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Galapagos Classic – Southern

Galapagos Cruise

Summary : Discover the enchanting Galapagos Islands aboard a luxury, 16-passenger motor yacht and experience the dynamic city of Quito, Ecuador, on an all-inclusive journey. Explore one of the world's most biodiverse wildlife sanctuaries. Sail through the Southern Islands of the Galapagos, where a plethora of approachable wildlife will be waiting to welcome you upon arrival – from Galapagos penguins and giant tortoises, to Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies. Spend your days snorkeling, exploring the coastline by Zodiac, and hiking to your heart's content before returning to your comfortable motor yacht to relax. Start your adventure in Quito. High in the Andes Mountains, Quito's traditional Ecuadorian Sierra culture will charm and welcome you on your city tour, where you will walk on the equatorial line at the Middle of the World Park and marvel at the monastery of San Francisco and La Compañia Church.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling

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Itinerary
Day 1
Quito, Ecuador

On the first day of your cruise you will be greeted at the Quito Airport by a representative from the shipping company. Enjoy an included transfer to your hotel – the JW Marriott. When you arrive, you will have free time to rest and settle in.

Day 2
Quito, Ecuador

Enjoy an included breakfast this morning at the hotel. After breakfast, you will have a guided tour of Quito. Highlights include standing on the equatorial line at the Middle of the World Park and Museum. Marvel at the monastery of San Fransisco and La Compañia Church. Your included lunch will be served from a viewpoint in the city. After your tour, you will have an included welcome dinner at a local gourmet restaurant.

Day 3
Quito / Baltra Island / Embarkation / Santiago Island

After an included breakfast at the hotel this morning, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Once you arrive on Baltra Island, you will travel by bus and Zodiac boat to meet your ship prior to embarkation.

Your first Galapagos excursion this afternoon is to Chinese Hat Islet. This small volcanic islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island is formed of hardened lava and spatter cones. Several species of Darwin's finches can be found here, along with Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Excursion options: Walk and Zodiac ride.

Day 4
Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz Island / Rabida Island

Today you will visit Dragon Hill, named after its abundant population of land iguanas. The site offers a beautiful view of the landscape and two small brackish lagoons where flamingos and other shore bird occasionally feed. Along the trail, you'll cross an extraordinary 'white forest' of Palo Santo (incense) trees and Galapagos cotton plants. Excursion options: High-intensity hike with swimming/snorkeling on the beach, high intensity snorkeling from a Zodiac followed by a short walk and a low-intensity Zodiac ride along the coastline with optional dry landings for animal observation.

In the afternoon, explore Rabida Island. A small island south of Santiago, Rabida is best known for its red sand and eroded volcanic landscape. A nesting colony of pelicans makes its home here, along with sea lions and some seabirds. Excursion options: Zodiac ride and short walk, swimming and snorkeling from the beach, and a deep water snorkel for more experienced snorkelers.

Day 5
Isabela Island

Welcome to the small, laid-back island town of Puerto Villamil. Enjoy an optional hike around a secluded wetland lagoon to the Tortoise Center. The Center was created to protect baby tortoises from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys, as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoises. Visitors can see both hatchling tortoises and the older breeding animals. The wetlands of Isabela Island are home to a variety to a variety of bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules, and flamingoes. Excursion options: Walk and swim.

Today you will also have the opportunity to see the Wall of Tears. The Wall is 15-20 feet high, 10 feet wide, and approximately 300 feet long. When jailed in a penal colony here between 1944 and 1959, prisoners were forced to build the wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again to start over. It is a lesson in history and a remnant of a cruel and intolerant time. Excursion option: Walk.

Day 6
Floreana Island

This morning you will visit Post Office Bay. Right in history, this site is home to the post office barrel established in 1793, where whalers and others could leave their mail to be picked up by outbound ships. Continue the tradition on your visit here. Post your own letter or postcard at this early mail stop.

Floreana was the first capital of the Galapagos and where Charles Darwin met the islands' Governor. Its small brackish lagoon is often home to flamingos, stilts, and white-cheeked pintail ducks, and one of its beaches is a highly used nesting site for sea turtles. Check out the green-hued sand where you land! Excursion options: a relatively short walk to the lagoon and sea turtle-nesting beach, and optional snorkeling and swimming at the landing beach. In addition, there will be an opportunity to deep water snorkel at nearby Champion Island. Deep water snorkeling is for experienced snorkelers only.

Day 7
San Cristobal Island

White sand juxtaposed with black volcanic rocks makes this beach another of the Galapagos's most spectacular. Along the shore are seabirds and sea lions. Excursion options: Zodiac ride and beach walk with optional swimming. Afterwards, just in time for a sunset cocktail, the ship will navigate the steep, richly colored walls of Kicker Rock, the spectacular remnants of a satellite volcanic cone.

Off the northwest coast of San Cristobal lies Kicker Rock, where thousands of years ago a volcanic eruption left behind enormous vertical rock faces that rise nearly 500 feet from the ocean. There are actually two volcanic rocks here, with a channel between where small boats can navigate. Nicknamed Sleeping Lion because of its shape, Kicker Rock is an important ecological monument as it's home to many species of nesting birds including frigates and blue-footed boobies. It's also magnificent for snorkeling as tropical fish are abundant and the water is crystal clear.

Named after its large colony of sea lions, Los Lobos usually allows visitors to observe and potentially interact with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. In addition, you may see blue-footed boobies, frigates, and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: The Fur Sea Lion. It is a seasonal nesting location for the blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Excursion options: Walk, Zodiac, snorkel.

Day 8
Santa Cruz Island

This is the main population center of the islands and home to the National Park Service tortoise breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will be able to visit the tortoise-breeding center and hopefully say hello to one of the island's most famous residents, Lonesome George, and walk through the Charles Darwin Station. You will also have the opportunity to take a bus ride to the Highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. There will also be free time available for shopping.

Day 9
Espanola Island

Espanola is the oldest island in the Galapagos and is home to an abundance of wildlife. At this site, visitors can expect to see sea lions, Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, and both blue-footed and Nazca boobies. And between late March to the following January, the waved albatross come here to mate and raise their young. Excursion options include a long, rocky walk to look for albatross and observe an impressive blowhole that spews water like a towering geyser. A short, easier walk to observe much of this island's amazing wildlife is also offered.

Day 10
Daphne Island / Baltra Island / Disembarkation

Start your day by visiting Daphne Island. The cliff shore of the island is home for sea lions, pelicans, blue footed boobies and tropic bird. In addition, large schools of fish can be observed from the Zodiac rides.

During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region's main airport.

Baltra is the home to the region's main airport and where you will fly out. From your ship, you will take a Zodiac to meet your included bus transfer to the airport. From there, you will take your included flight back to Quito, where you will meet your included transfer to the JW Marriott Hotel. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Day 11
Quito, Ecuador / Departure

Enjoy an included breakfast at the JW Marriott before meeting your included transfer to the airport.

Notes

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.

Included:

Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; pre-cruise transfers between the Quito Airport and the JW Marriott Hotel (or equivalent); two night pre-cruise in a shared double occupancy room at the JW Marriott Hotel (or equivalent) in Quito; meals in Quito during the pre-land portion of the package in Quito, including all meals on Saturday and Sunday breakfast pre-cruise; a guided tour of Quito (full-day); air transportation (coach class on either scheduled or charter services) from Quito, Ecuador, to Baltra Island; transfers from the airport in Baltra to the ship; 7-night Galapagos cruise as indicated in the itinerary; complimentary beverages on the ship including select wines, sparkling wines, spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, and teas; room service; Internet access; onboard entertainment, including programs or lectures onboard by Galapagos National Park-certified naturalists or crew; snorkeling equipment, short wetsuits, binoculars, and walking sticks to borrow for the duration of the cruise; the Galapagos National Park admission fee; the Galapagos Tourist Card fee; gratuities; transfers from the ship to the airport post-cruise on Baltra Island; air transportation (coach class on either scheduled or charter services) from Baltra Island to Quito; transfers from the Quito Airport to the JW Marriott Hotel (or equivalent). Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Air transportation to/from Quito, Ecuador and to Quito/from Peru; any additional food or beverages obtained outside of the package specifications; personal services such as spa, laundry, and telecommunication charges; alcoholic beverages. Fuel surchages may apply.

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