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.
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
Save 10% per person
Free Galapagos Air from Mainland Ecuador
1 Free Night at Hotel Del Parque in Guayaquil
NEW for 2018:
*Glass-bottom boat for exploring the undersea world without getting wet.
*Select departures will have a yoga instructor, local celebrity chef, or photographer on board.
Arrive on San Cristóbal Island, and transfer by bus then Zodiac to the ship anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served on board. In the afternoon, travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill), one of two sites where you can see nesting colonies of both species of frigatebirds (Great and Magnificent), as well lava lizards, the medium ground finch and the San Cristobal mockingbird. Walk along the trail to Punta Carola for scenic views, then return to the ship in the evening for a briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome party and dinner.
Go ashore this morning at Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies – blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca, both frigatebird species, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, shearwaters and brown pelicans. Punta Pitt is considered one of the best sites for birds in the archipelago, and is also home to a colony of sea lions. At Pitt Rock, snorkel or swim with sea lions and colorful fish such as King Angel and Surgeon fish. Return to the ship for lunch. Spend the afternoon at Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, with expansive views and good birdwatching. Take a peaceful walk along the beach, swim with sea lions or use the kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. Enjoy a zodiac ride through a cave called The Cathedral before returning to the ship for a briefing followed by dinner.
This morning land at Punta Suarez to witness the highest rate of endemic species in Galapagos. Sea lions noisily greet you while landing on their beach. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Española, perform their wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls are the only nocturnal gulls in the world. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. Also watch for Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves, Galapagos Hawks, and a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hold, as you watch for colorful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline. Return to the ship for lunch on board.
In the afternoon land at Gardner Bay. Walk along a stretch of white sandy beach where you’ll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow so this is a chance to explore or take a long walk along the white sand beach. You may see the Galapagos Hawk, Darwin’s Finch or Hood Mockingbird. Swim right from the beach, explore by kayak or just relax. There’s an excellent snorkeling site off Gardner Islet with a colorful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock. Explore caves by Zodiac covered with invertebrates. Return to the ship for a briefing followed by dinner.
Step ashore at Punta Cormorant, one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos. Floreana presents a rich history with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a beach alive with the sounds of sea lions. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home of pintail ducks, common stilts, and the pink flamingos. Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including Morning Glory, Cut Leaf Daisies, Palo Verdes and Scalesia leading to a soft sandy beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and rays swim in the shallow water.
After the walk, snorkel at Devil’s Crown, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish, sea turtles and coral. After lunch, visit Post Office Bay, one of the most famous sites in Galapagos. Here a post barrel was put into use in the late 18th Century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and pick up any mail from your home area and deliver it upon your return. There is an opportunity to swim from the beach with sea lions. Late afternoon, take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays. Return to the ship for a briefing followed by dinner.
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.
Go ashore today at Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat), a small island off the southern tip of Santiago that owes its name to its shape. After landing on a beach with colonies of sea lions, follow the trail to a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble including cracked lava formations and tubes. Marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers are commonly seen. Snorkel at a site frequented by large numbers of Galapagos penguins.
After lunch, disembark at Bartolome, a young island that is inhospitable to most plants and animals. Climb the long wooden staircase to the summit of a dormant volcano, pausing along the way to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. It seems as if we are walking on the moon! The panoramic view from the top encompasses the entire island, including the distinctive eroded tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock. The crystal clear water below beckons for snorkeling with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins. Take a Zodiac ride along the rocky shoreline. Return to the ship for the evening briefing and dinner.
Explore South Plaza, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. After landing, the trails leads through prickly pear cactus. Here you may find a Galapagos land iguana feeding on the cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, encounter a colony of sea lions. Also watch for swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds who build their nests along the cliffs.
After lunch at North Seymour, follow a trail as you keep an eye out for Swallow-tailed gulls, Blue-footed Boobies and endemic Land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds found in Galapagos. Stroll along the beach to find Marine Iguanas swimming in the surf or perhaps a sea lion catching a wave. Return to the yacht for the Captain’s cocktail party and dinner, as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
Visit the Interpretation Center to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your 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.
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. Theory will begin sailing on 3/3/2019 (subject to change).
Photography Departures: 10/28/2018
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.
Ecuadorian Cuisine for Foodies: 9/16/2018
Travel with local celebrity chef, Chef Juan Carlos Ordoñez! Chef Ordoñez is the talented executive chef at Casa Julian the famed restaurant housed in Hotel Del Parque, a five-star luxury boutique hotel in Samborondon, a suburb of Guayaquil. This leader in Ecuadorian gastronomy will be on board to wow you with his signature style that combines the traditions and customs of local cuisine with his creativity and innovation.
Special Guest Jack Grove: 9/30/2018
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: 10/14/2018, 12/9/2018
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: 6/10/2018–8/19/2018, 12/23/2018, 2/17/2019, 3/17/2019–4/14/2019, 6/9/2019–8/18/2019
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 wet suits 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; 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; 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).