(Friday - Thursday) 7 days / 6 nights.
Our journey across the archipelago promises a wonderful array of islands and wildlife encounters, from bright flamingos on the first day to the colonies of preening frigatebirds on the last. We meet colossal giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado, a bevy of different booby species at Punta Pitt, and a range of magnificent views and wildlife on Española Island, from mockingbirds to its colorful marine iguanas. On the fourth day, we wake up in Floreana, where historic Post Office Bay and the green beach Cormorant Point await. We then motor all the way to the west, where we walk across young lava formations at Punta Moreno and explore the fascinating mangroves of southern Fernandina. The expedition concludes with a morning visit to Eden Islet and a high note: an afternoon wander across beautiful North Seymour.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1 - Baltra & Santa Cruz Islands
Baltra Airport and Santa Cruz Island
We land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and transfer to the nearby dock to board Yacht Isabela II, where we receive a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill, and lunch.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. You may enjoy swimming at this beach, too. Back on the ship, we will settle in with a welcome cocktail, a briefing on the next day’s expedition plan, and a delicious dinner.
Day 2 - San Cristobal Island
Punta Pitt (San Cristobal)
We land on the eastern tip of the island. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline and is the only site in the Galapagos where the 3 species of boobies can be found together, as well as the 2 frigatebird species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. If conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim, kayak or snorkel from the beach or take an inflatable dinghy ride.
Cerro Colorado (San Cristobal Island)
We disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we 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, as well as the endemic San Cristobal lava lizard.
Day 3 - Española Island
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the morning, we’ll set foot on this beautiful, white coral beach and go on a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or simply enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area. Kayaking, an inflatable dinghy-ride, or a ride on the glass-bottom boat are also offered.
Punta Suarez (Española Island)
Following lunch on board, our afternoon outing at Punta Suarez takes us on an exciting trail across lava/boulder terrain. Along the way, we can enjoy unique sea bird colonies, including the beautiful waved albatrosses, boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole”. This island is also famous for its colorful and sizable marine iguanas. All in all, a fantastic visit.
Day 4 - Floreana Island
Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
We disembark in the morning at the curiously green-tinged, olivine-crystal beach that makes for an easy walk to a brackish water lagoon where bird species like American flamingos can be observed. Crossing over to the other side of the island, we come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest. At Champion Islet, guests can choose between snorkeling, a panga ride, or a ride in our glass-bottom boat.
Post Office Bay & Baroness Cove (Floreana Island)
After lunch, we land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as an informal post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Snorkeling off the beach will be offered afterward.
Day 5 - Isabela & Fernandina Islands
Punta Moreno (Isabela Island)
In the morning, following a meander through the mangroves in search of sea turtles, we disembark amid a landscape dominated by the giant volcanoes of southern Isabela Island, some still active. The rugged trail loops inland from the coast, giving us plenty of opportunity to enjoy unique lava formations, pioneer lava cactus, and interesting scalesia trees, as well as plenty of wildlife: Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, brown pelicans, herons, sea lions, marine iguanas, and dozens of Sally Lightfoot crabs. The inland lagoons are home to Bahama-pintail ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flamingos, and even Galapagos hawks and mockingbirds. Following our walk, we can take to our glass-bottom boats or deep-water snorkel.
Punta Mangle (Fernandina Island)
Venturing across to Fernandina Island, in the afternoon we board our pangas (inflatable dinghies) to explore the coastline of the archipelago’s youngest ecosystem, a virgin, pristine world of tiny bays, tall mangroves (mangle is Spanish for mangrove) and tranquil coves, home to diminutive Galapagos penguins and green-eyed flightless cormorants preening on the shore’s black rocks. Beneath the waves, rays and sea turtles might glide by. The nutrient-rich waters of the Bolivar Channel, which separates Fernandina and Isabela islands, attract dolphins and whales. With luck, we’ll be able to spot them. Depending on sea conditions, we end our visit with a glass-bottom boat ride or deep-water snorkel.
Day 6 - Santa Cruz & North Seymour Islands
A panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where we can observe blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and frigatebirds. There’s a chance to snorkel and, if weather conditions permit, to ride in the glass-bottom boat. The volcanic setting of this area is quite stunning.
North Seymour Island
We have saved one of the best visitor sites in the archipelago for last. In the afternoon, we disembark for a walk along the coast and the interior of this beautiful flat island, ambling between numerous nesting frigatebirds, some male frigatebirds displaying their balloon-like red gular sacs, as well as land iguanas and sea lion colonies along the coastline. We can explore the coast by dinghy, too, seeking out fur seals, and enjoying a fun, deep-water snorkel. Evening briefing, farewell cocktail, and dinner.
Day 7 - Baltra Island
Our journey ends at Baltra Island where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.