Summary : Embark on a wildlife-filled expedition to the world-renowned Galapagos Islands. Navigate volcanic coves by kayak, spot Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, and Galapagos penguins, and learn more about the dynamic natural history of the region– all from the comfort of a modern catamaran. 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.
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
$6,880 to $8,009
Arrive at Baltra airport and meet your transfer to the boat. Enjoy a welcome cocktail on board along with a short welcome briefing. Let your Galapagos adventure begin!
In the afternoon, sail to North Seymour Island, where you will explore the rocky coast, passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds.
Today's journey begins on Isabela Island. The largest in the archipelago, this seahorse-shaped island is also one of the youngest and most volcanically active. The morning visit is to Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola Mola sunfish. You will have a choice here to enjoy an optional snorkeling excursion or panga boat ride.
Crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Island, you will land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, you'll reach the island's highlight: the flightless cormorant's nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos Hawk.
This morning you will begin your exploration of Isabela Island at Tagus Cove. Located across from Fernandina Island, near the Bolivar Channel dividing the two islands, this spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge display wonderful views. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another lovely beach surrounded by mangroves. You will have the opportunity to hike here, as well as snorkel or explore by panga boat.
Later, sail onward to Urbina Bay. Located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954, causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling.
Start the day at Elizabeth Bay, located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and blue-footed boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.
In the afternoon, travel to Moreno Point, which is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted.
Visit Mirador Lookout in the morning.
This afternoon you will visit the wetlands of Isabela Island or the notorious Wall of Tears. The wetlands are located just outside of Puerto Villamil and consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves which are home to a variety of unique bird species such as Common Stilts, Whimbrels, White-Cheeked Pintails, and Gallinules. The wetlands can be visited on foot via a path that winds through the swamps.
Wall of Tears – From 1945-1959, a penal colony hosted prisoners who were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation. The Wall of Tears (El Muro de las Lagrimas), towering at 65 feet (25m) high, took the lives of thousands during its construction. Locals claim to hear cries emanating from the heavy energy surrounding the site.
The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.
You’ll also visit the highlands. A place you can walk along a path, observing the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, White-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. You will come upon the underground lava tubes, which are more than one kilometer (half a mile) long. Local guides are will provide information and flashlights. Walking through the lava tubes is a unique and surreal experience.
In the morning, you will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is the Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.
In the afternoon, discover Santa Fe, home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has 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.
Isla Lobos or Lobos Island is named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores. It is also home to blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. There is good snorkeling in the clear waters of the channel and this is one of the best sites at which to swim with sea lions underwater.
After your visit to Lobos Island, you will meet your transfer to the airport and return to mainland Ecuador.
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.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; shore activities and excursions; soft drinks (plastic bottled sodas excluded) and juices on board; champagne reception; Galapagos National Park certified guide; gear on loan (kayaks, snorkeling gear, and wetsuits). Subject to change without notice.
Hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; international airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; alcoholic beverages; gratuities to ship staff, crew, and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; travel insurance; passport expenses; plastic bottled sodas; 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).