Yacht Isabela II – Northern Galapagos Islands Itinerary – 5D/4N
Northern Islands Galapagos Itinerary
Our journey begins in Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll get to meet one of the most fascinating inhabitants of the Galapagos archipelago: Giant Tortoises. After landing at Baltra airport, we will soon be face to face with these creatures in their natural habitat. The next day takes us to Santiago Island, where we’ll get the chance to snorkel alongside marine iguanas. During the afternoon, we’ll visit the sandy beach of Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat Islet). The next day, we head off to Genovesa Island, a fascinating bird hub! Here, we’ll spend the entire day enjoying its colonies of nesting birds and explore its cliffs, shoreline, and beaches. Returning to the central islands, Santa Fe offers you the chance to meet its endemic Land Iguana. During the afternoon, we can hope to observe sea lions, rays, and sharks in South Plaza’s turquoise waters.
- Santa Cruz Island
- Genovesa Island
- Santiago Island
- Santa Fe Island
- Blue-footed booby
- Nazca booby
- Red-footed booby
- American Flamingo
- Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent
- Galapagos Hawk
- Galapagos Marine Iguana
- Santa Fe Land Iguana
- Galapagos Penguin
- Galapagos Sea Lion
- Galapagos Fur Seal
- Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Day by Day
Baltra Airport and Santa Cruz Island
After landing at Baltra Airport, we drive to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us up to the fascinating, more humid Highlands of the island where we’ll learn about its unique ecosystems and biodiversity. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
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. You’ll go onboard Yacht Isabela II at the end of the day.
Santa Cruz Island’s Highlands and Puerto Ayora
After lunch, we drive to a nearby reserve that is one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, munching on grass and leaves, and wallowing in small pools. There are several lava tunnels to explore in the reserve, too. A short bus ride takes us down to Puerto Ayora to board the Isabela II.
Puerto Egas (Santiago Island)
Following a wet landing on the black, sandy beach, our trail takes us to enjoy close-up encounters with recently reintroduced land iguanas, plus land and marine birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers, jagged rocks, and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds. We can also observe a colony of fur seals, usually dozing in the shade of some rocks.
Chinese Hat Islet
This islet, formed only relatively recently, makes a wonderful afternoon visit as we explore the wildlife along its 1,312 ft long (400 m long) trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped, white sandy beach. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities amid white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos penguins.
Prince Philip’s Steps (Genovesa Island)
The day kicks off with a panga ride along the cliffs of “Bird Island” as Genovesa is affectionately nicknamed, followed by a landing at a steep staircase that connects us with a flat plateau. From here, the trail winds its way through large colonies of Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, great frigatebirds, and storm petrels. With luck, we’ll be able to spot the short-eared owl. Those who do not wish to disembark can enjoy a longer panga (inflatable dinghy) ride along the cliffs, weather conditions permitting. Snorkeling and kayaking activities are available.
Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
We land after lunch at the beautiful white beach of Darwin Bay. Here we walk amid literally hundreds of birds, most of which are frigatebirds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, as well as gulls, herons, finches, and mockingbirds.
Santa Fe Island
We take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The Santa Fe land iguana may be spotted during our exploration. Following the walk, we can snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier or ride the glass-bottom boat.
South Plaza Island
Following lunch and a rest, we disembark (dry landing) in this channel, whose turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as a groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline we find sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and shearwaters glide, playing with the thermals.
Our journey ends at Baltra Island where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
|Cabin||Max. Guests Capacity||2021 per person (USD)||2022 pp (USD)||2023 pp (USD)|
|Standard Cabin||1||$ 3,820||$ 3,973||$ 4,132|
|Classic Cabin||2||$ 4,052||$ 4,214||$ 4,383|
|Classic Family Cabin*||3||$ 4,052||$ 4,214||$ 4,383|
|Owner’s Cabin||2||$ 4,236||$ 4,405||$ 4,582|
*accommodates 2 adults + 1 child under 12 years old
Please note: Twin/Double Cabins for single use incur a 100% surcharge of the price per person.
- All meals
- Bilingual naturalist guides
- Conferences and lectures
- Visits to the islands mentioned in the itinerary
- Transportation to/from the airport in Galapagos on cruise arrival and departure dates
- Snorkeling equipment
- Internet (via Computer Station, low bandwidth)
- Onboard Medical Assistance
- Luggage handling
- Airline tickets to/from Galapagos*
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$100 USD per person)**
- Transit Control Card for Galapagos (US$20 USD per person)**
- Wetsuits (available for rent)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages*** (you can also ask your destination expert to include a drinks package in your quote. Ask us about all the available options we have for you!)
- Gifts and additional items
- Fuel surcharge
- Wi-Fi internet (Intermittent and low bandwidth. Available for an additional fee)
*Upon request, airline tickets can be included. Metropolitan Touring guarantees the availability of these flights. Airfare is subject to change.
**Upon request, we can include the Galapagos National Park and INGALA Transit Control Card fees (US$100 and US$20 respectively and subject to change without prior notice). However, due to logistical reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operational departure date and not before.
***Guests may bring their own wine or spirits; however, there is a corkage fee of $25 USD + tax.
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.|
If you want to make sure you don’t leave anything behind, print our downloadable packing checklist (better if you do so on a recycled paper, we designed it in such a way so that you use the less amount of ink possible.)
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.