Summary : Discover the southern Galapagos Islands on an all-inclusive journey aboard a stylish 16-passenger catamaran, with pre- and post-cruise nights in Quito, Ecuador. From giant tortoises to sea lions, and blue-footed boobies, the stunning Galapagos Islands promise to delight visitors with some of the world's best wildlife viewing. Spend the day visiting the southern Galapagos, including San Cristobal Island, Espanola Island, Floreana Island, and Isabela Island. Relax at the beach, snorkel, or take a guided hike as you get to know the incredible habitants of this archipelago up close.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
$5,899 to $8,249
On the first day of your journey, you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to the JW Marriott hotel. Enjoy free time to relax and settle in.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning. Then join a guided tour of the capital of Ecuador, situated at an altitude of 9,350 feet. You'll stand on the equatorial line at the Middle of the World Park and Museum, and marvel at the monastery of San Francisco and La Compania Church. Your tour director will escort you throughout your Quito stay and serve as your personal concierge. Lunch with a spectacular view of the city, and enjoy a welcome dinner at a local gourmet restaurant.
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra, Galapagos.
During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region's main airport and where you will meet the ship. From the airport, it is just a short bus and Zodiac ride to the ship for embarkation.
This small volcanic islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island is shaped amazingly like a Chinese Hat, which in Spanish means "Sombrero Chino". It is formed of hardened lava and spatter cones, which make for excellent scenic photos. Several species of Darwin’s finches are found on the island and along the coast you will find the very colorful Sally light-foot crabs and sea lions. Excursion options: Walk and Zodiac.
Dragon Hill, or "Cerro Dragon," is 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.
A small island south of Santiago, Rabida is 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.
Welcome to the small, laid-back island town of Puerto Villamil. An interpretive trail, approximately 1 mile from town, takes you around secluded wetland lagoons to the Tortoise Center. The Center was created to protect baby tortoises from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys, as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise. Visitors can see both hatchling tortoises and the older breeding animals. The wetlands of Isabela Island are home to a variety of bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules, and flamingoes. Excursion options: Walk and swim.
Next you will visit the Wall of Tears. The Wall is 15 to 20 feet high, 10 feet wide, and approximately 300 feet long. When jailed in a penal colony here between 1944 and 1959, prisoners were forced to build the wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. It is a lesson in history and a remnant of a cruel and intolerant time. Excursion options: Walk.
Rich in history, this site is home to the post office barrel established in about 1793 where whalers and others could leave their mail to be picked up by outbound ships. Continue the tradition and during our short visit post your own letter or post-cards at this early mail stop.
Floreana was the first capital of the Galapagos and where Charles Darwin met the islands' Governor. Its small brackish lagoon is often home to flamingos, stilts, and white-cheeked pintail ducks, and one of its beaches is a highly used nesting site for sea turtles. Check out the green-hued sand where you land! Excursion options include a relatively short walk to the lagoon and sea turtle-nesting beach, and optional snorkeling and swimming at the landing beach. In addition, for experienced snorkelers only we offer a deep water snorkel at nearby Champion Island.
This morning you will start your day at Cerro Brujo, on San Cristobal Island. White sand juxtaposed with black volcanic rocks makes this beach another of the Galapagos's most spectacular. Along the shore are seabirds and sea lions. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and beach walk with optional swimming. Afterwards, just in time for a sunset cocktail, the ship will navigate the steep, richly colored walls of Kicker Rock, the spectacular remnants of a satellite volcanic cone.
Then you will travel to Kicker Rock off the northwest coast of San Cristobal, where thousands of years ago a volcanic eruption left behind enormous vertical rock faces that rise nearly 500 feet from the ocean. There are actually two volcanic rocks here, with a channel between where small boats can navigate. Nicknamed Sleeping Lion because of its shape, Kicker Rock is an important ecological monument as it's home to many species of nesting birds including frigates and blue-footed boobies. It's also magnificent for snorkeling as tropical fish are abundant and the water is crystal clear.
Next you will visit Los Lobos, on San Cristobal Island. Named after its large colony of sea lions, this island usually allows visitors to observe and potentially interact with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. In addition, we may see blue-footed boobies, frigates, and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: The fur sea lion. It is a seasonal nesting location for the blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Excursion options: Walk, Zodiac, snorkel.
Today you will visit Puerto Ayora. This is the main population center of the islands and home to the National Park Service tortoise breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will 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. You will also have the opportunity to 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.
Espanola is the oldest island in the Galapagos and is home to an abundance of wildlife. At this site, visitors can expect to see sea lions, Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, and both blue-footed and Nazca boobies. And between late March to the following January, the waved albatross come here to mate and raise their young. Excursion options include a long, rocky walk to look for albatross and observe an impressive blowhole that spews water like a towering geyser. A short, easier walk to observe much of this island's amazing wildlife is also offered.
A long white sand beach and clear blue waters make this an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing on the beach. In the water, sea turtles, rays, colorful tropical fish, and maybe even a white-tip reef shark may be seen. It is also home to a colony of sea lions. Excursion options include beach walking, swimming or a deepwater snorkel for experienced snorkelers.
This morning you will visit Daphne Island. The cliff shore of the island is home to sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and tropical birds. In addition, large schools of fish can be observed from the Zodiac.
You will disembark on Baltra Island, home to the region's main airport where you will fly out. Enjoy an included Zodiac ride and bus ride to the airport.
One you arrive in Quito, enjoy an included transfer from the airport to the JW Marriott hotel. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
After breakfast, enjoy an 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 kayaks, 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.