- 8 Days
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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, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Arrive at Baltra and take a short ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island. Explore the Highlands where giant tortoises can be observed in their natural habitat. Learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out at the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises.
Observe one of the largest Flamingo lagoons in the islands which is situated between two tuff lava cones. Keep an eye out for shorebirds such as common stilts and white-checked pintail ducks. Marvel at the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral. Sail to nearby islet Champion for a swim or snorkel.
In the afternoon, explore Post Office Bay. Historically, a wooden barrel was placed here by the crew of a whaling ship in the 18th century. Since those days, it has been used by sailors and tourists as a post office. Climb an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at Baroness Lookout.
Observe one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea allowing for spectacular views of soaring birds and a magnificent blow hole when the surf is intense. Relax at Gardner Bay, an excellent beach for sun bathing, swimming, snorkeling, and the opportunity to watch playful sea lions.
Hike a trail leading across a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks and sandy areas. Look for blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, which nest here. At the beach, observe a large colony of sea lions. Depending on local conditions, the guide may decide to do a zodiac ride instead of the land visit.
In the afternoon, visit Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Center. Built to improve the status of the population island tortoises, the center includes a large corral, visitor center, breeding center and an interpretative trail. Along this trail watch for different species of native and endemic plants as well as birds such as the San Cristobal Mockingbird, yellow warblers, many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher. Continue to Puerto Chino beach and enjoy the view at El Mirador.
Explore the boulder strewn island for nesting frigate birds, blue-footed boobies performing courtship dances and swallow-tailed gulls perching on cliff tops. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, look for sea lions hauled out on the beach and or bodysurfing in the ocean. Hike a circular path through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash a silvery-blue.
Enjoy quaint Black Turtle Cove located at the northern side of Santa Cruz Island. This is a very calm and quiet red mangrove lagoon making an ideal nursery for sharks and rays. Observe large groups of white-tip reef, black tipped reef and hammer heads sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays. Watch for sea turtles, pelicans and herons while cruising the area by zodiac.
Explore Puerto Egas’ black beach, located at the west side of the island. Formed by volcanic tuff deposits, hike along its shore to observe wildlife such as Hudsonian whimbrel, Galapagos dove, Galapagos mockingbird, marine iguanas, sea lions and the Galapagos fur sea lion.
In the afternoon, visit Espumilla beach located at the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. Walk in the palo santo forest and comb the beach keeping an eye out for nesting marine turtles. Enjoy a great snorkeling opportunity at nearby Buccaneers Cove.
Observe some of the most beautiful scenery of the Galapagos Islands such as volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields and the famous tuba formed pinnacle eroded by the sea. Explore two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles exist. At the base of the Pinnacle Rock, look for a small colony of Galapagos penguins.
Santiago Island consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end. Walk on old lava flows and learn more about its volcanic origin.
Disembark the vessel and transfer to the Baltra airport to return to the main land.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship; beverages including water, coffee, and tea; all shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services; snorkeling gear.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, USD$100 (children under 12 subtract $50), subject to change without notice and must be paid upon arrival to the Galapagos; Galapagos Transit Card ($10 per person), paid in cash upon arrival to airport; international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on board; gratuities to ship crew and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; travel insurance; passport expenses; items of a personal nature; wetsuit rental ($40 per person paid on board in cash; rate subject to change); 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-$550 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).