Number 11 on the list.
The Galapagos Islands overflow with exotic wildlife set against backdrops of spectacular landscapes. Full of renowned natural wonders and distinctive wildlife, this spectacular archipelago of islands is a must for every traveller’s bucket list.
Set against the backdrops of spectacular landscapes that range from volcanic peaks to ancient lava fields, from lava tubes and lagoons to coral reef-lined bays and from mangrove forests to white and red sandy beaches, the Galapagos Islands are undoubtedly one of nature’s most impressive wonders that is best to be explored by cruise. Sail between the picturesque islands of the archipelago and discover the many unique species evolved here and found nowhere else in the world.
Galapagos Island Hopping
5 Days / 4 Nights
The Galapagos Islands hopping tour is a great alternative to live-aboard cruises, you get to explore the archipelago’s wildlife and natural wonders by day and sleep in boutique Island hotels by night.
• All transfers from Puerto Ayora - Isabela Island - Puerto Ayora
• Accommodation in double rooms
• Meals - First day: Lunch and dinner. Last day: breakfast
• Transportation and Maritime timed views
• Bilingual naturalist guide (English, Spanish)
• Scheduled visits
• Snorkelling equipment
• Shared tours on Isabela Island
• Navigation tours are shared
• Air ticket
• Galapagos National Park entrance fee (approx. USD 100.00 per person)
• INGALA Migration Control Card (approx. USD 20.00 per person)
• Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
DAY 1 BALTRA, PUERTO AYORA
Fly from Quito or Guayaquil. On arrival at Baltra’s airport, you’ll be met by a naturalist guide, who will accompany you on the transfer to Puerto Ayora. On the way, there will be a stop to visit the Highlands. After lunch at the harbour, continue to the hotel, where there’ll be a short break.
Then we’ll head over to the Charles Darwin Research Station to see some of the Giant Tortoises who are kept there, and learn about which islands they originally came from, and hear about the conservation work that goes on to preserve the Giant Tortoises, as well as the environment of the archipelago as a whole.
Return to your hotel in time for Dinner.
DAY 2 NORTH SEYMOUR, BARTOLOME, PLAZAS OR SANTA FE
After breakfast, meet your guide in the hotel´s lobby for the transfer to the dock, and start the tour. Today you will have the option to choose one of the following tours (you will visit only one of these islands):
North Seymour Island is a spectacular place for hiking, swimming and snorkelling. The main attractions are the frigate birds, boobies, gulls, hawks, green sea turtles and the famous Galapagos Sharks.
Bartolome Island is the most attractive landscape of the archipelago and undoubtedly the most photographed in all the Galapagos Islands. You’ll marvel at the view of two spectacularly beautiful bays and observe the fascinating formations of lava and volcanic cones.
Plazas consists of two islands. The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava coast. It is a wonderful spot to observe marine life, including manta rays, and there are some great snorkelling spots.
Santa Fe Island (Spanish: Isla Santa Fe), also called Barrington Island after admiral Samuel Barrington, is a small island of 24 square kilometres (9.3 sq mi) which lies in the centre of the Galapagos archipelago, to the south east of Santa Cruz Island. Geologically it is one of the oldest, since volcanic rocks of about 4 million years old have been found. The vegetation of the island is characterized by brush, palo santo trees and stands of a large variety of the prickly pear cactus Opuntia echios.
Return to your hotel in time for dinner.
DAY 3 SANTA CRUZ - ISABELA
After breakfast, the guide will take you to enjoy Tortuga Bay. Here, you walk for around 45 minutes approximately, along a cactus trail to Playa Brava, named after its strong currents. On this beach you'll observe marine iguanas, marine birds and pelicans.
Then there’s another short walk to Playa Mansa. This second beach is a natural lagoon visited by blue footed boobies and pelicans. It is also a beautiful place for swimming and sunbathing. Continue to the harbour for lunch.
Afterwards, you’ll board the public speedboat that will take you to Isabela Island (approximately 2-2.5 hour navigation). On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to your hotel. Once you’ve checked in, there’ll be a visit to Flamingo Lagoon.
Dinner will be at the port and then you’ll return to the hotel.
DAY 4 ISABELA
Today you will have the opportunity to choose one of the full day tour from the next two options:
Option 1: Approximately at 7:30am, the trip to Sierra Negra Volcano will start. The passengers will be transported by bus or other transportation for about 45 minutes to the Galapagos National Park control site in order to record the visit. Then, we will begin a trek to the Sierra Negra and Chico Volcano. During the trek (about 3-4 hours) a box lunch would be provided. In the afternoon, we will return to the hotel. After a short break, we will be transferred to the Concha Perla for snorkelling. Then, you will return to the hotel for dinner.
Option 2: Breakfast. Prepare to go to Tintoreras Islet. Go to the dock of Puerto Villamil in order to embark on small speedboats. After a short ride (approx. 20 min.), we arrive at Tintoreras. After the hike through the islet, we will snorkel. We can see starfish, multicolor fish, sea-urchins, and with luck manta rays, sharks, and sea lions that may swim with us close up. Return to hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela, where we will be able to see a variety of species of giant tortoises in captivity. Visit the Wall of Tears. The wall has a length of 100m and a height of 7m. The name is derived from the difficult and painful nature of the conditions in which the prisoners were forced to work. Visit a Lava Tunnel near the Wall, as well as visits to Mirador Orchilla, Estero de Isabela, and Playa del Amor. Then, you will return to the hotel for dinner.
We recommend option 2 for older people, who cannot make a trekking tour of several hours.
All tours on Isabela Island are shared with other person (except for the first class hotel category, the Sierra Negra tour is private – Tintoreras is always shared).
DAY 5 ISABELA - BALTRA
At 5:30am, you will be transferred to the Port for embarkation. On arrival at Santa Cruz about 3 hours later, a guide will be waiting to transfer you to Baltra airport, for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil. On the way, there will be a brief stop to visit “Los Gemelos” – two ancient sinkholes that look like craters.
2019 DEPARTURE DATES
Daily year round
Budget from $2,280* per person
Standard from $2,730* per person
Superior from $3,210* per person
Following in Darwin's Footsteps
8 Days / 7 Nights
Follow in Darwin’s footsteps and discover some of the most beautiful beaches, snorkel and swim in crystal blue waters and spot a large variety of wildlife.
• Accommodation for 7 nights
• All meals onboard
• All non-alcoholic beverages consumed throughout the cruise
• All guided services throughout the cruise
• Snorkelling gear (mask, snorkel & fins)
• Air ticket
• Bar consumption onboard
• Galapagos Park Entrance Fee (approx. USD 100.00 per adult, USD 50.00 per child)
• INGALA Transit Cards (approx. USD 10.00 per person)
• Gratuities and tips to crew and staff
DAY 1 EMBARKATION - DRAGON HILL - EDEN ISLET
Today you fly to Baltra Island in the Galapagos. Upon arrival you board M/Y Grace where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en route to the sites: Whaler Bay, a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill and Eden Islet, home to a great variety of seabirds and marine iguanas and also a great snorkelling site. After these visits you will get ready for a welcome cocktail and briefing before continuing to dinner. (L,D)
DAY 2 SANTA FE ISLAND & SOUTH PLAZA
Morning visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago and some of the best snorkelling with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus. In the afternoon visit South Plaza Island and its land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed. (B,L,D)
DAY 3 GENOVESA ISLAND
Genovesa, otherwise known as Tower Island, or ‘Bird Island’ for good reason. The south-western part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago.
DAY 4 FERNANDINA ISLAND & ISABELA
In the morning visit Fernandina Island, home to the spectacular La Cumbre volcano. Journey to Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity. In the afternoon you visit Urbina Bay where you will make an easy wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling amongst marine creatures, or take a relaxing nap on the sand.
DAY 5 ISABELA ISLAND
Morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. In the afternoon head north to Punta Vicente Roca. Snorkelling is incredible here and you will have a chance to see colourful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. This is also a great spot to take an interesting panga ride to spot wildlife along the shores and cliffs.
DAY 6 CHINESE HAT & PUERTO EGAS
Morning visit to Chinese Hat Islet, a fairly recent volcanic cone and so-called for its distinctive shape. On the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen. There is a small sea lion cove on the north shore where boats anchor and land at the visitor site. Late morning snorkelling with sea lions and penguins as well as swimming opportunities in the cove. Afternoon visit to Puerto Egas, James Bay, where you land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes, which are home to sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas and tropical fish.
DAY 7 ISLA SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning you visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. In the afternoon you visit 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 animals in the wild, walk through lava tubes and see the Gemelos, twin collapsed craters.
DAY 8 INTERPRETATION CENTRE & DISEMBARKATION
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before you bid farewell to the M/Y Grace, visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre that presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems and flora & fauna. From the Centre, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both magnificent-frigates and great-frigates can be seen in the same colony. Return to the airport where you began your journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.
2018 DEPARTURE DATES
Enquire for exact departure dates
From $7,350* per person
11 Days / 10 Nights
Join us on this amazing Galapagos Experience and discover the incredible wildlife and unique beauty of these volcanic islands.
• Airport transfers
• All meals onboard Yacht La Pinta
• Activities, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish only in Galapagos Islands
• Wetsuit rental and snorkelling gear in Galapagos Islands.
• Activities as per the itinerary
• Anything not mentioned in inclusions
DAY 1 QUITO
Welcome to Quito and Ecuador!. At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our organisation, we will escort you to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general with valuable information you need to know. Enjoy scenic colonial and artistic Quito, visit museums, monasteries and the golden altars of its many churches. Stand with a foot on each hemisphere on the Middle of the World memorial. The capital of Ecuador has a setting that few cities in the world can match. During the 13th century it was the prosperous centre of the Kingdom of Quitus. It later became the northern capital of the Inca Empire. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Colonial architects built formidable temples, monasteries and mansions, creating an urban jewel designated by UNESCO/UN as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Quitos artistic creativity awaits the visitor in cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.
DAY 2 SCENIC TOUR OF QUITO
Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will stroll at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will visit the temple of *La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. We will continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. The tour ends at a lookout point with a great view of Quito.
DAY 3 QUITO - BALTRA ISLAND - NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND
Shared transfers from hotel to airport in Quito and flight from Quito to Galapagos Islands.
Our adventure begins with a morning flight to Baltra Island and immediate transfer to the dock to board Yacht La Pinta. There’s a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill, cabin assignment and then lunch.
North Seymour Island
Following an afternoon disembarkation, we enjoy a walk along the coast and the interior of the beautiful flat island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and land iguanas. There are opportunities for coastal exploration by dinghy. Evening briefing, welcome cocktail and dinner.
DAY 4 PUNTA VICENTE ROCA - PUTA ESPINOZA
Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by dinghy, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife and, depending on the conditions of the ocean, we’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles.
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
In the afternoon, we visit the youngest and most pristine island of the archipelago, Fernandina, one of many people’s all-time favourites. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins, the flightless cormorant and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
DAY 5 URBINA BAY - TAGUS COVE
After breakfast, we disembark at Urbina Bay, on the western side of Isabela Island, the result of an uplifting of the ocean floor. Here you can find corals, shells, and large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally). Navigating the Bolívar Channel, there are good chances of spotting species of whales.
Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries, and today makes a great visitor site. An uphill hike takes us to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. We can snorkel or ride kayaks amid the dramatic landscape before our hike.
DAY 6 RABIDA ISLAND - DRAGON HILL
In the morning, we disembark at Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach. A stroll along the beach allows us to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. For those non-snorkelLers, we can ride our glass-bottom boat for a submarine exploration.
Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Our walk includes circling a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.
DAY 7 PUERTO AYORA & CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION
The morning visit heads to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. A delicious lunch is served at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
After lunch, we wind up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by vehicle. This is a great place to look for the brilliant Vermilion Flycatcher and the endemic Scalesia trees. From December to mid-April and July to December a visit to observe giant tortoises in the wild may be included, if weather conditions are good.
DAY 8 POST OFFICE BAY - PUNTA CORMORANT
After breakfast, we land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Panga rides along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can also be enjoyed. There’s great snorkelling from the beach as well.
Champion Islet & Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)
Before disembarking at Punta Cormorant we can snorkel or ride our glass-bottom boat along the coast of an extinct cone called “Champion Islet”.
Our visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, we come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest.
DAY 9 SANTA FE ISLAND - SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND
We take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Following the walk, we can snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier.
South Plaza Island
The turquoise waters of the channel here 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-gray 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 amazing island.
DAY 10 PUERTO BASQUERIZO MORENO - GUAYAQUIL
After breakfast, we depart for the port and airport for our flight back to the mainland.
Flight from Galapagos island to Guayaquil and shared transfer from airport to hotel in Guayaquil.
DAY 11 DEPARTURE
Private transfer from hotel to airport in Guayaquil.
2018 DEPARTURE DATES
Enquire for exact departure dates
From $11,590* per person
*Terms and conditions apply. Prices are per person twin share land only and subject to availability at time of booking. Valid for sale until sold out. Black-out dates may apply and festive season surcharges at additional costs. Itineraries may vary due to weather, seasonal changes and activities. Offers are only available for new bookings and prices are subject to change without notice due to change in fees, taxes, surcharges or currency fluctuations. Further conditions appl