Summary : Discover the northern 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 northern Galapagos highlights including Punta Vicente Rock, Espumilla Beach, and Darwin Bay. 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 $8,449
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.
This morning you will have breakfast at the hotel before you join a guided tour of the capital of Ecuador. 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. After your tour, eat 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, flat, sandy islet sits in the channel between Baltra and North Seymour. It is almost devoid of vegetation, but has one of the largest populations of sea lions in the islands. Its sandy expanse offers visitors the perfect opportunity to observe sea lion behavior. It is also a beautiful site to observe lava gulls, coastal birds, and Sally lightfoot crabs. Keep your eyes peeled for occasional sightings of dolphins and orcas. Excursion options: Walk.
In the morning you will visit Sullivan Bay, on Santiago Island. During a volcanic eruption in the early 1900s, this area of Santiago was covered with flowing lava. Today, the hardened fields of black rock create a geologic wonderland. You will take advantage of the cool of the early morning for a walk at this amazing site.
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.
Start your exploration of Isabela Island at Urvina Bay. 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.
Next you will visit Caleta Tagus. 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.
Today you will visit Puerto Espinoza on Fernandina Island. You will have the option to walk on recent lava flows from La Cumbre volcano and also observe the flightless cormorant, one of the islands' best examples of evolution.
Next you will visit Punta Vicente Roca. 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.
This morning you will start your day at Puerto Egas. 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.
Next you will go to James Bay on Santiago Island. Located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, this beach is a sea turtle nesting site. The favored attractions here are the Palo Santo forest, beach, and the lovely landscape. The trail passes a small seasonal lagoon where flamingos and white-cheeked pintail ducks are sometimes seen. Continuing on, the trail loops through the arid zone, where some of the tallest Palo Santo trees of the entire archipelago are found. Also, look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. Excursion options: Walk.
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.
This morning you will visit El Barranco on Genovesa Island. 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, deep water snorkel.
Then, you will sail onward to 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.
Start your morning on North Seymour Island. North Seymour is a small island just north of Baltra. It is home to the largest colony of frigate birds in the Galapagos. While keeping an eye out for male frigates trying to impress potential mates with an inflated red neck pouch, you may also see blue-footed boobies dancing in a timeless courtship ritual. Sea lions and large land iguanas also roam about this rocky terrain. Excursion options include a guided long, rocky walk, Zodiac ride, and short easy walk, or simply just a scenic Zodiac tour along the coast to view wildlife and the geology of the area.
Then you will return to Baltra for your flight back to Quito. In Quito, you will be met with an included transfer to the JW Marriott hotel. Enjoy an included dinner at the hotel this evening.
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 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.