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
$4,595 to $4,950
Arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer to Santa Cruz to visit the Highlands before boarding your ship. In the Highlands you can walk along a path, observing the hills, ferns, forest, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, white-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species.
Located southeast of Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay is of great geological interest. The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows. It was very active 200 years ago; the flow is geologically young. The magma formed is flat but the movement of underground lava, rapid cooling, and other eruptions led to breaks in many places. Enjoy optional activities including snorkeling, hiking, and swimming.
Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin. Enjoy optional activities including snorkeling, hiking, or a dinghy boat ride.
Start your day on Genovesa Island at Darwin Bay. This white-sand coral beach heads a half-mile trail that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end there is a spectacular view from the top of the cliff. Choose to snorkel, hike, ride in a dinghy boat, or kayak.
Journey onward to Prince Phillip's Steps. Also known as El Barranco, Prince Phillip's Steps' steep, rocky paths lead up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to Palo Santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.
Begin your morning on Santiago Island at Egas Port, also known as James Bay. Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos hawk and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. Hike a trail that leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur seals bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.
The adventure continues at Espumilla Beach, a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs attract hunting herons, who perform the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopuses, moray eel, and shark, snorkeling is highly recommended here.
Another possible visit is Buccaneer Cove—in the 1600s and 1700s it was a safe haven where pirates would stake out on the Northwestern side of Santiago Island. Sea turtles now take the pirates place and dig nests for their eggs near the Mangrove trees. It is a great location for snorkeling. Many marine birds and sea lions can be found here.
Visit Carrion Point in the morning, which creates a sheltered lagoon with beautiful, turquoise water. During this visit you can snorkel and see a variety of fish, rays, and perhaps harmless white-tip reef sharks. Enjoy an optional morning snorkel or dinghy boat ride.
After this short morning excursion, transfer to the airport to depart for 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.
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).
PHOTOS: © Haugan Cruises, © ExpeditionTrips