Santa Cruz II – 5 nights Western Galapagos, Wednesday to Monday
Western Islands Galapagos Itinerary
Our itinerary together begins straight from the airport of Baltra, where we board the boat and set sail for North Seymour Island, a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife. Overnight, we sail round the seahorse-shaped Isabela Island to the two great visitor sites of Punta Vicente Roca and then to Fernandina Island’s wild and pure Punta Espinoza. We continue our exploration of Isabela at the beautiful pirate bay of Tagus Cove and then on to the uplifted Urbina Bay. From there, we sail back round to Santa Cruz to visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station and then spend the afternoon enjoying a range of activities. The following day finds us on Floreana Island, exploring its human history and stunning wildlife at both Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant. An amazing odyssey round this magical archipelago!
The entire crew aboard the Santa Cruz will do our utmost to ensure that your Galapagos experience is truly, deeply moving and memorable.
- North Seymour Island
- Isabela Island
- Fernandina Island
- Santa Cruz Island
- Floreana Island
- Post Office Bay
- Darwin Lake
- Urbina´s Upheaval
- Charles Darwin Research Station.
- Blue-Footed Boobies
- Nazca Boobies
- Flightless Cormorant
- Great Frigatebirds
- Magnificent Frigatebirds
- Galapagos Hawks
- Land Iguanas
- Marine Iguanas
- Galapagos Penguins
- Galapagos Sea Lions
- Galapagos Galapagos Fur Seals
- Galapagos Giant Tortoises
- Galapagos Doves
- Galapagos Mockingbirds
- San Cristobal Mockingbirds
- Española Mockingbirds
- Darwin’s Finches
- Brown Pelicans
- Swallow-Tailed Gulls
- Lava Gulls
- Lava (Striated) Herons
Day by Day
We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.
North Seymour Island
This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas.
After breakfast, we take the panga over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Snorkelling and swimming from the panga rounds off our rewarding experience, or if guests prefer, the glass-bottom boat provides an incredible view for non-snorkelers.
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina Island, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.
After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. It provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, where we can observe Darwin Lake, filled with salt water, and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkelling.
Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galapagos land iguanas, and occasionally to Galapagos giant tortoises. We return back on board for our expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station's giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
Santa Cruz Island
We have several midday and afternoon options available (mountain biking, kayaking in Tortuga Bay, hiking), which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon's activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.
A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana Island along narrow channels teeming with life. We then head back on board for lunch.
Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
Following lunch and a siesta, we take to the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it's on to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).
We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
- All meals
- Island sightseeing
- Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish (guiding in other languages – French, Italian – is available upon request for groups larger than 10 guests and for German groups is a minimum of 4 guests),
- Snorkelling gear
- Luggage handling
- Medical care on board (not including the cost of medication)
- Transfers in the islands
- Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.
- Fuel surcharge
*Fuel surcharge is included on the cruise rate, however, restrictions may apply.
- Wetsuits: Available for rent, NET rate US$ 17 + VAT per guest for 5- or 6-day expeditions;
- Air transportation to / from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 subject to change without previous notice)*
- Migration Control Card (US$ 20 subject to change without previous notice)*
- Fuel surcharge
- Alcoholic **- and non alcoholic beverages
- Internet / Wi-Fi ***
- Gifts and additional items
- Travel insurance
*At your request, we can include the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$ 100 and migration control card fee of US$ 20 (subject to change). However, please note that, due to administrative and operational reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operation departure date. This service does not apply for guests who travel before a departure date (even if the departure is with us).
**Please note, we charge guests who wish to bring bottles of wine and/or spirits aboard our vessels a corkage fee of US$ 25+taxes.
*** Internet connections onboard consist in computer stations and wifi in the vessel’s social areas; due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.