Summary : Discover the Galapagos Islands onboard a spacious vessel with a great education program, high-quality service, Jacuzzi, kayaks, and sun deck. 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 boobies.
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
$4,760 to $7,650
Arrive on San Cristóbal Island, the easternmost of the Galapagos Islands and the first island which Charles Darwin stepped foot on in the Archipelago! Board the vessel, have lunch and a quick briefing en route to your first visitor site: Isla Lobos.
Lobos, lives up to its name of Sea Lion Island with its lively population of frolicking and barking beasts. It lies just a short navigation north, up the west coast of San Cristobal, separated by a channel that forms an inviting lagoon. This is where you'll have your first chance to share the water with a playful colony of sea lions. Enjoy distant views of Kicker Rock, a spectacular formation that rises 152 meters (500 feet) out of the Pacific. It takes the form of a sleeping lion, but from another angle you can see that the rock is split, forming a colossal tablet and, piercing the sea, a great chisel ready for etching.
Later that evening enjoy a welcome cocktail and meet fellow travelers before your first formal briefing and dinner.
In the morning, visit South Plaza Island, one of the smallest yet most colorful islands in the Galapagos. Yellow land iguanas wander through bright red carpet weed, waiting from prickly pears to drop from green cactus. Orange Sally Lightfoot crabs dot the blackened lava above the landing site, all surrounded by turquoise waters. See swallow tailed gulls nesting along the up-tilted end of the tiny island, while red-billed tropicera Island / Daphne Islandbirds, frigatebirds and shearwaters fly in dancing displays. You'll also have the chance to see blue footed boobies along the cliff's edge.
Enjoy early afternoon snorkeling at Punta Carrion followed by a visit to Mosquera. While Mosquera is little more than a large sandbar, it is home to a playful colony of sea lions.
Visit Sombrero Chino Islet, a fairly recent volcanic cone; it has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat. On the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen. There is a small sea lion cove on the north shore, where boats anchor and land at the visitor site. Enjoy late morning snorkeling with sea lions and penguins and swimming opportunities in the cove.
In the afternoon, visit James Bay and land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos with a natural bridge formed of broken lava tubes. This is the best place in the Galapagos to see fur seals and equally best place to see samurai like marine iguanas feeding in tidal pools nearby. You will find a colony of sea lions here and Galapagos hawks frequent the area. Snorkel and look for Green Sea Turtles and tropical fish!
Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera of a mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as "Bird Island," and Darwin Bay, where you land first, lives up to that name in a spectacular way! A gorgeous tidal grotto forms the backdrop to the gaggle of nesting and soaring seabirds birds and path leads up to the rookery cliffs for views of the bay and colonies of gulls, tropic birds and frigates.
Take time to kayak beside the walls of the sunken caldera before your afternoon visit to Prince Philips Steps. This is the best Galapagos landing site to see red footed boobies, comically perched by wrapping big red feet around tiny branches. Walk a short distance to seek out short eared owls preying on swarms of storm petrels. The snorkeling at the foot of the steps is amazing with large, brightly colored tropical fish taking on a neon quality against the black lava background.
Visit North Seymour Island in the morning, which is teaming with wildlife! Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline are home to swallow-tailed gulls. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, where a trail will take you to see sea lions, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds and land iguanas.
In the afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island which is home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago. After a wet landing, walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.
Floreana has had a colorful history: Pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists—a Baroness among them—who chose a Robinson Crusoe existence that ended in mystery and death. Visit Post Office Bay, where in 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the island's Post Office, to send letters home on passing ships. A stairway leads down into a natural lava cave where you can literally swim in a grotto under the ocean!
Punta Cormorant offers two highly contrasting beaches; a green-olivine beach and an iron-red beach. Between the two beaches is a salt lagoon frequented by flamingos, pintails, stilts and other wading birds. Enjoy late afternoon snorkeling at Devil's Crown which is home to a myriad of marine species including a variety of corals, pencil sea urchin, wrasses, angelfish and amberjacks - making for some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos.
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program.
In the afternoon visit the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Your destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where you will have chances see these animals in the wild and explore a lava tube.
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before you bid farewell to the Evolution and her crew, pay a visit to Black Turtle Cove, a beautiful mangrove estuary where you quietly drift by panga to see spotted eagle rays, diamond shaped mustard rays, white-tipped reef sharks, pacific green sea turtles and a large variety of shore birds. Next head to Baltra Island airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Travelers are required to carry a minimum of $50,000 of emergency medical evacuation coverage for this trip, and all visitors to Ecuador arriving on or after February 1, 2018 must have public or private health insurance for the duration of travel within the country. You must be prepared to show proof of coverage to migration agents at the airport. Without proof of health insurance coverage, your entrance into Ecuador may be denied. Passengers must check with their medical insurance provider regarding extent of coverage when traveling abroad. (Note that Medicare typically does not cover passengers when they travel outside the US.) ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that you select a travel protection plan that also includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; soft drinks, juice, coffee and tea throughout the cruise; service of naturalist guides; kayaking; use of snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuits). Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; gratuities to ship crew and naturalists; alcohol and beverages other than those mentioned as included; travel insurance; passport expenses; personal expenses; travel health insurance (required to enter Ecuador); 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).