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Sea lion by the kayaks

Western Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Natural Paradise
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On this 8-day Western Islands cruise, explore the rocky beach of Dragon Hill, an excellent snorkeling place at high tide. Land at Fernandina Island, and walk through a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions. Sail to Moreno Point, a location where lava has left craters in its wake which formed crystal tide pools full with marine life. Discover Champion Islet, a small island located just offshore Floreana, considered as one of the most beautiful places on Galapagos for all snorkeling and diving fans. Visit Española Island for a close encounter with blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, and Nazca boobies, and finish your journey cruising to Sea Lion Island in San Cristobal.

 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santa Cruz Island | Embark
Day 2 : Isabela | Fernandina Islands
Day 3 : Isabela Island
Day 4 : Isabela Island
Day 5 : Chinese Hat | Mosquera Islets
Day 6 : Floreana Island
Day 7 : Española
Day 8 : San Cristobal | Disembark

Highlights

  • Observe seven species of finches at Sierra Negra Volcano, Isabela Island
  • Sail to Mosquera Islet, the island with the largest population of sea lions
  • Hike to Cormorant Point's saltwater lagoon, home to flamingos
  • Snorkel at Devil's Crown, the best snorkeling site in the Galapagos

Ship

Natural Paradise

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Baltra
  • Centro de Crianza (Turtle Breeding Ctr.)
  • Chinese Hat
  • Dragon Hill
  • Espanola
  • Espinosa Point
  • Fernandina
  • Floreana
  • Gardner Bay
  • Humedales and Wall of Tears
  • Isabela
  • Isla Lobos
  • Mosquera
  • Post Office Bay
  • Punta Cormorant
  • Punta Moreno
  • Punta Suarez
  • San Cristobal
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Urbina Bay
  • Vicente Roca Point

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Sea lion by the kayaks Galapagos beach Sierra Negra, Isabela Island, Galapagos Blue-footed booby mating dance Flamingo wading in the water

Day 1 Santa Cruz Island | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil arrive at San Cristobal Island. Pass through immigration and meet the Natural Paradise staff for a transfer to the yacht. Take some time to settle in your cabin before lunch and the welcome briefing.

In the afternoon visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz. The visitor's site at Dragon Hill is located on the northwestern part of Santa Cruz Island and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments although it is only slightly less than a mile long (1,600 meters). The beach is very rocky. At high tide it’s a nice place for snorkeling. At this site you can find vegetation typical of the intertidal and dry zones.

Day 2 Isabela | Fernandina Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, visit Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. As you snorkel keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (or sun fish).

In the afternoon, cross the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, and land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, reach the island’s highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.

Day 3 Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, sail to Urbina Bay, located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954 causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling with turtles, rays, and tropical fishes.

In the afternoon, visit Moreno Point located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. Here experience a dry landing onto what was once flowing lava. The lava has left craters in its wake which formed crystal tide pools. By looking into the pools, you can peer into another world as the marine life drifts by your window. In the brackish pools of this area, you may see pink amingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules. If you look carefully into the pools, you may see white-tip reef sharks and some sea turtles.

Day 4 Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The morning consists of a visit to the Sierra Negra Volcano, which is the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos with a diameter of 6.2 miles (10 km). The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to seven species of finches and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005. In this location you can experience unique horseback riding through volcanic landscapes.

In the afternoon, visit The Wall of Tears (El Muro de las Lágrimas) which is 65-feet-high (25 meters) and an important piece of the island's history. A penal colony existed on Isabela from 1945-1959, and the prisoners were forced to build the wall, stone by stone, while in isolation from the rest of the world. Thousands died during the construction. Many claim to feel the heavy energy of this historical site, and locals claim to hear cries in the wind.

Afterwards head to the Wetlands of Isabela Island, located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The Wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails, and gallinules. The Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path through the swamps.

Finally, visit Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center of Isabela. It is located about one mile (1.5 km) from Puerto Villamil. In this breeding center, populations from South Isabela Sierra Negra Volcano, Cerro Azul, Cazuela, Cinco Cerros, Roca Union, San Pedro, Tables and Cerro Paloma have been bred in captivity. In total there are 330 juvenile and adult tortoises.

Day 5 Chinese Hat | Mosquera Islets

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, visit Chinese Hat islet. This small islet is located near the southeast coast of Santiago Island. Its name comes from the distinct shape of the islet’s summit. This is a great location to view many geological formations such as lava tubes and lava flows. Some of the lava flows were formed underwater and subsequently raised above sea level. The presence of coral heads on the lava flow indicates this phenomenon.

In the afternoon, visit Mosquera Islet. Located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour, this reef of rocks and coral (the result of an uprising) is only 160 meters across at its narrowest width. This island has one of the largest populations of sea lions and is home to many shorebirds. There have been occasional reports at this site of orcas feeding on sea lions. In this location you have time to snorkel in crystal clear waters and go for a dinghy ride looking for marine life.

Day 6 Floreana Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, visit the famous Post Office Bay. Land on a beach and head to a spot where 18th-century whalers placed a wooden barrel used as an unofficial mail box. The custom continues to this day with Galapagos visitors. So, don’t forget your postcards, and don’t be surprised if the postcard arrives to its destination before you even get home!

In the afternoon, head to Cormorant Point. Here you can enjoy a hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingos. You also have time to swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Devil’s Crown. This extinct volcano peeks out of the waters just off of Floreana’s coast and offers a magnificent snorkeling experience.

Afterwards, visit Champion Islet, named after the whaler Andrew Champion, a small island located just offshore Floreana Island in the southern part of the Archipelago. This is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Galapagos for all snorkeling and diving fans and provides an excellent opportunity for dolphin watching.

Day 7 Española

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, visit Suarez Point. On the trail you have the chance to see blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, and Nazca boobies. This island is the breeding site of nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. Afterwards, visit a beautiful site on the ocean front where there is a cliff that the large albatrosses use as a launching pad! Here you have the chance to see the famous blowhole that spurts water into the air. The landscape is great for photography.

In the afternoon, an excursion takes you to the spectacular Gardner Bay. After landing, you can walk across a lovely white-sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. You may also see curious mockingbirds on the beach.

Day 8 San Cristobal | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
In the morning join an excursion to Lobos Island which means “Sea Lion Island.” This appropriately named island is ripe with noisy, playful, jolly sea lions who welcome you to their home with open, well, fins. This island also offers great snorkeling opportunities as well as the chance to see blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

After this final visit, be transferred to San Cristobal’s airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.

Natural Paradise

Per person starting at
$4,945
Natural Paradise Standard Suite
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Standard
4 standard cabins featuring convertible double twin beds or one matrimonial bed, all with private facilities. Porthole windows or panoramic windows. 172 sq ft / 16 sq m - 215 sq ft / 20 sq m.
Natural Paradise Suite
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Suite
3 suites available featuring one King size matrimonial bed, panoramic windows or private balcony, and private facilities. 355 sq ft / 33 sq m.
Natural Paradise Junior Suite
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Junior Suite
2 junior suites featuring two convertible double twin beds, both with private balconies. 226 sq ft / 21 sq m.

Notes

​Rates include:
  • All meals throughout cruise
  • Transfers in the islands
  • All excursions
  • Bilingual national park guide
  • Use of snorkeling equipment
  • Use of Underwater Camera
  • Wetsuit
  • Free airport assistance*
  • 1 hotel night in Quito or Guayaquil* (the day before the cruise)*
  • Free airport transfers*
*applies when purchasing airfare from Royal Galapagos.

Not included:
  • Mainland-Galapagos-Mainland airfare
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • $100 Galapagos National Park fee   *subject to change
  • $20 Transit Control Card
  • Travel / medical insurance
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

Child Discount

20% discount for children under 12 years of age

Children under 12 receive a discount of $135 off adult flight rates, and discounted Galapagos Entrance Fee of $50

Included

  • Accommodations on board Natural Paradise 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
  • Snorkeling Equipment
  • Wetsuit

Excluded

  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • $80 Galapagos Transit Card and Airport Assistance
  • $45 International Departure Tax
  • Under request
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

  • Quito - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $530 - $595
  • Guayaquil - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $475 - $540

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Jessica L

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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