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. This itinerary focuses on the Central, Southern, and Northern Islands, including visit to Tower and Hood Island, two of the highlights of the Galapagos Islands. Whether you enjoy hiking, snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, or unusual wildlife encounters, visiting the Galapagos Islands promises to be a memorable, awe-inspiring experience.
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 journey begins on Baltra Island. Fly in to Baltra Airport then continue on to Santa Cruz Island to visit Cerro Dragon, where a small lagoon often frequented by flamingos can be seen.
Today you will sail to Santa Fe Island. Highlights may include spotting Santa Fe land iguanas, pelican nesting sites, a sea lion colony, mockingbirds, and Palo Santo trees.
Cruise onward to South Plaza Island, which consists of two very small islands that were uplifted from the sea and separated by a channel. Look forward to seeing the grand Opuntia cactus, land and marine iguanas, a nesting site on a rocky cliff for red-billed tropical birds and gulls, and a seal lion bachelor colony.
San Cristóbal is the easternmost island of Galapagos and also one of the oldest. Today you will visit Witch Hill (Cerro Brujo), a volcanic cone that looks over a beautiful white sandy beach, which has plenty of sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, waders and marine iguanas. Continue to Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), to see the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, and the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats.
Later in the day, arrive at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, to visit either El Junco or Cerro Tijereta depending on conditions, followed by a visit to the Nature Interpretation Center. El Junco is a freshwater lagoon at 2,300 feet, with great views and ferns, miconias, pintails and gallinules. Cerro Tijereta has a frigate bird colony.
Española is the oldest and southernmost in the archipelago. Because of its remote location a unique range of endemic species evolved here. Today, explore Gardner Bay, Islote Garnder and Islote Osborn, and Punta Suarez.
Located on the northeastern side of the island, Gardner Bay has a long and beautiful white sand beach inhabited by sea lion colonies. Islote Garnder and Islote Osborn offer snorkeling sites where visitors will see an abundance of tropical fish, reef sharks, and turtles. The wildlife at Punta Suarez is plentiful and varied. Along the cliff, visitors can enjoy the blowhole where seawater is forced about 65 feet into the air. Highlights here include the waved albatross (April-Dec) that are only found on Hood, Galapagos hawks, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and Española lava lizards.
Santa Cruz is the second largest and most populated of all the islands. In Puerto Ayora, enjoy a stroll through town and shop at one of the many tourist shops. 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. Later, explore the Highlands of Santa Cruz, where Galapagos giant tortoises can be seen in the wild in the highlands of Santa Cruz.
Sombrero Chino is a small volcanic island just off the southeastern tip of Santiago. The name of the island describes its shape. Fauna here includes sea lions, marine iguanas and the Galapagos penguin. Continue to Santiago Island (James), located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. Santiago Island offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. See a site of great geological interest at Sullivan Bay: the one hundred year old lava flow field, with its pahoehoe formations and lava bubbles are a miraculous sight to behold.
Genovesa is an eroded flat volcanic island, with a natural harbor, which is actually the submerged caldera of this volcanic island. See Darwin Bay, where steep cliffs of this area dominate the island. This area is home to thousands of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, noddy terns, lava gulls, tropic birds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin's finches. At El Barranco, there is a good possibility of seeing the unique short-eared owl. During the dinghy rides along the cliffs, fur seals and several species of seabirds can be spotted.
You will end your exploration of the Galapagos Islands in Turtle Cove. A red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz, it is a perfect example of how mangroves alter the marine environment to create a rich and unique habitat. Return to Baltra Island for flights to the mainland.
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 aboard ship; gratuities are left to the discretion of the passenger; traveler’s insurance; wetsuits ($30 per person / week, for snorkeling use only); 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): $500-$700 per adult; $350-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).