Western Islands Cruise

Glory Moore
Sea lion coming in from a swim
Erin Correia
Hiking in search of giant tortoises.
John Collins Jr.
A pair of Blue Footed Boobies
Laura Cahill
Can you see them? They're blending.
A pair of friendly sea lions
Relax on Darwin's sun deck.
Dining area aboard the Darwin.

Day-By-Day Summary

Departs

  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Oct 05, 2014
  • Oct 19, 2014
  • Nov 02, 2014
  • Nov 16, 2014
  • Nov 30, 2014
  • Dec 14, 2014
  • Dec 28, 2014

Private Independent Travel

Black Turtle Cove

This lovely cove includes a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz Island. There are no landing sites so most visitors travel via panga or kayak. The calm lagoon provides a nursery for many sharks and rays. Sightings of white-tipped reef sharks, hammerheads, golden rays, spotted eagle rays, and black-tipped reef sharks are relatively common. Pelicans and herons also frequent the area and sea turtles can sometimes be seen mating in the mangrove-lined waters.

Dragon Hill

Dragon Hill is one of the newest visitor's sites on Santa Cruz Island. Named for the large number of land iguanas that frequent the area, Dragon Hill has become an important nesting site for iguanas reintroduced there by the Charles Darwin Research Center.

Visitors will take a short walk from the beach to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon that is frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. From here, they will pass through a Scalesia tree forest. Endemic to the Galapagos, there are only 400 specimens of the Scalesia tree left in the world. Past the forest, hike up Dragon Hill itself for impressive views of the bay.

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.

Isabela

Isabela is the largest and one of the most volcanically active islands in the Galapagos. The island has five active volcanoes and it is well known for the 5 subspecies of giant tortoise that live in the cloudforests of Isabela. These forests, as well as the massive volcanoes silhouetting against the sky, offers a remarkable contrast to the lower islands of the eastern archipelago. West of Isabela, you might very well catch a glimpse of humpback whales breaching completely out of the water, as well as playful dolphins. Stingrays, small sharks, and turtles are found in mangrove lagoons on Isabela.

Tagus Cove is one of the landing spots on the island and was historically used as an anchoring site for pirates and whalers. The trail that goes from Tagus Cove will take you through many different vegetation zones and offers spectacular views of Darwin Lake, which is a saltwater crater lake. Once you get to the top of the trail, you will be able to see Darwin Volcano as well as Wolf Volcano, which is the highest point of the islands.

Rabida

One of the special features of Rabida is the remarkable red color, which is a result go the high percentage of oxidized iron in the composition of the lava.

Rábida is a bird-watchers delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as 9 varieties of finches, large billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. The dark red sand beaches and a horde of snoring sea lions make for spectacular snorkeling. Also, the island is home to the skinny legged Flamingo, which can be seen in a salt-water lagoon near the beach.

From the observatory on the southeastern part of the island, you can appreciate the red color of the beach and the rocks surrounding it.

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.

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2014-Nov-30
2014-Dec-14
2014-Dec-28
Get RatesGet Rates
$100.00 Fuel Surcharge

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