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. 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
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.
Set sail for your first afternoon outing on South Plaza Island. The turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-grey land iguanas. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The Santa Fe land iguana, unique to just this island, may be spotted during the walk.
After lunch, disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the islands' capital, and drive 40 minutes to the southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, visit the breeding center for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island endemics.
Land at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island this morning. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. Observe frigate birds, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel.
In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes you to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coral beach, great for walking, with rewarding bird-watching featuring seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galapagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835.
Your morning outing at Punta Suarez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the Galapagos albatross (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole” lava formation. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Many regard this site as the best in the Galapagos. Head back on board for lunch.
In the afternoon, disembark at the white coral beach of Gardner Bay for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches and enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area; or choose to kayak or ride in the glass-bottom boat.
Disembarking in the morning to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the captive rearing program for the giant tortoises. Here you can witness the efforts and results of Galapagos fieldwork and study done in the name of science.
Some passengers may be ending their voyage today, and new passengers may be arriving for the remainder of the voyage.
After lunch, continue by bus to reach a reserve that is one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools. There are several lava tunnels in the reserve, too.
After breakfast, a zodiac ride takes you to Eden Islet, located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where you can observe blue footed boobies diving into the water, and frigates soaring above. There's a chance to snorkel and, if weather condition permits, ride in the glass-bottom boat. The volcanic setting of this area is quite stunning due to its variety of volcanic debris, including cinder cones, tuff cones, and semi-eroded lava flows.
Less than a quarter-of-a-square-kilometer in size, the tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance: a Chinese hat. This islet was formed fairly recently. Explore its 400-meter long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped white sandy beach. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities with the possibility of spotting white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins.
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits: Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, this steep climb up a wooden staircase is worth the effort! Following the walk, take a zodiac ride around iconic Pinnacle Rock followed by time to enjoy the beach and snorkel. Or ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
After lunch, board the zodiacs for a short ride to Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago where a white coral sand beach awaits. Walk over lava that flowed here less than 100 years ago – the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of the Galápagos Islands while observing its wildlife.
In the morning, begin your exploration of this island with an easy stroll to observe marine and land birds. There is an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else you can return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor. The more adventurous can snorkel or kayak along the cliffs.
The afternoon starts with a zodiac ride along the cliffs before a steep stair climb (90 feet). Once at the top of the stairs, walk over flat land for about a mile to the other side of this small island as you observe large colonies of masked boobies, frigate birds and storm petrels.
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.
This trip is a combination of two shorter trips. Therefore you may have passengers who will embark/disembark part-way through the trip.
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; Internet/Wi-Fi onboard the ship; all meals onboard the ship; select soft drinks. 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).