Southern Islands Cruise

Edward Quinlan
Darwin's statue in the Galapagos
Brian Morgan
Iguana found during a Galapagos wildlife cruise
Laura Cahill
Can you see them? They're blending.
Lynessa Nelson
A giant turtle from the Galapogos.
Yvonne Smith
Kids loving Santa Cruz Island
Relax on Darwin's sun deck.
Dining area aboard the Darwin.

Day-By-Day Summary

Departs

  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Aug 14, 2014
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Sep 11, 2014
  • Sep 25, 2014
  • Oct 09, 2014
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Nov 06, 2014
  • Nov 20, 2014
  • Dec 04, 2014
  • Dec 18, 2014

Private Independent Travel

Bartolome

View from Bartolome Island

This island is home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, which is the most representative landmark of the Bartolome Island in Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. Climbing to the top of this popular landmark rewards visitors with panoramic views of varied lave formations, volcanic peaks and moon-like landscape. Walking on the rocks at the base of Pinnacle Rock are Galapagos Penguins. This is the smallest species of penguins and the only species found north of the Equator.

At the beach on the southern side, if you come in the right season, you can see nesting sea turtles resting in the sand or wading in the shallow water. You might also spot a white-tipped reef shark patrolling the close to the shore.

This island was formed by volcanic activity and since it is relatively young, the colonization is very fragile. Therefore it is important to be careful and stay as much as possible on the trails.

Charles Darwin Center

Visit the world famous Charles Darwin Research Center where efforts to protect and preserve the native and endemic animals are developed. Learn about the giant tortoise rearing programs.

The Charles Darwin Research Center was created in 1960 by an international committee in order to promote research, conservation, and education in the Galapagos Islands. The center is located on Isla Santa Cruz, a short walk away from Puerto Ayora. At the center, visitors can tour the Van Straelen Exhibition Center where staff members are available to answer questions about the islands and the ongoing restoration process. The center also runs slide shows (narrated in several languages) that describe the history of the islands and the current conservation efforts.

In addition to the exhibition center, the tortoise rearing house and the adult tortoise house, provide opportunities for visitors to observe the 11 subspecies of tortoises up close. In the rearing house, hatchlings and young tortoises are nurtured until they can be released, at about four years of age, to their home islands. Nearly 2000 young tortoises have been released so far!

Tortoises that cannot be released back into the wild find their home in the adult tortoise house, an area with several different enclosures for the education and protection of tortoises from each subspecies. Handling the tortoises is prohibited, but this is a great place to get close up photos of the tortoises feeding on cacti and snoozing by the artificial pond.

Beyond the tortoises are several shaded patios along the elevated boardwalks that weave throughout the center. Here visitors can take a break from the crowds and observe many of the native bird species, including Darwin's famous finches.

Espanola

This is southernmost island and because of its remote location, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. For example it is the breeding site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. These large birds perform one of the most spectacular rituals of the animal world. Watching them take off is an unforgettable moment. Espanola teems with mockingbirds, blue-footed and masked boobies, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, hawks, red and green marine iguanas, and sea lions. Watch Blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos Islands with Adventure Life

Gardener Bay offers great opportunities for enjoying some beach time in the Galapagos. Here the mockingbirds will be the center of your attention as they keep you company on top of your hat or investigating your belongings.

Punta Suarez is quite an amazing site and one of the most attractive in the Galapagos, because of the quantity and variety of wildlife. The trail along the island will take you past sea lions surfing the breaking waves, iguanas basking in the warm sun and boobies nesting right in your path. The trail continues towards the cliffs and the blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high in the air like a geyser.

Floreana

This is one of the islands that has the most interesting human history. It was one of the earliest islands to be inhabited. In 1793 a post office barrel was erected on Floreana to facilitate delivery to the United States and Europe. Today, this area of the island is of course called Post Office Bay. You will also find the remains of a Norwegian commercial fish drying and canning operation in this area and a lava tube that extends to the sea.

At Punta Cormorant more than 50 volcanic cones rise in an 80-mile area. Pink flamingos, clear water and interesting coral growths make this a perfect spot for snorkeling.

The Devil's Crown is a volcanic crater near Floreana that has been eroded by the waves. Here snorkelers are immersed in a world of color and movement filled with schools of fish that move as one: king angelfish, yellowtail surgeonfish, and needlefish. There are also parrotfish, Moorish idols, and damselfish, sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, sleeping sharks, turtles, rays and many more, making this one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos.

Highlands

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and the only island where six different vegetation zones can be seen: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia and Pampa zones. Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Center, where visitors can observe tortoise research and breeding programs. A trip to the Highlands offers the chance to see enormous pit craters, lava tunnels, and giant tortoises roaming freely.

North Seymour

North Seymour was like a few other islands, uplifted by underground seismic activity. This tiny island is packed with countless sea lions and it's one of the most popular breeding grounds for sea birds. A very large colony of frigate birds nest here, and it's almost guaranteed to see a few males proudly displaying their red pouches to impress a mate.

It is also one of the best places to see blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of their courtship dance, which is quite peculiar and amusing. Also, while visiting this island, you might very well witness a great show of acrobatic flight, namely a frigate bird robbing a booby, a gull or even another frigate bird of their food.

Santa Cruz Island

Looking out into the harbor in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic Turtle crossing sign on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands center of the archipelago, with the largest population of the 4 inhabited islands, approximately 8,000. Tourism, fishing, boat building and commerce are the major productive activities. Santa Cruz is also the only island where six different vegetation zones can be seen: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia and Pampa zones.

Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Station, where visitors can observe tortoise research and breeding programs. Scientists, park rangers, and park managers among others conduct the conservation of the islands and make huge efforts to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A trip to the lush greenery of the Santa Cruz highlands offers a welcome contrast with the arid scenery of the smaller, lower islands. You will get a chance to see enormous pit craters, lava tunnels and giant tortoises roaming freely.

Santa Fe

Unlike most of the islands in the Galapagos that were formed by volcanic eruptions, Santa Fe was formed by an uplift caused by tectonic activity. This means that the island does not have the typical cone shape. Santa Fe has one of the most beautiful coves of all the visitor sites in the region - a turquoise lagoon protected by a peninsula of rocks and small islands that extends from the shore.

Hike along the coastline and discover colorful flora and fauna. The well-known land iguanas here can grow over five feet long. The Sanfa Fe species of iguana are more bright yellow and have uncommonly large spikes on their spine. In true Galapagos style the opuntia cactus, a favorite food of the land iguana, has responded by growing tall and woody - up to 33 feet high and are the largest of their kind in Galapagos. Manta rays and sea turtles flit by as dark shadows against the sandy bottom of Santa Fe's beautiful anchorage.

After a long hike, relax with a swim in the calm waters of the beautiful bay, or snorkel along in the company of sea lions at the base of the rocks.

Santiago

Cactus on Santiago Island

This island was once home to a salt mining enterprise and its remains can still be seen if you walk from the black beach where you land, and continue along the coast. You will also see many inter-tidal pools that are homes to a large variety of invertebrate organisms.

Fur seals were thought to have gone extinct by 1905, but have since made a dramatic comeback. Santiago provides habitat for many of the 30-40,000 fur seals that call the Galapagos home. If you plan on taking pictures of the fur seals, Puerto Egas is an excellent spot. At dawn or sunset, the light is perfect for great photography. There are also plenty of sea lions on the black beach of Puerto Egas.

Take a moment after exploring the island and swim with the playful sea lions off the coast of two small coral-lined beaches.

South Plaza Island

This small steep-cliffed island was formed by uplifted lava and is covered by opuntia cactuses - a tree like cactus endemic to Galapagos. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies. Be careful not to get too close! Each colony is lead by a bull and consists of 15-20 females. After about 3 months of playing king, these bulls retire to the "Bachelors" colony and rest. These colonies consist also of very young bulls that are still too young to hold a territory or be a threat to the reining bull.

Also, on South Plaza, you will find the lazy but colorful yellow and red land iguana. This animal likes this island because of its richness in the opuntia cactus, which is an iguana delicacy. There are about 700 iguanas on the island and this species seems to be one of the smallest iguana species.

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2014-Jul-31
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2014-Aug-28
2014-Sep-11
2014-Sep-25
2014-Oct-09
2014-Oct-23
2014-Nov-06
2014-Nov-20
2014-Dec-04
2014-Dec-18
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$100.00 Fuel Surcharge
Places
South America, Galapagos, Ecuador, Bartolome, Santa Cruz Island, Santiago, Santa Fe, South Plaza Island, North Seymour, Espanola, Floreana, Bachas Beach, Highlands, Charles Darwin Center, Puerto Egas, Baltra, Sullivan Bay, Mirador de la Baronesa, Punta Cormorant, Devil's Crown, Gardner Bay, Osborn Islet, Punta Suarez, Buccaneer Cove
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Child Discount

10% discount for children under age 5 at time of Galapagos cruise
Children under 12 receive a discount of $135 off adult flight rates, and discounted Galapagos Entrance Fee of $50

Cancellation Policy

Days Prior to departureFee
115 days or moreDeposit
114-0 days100% cruise cost

Single Supplement

This yacht requires single travelers to pay a supplement for private accommodations unless a roommate can be found.

Deposit & Payment

Initial deposit is 35% ($400 minimum), and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/register

Final payment is due 115 days prior to departure.

Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 115 days prior to departure.

Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.

Includes

  • Accommodations on board Darwin based on double occupancy
  • Meals while in the Galapagos
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide
  • Shore Excursions
  • Swimming and Snorkeling
  • Adventure Life Pre-departure Services and In-Country Assistance (Quito Representative)
  • Transfers and Baggage Handling in the Galapagos

Excludes

  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • Fuel Surcharge
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • $35 Galapagos Transit Card and Airport Assistance
  • $45 International Departure Tax
  • Snorkeling equipment rental available for $10 for 4 days
  • $360 Scuba Diving Option: possible with a minimum of 2 passengers. Included in fare: personal diving equipment, dive master and two immersions
  • Wetsuit rental available for $15 for up to 5 days, $25 for 8 days
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

    Quito - Galapagos Roundtrip

  • $530 - $590

    Guayaquil - Galapagos Roundtrip

  • $475 - $520

Optional Hospitality Packages