Summary : 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 fearless wildlife, from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed booby. Snorkel among sea lions and countless colorful fish, visit the home of giant tortoises, discover a multitude of bird and plant species, roam pristine beaches, and hike volcanic landscapes on this trip of a lifetime.
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, Triple/Quad Cabins
$3,836 to $7,842
Embark the Galapagos Legend to begin your adventure.
Each voyage is unique. Listed below is a sample of the islands you may visit during your expedition:
Bartolome – Discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones that resembles the moon. At the summit there are impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone, Pinnacle Rock. You may encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable; however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.
Española – Here you'll find large colonies of sea lions and seabirds, including the Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, and the spectacular red-billed tropicbird. Other birding favorites include the Galapagos dove, Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls, and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross—a highlight during mating season (May-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous “Soplador,” a seaward blowhole that shoots up water up to 75 feet in the air.
Fernandina – From Espinosa Point it’s possible to take in a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel. Here, the largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. You have a good chance of encountering flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins, and the “king” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos hawk.
Floreana – Visit Post Office Bay on the north side of the island, so named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing un-stamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler going to the destination will take it back for free. Hike the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon that holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. You’ll notice some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and Palo Santo (or 'holy stick'). The trail continues to a beautiful white sandy beach, one of the most important nesting sites of pacific green sea turtles.
Genovesa – At Prince Philip’s Steps, marvel at the variety of sea life that uses the crevices of the lava cliffs for shelter. Red-billed tropicbirds fly overhead and a small colony of fur seals may be found near the landing site. You'll find a seabird colony full of Nazca and red-footed boobies and a sparse Palo Santo forest as well. At the end of a rocky lava plain, wedge-rumped storm petrels can be observed flying in all directions. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a short-eared owl.
Isabela – Depending on the season, it’s possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant here. You may have the chance to snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. One of the highlights of the island is the raised coral reef that resulted from seismic activity in 1954. Whale watching is possible from May to December.
North Seymour Island – North Seymour is located off Baltra Island and not far from Santa Cruz. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions which deposited layers of lava onto the ocean floor. Large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigate birds, land iguanas, and swallow-tailed gulls can be found here.
Rabida – Dark red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home to colonies of sea lions and considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs allows you to observe nesting seabirds.
San Cristobal – You may visit Pitt Point and Islet and opt for a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain on a path that skirts a beach and climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff. Or you may visit Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone that at several locations is composed of AA lava formations and a beautiful white sandy beach. Many species of migratory birds can be found there, including black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, other sandpiper species and white-cheeked pintails. You might also visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs or the Interpretation Center at the Museum of Natural History.
Santa Cruz – At the Highlands Tortoise Reserve you’ll see tortoises and a variety of birds such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on a tortoise’s shell). This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here. The journey to the Reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrast in a variety of ecosystems on the island. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Galapagos Giant Tortoises are often seen along the road or wandering through pastures.
Santiago – Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach visited by Charles Darwin in 1835. The unique, striking, layered terrain of Santiago’s shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobsters, starfish, and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Say good-bye to your fellow passengers, captain, and crew, then disembark the ship.
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.
Please Note: This trip makes up part of a longer trip. Therefore you may have passengers who have already been on board when you embark, and others that may be staying on board after you disembark.
Shuttle Service: Included to the airport from the following hotels only
Quito - Patio Andaluz, Swissotel, Quito, Mercure, JW Marriot, Dann Carlton
Guayaquil - Palace, Grand Hotel, Oro Verde, Hilton Colon
Glass Bottom Boat:
Stay dry while experiencing the magic of the Galapagos sub-marine environment. In the company of a naturalist guide you will be taken to the best vantage points for a glimpse into the watery world below.
Gaze underwater while paddling in a transparent kayak or paddle in a regular kayak. Each kayak seats two people. All necessary kayak and safety equipment is provided and all kayaking activities are in the company of a naturalist guide.
Snorkeling will be offered once or twice per day in the best snorkeling spots of the archipelago. A naturalist guide will always be present and dinghies will remain close at hand for convenience and safety.
Shuttle service, transfers, and dinghy rides to/from Galapagos ports are included from select Quito and Guayaquil hotels to the airport when airfare is booked and pre-paid through ExpeditionTrips; shipboard accommodations; baggage handling; glass bottom boat excursions, snorkeling, shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services; all meals onboard ship; welcome and farewell cocktail; BBQ; 24-hour coffee/tea station. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Air ticket between mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil) and the Galapagos Islands; accommodation before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil unless specified above; dinghy rides to/from the ship in Galapagos unless specified above; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; items of a personal nature such as laundry, medical services, consumption from the mini-bar located in suites, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except those mentioned as included; gratuities to ship staff left to passenger's discretion; traveler’s insurance; wet suit rental; kayak rental; Internet; taxes for items/activities onboard; $100 fuel surcharge.
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).