7 night Galapagos cruise, 2 nights Quito
10 days /
From $4,704 per person, double occupancy for 2013
Day 1: Quito
Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Overnight accommodations at the Hotel Patio Andaluz, breakfast included
Day 2: Quito - Galapagos
Please note: Galapagos itinerary is subject to change due to National Park restrictions.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival, transfer short distance to the Itabaca Canal, cross to the island of Santa Cruz and ride to Puerto Ayora. On the way to Puerto Ayora you cross the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island of the archipelago with 374 square miles and also the most populated, and will hike around the twin pit crates or sinkholes known as "Los Gemelos", surrounded by Scalecia forest, and later you will visit Cerro Chato. There are opportunities to admire the famous giant tortoises that gave name to these islands and a great number of birds like the vermilion flycatcher and Darwin finches.
Board the yacht M/Y Coral I/II and check in to your Moon Suite Cabin. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Española (a.k.a. Hood)
Disembark at Punta Suarez, dry land and walk on lava terrain. Aside from the sea lion colonies, this is one of the most important sites for bird watching. Here as soon as you disembark many species can be spotted up close, including the hood mocking bird and red-billed tropicbirds. You will also spot large marine iguanas, lava lizards and colorful sally light foot crabs. After a short trek, you will run into colonies of masked and blue-footed boobies and their nesting grounds sometimes overlapped over the path. You will also find Galapagos doves, hawks and swallow-tailed gulls. After crossing the nesting grounds, you will reach the world colony of waved albatross (around 15,000). They all come to the Galapagos for their mating rituals. Finish your morning with a visit to the blowhole, where water shoots into air at almost 75 feet.
In the afternoon, disembark at Bahia Gardner on a white coral beach amidst a large colony of sea lions. This site has no trails but is considered an open area where you can spot Galapagos hawks, American oyster catchers, Galapagos doves, hood mockingbirds, Darwin finches, yellow warblers, lava lizards and marine iguanas and a great place for swimming and snorkeling, the best spot being the turtle-looking islet. Here, if you are lucky, you can admire many of the Galapagos marine species including king angelfish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays, white tipped reef sharks and more. Among the vegetation you will see are Acacia, Palo Santo and Cacti. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Floreana
Wet landing on Cormorant Point, a greenish colored sand beach in the island of Floreana. Passengers will hike a well marked trail beginning in the Black Mangrove beds heading towards the back of the lagoon. The large, brackish lagoon holds one of the biggest populations of flamingos in the Galapagos. This island is best known for its endemic plant life, such as the Galapagos millwork, Passion flower, and unique button mangrove. Novice snorkelers can practice back on the main beach where the sea lions are playful, while experienced snorkelers can roam the waters around Devils Crown.
Afternoon visit to Post Office Bay. Located on the north side of Floreana Island, the bay is so-named because in 1793, Captain James Colnett installed an empty barrel of rum which works as an informal post box for the sailors who periodically passed through the Galapagos, taking with them letters for their next ports of call or final destinations.
Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing postcards without stamps inside the barrel which reach their destinations free of charge. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months, and sometimes the cards never get there at all! Do you want to try this easy mail, please be ready your post cards and letters, it is a good way to get Galapagos friends.
A short walk from the famous barrel, across typical vegetation of the island, we come to a tunnel formed by lava flows. It’s quite a tricky way down to a path where we can observe land birds such as mocking bird of Galapagos, some species of Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers and lava lizards.
After we’ll make a wet landing on “Mirador de la Baronesa”. Your naturalist guide will tell the murder and mystery legend of the Baronesa. This viewpoint is located on the north of the Floreana Island. It is a tuff basalt formation between Cormorant Point and Post Office bay. The climb on the trails is very easy. Steps are placed in this area for security. (B, L, D)
Day 5: North Seymour/Santa Cruz
There is a lot of life around North Seymour's 4100 feet long visitors' path where sea lions waddling on the beach, marine and land iguanas, frigate birds displaying their red throat pouches, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, bright yellow warblers and fur seals can be seen.
After a wet landing, passengers walk to a hypersalinic lagoon behind the beach. Observers report a high number of Pink Flamingos. The trail then leads up to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay. This area is a nesting site for a big number of reintroduced Land Iguanas, again thanks to the Charles Darwin Research Station. There is also a bizarre Scalesia tree forest. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Rabida (Jervis) - Santiago
You will arrive at Rabida (Jervis). This small island has plenty of things to see: pink flamingos, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos doves and pelicans, boobies and Darwin finches. There is sparse vegetation here except for prickly pear cactus trees. On the northern coast, you may swim with the sea lions on a magnificent red sand beach, which offers an opportunity to observe their behavior. Dominant males mark out territories along the shore and patrol them noisily, defending against other males who might want to invade the "harem."
In the afternoon, you'll land at Puerto Egas of James Bay on the west side of the island of Santiago. Here, there is a long flat black lava shoreline, where eroded shapes form lava pools, caves and inlets which house a great variety of wildlife. This is a great place to see colonies of marine iguanas basking in the sun. These fascinating reptiles dive for extended periods feeding on seaweed and are the only lizard known to eat algae. The tide pools contain hundreds of brilliantly colored red Sally-light foot crabs, which attract hunting herons of all the commonly found species. These inlets are also the favorite haunts of the Galapagos fur seal and you can snorkel with them along with the many species of tropical fish. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Fernandina - Isabela
This 642 square km. island is the third largest and the most westerly in the Galapagos. It is also considered the youngest and its recently formed volcanic landscapes are most impressive. Punta Espinoza is located just across from Tagus Cove and is known for one of the greatest concentrations of endemic marine iguanas sharing the space with sally-light foot crabs, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins and sea lions. A dry landing is required in order to reach the two paths - one to the point and the other to some recently formed lava fields. Here you can see various pioneer plants such as the Brachycereus cactus, as well as pa hoe hoe and lava formations and mangroves extending into the sea. At Point Vicente Roca, you will hike to the top of the Ecuador Volcano for a striking view and boobies, gulls and sea lions. Snorkeling is possible although the water is cold. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Bartolome - Santa Cruz
Dry landing on Bartolome. Arriving on this island, passengers will see volcanic formations including lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. After a hike to the summit visitors will have an impressive view of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone of Pinnacle Rock. During the ascent travelers will often see a large colony of Marine Iguanas and Lava Lizards. Red Mangroves, Tiquilla, and various cacti all add to the experience. Visitors also enjoy a chance to cool off while snorkeling. Here travelers often see the Galapagos Penguin, Sea Turtles, and White Tipped Sharks from a safe distance.
Arrive in the afternoon at Black Turtle Cove located near Las Bachas beach in the north of Santa Cruz Island. This excursion provides passengers with a "panga" ride though the mangrove, during which the outboard motor of the small boat is turned off. This allows the close observation of Sea Turtles, White Tipped Reef Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, and Yellow Rays. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito
This morning, enjoy a visit to the Island of Santa Cruz. This 968 square km. island is the second largest and the most populated of the Archipelago. Puerto Ayora is the main town along the south coast and it is just a 20-minute walk by road northeast to the Charles Darwin Research Station, one of your visit sites. The Station is a center for research and conservation of the Galapagos species, especially the 11 surviving species of tortoise. Admire the impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. In the late morning, you will transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito. Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Overnight accommodations are at Hotel Patio Andaluz, breakfast included. (B)
Day 10: Int'l departure
Hotel pickup and transfer to the international airport. (B)