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, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$999,999,999 to $0
Arrive Baltra Island this morning by plane and transfer to the dock to board. Enjoy a welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
North Seymour is a great introductory site to the islands and wildlife such as blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.
After breakfast, take the panga over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Snorkeling and swimming from the panga rounds off our rewarding experience, or if guests prefer, the glass-bottom boat provides an incredible view for non-snorkelers.
Visit the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, in the afternoon. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and a lot of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina boasts a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally-light foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant.
After breakfast, land on the northwest of Isabela to visit secluded Tagus Cove, a place that was a favorite anchorage of pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old messages are still found carved in its cliffs. An uphill hike takes guests to the back of Darwin Crater, which is filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. After the walk, take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkeling too.
After lunch, disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here you can find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. Enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This area is also home to large colorful Galápagos land iguanas.
Disembark this morning for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise enclosures, where there is an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following your visit, board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
Enjoy one of several options available for the afternoon (hiking, mountain biking or kayaking in Tortuga Bay), which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and embark the vessel.
Visit Post Office Bay this morning. A short walk leads to the historic barrel where mail can be left and guests from other vessels will pick it up and hand-deliver it to its final destination. Explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. Rays, turtles and sea lions can be seen gently swimming next to pangas.
Take to the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago. From there head to Punta Cormorant, a olivine-crystal beach, for an easy walk that includes a brackish lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos, herons, and sandpipers may be observed. Walk to a white-sand beach where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (December to May).
Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the 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.
Photography Lectures: Included in cost
A professional photographer is part of the permanent expedition staff aboard the Santa Cruz II. The photographer will accompany you and the naturalist guides on both land and sea explorations in order to help you document the experience. On board, they will offer talks designed to help you improve your photography and video techniques and provide you with general tips on how to best capture the wonders of the Galapagos Islands.
Shared transfer from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Mercure, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos; cabin accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; coffee, tea and water; shore activities and excursions; guide and lecture services; kayaking; glass-bottom boat outings; snorkeling gear (except wetsuits); luggage handling; medical care on board (but not the cost of medication); taxes and transfers in the islands; Internet/Wi-Fi for guests staying in Panorama Deck cabins; Darwin Suite passengers receive a take-home Galápagos coffee table book and complimentary soft drinks. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; hotel nights before/after cruise; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; wetsuit rental; Internet and WiFi; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; gifts and personal items; passport expenses; traveler's insurance; laundry service; gratuities to ship staff and crew are left to the discretion of the passenger; 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).