Summary : Explore one of the largest marine protected areas in the world and enjoy up to four dives a day, plus night dives. Search for a wide range of species—whale sharks, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays, barracuda, mola mola, and more. Cruise to remote Darwin and Wolf Islands for world-class diving, where both large pelagics and colorful tropical species can be found in abundance. Witness the playful antics of sea lions as they perform graceful underwater acrobatics. Take a trip into the highlands to view endemic Galápagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Diving, Hiking, Photography
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$8,480 to $15,660
Board your independent flight to Ecuador. Upon arrival in Guayaquíl, transfer to your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to San Cristóbal. Upon arrival, embark the Galapagos Sky. After settling in and getting acquainted with the ship, cruise to Los Lobos for a check-out dive. This site offers your first underwater introduction to Galápagos sea lions and fur seals, their acrobatic antics make for a thrilling and entertaining experience. Return to the ship for a welcome reception and dinner.
Go ashore on Bartolomé for an invigorating hike to a panoramic viewpoint where breathtaking views abound. Conditions permitting, go snorkeling in an area where Galápagos penguins are often found. Today’s dive is around Cousins Rock, a beautiful wall that offers great viewing of corals, frogfish, seahorses, scorpionfish, and octopus. The area is also frequented by large schools of barracuda and occasionally hammerhead sharks. Sea lions will be your comical companions upon entry and on the safety stops. This evening, cruise toward the most isolated islands of the Galápagos—the uninhabited, untouched, twin cathedrals of world class-diving—Wolf and Darwin Islands.
Spend the next three days diving (up to four dives per day; plus a night dive) around the legendary islands of Wolf and Darwin. Once you see Wolf and Darwin, you’ll immediately understand why there are no shore excursions on this part of the cruise—there is no way up those dramatic vertical cliffs!
This magical island has several dive sites to choose from. This is the place to find schooling hammerhead sharks, large aggregations of Galápagos sharks, dolphins, large schools of tuna, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, sea lions, and sea turtles. The bottom is covered with hundreds of moray eels, many of them free swimming. Being several degrees warmer than the central islands, you can look for many representatives of the Indo-Pacific underwater fauna. On a night dive here, you may also spot the unusual red-lipped batfish as it “walks” along the seafloor.
Considered by many experienced divers as the very best dive site in the world, the water here is warmer by a few degrees than the central islands. In one single dive you can find schooling hammerhead sharks, Galápagos sharks, silky sharks, large pods of dolphins, thick schools of skipjack and yellow fin tuna, big eye jacks, and mobula rays. From June to November, it is not uncommon to encounter whale sharks in multiple numbers. The presence of occasional tiger sharks, black and blue marlin, and killer whales adds on to this amazing diving experience. If you still have time to look for smaller species, you’ll find octopus, flounders, and an enormous variety and abundance of tropical fish.
Join a morning dive at Cape (Cabo) Douglas, on the western side of Fernandina Island, where you can expect to see Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, sea lions, seahorses, sea turtles, horn sharks, and occasional hammerhead and white tip sharks. Other species commonly encountered include chevron barracuda, snappers, yellowfin tuna, rainbow runners, and wahoo. Smaller species include creole fish, parrotfish, scrawled filefish, Pacific boxfish, and tiger snake eels.
At Punta Vicente Roca, on Isabela Island, there may be an opportunity for two dives. This will be your coldest dive yet as you descend along a steep vertical wall covered in soft coral, sponges, and endemic black coral. Here you can expect to find sea horses, bullhead sharks, red-lipped batfish, various shrimp and many other marine invertebrates, and with luck, the amazing mola mola. Keep your eyes open for flightless cormorants, penguins, and maybe even a marine iguana. Your after-dive panga ride offers great topside photo ops for penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and noddy terns.
While diving at Pinzón you will have opportunities for encounters with a variety of species of sharks, sea lions, mantas, eagle rays, and moray eels. Some of the tropical species found here include yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, Moorish idols, steel pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish, and barracuda. After your dive, disembark in Puerto Ayora and take a scenic drive into the highlands. Here you can see giant Galápagos tortoises in their natural environment. Return to Puerto Ayora where there is free time to explore on your own. Return to the Galapagos Sky for a farewell dinner and overnight on board.
This morning disembark in San Cristóbal and visit the Interpretation Center where an interesting human history of the Galápagos is presented. There is free time to stroll around town before transferring to the airport for your late-morning flight to Guayaquíl. Check in to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Board your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
Dive Certification Requirements:
To dive on this voyage you must be an Advanced Open Water (AOW) certified scuba diver. You must complete two open water dives within the 12 months prior to the trip’s departure.
Rental Dive Equipment:
Scuba equipment can be rented onboard for an additional fee if you prefer not to travel with your own gear. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Expedition Leader: Jack Grove
Join Jack Grove on this extraordinary dive adventure. A marine biologist and professional naturalist, Jack has spent much of the past two decades traveling on, and lecturing about, the world’s oceans. For seven years he lived in the Galápagos, where he carried out extensive marine biological studies. In 1997 Stanford University Press published his comprehensive volume, The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands, and he received his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University. Jack is an avid scuba diver, certified divemaster, and dedicated conservationist. In 2002 he was one of 57 scientists invited by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to participate in a conference in Hanoi to discuss a strategy for the preservation of marine biodiversity.
Gratuities; accommodations in Guayaquil hotels and on board the Galapagos Sky as outlined in the itinerary; onboard meals; gear certificate; group meals on land as per itinerary; soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; transfers on arrival and departure dates; landing and port fees; Galápagos National Park fee; airfare from Guayaquíl/Baltra and Baltra/Guayaquíl; medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation (except as listed above); excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed above, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges; scuba equipment rental fees; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Philip Hamilton