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Galapagos penguin swimming underwater

Northwestern Islands I

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Archipell I
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This Galapagos cruise highlights the archipelago's beautiful northwestern islands. Known for their striking volcanic features, pristine white sand beaches, and peaceful lagoons, these islands are a great place to get to know the Galapagos! This 8-day cruise is packed full of amazing opportunities to snorkel, swim, and wander through the islands of this archipelago. Take pleasure in the wide variety of flora and fauna here as well as spectacular scenery.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Baltra | Embark | Highlands | Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Islands
Day 2 : Tintoreras | Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza | Wetlands, Isabela Island
Day 3 : Moreno Point | Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island
Day 4 : Tagus Cove, Isabela Island | Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island
Day 5 : Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island | North Seymour
Day 6 : Prince Philip's Steps | Darwin Bay, Genovesa
Day 7 : Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
Day 8 : Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Island | Disembark | Baltra

Highlights

  • Encounter terrestrial and marine species on every island
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center & learn about local conservation
  • Hike through a stunning volcanic landscape
  • Enjoy snorkeling with sea lions at Elizabeth Bay

Ship

Archipell I

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Bachas Beach
  • Baltra
  • Bartolome
  • Charles Darwin Center
  • Darwin Bay
  • Elizabeth Bay
  • Espinosa Point
  • Fernandina
  • Genovesa
  • Highlands
  • Humedales and Wall of Tears
  • Isabela
  • Las Tintoreras
  • North Seymour
  • Prince Philip's Steps
  • Punta Moreno
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sullivan Bay
  • Tagus Cove

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Galapagos penguin swimming underwater Hike in Bartolome Sea lions Snorkelers making their way through crystal clear waters. Galapagos Tortoise close up

Day 1 Baltra | Embark | Highlands | Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today your guide awaits for you at Baltra Airport and takes you to the Archipell Catamaran which anchors in Puerto Ayora harbor. After arrival on board, check in and receive general information, then enjoy your first lunch on board.

Afterwards get ready for your first excursion visit to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, and see incredible areas of vegetation. Later visit the private farm “Las Primicias”. This reserve offers you one of the best possibilities to see giant Galapagos tortoises of Santa Cruz Island in their natural habitat. You can observe them from a very close distance.

Then stop at Charles Darwin Research Station, which features an information center, a museum, a library and a tortoise breeding station. In the tortoise breeding station you can encounter tortoises of different subspecies, which get prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. This was the home of the famous Lonesome George turtle.

Day 2 Tintoreras | Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza | Wetlands, Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Isabela Island is the largest of the archipelago with a surface of 4588 square kilometers. It engages more than the half of the land area of whole Galapagos. Take an easy walk through the unique lava landscape with its huge colonies of sea lizard and sea lion colonies on the island of Tintoreras. Have a chance to observe white tip sharks resting in the flat water near the shore.

Visit the Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza, the Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela, located 1.5 km from Puerto Villamil. You can walk or drive. 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 reproduced in captivity. In total there are 330 between juvenile and adult tortoises. Explore the Breeding Center's beautiful gardens, consisting of native plants, such as manchineel (poisonous apple tree), mesquite, prickly pear, holy stick, lime prickly-ash, thorn shrub, Galapagos croton, Glorybower, Sea Island or Creole cotton, radiate-headed plants, yellow cordia, snowberry or milkberry, myrtle, nickerbean or nickernut and Darwin's Daisy.

Afterwards stop at Humedales (The Wetlands), a complex 6km long trail, located south of Isabela Island. They have a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as a spectacular scenery of the bay, the town of Puerto Villamil, volcanoes, islets and rocks. Isabela wetlands present both natural and introduced species.

Day 3 Moreno Point | Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Punta Moreno has a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons. This is a great habitat for flamingos, bahama ducks and other birds. Later travel to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay with little off-shore islands. There you can see little dwarf penguins as well as schools of manta rays, turtles and other giants of the ocean such as whale-sharks and others. The mangrove woods are home of different seabirds and herons. Elizabeth Bay is a marine visitor site. The excursion is carried out in a zodiac because there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands lives. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions.

Day 4 Tagus Cove, Isabela Island | Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a tour along the cliffs of Tagus Cove in a zodiac to get a good chance at seeing the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where several volcanoes and the Darwin Lake can be viewed. This is an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea.

Espinoza Point is one of Fernandina’s visit points and is situated within a fascinating lava scenery with Lava-Cactuses and on the surface of the lava growing mangroves. The highlights are sea lions, penguins, the flightless cormorant (especially in spring and summer) and one of the biggest iguana colonies of Galapagos. Do not miss a snorkeling trip during which you have the possibility to explore the beautiful underwater world.

Day 5 Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island | North Seymour

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Las Bachas is a beautiful white-sand beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Go for a stroll or do some easy snorkeling in the gentle surf. Sea turtles lay their eggs at the edge of the vegetation here. There is a rusted pontoon, a relic of the Second World War also at this location. Two barges were wrecked offshore at that time. 

Afterwards, join an excursion to North Seymour, an island located slightly to the north of Baltra. It is a low, flat island, formed as a result of submarine lava formation uplift. Covered with low vegetation, it contains the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos. There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies that perform an amusing courtship dance when nesting conditions are right. It really is one of the highlights of this island.

Day 6 Prince Philip's Steps | Darwin Bay, Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
El Barranco (Prince Philip’s Steps) is a staircase carved out of stone. This staris lead you to a wide plateau, where you can observe large colonies of masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and bahama ducks. During this easy stroll cross a little Scalesia woodland, in which you can observe the short-eared owl. The same path leads you back to your catamaran.

In the afternoon visit Darwin Bay, the only sandy beach found in the crater of Genovesa Island. Colonies of great frigates are found along the beach. The males exhibit their red balloon pouch to females in hope of a match. Red-footed boobies nest in the trees in contrast to the other two booby species which nest in the ground.

Day 7 Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning land at Bartolomé Island and admire the spectacular panorama of Sullivan Bay and the famous Pinnacle Rock. The beaches at the foot of Pinnacle Rock are excellent for snorkeling and for discovering the marvelous Galapagos underwater world. In the afternoon, visit Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago. Then, land on a white coral sand beach and begin your walk over lava that flowed less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of the Galapagos.

Day 8 Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Island | Disembark | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
In the morning, continue down to Puerto Ayora and tour the important Charles Darwin Research Station where you can visit one of the largest Galapagos tortoises and land iguana breeding centers. The local guide gives you a detailed explanation on the islands evolution. After that, transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador.

Archipell I

Per person starting at
$5,135
Archipell I & II's Twin Cabin.
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Standard Cabin
8 cabins with twin or double beds. Feature private facilities with hot & cold water, A/C.

Notes

Please reserve your kayak in advance prior to trip

Child Discount

20% discount for children under age 12 at time of Galapagos cruise

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

Included

  • Accommodations on board Archipell I 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
  • Sea Kayaking

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
  • Wetsuits available - $10/day per person
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

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

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Callie W

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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