Summary : Explore the islands onboard an elegant motor yacht with a high quality education program, great 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 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
$5,600 to $8,900
Arrive on San Cristóbal Island, the easternmost of the Galapagos Islands and the first island which Charles Darwin stepped foot on in the Archipelago! Upon arrival board M/Y Grace where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en route to your first visitor sites: 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. From Lobos 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.
In the evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail and your first formal briefing before dinner.
Española is the southernmost island of the archipelago, and is one of the most popular due to the breathtaking variation and number of fauna that inhabit the island. In the morning visit Punta Suarez where you will witness the largest variety of marine iguanas in the Galapagos, masked boobies and blue footed boobies nesting along the cliff’s edge, as well as the famous waved albatross.
In the afternoon visit Gardner Bay, a magnificent long white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals.
Floreana has had a colorful history of 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. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp.
Enjoy an afternoon visit to Punta Cormorant which 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. Late afternoon snorkeling at Champion Islet, which is home to a myriad of marine species including a variety of pencil sea urchin, wrasses, angelfish and amberjacks. Look for sea lions, rays, white-tipped reef sharks, and sea turtles.
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program.
In the afternoon discover the Highlands of Santa Cruz, 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 a chance to see these lumbering gentle giants up close, walk through lava tubes and see the Gemelos, twin collapsed craters.
In the morning visit Las Bachas, a sandy white-coral beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. The name Bachas refers to the remains of landing craft left here at the end of WWII. Ashore marine iguanas mingle with flamingos and other wading birds in another of the many super saline lagoons found in the Galapagos.
Chinese Hat Islet, a fairly recent volcanic cone, has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat for which it is named. On the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago island, Galapagos penguins dot the coast. There is a small sea lion cove on the north shore, where boats anchor and land at the visitor site. Late afternoon snorkeling with sea lions and penguins and swimming opportunities in the cove.
Rabida Island, commonly known by its English name of Jervis, is unique for the very red color of the beach and cliffs, beneath which one can find gliding sea turtles and perched blue footed boobies. A thick forest of Palo Santo trees sits back from the beach sheltering a yellow saltwater lagoon. Pelicans next in the thickets and brightly colored pink flamingos graze the lagoon. A sea lion colony likes to laze on the red sands of the beach. Hike up a tiny peninsula for a wonderful view of the beach and lagoon. Sea caves invite exploration further down the coast.
Afternoon visit to Sullivan Bay, one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos. In the nearly 100 years since the Sullivan Bay Flow, only a few plants like Mollugo and Lava cacti have managed to take root in this harsh environment. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools of Sullivan Bay. After exploring the lava flow, there is swimming and snorkeling with playful sea lions off two small coraline beaches.
In the morning visit Bartolome Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock, where you will see Galapagos Penguins and sea lions. Hike a trail to Bartolome’s summit where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and the beach below, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle the yacht.
In the afternoon visit North Seymour, a good nesting site for frigate birds and Blue-footed boobies. The Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. This island is teeming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rain to bring them into bloom.
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before you bid farewell to the Grace visit Black Turtle Cove, a mangrove estuary on the northern shores of Santa Cruz Island. Drift quietly via panga to observe many rays, sea turtles, pelicans and other wildlife live among the mangroves.
Afterwards, return to the 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).
We are happy to add hotels, air and land arrangements as requested, and you will be quoted for services.