Summary : Tour the islands aboard a modern, powerful mega-catamaran, with private balconies, a spacious sundeck, Jacuzzi, and kayaks – perfect for Galapagos cruising. 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 booby.
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, Dedicated Solo Cabins
NEW for 2019: Complimentary hotel/transfer package
$7,225 to $7,645
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.
Genovesa Island: Linger on the white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay before you head up a half-mile trail that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can all be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff. Also known as El Barranco, Prince Phillip's Steps' steep, rocky path, will lead you up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view awaits at the top. This site is also home to Palo Santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.
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.
Santiago Island: Espumilla Beach is a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs attract herons on the hunt. Together they perform a dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopuses, moray eel, and shark, snorkeling is highly recommended. Alternatively, journey through time to appreciate the history of Buccaneer Cove, which was a safe haven for pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. It's a great location for snorkeling and many marine birds and sea lions can be found 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.
Hotel/transfer package: 2 hotel nights pre- or post-cruise and private round-trip airport/hotel transfers (optional); shipboard accommodations; champagne reception; shore activities and excursions; Galapagos National Park certified guide; kayaking; snorkeling; gear on loan (snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks); all meals onboard the ship; soft drinks (excluding plastic bottled sodas) and juices on board. Subject to change without notice.
Round-trip international airfare; airfare to/from the Galapagos Islands; hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; travel insurance; passport expenses; alcoholic beverages; plastic bottled beverages; 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).
PHOTOS: © Haugan Cruises, © ExpeditionTrips