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Green sea turtle swimming

Galapagos Northern Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Corals
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Embark on this exciting 8-day cruise of the amazing and incredible north islands of the Galapagos. Highlights of the north include beautiful Santa Cruz, wildlife-rich Isabela, cliff-laden Fernandina, and the amazing black beaches of Santiago. Enjoy the company of friendly sea lions while snorkeling or enjoy a hike across volcanic landscapes. There are many opportunities to get acquainted with the unique features of the islands, making this a truly amazing vacation. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Baltra | Embark | Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Santa Cruz
Day 2 : Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz | Bartolome
Day 3 : Rabida | Buccaneers Cove | Espumilla Beach, Santiago
Day 4 : Black Turtle Cove | Highlands Tortoise Reserve, Santa Cruz
Day 5 : Vicente Roca Point, Isabela | Espinosa Point, Fernandina
Day 6 : Urbina Bay | Tagus Cove, Isabela
Day 7 : Egas Port | Sullivan Bay, Santiago
Day 8 : Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra

Highlights

  • Learn about Charles Darwin Station´s efforts to preserve the environment
  • Explore Dragon Hill´s brackish lagoon and look for feeding flamingos
  • Snorkel and swim with sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks at Bartolome
  • Explore Urbina Bay´s volcanic black sand beach in search of more wildlife

Ship

Corals

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Bachas Beach
  • Baltra
  • Bartolome
  • Black Turtle Cove
  • Buccaneer Cove
  • Charles Darwin Center
  • Dragon Hill
  • Espinosa Point
  • Espumilla Beach
  • Fernandina
  • Highlands
  • Isabela
  • Puerto Egas
  • Rabida
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sullivan Bay
  • Tagus Cove
  • Urbina Bay
  • Vicente Roca Point

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Green sea turtle swimming Bartolome Beach (Rabida) A bull and his harem beautiful cruise along Isabela The late Lonesome George trying to be young again, Santa Cruz Island

Day 1 Baltra | Embark | Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Santa Cruz

Arrive to the Galapagos and transfer to your ship, the Corals. On the afternoon cruise to Santa Cruz Island and visit the station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of his species) lived for decades. The center is conducted by the Galapagos National Park staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects, botanical research, providing environmental education to communities, schools within the Islands and tourists. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety of Darwin finches and other land birds. If there is enough time visit the town and shop for souvenirs.

Day 2 Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz | Bartolome

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingoes can be occasionally found. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.

Land in Bartolome Island and discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones —and hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. Encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Enjoy the beach and snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.

Day 3 Rabida | Buccaneers Cove | Espumilla Beach, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Land in Rabida Island and walk through its dark-red sand unique beaches. Rábida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September as are nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting seabirds, and snorkel off the coast where marine life is particularly active.

In the afternoon visit Buccaneers Cove an amazing location featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions. Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Afterwards, stop at Espumilla Beach, a white-sandy beach in James Bay and a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes you can observe a nesting site for sea turtles. This is an ideal place to snorkel with see rays.

Day 4 Black Turtle Cove | Highlands Tortoise Reserve, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discover the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea where four species of mangrove crowd from the shore out into the lagoon, turtles enjoy swimming in the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while fish, rays and small sharks circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat. Sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets, all feed in the cove. This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary”.

In the afternoon visit the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.

Day 5 Vicente Roca Point, Isabela | Espinosa Point, Fernandina

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, visit Vicente Roca Point, a high peak of land created out of remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on both sides. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks. The dinghy ride along the coast allows observing a great diversity of seabirds like noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once during the cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.

In the afternoon visit Espinosa Point, on Fernandina Island, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally lightfoot crabs. Fernandina displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos hawk. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with few brachycereus cacti and in the shore mangrove can be found.

Day 6 Urbina Bay | Tagus Cove, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit Isabela Island, stopping at Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove. In the morning explore the volcanic black sand beach of Urbina Bay, in search of giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is usual in May – December.

This afternoon, make your way over to Tagus Cove and learn about the volcanoes that formed Isabela Island. Follow a trail that leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake for excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. Return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where you can admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, flightless cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics. Afterwards, have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water.

Day 7 Egas Port | Sullivan Bay, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning travel to Santiago Island, stopping of at Egas Port, a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.

In the afternoon visit Sullivan Bay, a site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.

Day 8 Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning cruise to Bachas Beach, home to two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. At this paradisiacal site, you can also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.

After the visit, passengers transfer to the airport for your return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

Corals

Per person starting at
$3,605
A standard cabin aboard the Corals
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Standard Cabin
Two on Coral I and one on Coral II. Panoramic skylights, located on the Sea Deck. Average area of 97 sq ft.
A Standard Plus cabin aboard the corals
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Standard Plus Cabins
Eight on Coral I and four on Coral II. Panoramic skylights, located on the Sea Deck. Average size 118 sq ft.
A Junior Cabin
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Junior Cabins
Eight on Coral I and six on Coral II. Two triple cabins available. Panoramic windows, located on Earth & Sky Decks. Average size 129 sq ft.

Child Discount

Children under 12 years old receive 50% discount, or 25% on holiday season sharing cabin with two full-fare paying guests.

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

Included

  • Accommodations on board Corals 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

Excluded

  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • Fuel Surcharge
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • $80 Galapagos Transit Card and Airport Assistance
  • $45 International Departure Tax
  • Wetsuits available - $25 for 4-day and 5-day tours, $50 for 8-day, 11-day and 12 day tours, and $75 for 15-day tours
  • Kayak available for $30/use
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

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

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Kassandra Miller
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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
Karen Snider

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