Yacht Isabela II – 5 days / 4 nights – Central Galapagos – Monday to Friday
Central Islands Galapagos Itinerary
Our itinerary begins on Santa Cruz Island, one of the inhabited islands in Galapagos. We first explore the highlands with its lush vegetation before venturing to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station to meet face-to-face with the iconic Giant Tortoises. We board the vessel late in the afternoon, and early next day sail to a stunning anchorage at Santa Fe Island. Here, we find a white beach with many sea lions, as well as the Santa Fe land Iguana and, possibly, the Galapagos hawk. In the afternoon, we explore South Plaza Island, where we find endemic yellow land iguanas munching on cacti amidst a spectacular show of nature’s colours: the azure sea, green cacti and red sesuvium. We now move to North Seymour Island, a highlight for many visitors, and it starts with a rewarding walk along the coast and then inland, observing bird colonies including magnificent frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, gulls, and also sea lions and marine iguanas. Here, we snorkel too. Later, we disembark on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, at the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, for a refreshing swim and search for some lagoon birds. We continue now to Bartolome Island, with its unbeatable volcanic viewpoint on a hill, golden-sandy beach and stunning wildlife exploration for snorkelers or glass-bottom boat guests. We hope to find some Galapagos penguins, both on land and in the water. Afterwards, we land at the white beach of Sullivan Bay, with a trail over a dramatic lava field from 1897.
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Fe
- South Plaza
- North Seymour
- Pinnacle Rock
- Charles Darwin Research Station
- Galapagos sea lion
- Galapagos fur sea lion
- Giant tortoises
- Santa Fe land iguana
- Galapagos land iguana
- Hybrid iguana
- Marine iguanas
- Blue-footed boobies
- Nazca boobies
- Galapagos doves
- Galapagos mockingbirds
- Darwin finches
- American flamingos
- Galapagos hawks
- Brown pelicans
- Greater frigates
- Magnificent frigates
- Galapagos penguins
- Swallow-tailed gulls
- Lava gulls
- Lava (striated) herons
Day by Day
We arrive at Baltra airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, we may include a short hike which will be a great introduction to some Galapagos wildlife. Our Expedition Team will advise accordingly.
Note: Please dress with comfortable shoes and clothes, bring a small backpack with any medicine you might be taken, sunblock, insect repellent and anything you need during the excursion as you will go on board Yacht Isabela II and the end of the day.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens 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. Late afternoon we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. We review the expeditions plan for next day, and enjoy the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
A stunning anchorage provides our jumping-off point for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkeling from our skiffs, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat rounds off the rewarding experience.
The turquoise waters 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 Galapagos land iguanas. Keep an eye open for the remarkable beaks of cactus finches. 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.
The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, a favourite of many visitors, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkeling and coastal exploration with chances of spotting fur seals along the rocky coastline. This uplifted island is also home to a nesting colony of frigatebirds, and provides great views of the surrounding islands due to its central location in the archipelago.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the “barges” beach, a name that morphed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. We can swim and/or snorkel from the beach. In the evening, Thursday’s expedition plan briefing and dinner.
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits for us: Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, we take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by time to enjoy the beach and do some snorkeling. Explore the shores and look for Galapagos penguins too. We can also ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
After lunch, we get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming with a trail over a lava field that flowed here a little over 120 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife. Many label this location as an open textbook of geologic wonders.
After breakfast, we leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
|Cabin||Max. Guests Capacity||2020 Price per Person (US $)||2021 Price per Person (US $)
[Note: Itinerary changes to Western 5D/4N – Sailing Thursday to Monday]
|Owner’s Cabin||2||$ 3,938||$ 4,236|
|Classic Cabin||2||$ 3,766||$ 4,052|
|Classic Family Cabin*||3||$ 3,766||$ 4,052|
|Standard Cabin||2||$ 3,550||$ 3,820|
*accommodates 2 adults + 1 child under 12 years old
- All meals
- Island sightseeing
- Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish only
- Snorkeling gear
- Internet / Wi-Fi *
- 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, Sheraton, Wyndham) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.
- Wet suits available for rent, NET rate US$ 30 + VAT per guest for 7-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
- Gifts and additional items
- Travel insurance
The Ultimate Galapagos Packing List
(As recommended by our seasoned Galapagos Experts)
Our very own Destination Experts have worked hard to prepare this Ultimate Galapagos Packing List. These folks have an intimate knowledge and understanding of the Galapagos Islands and our ships. They have combed through the advice of several travelers and come up with the only Galapagos Packing List you’ll need. Make sure you check off our Top 5 Essential and Top 5 Wearable Items and check out the Additional Recommended Items to bring. Pack light, pack smart, and don’t worry if you forget something because those items below that are marked with an asterisk (*) are available in our onboard boutique shop.
Top 5 Essential Items
|1||Small backpack/daypack||We recommend you bring one that is waterproof.|
|2||Water bottle *||By the way, you’ll receive a reusable water bottle when you arrive on board any one of our ships or when you get to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.|
|3||Ziploc-style baggie with your medication||Even though our Galapagos cruises feature an onboard medical officer, available 24/7, please remember to pack any specific and essential prescription medication.|
|4||Drybag||This item keeps your valuables dry at all times as you hop on and off the dinghy, or panga, on your way to and from aquatic and land activities.)|
|5||Waterproof, see-through phone pouch||This item is useful for taking photos underwater or aboard a panga, as it keeps your phone dry and protected, guaranteeing that you’ll be able to share your memories with friends, family, and followers. (P.S. Feel free to tag us on your social media!|
Top 5 Wearable Items
|1||Wide-brimmed hat or cap with strap *||A strap keeps your hat from flying off as you travel along in the dinghy.|
|2||Short-sleeve cotton T-shirts||These keep you fresh during activities. By the way, we have a dryer on board!|
|3||Long-sleeve expedition-style shirts *||Long sleeves will protect you from the strong and direct sunlight along the equator. As an extra layer, being able to roll your sleeves up or down gives you the ability to adjust to the elements and remain comfortable.|
|4||Convertible cargo pants *||Similar to long-sleeve expedition-style shirts, these lightweight pants with removable lower legs allow you to remain comfortable and cool or warm and dry, whether hiking along the coast or hanging out on one of the ship’s outdoor decks.|
|5||Water-resistant, closed-toe sport sandals with non-slippery soles||Hop on and hop off without changing shoes! Don’t worry about getting wet, or slipping. Use these on expeditions and aboard the ship.|
Additional Recommended Items
Head to Toe: We also recommend bringing the following:
|1||Sunglasses||It’s a good idea to use these with a neck strap so you won’t misplace them.|
|2||Bandana *||This is a great item for protecting your neck when it gets too sunny or while traveling aboard the dinghy.|
|3||Windbreaker jacket||It can get a little windy out at sea, particularly during the Galapagos dry season.|
|4||Warm sweater or fleece||It can get a little chilly at night; an extra layer can provide you with just the right amount of comfort and warmth.|
|5||Casual pants, shorts, dress, or skirt||Back on board the ship, you may want to change into something a little more comfortable.|
|6||Bathing suits||It’s a good idea to bring two (2), in case you want to change suits between aquatic activities|
|7||Socks||You’ll be using your feet quite a bit so we recommend treating them right. Bring comfortable socks: some for hiking and some for lounging.|
|8||Anti-slip sandals and/or comfortable shoes||When your sandals are still drying, you’ll be glad you brought some extra footwear.|
Portables and Gear
|1||Toiletry kit||Keep in mind that we provide eco-friendly amenities in every cabin.|
|2||Waterproof sunblock * and lip balm (SPF 50+)||If you’re planning to take part in aquatic activities, make sure your sunblock and lip balm are eco-friendly and not harmful to ocean life.|
|3||Insect repellent *||You won’t encounter many mosquitos in the Galapagos, but it never hurts to have some on hand.|
|4||Binoculars||Our Naturalist Guides will be happy to lend you theirs, but you’re welcome to bring you own if you’d like.|
|5||Camera, plus extra memory cards and batteries||If you have a nice camera you want to use on this trip, bring it!|
|6||Device chargers and adaptors if necessary||Electrical outlets in Ecuador are 110-120V, 60Hz, types A & B.|
|7||Prescription snorkeling mask or specialized snorkel equipment||All regular snorkeling equipment is available aboard each of our ships, as well as at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. Some charges may apply. Consult your Destination Expert.|
Our Onboard Boutique
Visit our onboard boutique and find items ranging from handicrafts to everyday necessities. Find the perfect gift for your friends and family, and purchase any of the items suggested in our packing list. Item availability and prices are subject to change.
* 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.
** 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 $25+taxes.