7-Days / 6-Nights, Tue-Mon
Day 1 Tuesday
Morning: San Cristobal Island: Arrive airport, transfer to the dock and the Isabela II. Check in, introductory briefing and lunch on board.
Afternoon: San Cristobal Island: drive through the highalnds of the island to stop at Cerro Colorado, the breeding center for the endangered giant tortoises, found in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species and the San Cristobal lava lizard. Back on board later afternoon for a welcome cocktail, briefing and dinner.
Day 2 Wednesday
Morning: Genovesa (Tower) Island: crossing the equator we head north to Genovesa Island. Begin with a panga ride along the cliffs, then a dry landing on rocks for a steep climb up some stairs. At the top, the land is flat for a one mile walk to observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels.
Afternoon: Genovesa: Darwin Bay: Wet landing this afternoon and an easy stroll to observe frigate birds, red footoed boobies, Nazca boobies, lava gulls, swallow-tailed gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Optional walk over sharp lava and unveven terrain for dramatic views, or return to the beach for swimming and snorkeling.
Day 3 Thursday
Morning: Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove: coastal exploration along the cliffs. Learn the history of this island, its relevance for the whalers, pirates and early researchers, including Darwin's epic voyage in 1835. See many marine birds, sea lions and inter-tidal organisms, as well as beautiful natural formations such as the "Elephant Rock", "The Bishop" and an impressive natural cave. Great site for snorkeling also.
Afternoon: Santiago: Puerto Egas. Wet landing and a beautiful coastal walk amid tuff-stone layers and lava flows where you see land and marine birds. At low tide, marine iguanas graze on the algae beds; there's a colony of fur sea lions which you can observe up-close. Afterwards you can enjoy snorkeling and swimming from the beach.
Day 4 Friday
Morning: Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza. Take a walk on Fernandina, the youngest island in Galapagos. Surprisingly, the unusual barren landscape supports an amazing amount of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has a unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant. You also enjoy snorkeling near the lava shores.
Afternoon: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove. This deep secluded cove provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. You will see their graffiti carved on its walls. The vegetation includes the fragrant palo santo (torchwood) trees. These leafless white-barked trees look dead most of the year, but in the wet season they leaf and spring back to life. An optional uphill hike takes you to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabela's six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. Enjoy a panga ride along the volcanic cliffs of Tagus Cove, teeming with life (boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, martins, terns, iguanas and sea lions.) Possibilities to swim, snorkel or ride kayaks.
Day 5 Saturday
Morning: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay. urbina Bay is located at the foot of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Here you'll find corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. You also find very colorful and large Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally); a good spot to observe Darwin's finches. After the hike, along the shorelines you may find flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkeling in this beautiful cove.
Afternoon: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca. You may be able to snorkel along the cliffs if sea conditions allow. You'll explore the area via dinghy and learn of the dramatic geology with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. This is the nesting place for flightless cormorants, the only existing marine birds in the world other than penguins that have changed their mode of flying birds to diving birds. Wildlife here also includes sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos penguins, blue-footed an Nazca boobies and noddy terns.
Day 6 Sunday
Morning: Rabida Island: Red Beach. Disembark on a red-colored beach due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Strolling along you'll see a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Nearby is a salt pond where sometimes greater flamingos migrate. This is a great snorkeling beach for underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers can enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat.
Afternoon: Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill. A dry landing, then a walk to a brackish water lagoon frequented by stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands. This area is a natural nesting site for land iguanas, constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Researach Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for bird watching, where Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbords, the endemic Galapagos flycatacher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings.
Day 7 Monday
Morning: Baltra Airport: Disembark yacht and transfer to Baltra Airport for the return flight to the mainland.
Included in the Cruise Rate:
All meals on yacht, daily excursions led by experienced English-speaking naturalist guides, glass-bottom boat outings, snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins, floating device & mesh bag), bottled drinking water, transfer from main hotels in Quito & Guayaquil to/from airport for Galapagos flights (Quito: Casa Gangotena, Hiolton Colon, Swissotel, Marriott, Dann Carlton; Guayaquil: Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, HKampton Inn, Sheraton).
Round-trip airfare (figured separately & prepaid); Galapagos Park Fee, Galapagos Transit Control Card; tips to guide, crew and staff; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, wet suit rental.