Summary : Discover the unique wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands aboard an upscale expedition vessel. Sail north to Genovesa Island. Known as 'Bird Island', Genovesa Island boasts an abundance of frigatebirds, Nazca, and red-booted boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and storm petrels. With options to hike, swim, and snorkel, your days will be spent immersed in the natural environment of the Galapagos on this all-inclusive journey with a pre-cruise Quito city tour.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
$5,549 to $6,449
Your journey begins in Quito, Ecuador. A shipping company representative will meet you at the Quito Airport for your included transfer to the JW Marriott hotel. Enjoy free time to relax and settle in.
Enjoy an included breakfast this morning at the hotel. Then set out on a guided city tour of Quito, the dynamic capital city of Ecuador. Highlights of the tour include standing on the equatorial line and eating lunch from a scenic viewpoint. Marvel at the monastery of San Francisco and La Compañia Church. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local gourmet restaurant.
After an included breakfast at the hotel, you will transfer to the Quito Airport for your included flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival on Baltra Island, meet your included transfer to the ship. After a short bus and Zodiac ride, you will arrive and embark.
Your first excursion this afternoon is to Black Turtle Cove. A Zodiac ride into Black Turtle Cove, one of the most beautiful sites in the Galapagos, will take you through a complex maze of tranquil saltwater inlets surrounded by mangroves. Once inside the cove, you’ll quietly explore the area looking for sea turtles, several species of rays, and sharks. It is also a nesting site for brown pelicans, egrets, and herons. Excursion options: Zodiac.
In the morning you will sail to a small island south of Santiago, Rabida, best known for its red sand and eroded volcanic landscape. A nesting colony of pelicans makes its home here, along with sea lions and some seabirds. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and short walk, swimming and snorkeling from the beach, and a deep water snorkel for more experienced snorkelers.
With its sandy beach and black rock, blue-water grottos this stop offers a taste of Galapagos geology, some great snorkeling, and an opportunity to see shore birds and Galapagos fur seals. Excursion options include a long walk along the shore to the grottos to see fur seals, followed by optional swimming and snorkeling or a shorter coastal walk, and optional swimming and snorkeling.
Start your day off at Caleta Tagus, on Isabela Island. Historically an anchorage for pirates and whalers, this site offers a breathtaking view of Isabela, its volcanoes, and a saltwater lagoon. Along the shore seabirds, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles and nesting flightless cormorants can often be found. Excursion options include a scenic Zodiac ride for wildlife viewing, a long, faster-paced walk, and optional snorkeling. Discover the recent lava flows from La Cumbre volcano and observe the flightless cormorant, one of the islands' best examples of evolution.
Explore Urvina Bay in the morning. Due to currents and upwelling, the water here is noticeably colder than in other parts of the Galapagos and in 1954, part of this area along Isabela’s coast was uplifted 12-15 feet just prior to an eruption. The remains of a coral reef raised during the uplift can still be found at Urvina Bay. On a long hike, you can ramble through the now high-and-dry corals of this once thriving reef or stick to a shorter version of the same hike and look for land iguanas, finches, and if luck holds, giant tortoises. Afterwards, if conditions allow, the black sand beach of Urvina Bay offers a chance for swimming and snorkeling. While in the water, you may see sea turtles and diving cormorants.
In the afternoon you will go to Punta Vicente Rock, on Isabela Island. The half-collapsed remains of an ancient volcano make for a spectacular setting at this site. Awe-inspiring cliffs, blue waters, and wildlife create a Zodiac ride to remember as we search for sea turtles, penguins, fur seals, the flightless cormorant, marine iguanas, marine mammals, and the oddly shaped form of the elusive sun fish.
Today you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will also be able to visit the tortoise-breeding center and hopefully say hello to one of the island's most famous residents, Lonesome George, and walk through the Charles Darwin Station. Later, take a bus ride to the Highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. There will also be free time available for shopping.
Today you will sail north to Genovesa Island. Visit El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, named for Prince Philip who visited Galapagos in 1965 and again in 1981, is a steep stairway that leads up through a seabird colony full of Nazca and Red-footed Boobies. Once visitors reach the plateau, the trail continues inland and passes more nesting booby colonies in the thin Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and storm petrels. Lucky visitors with keen eyes may catch a glimpse of a Short-eared lava owl stalking petrel along the island's eastern cliffs. Excursion options: Hike, Zodiac, or deep water snorkel.
In the afternoon, visit Darwin Bay. Darwin Bay's soft white sand is only the beginning of a spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red-footed boobies nest. Other local wildlife includes sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, and more. Snorkeling is a must here, as the nutrient-rich water attracts all types of marine life, including sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and the occasional manta ray. Excursion options: Walk, swim, snorkel, and kayak.
Today begins on Bartolome Island. Bartolome Island hosts one of the region's most often photographed views and a spectacular geologic setting. Its barren moon-like volcanic landscapes, spatter cones, and pinnacle rock make for a unique stop. It is also home to the endemic Galapagos penguin and provides an excellent opportunity for snorkeling. Excursion options include a hike up some 360 stairs "To the Top" of the volcano, a Zodiac ride, and an optional beach swim or snorkel.
In the afternoon, sail onward to Dragon Hill, or "Cerro Dragon," named after its population of land iguanas. The site offers a beautiful view of the landscape and two small brackish lagoons where flamingos and other shore birds occasionally feed. Along the trail, you'll cross a beautiful "white forest" of Palo Santo (incense) trees and Galapagos cotton plants. Excursion options include a high-intensity hike with swimming/snorkeling at the beach, high intensity snorkeling from a Zodiac followed by a short walk and a low-intensity Zodiac ride along the coastline with optional dry landing for animal observation.
Today you will visit Las Bachas – one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in all of the Galapagos. Behind it are two small ponds that often have flamingos feeding in the shallows. It is also one of the largest nesting areas for the Pacific green sea turtle. Excursion options include a short beach walk to look for flamingos, followed by an optional opportunity to swim, snorkel, or just relax on the shore. It is also possible to simply go to the beach to swim, snorkel, and relax.
After your trip to Las Bachas, you will return to Baltra Island for disembarkation. Meet your included Zodiac/bus transfer back to the airport for your included return flight to Quito. You will be met at the airport for your included return transfer to the JW Marriott Hotel. Enjoy an included dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy an included breakfast at the hotel before departing on your included transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Please Note: If you wish to extend your stay in Quito, additional pre-/post-cruise hotel nights may be available. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
If you wish to extend your stay in Quito, additional pre-/post-cruise hotel nights may be available. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Round-trip air transportation from Quito to Baltra; pre-cruise transfers between the Quito Airport and the JW Marriot Hotel; two pre-cruise nights in a shared double occupancy hotel room in Quito; meals during the land portion of the itinerary (excluding dinner on the day of arrival in Quito); a guided full-day tour of Quito; transfers between the Baltra Airport and the ship; one post-cruise night at hotel with dinner and breakfast; post-cruise transfers between the Quito Airport and the JW Marriott Hotel; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; select beverages; room service; onboard programs and lectures; Galapagos National Park fee; Galapagos Tourist Card fee; gratuities for hotel staff and Quito tour guides; gratuities while onboard for crew, lecturers, and guides; kayaking; snorkeling; gear on loan (complimentary snorkeling equipment, short wetsuits, binoculars, and walking sticks); Wi-Fi. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation between home city and Quito; any food or beverages obtained off of the ship (except as noted); purchases of souvenirs, gifts and other personal items on board; personal services such as spa, laundry, and telecommunication charges; baggage, travel/cancellation and personal insurance; optional pre/post packages; certain premium beverages; fuel surcharge may apply.