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—Galapagos giant tortoises march stoically, sea lions play and magnificent frigatebirds boast with puffed out chests painted a dazzling red. This itinerary focuses on the Central and Western Islands, including visits to Western Isabela and Fernandina Island, two of the highlights of the Galapagos Islands. From land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, flamingos, penguins, flightless cormorants, brown pelicans, Darwin finches, and blue-footed boobies, to swallow-tailed gulls, Galapagos hawks, and Darwin finches, the Galapagos Islands is a truly paradisical world apart just waiting to be explored.
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, Triple/Quad Cabins
Your Galapagos getaway will being on Baltra Island. Fly in to Baltra Airport, then transfer to Santa Cruz Island, where you will meet the Galapagos giant tortoises. Explore the Santa Cruz highlands with these stoic, colossal creatures by your side. Next, visit the Charles Darwin Station, a research facility and National Park Information center. The Charles Darwin Station has a giant tortoise and land iguana breeding program and interpretation center.
Floreana is best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and early colonists. At Point Cormorant, you will visit a flamingo lagoon where other species of shore birds may also be seen. You may snorkel at the Devil’s Crown, a submerged volcanic cone, or visit Post Office Bay, where you can leave a letter like whalers did in the 18th century, in a wooden barrel mailbox.
Start your day on Isabela Island—the largest of the Galapagos Islands formed by five active volcanoes fused together. Wolf Volcano is the highest point in the entire Galapagos at 5,600 feet. Visit Puerto Villamil, a charming small town on a white sand beach. Highlights include the Tortoise Breeding Station and the flamingo lagoon. The islet Las Tintoreras is located south of Puerto Villamil. It has a small bay of completely calm waters inhabited by sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and rays. Volcano Sierra Negra has a caldera with a diameter of 6 miles. View recent lava flows, moist highland vegetation, and parasitic cones.
Punta Moreno is located in the central southwestern coast of Isabela Island. The site has spectacular views of volcanoes Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. Some highlights include impressive lava flows, desolate and pristine landscape, varied and unusual arid zone vegetation. Visit Elizabeth Bay, a spot only accessible by dinghy. It is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay. The end of the bay is long and narrow surrounded by three species of mangroves. Galapagos Sea Turtles and rays can usually be seen in the water.
Urbina Bay is located at the central-west coast of Isabela Island at the foothills of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Highlights include the colorful land iguanas, Galapagos Giant tortoises and the coral uplifting from 1954. Visit Tagus Cove, a natural harbor where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship's names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill to Darwin's Crater salt-water lake will provide an excellent view.
Fernandina Island is the youngest volcanic island and is still active. Punta Espinoza is a place famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas and as the habitat of unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, among others. At Isabela Island, explore Punta Vicente Roca, a site visited by dinghy rides along the cliffs or the partially sunken cave at the water’s edge. Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.
Santiago Island is located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. This island offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. At Puerto Egas, walk along the rocky coast line to see a view of some of the best tide pools in the Galapagos. Some highlights include: Sugar loaf volcano, fur seals, oyster catchers, marine iguana colony, and old salt mine. Bartolome Island offers a hike to the highest point on the island with a spectacular view. Sea lions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock. There is a sandy beach with great swimming and snorkeling.
Your trip will come to a close on North Seymour Island. This flat piece of land originated after an uplifting event thousands of years ago. The North Seymour Island is home to endemic Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, and magnificent frigate birds. Disembark and travel to Baltra Airport for return flights.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Transfers and baggage handling between island airport and ship (when passengers arrive on flights booked through the shipping company on established operational days); cabin accommodations and meals onboard the ship; purified water; shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services with English-speaking naturalist guide; gear on loan (snorkeling equipment; kayaks). Subject to change without notice.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD $100 per person, children under 12 subtract $50, subject to change without notice); Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, subject to change); international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; bottled drinks onboard the ship; gratuities are left to the discretion of the passenger; traveler’s insurance; wetsuits ($30 per person/week, for snorkeling use only); fuel surchage 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): $500-$700 per adult; $350-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).