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 approachable wildlife—from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed booby. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike will love the comfort and intimacy of this Galapagos catamaran experience. The dynamic itinerary is designed for the young or the young at heart, catering to the high-end adventurer who wants to explore in comfort.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
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Upon arrival at the airport a guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor where you'll embark your ship.
Each voyage is unique. Listed below is a sample of the islands you may visit during your expedition:
Climb to the island to observe a variety of volcanic formations including lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones, lava flows, and lava tubes, or relax on a beautiful beach which offers great snorkeling opportunities to see multi-colored fish, penguins, and sea turtles.
Visit Gardner Bay to relax, swim, snorkel, kayak, and observe sea lions or sharks in the crystal-clear ocean waters. Or explore rocky Punta Suarez, which sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos.
Hike, snorkel, enjoy a panga ride, or cruise in a Zodiac through the mangrove trees off the eastern coast of Fernandina at Mangle Point. Or visit Espinoza Point, famous for large colonies of marine iguanas and unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, and Galapagos snake.
Discover one of the largest flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos at Cormorant Point or explore two distinct beaches here: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” (made up of coral). You might also visit Post Office Bay, the location of a wooden barrel which was placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used ever since by mariners and tourists as a post office.
Climb El Barranco (also known as Prince Philip’s Steps) on the eastern side of Gardner Bay and scout for storm petrels, short-eared owls, masked boobies, and red-footed boobies. Darwin Bay formed when the crater of an island collapsed below sea level. This island is a favorite of birdwatchers as many species can be found here, including wandering tattlers, Galapagos doves, and sharp-beaked finches. You may hike a trail that leads to the edge of a cliff where you'll see red-footed boobies nesting in the mangrove trees below. The end of the trail offers an incredible view.
Explore Urbina Bay by Zodiac. It is here that you might observe the biggest land iguanas in the Galapagos, plus hawks and giant tortoises. Snorkelers will enjoy beautiful coral reefs, giant tortoises, rays, and tropical fish. You might also visit Tagus Cove, a favorite spot of pirates and whalers of old. Wind your way up a staircase to a small cave to find inscriptions dating back to the 1800s.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.
The volcanic material of this island is red and very porous—external factors such as rain, salt water, and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent. A short walk along a trail leads to a coastal lagoon behind the beach which allows you to observe the land birds, including finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mocking birds. A colony of flamingos can be seen at the lagoon.
San Cristóbal Island
There are a wealth of activities on San Cristóbal. Visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center in Cerro Colorado. Established in 2004 to care for young tortoises, the center now assists in a reproduction program on the island. See El Junco Lagoon, a freshwater lake situated in the middle of a dormant volcano. Frigatebirds and bull sea lions frequent the area. Or visit the Interpretation Center to learn about both the geological and human history of the islands, conservation issues, and natural history. The Museum of Natural History attempts to preserve the natural history of the islands. Observe Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat at the San Cristobal Galapaguera Natural. Or experience the north coast of the island at Cerro Brujo, a beautiful white coral beach where you can swim, snorkel, bird watch, and enjoy the company of playful sea lions.
Santa Cruz Island
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come to the Charles Darwin Station to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands is carried out. Some of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. You might also visit Bachas Beach, found to the west of Turtle Cove, with soft, white sand made of disintegrated coral—a favorite nesting site for sea turtles.
Santiago, also called James, or San Salvador Island, is a volcanically active island located in the west central part of the Galapagos archipelago. Visit Espumilla Beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay and an important site for nesting marine turtles. Or visit the black sand beach of Puerto Egas, located at the west side of the island.
Possibly the oldest island in the archipelago, Santa Fe is home to several endemic species including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats, and a species of land iguana, one of two in the Galapagos.
After a morning excursion, transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
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.
Transfers in the Galapagos; shipboard accommodations; all shore activities and excursions as per itinerary with English-speaking naturalist guide; gear on loan (snorkeling and kayaking equipment); all meals onboard the ship; water, coffee and tea. Subject to change without notice.
International airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos Islands; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; wetsuit rental; items of a personal nature; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; extras and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
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).