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 boobies.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
$5,909 to $6,409
Arrive in Baltra and transfer to the yacht. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for a special opportunity to view the islands' most famous reptile: the giant tortoises. What a privilege to see an endangered species roving in this lush environment! The vegetation of the area includes the Scalesia Forest (an endemic giant daisy tree) and birds such as the vermilion flycatcher will delights with its scarlet feathers against an emerald green forest. Look for Darwin's finches (most of them from the tree-finch group), particularly the famous Woodpecker Finch.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galápagos National Park headquarters to learn first hand of the conservation and research efforts in the islands. You'll see several subspecies of adult tortoises, hatchlings, and learn of the repatriation programs that are saving several subspecies of tortoises and iguanas from extinction.
Stroll along Gardener Bay's magnificent white sand beach where sea lions bask in the sun, marine turtles nest, and the curious Española mockingbirds follow your footsteps. Swim on the beach or snorkel along the underwater cliffs in the company of schools of colorful fish, turtles, and sea lions.
Experience Punta Suarez’s spectacular cliffs, pounding surf and seemingly unlimited populations of seabirds. Brightly colored marine iguanas and the largest lava lizards of Galapagos frequent the coastline and rest on the trail. From the cliff top, watch as a blowhole sprays water 30 meters in the air. Española is the only island where you'll see waved albatrosses and possibly observe their fascinating mating dance.
Isla Lobos is a small, flat island just off the coast of San Cristobal, with a breakwater on one side and protected lagoons on the other. Here you can see Blue-footed Boobies and nesting frigates. This is one of the few spots to see fur seals—see if you can find them amongst the sea lions. Snorkel and observe an amazing array of sea life at Kicker Rock, often including manta rays, sea turtles, and sharks. Or, enjoy a cruise around the base of dramatic Kicker Rock, a 500 meter vertical tuff cone.
Punta Pitt is the most eastern of all Galapagos visitor sites. This is the only site in the Islands where you can watch the three species of boobies and two species of frigates nesting in the same area. Start at an olivine-sand beach and ascend a volcanic tuff hill for a late afternoon view.
After landing on Santa Fe’s white beach usually covered with sea lions, take a walk into a giant Opuntia cactus grove where you can see endemic land iguanas. Afterwards, there will be time to snorkel and/or kayak in the turquoise waters of the bay, full of sea lions, rays, urchins, eels, and fish of all colors.
South Plaza was formed by a geological uplift and tilt to the north, creating cliffs on its southern coast which are swarming with a myriad of bird species. On small islands like this, terrestrial and marine species interact more than on the larger islands, and the occasional hybrid iguana (land and marine) with its "zebra-like" stripes can often be observed. Bachelor sea lions climb steep cliffs in the late afternoon to spend nights away from the larger dominant bulls.
Visit Darwin Beach which was formed by the rim of a sunken crater. Red mangroves along the hiking trail provide habitat for yellow warblers, yellow-crowned night herons, and pintail ducks. The highlight of this site is its incredible abundance of Red-footed Boobies, Great Frigatebirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Although the most abundant booby in the islands, this is one of the few places visitors can observe Red-footed Boobies.
While riding in a panga along the base of the eastern cliffs of Darwin Bay, watch the cliff crevices for all kinds of animal life. Encounter a rock fall that forms a natural staircase up the cliffs, known as Prince Phillip's Steps. Walk through massive colonies of Red-footed and Nazca Boobies and an extraordinary Palo Santo forest on the way to a lava ridge where you may see storm petrels and the short eared owl.
Walk across a hardened lava flow and view its beautiful structural characteristics. Formed in the second half of the 19th Century, the flow is too young for much plant or animal life. It is the lava itself and the contrasting black pahoehoe flow with the reddish-yellow tuff cones that are the stars of this visit. The colors and shapes of the lava are fantastic for photos.
Arguably the most recognized landmark in Galapagos, Pinnacle Rock juts straight out of Bartolome's northern bay. Snorkeling in the bay provides visitors with a chance to swim with Galapagos Penguins. Climb up the 600 meter trail to the top of the island for spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock, Santiago Island, and Daphne Major and Minor.
Land at Red Beach where wading birds and ghost crabs dot the sand. Behind the beach is a saltwater lagoon where Pintail Ducks and Common Stilts are frequently seen along with sea lions. Brown pelicans nest in the nearby salt brush. A short trail inland provides a chance to observe finches, Galapagos Doves, Yellow Warblers, and mockingbirds.
The turquoise waters near Sombrero Chino provide one of the best opportunities to see Galapagos Penguins. Take a scenic ride in search of wildlife. You might snorkel among sea lions, penguins, and rays. Land at a beautiful white sand beach for a short walk along a trail that meanders over various types of hardened lava formations.
After breakfast, disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes. Read this itinerary as a guide only, as the exact route and the wildlife you encounter may vary.
Roundtrip transfers between Baltra airport/yacht; meals and accommodations on vessel; naturalist guide; soft drinks, juice, water, coffee, tea, and draft beer while on board the yacht; kayaking and snorkeling; MedEvac200 Insurance (covers up to $200,000 in qualifying expenses)*; fuel surcharge. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare and hotels; travel insurance; Galapagos National Park fee; airport taxes and fees; Galapagos Transit Card; gratuities for guides, drivers and yacht crew, guides and naturalists; items of a personal nature including, but not limited to: laundry, any bottled or alcoholic beverages that are not specifically included, excess baggage charges, wetsuit rental, phone/fax charges; travel health insurance (required to enter Ecuador).
Minimum Passenger Requirement/Small Group Yacht Exceptions:
Please understand that the yacht will not be operated if there are less than four guests. If the minimum is not met for your preferred departure date, the shipping company will offer to transfer you to another departure of your choice on the same itinerary at no additional charge. In the event you agree to move to another date, the shipping company agrees to provide, based on airline ticketing receipts showing airfare change costs, an allowance of up to $250 per person for airfare change fees incurred. If you are unable to travel on another date, the shipping company will issue a full refund of all monies paid to them. However, we are not responsible for any fees or cancellation penalties that you may incur elsewhere due to a trip cancellation.
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; $300-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).
Photos by INCA
*MedEvac200 Insurance is factored into the cost of your trip at a charge of $14 per person for 0-11 day trips (if your trip is longer please inquire for the rate for longer coverage). Coverage is for up to $200,000 in qualifying expenses that you might incur in the unlikely event that you may require an emergency medical evacuation and/or incur emergency medical expenses. Please contact us for a detailed brochure for terms and conditions. Please note that this insurance does NOT provide any coverage for losses caused by other reasons such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, delay en route, lost baggage, loss of life or for items that would be covered by trip cancellation insurance. Please let us know if you do NOT wish to puchase this coverage, and we can have it removed from the cost of your trip.