Summary : This Galápagos tour offers the perfect introduction to Las Islas Encantadas, delivering a comprehensive experience in a relatively short amount of time. During your Galápagos expedition, you will make numerous landings on no less than eight unique islands. Take scenic cruises along the wild shores by Zodiac and land on these remote, uninhabited islands for nature walks that reveal endemic species and prolific wildlife. The 40-guest Isabela II is an exceptional vessel to explore the world’s first natural World Heritage Site in elegant comfort.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart on your flight to Guayaquíl. Transfer to our hotel for the night.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On arrival, transfer to the Isabela II for check in and an introductory briefing. San Cristóbal was the first island Charles Darwin visited when he arrived in the Galápagos. First known as Chatham Island, it was later named in honor of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón). Punta Pitt is the only place in the Galápagos where three species of boobies and two species of frigates can be found nesting in the same area—blue-footed, Nazca, and red-footed boobies as well as great and magnificent frigatebirds.
Cross the equator overnight, arriving at Genovesa Island. Enter Darwin Bay, formed by the caldera of a partially eroded volcano, for a short Zodiac tour along the coastline to Prince Philip’s Steps, where you may find red-footed boobies nesting in palo santo trees. Nazca boobies nest on the ground, along with wedge-rumped storm petrels and short-eared owls. Afterward, swim and snorkel along the cliffs of this colossal harbor. Later, land on a sandy beach and pass swallow-tailed gulls as you walk by a forest of salt bush and mangrove where colonies of great frigatebirds and red-footed boobies nest.
This morning arrive at Espumilla Beach, a large coffee-colored sand beach located at the north end of the island. A short walk inland takes you through a mangrove forest to a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white-cheeked pintails can be seen. Once back on the beach you have another chance to swim or snorkel. After a short lunch cruise, arrive at Puerto Egas and hike along a coastal trail to a nearby fur seal grotto. Along the shore you may spot great blue and striated herons, oystercatchers, and yellow-crowned night herons as they feed. At low tide it is possible to see colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas grazing on sea lettuce.
The cool waters of the Cromwell Current upwell around Isabela and Fernandina and these nutrient-rich waters provide great feeding sources for whales and dolphins. In the morning explore Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest island of the Galápagos. Observe the largest colony of marine iguanas in the archipelago, flightless cormorants, and moonscape-like lava fields. This is one of the largest, most pristine islands in the world with no introduced species to date. On the western shore of Isabela, stop at secluded Tagus Cove, which was once a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers. An uphill hike through the forest takes you to Darwin Lake, a crater filled with salt water.
Step ashore on a gentle sloping beach on Urbina Bay. A short trail leads to a coral reef, evidence of uplift from the sea which occurred in 1954. Here you may find land and marine iguanas, giant Galápagos tortoises, flightless cormorants, and Galápagos penguins. Then cruise north along the Bolívar Channel, accompanied by impressive views of Isabela’s rugged coast, to Punta Vicente Roca. Be on the lookout here for more cormorants, penguins, blue-footed boobies, turtles, and perhaps, the amazing mola mola.
Though small, Rábida contains a great variety of rock and lava types. Wildlife found here includes Galápagos hawks, pelicans, and sea lions. Your next stop is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) on the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island. Aptly named, this site is one of the best places to see land iguanas. The trail continues through palo santo trees and cacti forests and ends at a saltwater lagoon, where you may see various species of birds.
This morning enjoy time at leisure before disembarking the Isabela II for your flight back to Guayaquíl. On arrival transfer to your hotel. This afternoon, there is free time to relax before a farewell dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.
Accommodations in hotels and on board the Isabela II as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; transfers on arrival and departure dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; use of snorkeling equipment; landing and port fees; $100 Galápagos National Park fee; all gratutities; $25,000 of medical expense coverage and $100,000 in emergency evacuation insurance.*
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.