Summary : Sail the islands aboard a comfortable, stabilized motor yacht with excellent guides, high-quality service, Jacuzzi, kayaks, and sun deck. 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.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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You'll be met on arrival Thursday evening at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transferred to the nearby Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel.
If you prefer, you have the option to transit Guayaquil instead of Quito en route to Galapagos.
After breakfast you’ll return to the airport for your flight to Galapagos. On arrival at Baltra Airport, you'll be welcomed in to the VIP arrivals lounge, where staff will oversee arrival formalities with the Galapagos National Park officials before collecting your luggage. You'll be met and transferred across the Itabaca Channel to the adjacent island of Santa Cruz, where your Galapagos experience commences. Enjoy lunch in the highlands and the opportunity to observe grazing tortoises in the tall grasses. Your accommodations tonight will be in one of the highland's premier resorts (Galapagos Safari Camp or Royal Palm Hotel), providing a unique opportunity to ease in to your Galapagos experience.
This morning, those who wish to practice their snorkeling skills will have an opportunity to spend time with your guide in the hotel pool. You'll descend down into the charming port town of Puerto Ayora for lunch and a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. You'll board Integrity in the early evening in time for your first dinner aboard. You'll set sail later that evening.
Listed below is a sample of the islands you may visit during your expedition, and the types of activities you may experience.
Pinnacle Rock juts straight out of Bartolome's northern bay. Snorkeling in the bay provides visitors with a chance to swim with penguins. Climbing up the 600 meter trail to the top of the island provides spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock, Santiago Island, and Daphne Major and Minor.
Stroll along Gardener Bay's magnificent white sand beach where sea lions bask in the sun. Enjoy a chance to swim or snorkel, maybe even among sea lions. Experience Punta Suarez’s spectacular cliffs. From the cliff top, watch a blowhole spray water 30 meters in the air. Española is the only island where you'll see waved albatrosses and possibly observe their fascinating mating dance.
Land at Punta Espinosa among the marine iguanas and brightly colored Sally-lightfoot crabs. Walk out on a pahoehoe lava flow, past a few pioneering plants. Along the sandy shore you may see flightless cormorants and numerous lounging sea lions. The sunsets are often quite stunning.
Visit the wooden barrel that has served as a "Post Office" since the 18th century. Learn of its amazing history and enjoy the opportunity to continue the tradition. Then head into the Floreana Highlands to visit tortoises and learn about the island’s intriguing human history at one of Galapagos’ only freshwater springs and at the Wittmer Caves.
Encounter a rock fall that forms a natural staircase up the cliffs, known as Prince Phillip's Steps. Walk through colonies of red-footed and masked boobies and a Palo Santo forest on the way to a lava ridge where storm petrels dart about as short eared owls stalk them for prey. Visit Darwin Beach which was formed by the rim of a sunken crater. Red mangroves along the hiking trail provide habitat for yellow warblers, yellow-crowned night herons, and pintail ducks.
Dotted with numerous lagoons, observe a wide variety of bird life, including flamingos. At Elizabeth Bay, float by Zodiac silently into the narrow channels of a mangrove lagoon to see rays, pelicans, herons, and sea turtles. Hike past Darwin's Lake as you keep your eye to the sky looking for the Galapagos hawk.
North Seymour Island:
Head inland to observe a large colony of Magnificent Frigatebirds, as well as the occasional blue-footed booby. Then head along the coast where you will have ample opportunity to observe sea lions and marine iguanas.
Land at Red Beach where wading birds and ghost crabs dot the sand. A short trail inland provides a chance to look for finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mockingbirds.
San Cristobal Island:
Snorkelers can see an amazing array of sea life at Kicker Rock, often including manta rays and sea turtles. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a cruise around the base of dramatic Kicker Rock, a 500 meter vertical tuff cone. At Punta Pitt, a steep gully leads up the cliff to a breeding ground for boobies of all three varieties: red-footed, blue-footed and masked.
Santa Cruz Island:
Explore Bachas Beach's beautiful white sand beach. Two small lagoons just over the dunes sometimes host flamingos. In Caleta Tortuga Negra, enjoy a Zodiac ride to watch for sea turtles feeding in the calm waters, as well as spotted rays, egrets, and lava herons.
Santa Fe Island:
After landing on Santa Fe’s white beach usually covered with sea lions, take a walk into a giant Opuntia cactus grove where you can see endemic land iguanas.
Meander along a coastal trail to the fur seal grotto at Puerto Egas, a safe haven for the shy Galapagos fur seal. Or take a trail inland to a lagoon at the Salt Mine Volcano where flamingos and other birds are found.
The turquoise waters near Sombrero Chino provide a great chance to see penguins. Take a scenic Zodiac ride in search of wildlife followed by a snorkel that often includes sea lions, penguins, and rays. Land at a beautiful white sand beach for a short walk along a trail that meanders over varying types of lava.
South Plaza Island:
Formed by a geological uplift and tilt to the north, this created cliffs on its southern coast which are swarming with a myriad of bird species. On small islands like this, terrestrial and marine species interact more than on the larger islands, and the occasional hybrid iguana (land and marine) with its "zebra-like" stripes can often be observed.
After breakfast, disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport. On arrival in Quito, transfer to the Wyndham Quito Airport hotel and enjoy a dayroom with extended late check-out for a chance to freshen up and relax before returning to the airport terminal for your late departing flight.
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.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Quito or Guayaquil; one pre-cruise hotel night on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos; dayroom in Quito or Guayaquil on day of disembarkation (if flights aren't until the next morning, you can stay overnight in your room for no additional charge); transfers between airport/hotel/ship; VIP airport lounge in Baltra when booked on the designated group flight and have pre-paid the National Park entry; shipboard accommodation; kayaking; Wi-Fi in the ship's lounge; laundry service onboard ship; gear on loan (hiking poles, snorkeling mask/snorkel/fins/wetsuit); all meals from breakfast on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 10; soft drinks, house wine, draft beer with dinner onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance; Galapagos National Park fee; airport taxes and fees; Galapagos Transit Card; gratuities for yacht crew, guides and naturalists; items of a personal nature including, but not limited to: any bottled or alcoholic beverages that are not specified as included, excess baggage charges, phone/fax charges, fuel surcharge may apply.
This is a cruise-only voyage with no pre-cruise hotel nights.
2020 Rates from $6,710 per person double occupancy; from $8,510 single occupancy.
2021 Rates from $8,010 per person double occupancy; from $9,810 single occupancy.
Arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador and have one pre-cruise hotel night at the Wyndham Guayaquil before flying to Galapagos the next morning. There is no pre-cruise hotel night on Santa Cruz Island.
2020 Rates from $7,010 per person double occupancy; from $8,810 single occupancy.
2021 Rates from $9,310 per person double occupancy; from $11,110 single occupancy.
Minimum Passenger Requirement/Small Group Yacht Exceptions:
Please understand that the yacht will not be operated if there are less than four guests. If there are fewer than four passengers, guests will be given the opportunity to transfer to an alternate departure at no additional charge, and will be credited up to $250 per person toward costs to cover airline change fees (restrictions 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).
Photos by INCA
*MedEvac200 Insurance is factored into the cost of your trip at a charge of $15 per person for 0-11 day trips (if your trip is longer please inquire for the rate for longer coverage). Please contact us for a detailed brochure for terms and conditions. Please note that this insurance does NOT provide any coverage for losses caused by other reasons such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, delay en route, lost baggage, loss of life or for items that would be covered by trip cancellation insurance. Please let us know if you do NOT wish to puchase this coverage, and we can have it removed from the cost of your trip.