briefing and lunch. Continue on to Santa Cruz, which is the second largest island in the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is known for being the home of the Charles Darwin Research Station, the lush greenery of the Santa Cruz Highlands, the famed lava tunnels and the Twin Craters.
Take a panga ride to Black Turtle Cove, one of the most beautiful marine sites in the Galapagos. It is a complex maze of tranquil salt-water inlets, surrounded by three different species of mangrove. Its waters are a nursery site for sea turtles, rays and sharks as well as a nesting site for sea birds. Return to the Eclipse for a briefing on the next day’s program, welcome cocktail and dinner.
Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go snorkel, kayak or panga ride.
On the northwestern side of Santiago Island is South James Bay (Puerto Egas). The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. Intertidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms. A trail leads to the Fur Seal Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where Fur Seals can be seen. After the walk, enjoy time to swim or snorkel off the beach, and perhaps see sea lions, fish, turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks.
Make a dry landing at Tagus Cove, which 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). Embark on a hike along a trail that 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. After hiking, go kayaking or on 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, dolphins and whales are sometimes encountered.
After lunch, make a dry landing at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. Here on Fernandina Island, you will see 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.
Urbina Bay is located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. After a wet 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 Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.
After lunch, enjoy a panga ride along Punta Vicente Roca or take advantage of the wonderful snorkeling here, where you can usually see turtles, as well as all kinds of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you 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.
The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic center of the archipelago. Stroll along the streets to see how Galapagueños live in this magical paradise. You may also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where conservation is conducted by scientists, park rangers and park managers, among others, who make huge efforts to preserve this extraordinary place. The Station is also a tortoise breeding and rearing center, where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats.
After visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station, transfer to Baltra airport for flights back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Ship Dry Dock Dates: Aug 30 - Oct 11, 2014
Family Departures: 4/12/2014, 4/26/2014, 6/21/2014, 7/5/2014, 7/19/2014, 8/2/2014, 8/16/2014, 11/22/2014, 12/20/2014
Since children are more active than adults, the guides will organize separate activities such as faster but educational walks, beach games, onboard activities, special briefings for children, and special menus and mealtimes. Specialist guides can be assigned to educate and entertain your children throughout the day (group minimum of 10 children), while you enjoy the cruise at your own pace. However, if parents wish to take their children with them in their group, they may do so. Note: On family departures, minimum child age is 4 years. On non-family departures, minimum child age is 8 years.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; all shore activities and excursions; all soft drinks and juices on board; complimentary one-time fully stocked mini-bar in deluxe staterooms; naturalist guide service; onboard star gazing with a naturalist guide; use of snorkeling gear and wetsuits; VIP lounge on outbound flight from Galapagos; onboard complimentary refillable sports water bottle (purified water stations are available throughout vessel); complimentary use of robes in all cabins; sharing transfers between the airport in Baltra and the dock.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, $100 (children under 12 subtract $50), subject to change without notice; Galapagos Transit Card ($10 per person); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages onboard; gratuities to ship crew and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; travel insurance; passport expenses; fuel surcharge $150 (subject to change).
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).