Summary : Tour the islands aboard a bright and modern ship with Jacuzzi, kayaks, glass-bottom boat, and expert guides to enhance your wildlife viewing experience. Observe tortoises of dramatic proportions, superb birdlife and a unique undersea world set amongst a backdrop of diverse and wondrous landscapes. 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
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Arrive at Baltra Island this morning and transfer to the dock to board La Pinta. Get settled in with a friendly welcome, introductory briefing, and lunch.
Following an afternoon disembarkation, enjoy a walk along the coast and the interior of this beautiful flat island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and land iguanas. There are opportunities for coastal exploration by dinghy. Evening briefing, welcome cocktail and dinner.
Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by panga, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife and, depending on the conditions of the ocean, you’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles.
In the afternoon, visit the youngest and most pristine island of the archipelago, Fernandina, one of many visitors’ all-time favorites. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins, flightless cormorants and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes
After breakfast, disembark at Urbina Bay, on the western side of Isabela Island, the result of an uplifting of the ocean floor. Here you can see corals, shells, and large and very colorful Galapagos land iguanas, as well as (occasionally) giant tortoises. Navigating the Bolívar Channel, there are good chances of spotting several species of whales.
On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries, and today makes a great visitor site. An uphill hike takes us to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. We can snorkel or ride kayaks amid the dramatic landscape before going on your hike.
In the morning, disembark at Rabida Island’s red-colored beach. A stroll along the beach allows you to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. For non-snorkelers, you can ride in the glass-bottom boat for an exploration of life underneath the waves.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Your walk includes circling a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance to observe land iguanas.
The morning visit heads to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the Galapagos’ headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. A delicious lunch is served at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
After lunch, head up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by vehicle. This is a great place to look for the emblematic Darwin’s Finches and the endemic Scalesia trees. The highlands are also great for exploring the exuberant vegetation where giant tortoises roam in the wild. This will surely be one of the most remembered visits of the whole voyage.
After breakfast, land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Panga rides along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can also be enjoyed. Views from La Lobería and the Baroness Viewpoint are quite rewarding. There’s great kayaking and swimming from the beach as well.
Before disembarking at Punta Cormorant you can snorkel or ride in the glass-bottom boat along the coast of an extinct cone called “Champion Islet”. Later in the afternoon, your visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like American flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, you come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest.
After breakfast, disembark 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.
Shared transfer in Quito or Guayaquil to airport from select hotels for flights to/from Galapagos; airport/ship transfers in Galapagos; shipboard accommodations; kayaking, glass-bottom boat excursions; use of snorkeling gear and wetsuits; limited Internet/Wi-Fi onboard the ship; all meals onboard the ship; juices and soft drinks (excludes 'virgin' cocktails) onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare and airport taxes; hotel nights before/after cruise; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; alcoholic beverages and 'virgin"' cocktails; gifts and personal items; passport expenses; travel insurance; laundry service; gratuities to ship staff and crew; 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).