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.
PLEASE NOTE: The Theory will begin sailing on 5/12/2019 (subject to change).
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, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Special Voyage with Jack Grove
Pay 2018 Rates for 2019 Trips
NEW for 2018: Select departures will have a yoga instructor, local celebrity chef, or photographer on board. Please inquire.
Early Booking Discount: Book 180 days or more in advance and save up to 10% on select departure dates. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island, the crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to the yacht. After a welcome briefing, buffet lunch and safety drill, travel by bus into the interior of San Cristóbal to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, where the National Park has established a breeding program for the tortoises and set up an information center for visitors. Along the trail, find the San Cristóbal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Here, you will see terrestrial tortoises and learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals.
Considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species, land at Prince Philip’s Steps in the morning. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca boobies nest near the trail. If you are lucky, you will see the elusive short-eared owl. After the walk, kayaks are available to paddle along the shoreline. Look for the beautiful red-billed tropic bird usually found in the crevices.
This afternoon, land at Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tail and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of Great Frigate birds nest. Males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich inter tidal zone with diverse wildlife. After the walk, enjoy a swim or snorkel and watch for sea lions.
Visit Las Bachas with its long stretch of soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where flamingo live. Enjoy time to snorkel at the beach.
Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon aka Dragon Hill. Along the trail, find Darwin Finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs. Discover pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After dinner, sail toward the western islands and cross the Equator for the second time.
This morning visit Punta Vicente Roca on a Zodiac ride offering an incredible view of the tuff walls, where you can enter the wave-sculpted cave. There is an excellent chance to snorkel here and find penguins and sea turtles that frequent this area. During lunch, sail through the Bolivar Chanel. Then take a seat on deck to view the dramatic scenery and watch for whales and dolphins riding the bow wave, and occasionally the Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish.
Disembark at Urbina Bay on Isabela Island, where four miles of coastal seabed were exposed due to a dramatic uplift during a volcanic eruption in 1954. See the remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, and keep an eye out for the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas, as well as marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, and the occasional giant tortoise. Return to the Origin for briefing and dinner. A sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy.
This morning’s stop is at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine Island in Galapagos, with no introduced animals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory, and hundreds of marine Iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, basking in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Out on the point, the Flightless Cormorants build their nests close to shore since they lost their ability to fly. There is a chance to snorkel here with large sea turtles that frequent this area before returning to the Origin for lunch.
Go ashore on Tagus Cove, a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Sections of the rocky cliffs are covered with graffiti dating back to the 1800s. An uphill hike leads to a saltwater lagoon and a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. Take advantage of the secluded cove and explore the shoreline by kayak or stand up paddle board in search of Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. Return to the ship for briefing and dinner as you cross the Equator for the last time.
This morning, disembark on Rabida, a small Island considered the geographic center of Galapagos because its volcanic rocks are the most diversified in the archipelago. The dark red color of the beach comes from the high iron content in the volcanic stones. Follow the trail to a saltwater lagoon where greater flamingos migrate, keeping an eye out for marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and Darwin’s finches. Afterwards, do not miss the opportunity to snorkel with a colony of sea lions and rays. Return to the Origin for lunch. This afternoon, there is a Zodiac ride at Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. View pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. Return to the Origin for the Captain’s Farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
Travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as you wind your way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Visit Rancho El Manzanillo, a privately-owned hacienda where giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat. Stop at the lava tunnels at El Mirador, the largest in the archipelago, and visit Los Gemelos, (The Twins), a pair of large craters. Return to the yacht for lunch on board.
That afternoon, visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly Charles Darwin Research Station). Marvel at the tortoise corals and the breeding center with hatchlings and tiny tortoises that will be repatriated once grown. See the exhibit honoring Lonesome George that opened in March of 2017 at the Symbol of Hope Exhibition Hall in Puerto Ayora. George was a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island.
Sop at a local chocolate shop to learn how high quality Arriba cacao is produced in Ecuador. The Chocogalapagos shop is locally owned and located at the entrance of the station and park. Stroll through town to and consider a stop at the new MAPRAE Museum (extra fee) to stimulate the local economy. Learn about ancient cultures of the Amazonian and coastal areas of Ecuador through innovative technology.
Or for those who prefer more active options, kayaking at Punta Estrada can be arranged or a bicycle ride (extra fee).
Return to the yacht for dinner or, if you wish, you may remain ashore for dinner on your own at a local restaurant. Zodiac shuttles from the yachts to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening.
Visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristóbal Island in 1999. Gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands. Afterwards, spend an hour in port before heading to the airport for the flight back to the mainland.
This itinerary is subject to change. The order of visits may vary slightly based on the yacht assigned. 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.
NOTE: Theory will begin sailing on 5/12/2019 (subject to change). This is a NEW ship, and as with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
Photography Departures: 11/4/2018
Join photographer Mauricio Torres onboard for this special departure. Mauricio’s first job was as a Photographer aboard a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands where he polished his portraiture skills and produced thousands of images of local wildlife. After two years working on board, his love for portraiture took him to work with high profile publications in Ecuador. He became a regular collaborator with La Revista where he still has his own regular Sunday column. Mauricio will lead small classes full of tips on wildlife photography. These classes will be a one-hour activity in which practical tips are given, so that guests can make the most of the time they have to actively shoot wildlife and receive expert critiques from Mauricio. In addition, some basic lighting tips will be provided for shooting in natural light conditions and how different types of light can be used to your advantage. He'll also accompany guests during shore walks where he’ll get photos of you and your companions that you’ll be able to cherish for a lifetime.
Special Guest Jack Grove: 9/23/2018
Travel in the company of expert marine biologist and photographer Jack Grove. Jack will escort guests on land and sea excursions, and give evening lectures on board. A professional naturalist, Jack has spent much of the past two decades traveling on, and lecturing about, the world’s oceans. Guests will receive an insightful narrative on the marine life and habitat of all the wildlife found in Galápagos. Enjoy evening lectures over “turtle hour” presented by Jack who is a leading authority on the fishes and marine environments of the eastern tropical Pacific. For more than twenty years he was a research associate in the Section of Fishes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. For seven years, he lived in the Galápagos, where he served as an associate investigator for the Ecuador’s National Fisheries Institute, and was senior author of the only Ecuadorian publication on Galápagos fishes.
Health and Wellness Departures: 10/21/2018, 12/2/2018
These special voyages offer delectable cuisine, morning yoga sessions, meditation, reiki, massages, and more! Start your day with a hearty, healthy breakfast and a yoga session led by Galapagos-born instructor, Andrea Pico. Andrea is a wellness specialist who practices Hatha, Flow, and Ashtanga-style yoga. She also incorporates breathing techniques of Pranayamas into her sessions, designed to relax the mind and body, control anxiety and depression, and open energy channels within the body. For those with plant-based diets, full vegan and vegetarian-friendly menus are available.
Family Cruises: 3/25/2018, 4/8/2018, 6/17/2018–8/12/2018, 11/18/2018, 12/16/2018–12/30/2018, 3/10/2019–4/7/2019, 6/16/2019–8/11/2019
These departures are offered throughout the year, generally over US school breaks. This operator offers two types of family departures: cruises oriented toward families with teenagers and cruises oriented toward families with younger children. These departures feature age-appropriate activities depending on the ages and number of children or teenagers on board and may include: visits to the bridge and learn about navigational charts and tie nautical knots with the Captain; games with prizes; costume party; board games/books/DVDs; talent shows and ice cream social sundaes. Also, snorkeling equipment, life vests and wetsuits are available onboard in child sizes and kid-friendly meals are served. Dates subject to change, contact us for details.
7-Day Cruise Option:
Passengers can disembark on Saturday in Baltra for a shorter, 7-day cruise. Available on select departure dates, the 7-day rate is a 10% discount off the 8-day cruise rate on Seasonal departure dates only and cannot be combined with any other promotional or child discounts. Otherwise, passengers can still disembark on Saturday, but there is no discount. For those passengers departing early and require a transfer to the airport with a guide, there is an additional charge of $50 per person (max $200). The return flight from Baltra is subject to availability and confirmation is requested at the time of booking. Please add $26 per person for the Baltra airport surcharge.
Transfer between island airport and dock; shipboard accommodations; all meals onboard the ship; most alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; guided shore excursions; kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding; use of gear (wetsuits, snorkeling equipment, stand up paddleboards). Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; hotel nights before/after cruise; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; premium alcoholic beverages; gratuities to guide and crew; wetsuit advance reservation; travel insurance; Wi-Fi (when available); purchases on board; laundry service; 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; $300-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).