Summary : Cruise the islands aboard 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 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
$5,600 to $8,900
Arrive at Baltra Island and enjoy a welcome briefing from your guides before continuing to Daphne Major Islet.
Circumnavigate Daphne Major Islet which is home to a variety of birds including Galapagos martins, blue footed boobies, nazca boobies, short eared owls, red billed tropic birds among others.
Enjoy a morning visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago, and to some of the best snorkeling - with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing, you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.
Visit South Plaza, 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 tropicbirds, frigatebirds and shearwaters fly in dancing displays. You''ll also have the chance to see blue footed boobies along the cliff's edge.
Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as "Bird Island," which it lives up to in a spectacular way. Your first visit is to Prince Phillips Steps, 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.
After lunch take time to kayak beside the walls of the sunken caldera before your afternoon visit to Darwin Bay. 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.
In the morning, visit Fernandina Island, home to La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). Visit Punta Espinoza, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity.
In the afternoon visit Urbina Bay, directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, where you will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkeling among marine creatures, or just relax on shore.
A morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of the ship anchored in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes. The cove offers the chance to snorkel with marine iguanas, sea turtles, penguins and you may even spot a sea horse.
In the afternoon, visit Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. Snorkeling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that surround the western side of the archipelago. See colorful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water.
The short walk up Espumilla Beach leads inland to mangroves typically inhabited by common stilts. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wade in search of mollusks. The trail passes over a tiny hilltop through a sparse Palo Santo forest before looping back to the beach. Galapagos finches and Vermilion fly catchers inhabit the area. The tuff formations that form the cliffs that surround the cove have created a natural sculpture gallery rising from the sea with formations including the Monk and Elephant Rock.
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. Snorkeling offers encounters with Green Sea Turtles and tropical fish.
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.
Take an afternoon visit to 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 for up close encounters with these lumbering gentle giants.
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before you bid farewell to the Grace visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre that presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. From the Centre, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” can be seen in the same colony.
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).