Summary : Discover Ecuador's world-renowned Galapagos archipelago from the comfort of a modern catamaran and see firsthand the region that inspired Charles Darwin's scientific discoveries. Bask in the sunshine on magnificent white sand beaches, navigate coves by kayak, spot Sally Lightfoot crabs and blue-footed boobies, snorkel with sea lions, marvel at the Galapagos giant tortoise, trek otherworldly landscapes, and learn about the dynamic natural history of the region. 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, lush vegetation, and unique volcanic rock formations.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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Arrive at the airport and transfer to the catamaran. Enjoy a welcome cocktail while you learn more about life aboard the boat and the island.
Each voyage is unique. Listed below is a sample of the islands you may visit during your expedition:
Española Island: The southernmost and oldest island of the Galapagos, Española is estimated to be four million years old. Its distance from the other islands enables it to have the most endemic species. Hike Suarez Point, where you will pass by the only waved albatross breeding site. If you’re lucky, you might see a young albatross take off on its first flight of up to five years at sea. Other species that can be seen are marine iguanas, Galapagos doves, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds, and Darwin finches. You might visit Gardner Bay, one of the best beaches in the Galapagos and home to a large colony of friendly and playful sea lions. Three different types of finches can also be seen here. The bay's rocky shores make this site a great place for diving and snorkeling. You might visit Osborn Islet. After landing, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach among a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups.
Floreana Island: You might visit Post Office Bay, where in the 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through mail to deliver at home. Cormorant Point features a whimsical flamingo lagoon where common stilts and white-cheeked pintails can also be seen. The beaches on Floreana Island are distinct: from the 'Green Beach' (named after the high amount of olivine crystals in the sand) to the 'Flour Sand Beach' (composed of white coral), your trip to this unique island will not disappoint.
Isabela Island: The largest island in the archipelago, peculiarly shaped like a giant seahorse. Your time on Isabela might include Vicente Roca Point, where you can view Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and brown noddy terns from the comfort of a panga boat. The Crowmwell Current on the western part of the island brings with it many nutrients and thus it is possible to witness various feeding frenzies of an assortment of animals like whales, dolphins, sea lions, and marine birds. Visit Tagus Cove and search for the names of pirates and sailors who frequented this famous hideout in the 1800s inscribed in the volcanic rock. Hike, kayak, snorkel, and keep an eye out for Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, finches, land iguanas, and large-billed flycatchers. Urbina Bay, a fascinating site for its volcanic and tectonic activity, is a great place to take photos of the dynamic, exposed coral reef or snorkel with green sea turtles and Galapagos penguins.
San Cristobal Island: Darwin first landed here in 1835. San Cristobal is also where the first permanent settlement was founded. Visit the Interpretation Center, which offers extensive information about the history of the Galapagos, ecosystems, geology, flora, and fauna. Giant tortoises are bred here. You might visit Island Lobos, named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores, or Leon Dormido, an island comprised of two rocks which jut out of the ocean, home to a large colony of sea birds. Snorkel or enjoy a dinghy ride to get an up-close view of turtles, hammerhead sharks, incredible rock formations, and maybe even a manta ray or two. Another location is Pitt Point, host to frigate birds, storm petrels, and all three types of booby birds. Follow a steep trail up a cliff and through a ravine, leading to an area with an abundance of birds. Discover Cerro Brujo, or 'Witch Hill,' which features one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with white powdery sand and an abundance of animals.
Santa Cruz Island: Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you can learn more about the giant tortoise restoration program and see the latest advances in Galapagos research. A journey to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can walk along a wooded path that winds through the hills, is an incomparable opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich vegetation of the region and see the volcanoes and wildlife that characterize the island. Santa Cruz is home to giant tortoises, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, white-cheeked pintails, Darwin finches, and many other species. With lava tubes that are more than half a mile long and enormous tortoises in your midst, your excursion in the highlands will be a truly surreal and unique experience.
Santa Fe Island: Home to a small picturesque bay with two visitor trails: one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. Enjoy optional hiking opportunities here.
South Plaza Island: South Plaza is one of the smallest islands with a visitor site but it’s home to an incredible amount of diverse flora and fauna. It has a large population of Sesuvium plants such as the prickly pear cactus tree, an important source of food for the land iguana. Just a few years ago mice were finally eradicated from the island, helping the population of land iguanas grow healthily once more. Enjoy an optional hike here.
After a morning excursion, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
Shipboard accommodations; champagne reception; shore activities and excursions; Galapagos National Park certified guide; kayaking; stand up paddleboarding; snorkeling; gear on loan (snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks, stand up paddleboards); welcome gift (may contain fruit, chocolate, wine); all meals onboard the ship; soft drinks and juices on board. Subject to change without notice.
Round-trip international airfare; airfare to/from the Galapagos Islands; hotel nights before/after cruise unless otherwise mentioned; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Control Card; passport expenses; alcoholic beverages; personal expenses; gratuities to ship staff, crew, and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; fuel surcharge may apply. Subject to change without notice.
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).
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