Summary : Experience Darwin's enchanted isles onboard a comfortable expedition ship with a quality education program, excellent 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.
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, Triple/Quad Cabins
$6,200 to $8,200
Arrive in the Galapagos Islands and transfer via Zodiac to the ship. The crew will see that your luggage is transferred to your cabin. You’ll have time to settle into your new home for the week as the Grace sets off into the archipelago.
As the sun sets on your first day in the Enchanted Archipelago, you'll toast to the voyage ahead with a welcome cocktail.
Listed below is a sample of the islands you may visit during your expedition, and the types of activities you may experience.
Keep an eye out for Galapagos penguins and sea lions. Hike a trail to Bartolome’s summit where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and the beach below.
Visit Punta Suarez where you can see marine iguanas, masked boobies and blue footed-boobies, as well as the famous waved albatross. Albatross are the largest birds you will see in the Galapagos with wingspans up to 7.4 feet (2.25 meters). The approx. 12,000 pairs that inhabit the island comprise all but a tiny fraction of the world’s population of these magnificent birds. Visit Gardner Bay, a magnificent long white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals. There is great swimming and snorkeling in the area, and inviting waters for those interested in kayaking too.
At Punta Espinosa, keep an eye out for penguins, Sally-lightfoot crabs, herons and sandpipers. You may even spot marine iguanas feeding underwater!
Floreana has had a colorful history of pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists. A Baroness was among them and chose a Robinson Crusoe existence that ended in mystery. Visit Post Office Bay, where in 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the island‘s Post Office, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp. You can also take a post card from the barrel and see that it gets to the right place. Farther inland you can enter the underworld of Floreana in the form of a lava tube. You might even be able to descend for a swim in a subterranean grotto beneath the tide.
Visit Prince Phillips Steps where red-footed boobies perch in the bushes where they nest. Masked-boobies dot the surface of the scrublands beyond. Snorkel around the rocky shoreline to see colorful fish: wrasse, basslet, anthias and tang. Kayak in the calm waters close to the shore to observe nesting birds. Land on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay and walk the beach to see great frigate birds. Puffball chicks and their proud papas—who sport bulging scarlet throat-sacks—crowd the surrounding branches, while yellow-crowned herons and lava herons feed by the shore. Marine iguanas, lava lizards and Galapagos doves blend into the trail. Take a Zodiac ride to reveal bird species sheltering in the cliff ledges. Among them, red–billed tropic birds enter and leave their nests trailing exotic kite-like tails. Options to snorkel too!
Visit Urbina Bay where giant land iguanas and tortoises roam. Tagus Cove offers quiet waters ideal for Zodiac rides to spot blue-footed boobies, pelicans, flightless cormorants and penguins that inhabit the lava ledges. From your landing, a wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance for a view of Darwin Lake; a perfectly round saltwater crater, barely separated from the ocean but above sea level! The hike gives spectacular views back toward our anchorage, as well as to Darwin Volcano and Wolf Volcano to the north. Or visit Punta Vicente Roca and snorkel the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current. You may spot colorful fish, sea lions, penguins, and sea turtles in the water.
North Seymour Island:
A nesting site for frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, this island is teeming with life—you might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana! Blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Snorkeling offers a chance to see many types of rays, schools of king angelfish and yellow tailed surgeonfish, and the occasional parrot and damselfish. Sea lions and sea turtles may be seen too.
Land on its red-hued beach and marvel at its cliffs, beneath which one can find gliding sea turtles and perched blue footed boobies. A thick forest of Palo Santo trees sits back from the beach sheltering a saltwater lagoon. Pelicans nest and brightly colored pink flamingos graze the lagoon. A sea lion colony likes to laze on the red sands of the beach. Hike up a tiny peninsula for a wonderful view of the beach and lagoon. Sea caves invite exploration further down the coast. Or you may want to kayak beneath the island’s towering red cliffs. Keep an eye out for sea turtles too! Rabida also offers excellent snorkeling.
San Cristobal Island:
barking beasts, walk the trail to spot sea lions and birds amidst the sands beneath the salt bushes. It is also a nesting place for blue-footed boobies and an excellent spot for snorkeling with sea lions. They will dart past, and then swim up and blow bubbles at your mask.
Santa Cruz Island:
Visit Puerto Ayora, home the Charles Darwin Research Station, the center of the great restorative efforts taking place in the park, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. See the Giant Tortoise Breeding & Rearing Program run by the research station, which began by rescuing the remaining 14 tortoises on the island of Española in 1970. This program has restored the population of animals there to over 1,000 today. Discover the Highlands where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Your destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where you will have a chance to see these lumbering gentle giants up close, walk through lava tubes, and see the Gemelos twin collapsed craters.
Santa Fe Island:
Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. Land on a sandy white beach among one of many sea lion colonies. An ascending trail leads toward the cliffs, where a dense thicket stands to the inland side of the island. The cliff side provides an expansive view of the ocean among a grove of giant prickly pear cactus.
Visit James Bay for birding and snorkeling. Keep and eye out for sea turtles as you swim. Or visit Sullivan Bay an outstanding volcanic sites where only a few plants like Mollugo and Lava cacti have managed to take root. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools. After exploring the lava flow, there is time for a Zodiac ride, swimming, or snorkeling with playful sea lions.
Sombrero Chino Island:
Named for its resemblance in shape to a Chinese hat, land in a tiny crescent-shaped cove with a sandy white beach cradled between black lava rocks and crystal turquoise waters. A sea lion colony likes to rest on the warm white sands, while the rockier sections of the coast are alive with fiery colored Sally Lightfoot crabs. Marine iguanas sun themselves atop the rocks after foraging for algae in the channel. Take the short trail into the island’s volcanic interior to explore its rock formations. At the cove you can snorkel, and perhaps a sea lion or penguin will join you. Keep an eye out for penguins on a Zodiac ride too.
South Plaza Island:
Spot yellow land iguanas waiting for lunch to drop from a cactus in the form of a prickly pear. Follow a trail to cliffs that look out over the ocean. Swallow-tailed gulls with red-banded eyes nest atop the overlook.
After a morning excursion, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the Ecuadorian 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.
1/18/2020: Join renowned photographer Harry Skeggs who will accompany guests on their daily excursions giving insights on photography. Daily excursions include tips on techniques and lighting. Enjoy a one-on-one image review and technical session both onboard and in the field. Small workshops will be offered each evening.
8/29/2020: Join renown photographer Tui de Roy on an epic cruise in the Galapagos. Tui will accompany guests on their daily excursions giving insights on photography and a narrative on what is being seen. Daily excursions include tips on simple techniques and lighting and Tui will also share her vast island background with 2 to 3 lectures ranging from what it was like to grow up as a pioneer child on these shores, to the spectacular dynamics of its active volcanoes, and much more. Tui has 50 years experience documenting these magic islands, bringing to life daily details of behavior, lighting, and composition.
Transfers between airport/ship in Galapagos; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; gear on loan (snorkeling gear, wetsuits); all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers in Quito or Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park entrance fee; Galapagos Transit Card; crew gratuities; alcohol drinks and beverages other than those mentioned as included; travel insurance; passport expenses; personal expenses; 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).