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Family Cruise to the Western Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard M/V Origin, Theory & Evolve
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This 8-day Galapagos cruise specially designed for families with children covers the highlights of the Western Islands. Spend your days discovering the beauty and wonders of the Galapagos and exploring the wildlife-rich shores of San Cristobal, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Fernandina, Isabela, and Santiago. Celebrate crossing the equator with a King Neptune kid's costume party and enjoy shipboard educational activities such as board games, games with prizes, drawing contests, talent shows, and ice cream social sundaes. 
Sally light-foot crab crawling on the beachPractice your Stand-up Paddle Board skills in the Sea of CortezSea lionKayak with friendly and curious sea lions.South plaza
  • Enjoy kid-friendly snorkeling surrounded by sea lions in Genovesa
  • Zodiac ride through a series of coves and islets at Black Turtle Cove
  • Explore Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine island in the Galapagos
  • Visit Charles Darwin Station and meet Galapagos giant tortoises
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: San Cristobal | Embark

Arrive at San Cristobal and travel by bus to the dock, and then by Zodiac to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served. In the afternoon travel by bus to the highlands to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado) where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises. This information center gives the entire family the opportunity to learn about the tortoises' origin, evolution, and threats from introduced animals. Along the trail, find the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Join your fellow yacht mates this evening for your first briefing followed by your Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by your well-trained chefs. Kid-friendly menus are offered for the younger ones.

Day 2: Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in the Galapagos for bird species. Experience a family wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Opuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigatebirds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich intertidal zone where you can find a wide diversity of wildlife. After lunch, land at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in palo santo trees and Nazca boobies nest near the trail. In an open lava field you can find storm petrels in large numbers. Look for the beautiful red-billed tropic bird found in the crevices along the cliff by kayak or Zodiac. You can choose a family swim or a kid-friendly snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these warmer northern waters. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner before you and your family cross the equator.

Day 3: Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit Las Bachas, which is the Spanish translation for “barges”. There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where you can find the greater flamingo, pelicans, white-cheeked pintail ducks, stilts, and iguanas. There is also a wonderful chance to take a stroll along the beach or a family swim from the shore. At Black Turtle Cove the family can enjoy a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you can view pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks, and golden cow-nosed rays. Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Dragon Hill. Along the trail, you can find Darwin finches, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers, Audubon shearwater, and the endemic land iguanas. Orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs, these iguanas were once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. Find pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds: stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, and more. From the top of the hill, enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, palo santo, and Cordia lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the third time.

Day 4: Fernandina | Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Land at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine Island in the Galapagos with no introduced mammals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in the Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Take a family snorkel with sea turtles and marine iguanas. After lunch, cross the Bolivar Chanel site to look for whales and dolphins riding the bow wave.

In the afternoon, disembark at Urbina Bay, Isabela, where you can find four miles of its coastal seabed, with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises, and Darwin finches. Brown pelicans and flightless cormorants also nest here. Giant marine iguanas are seen along the coast. You may encounter penguins while snorkeling here. At Punta Vicente Roca, take a Zodiac family ride to an incredible view of the tuff walls and enter the wave-sculpted cave where you can find sea turtles and penguins, flightless cormorants, and fur seals. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.

Day 5: Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore by zodiac Elizabeth Bay, starting with a visit to a secluded cove lined with large red mangrove trees. Here, turtles, rays, and shore birds can be seen. Sail to the rocky islets, known as “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting penguins, flightless cormorants, and giant marine iguanas are found.

Today relax with the entire family and enjoy a lunch served out on the sun deck in a calm bay. In the afternoon land at Tagus Cove, located on the western island of Isabela and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans, and other seabirds. Experience a family uphill hike that brings you to a salt water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields, and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling site is offered from the zodiac or take out a kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons you to go on deck and enjoy a family night observing the galaxy while crossing the equator for the last time.

Day 6: Santiago | Rabida

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, Santiago and encourage your children to look for octopus, starfish, and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers, and yellow-crowned night herons. Your walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where you encounter fur sea lions, once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a kid-friendly snorkeling opportunity.

After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here. Disembark on Rabida, located near James Island. Stroll along the trail, where you can find marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin finches leading to a salt water lagoon. After the walk, there is a not-to-miss snorkeling option with tropical fish, white-tipped sharks, and sea lions. Return to the yacht for dinner and a briefing.

Day 7: Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
**Since Aug 2020, yachts are no longer able to visit Darwin Station as regularly listed in the day description below. We expect these restrictions to lift at some point in the future.**

Travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Here, take a family visit to the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias”, one of the private farms in the highlands where you can encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in the Galapagos.  

In the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and see all three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Visit Puerto Ayora, the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000 inhabitants. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and dinner or you can take a family exploration through the town. Zodiacs are provided for those who choose to return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet café.

Day 8: San Cristobal | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Visit by bus the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 . Here the entire family can gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands.

In the afternoon, transfer with your family to the airport for your connecting flight to the mainland.


M/V Origin, Theory & Evolve

Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts
Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts
Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts

Dates & Prices

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cabins measure 145 square feet (13.5 square meters) and offer unobstructed views of the ocean with large windows revealing the incredible landscapes of the islands and breathtaking ocean.
Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts
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All 10 cabins feature two twin beds that can be converted to one king bed. There are 2 cabins with interconnecting doors.
Origin & Theory Galapagos Yachts
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Single cabins are limited. A share request may be placed and if matched, the share rate will apply. Otherwise, the single rate will apply.


Please note:
Age restrictions: Children under 7 years of age are not accepted unless the parents or legal guardians sign a hold harmless release. Children age 11 and younger are permitted only on a designated family departure. Children under the age of 5 are only permitted on exclusive charter basis.

Ecoventura has made arrangements with VERIS, a certified lab in Ecuador to provide a PCR test on Saturday morning for guests who need to show a negative test result within 3 days before their return flight home. The cost is $125 and can be added to your onboard account and paid in cash or credit card. The test results are available on Sunday.

Child Discount

Children age 17 years and younger at the time of sailing are entitled to a 15% discount off the cruise rate. Child discounts are conditional and may not apply on certain departures. Please contact us for more information.

Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, transparent sea kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are all included in the cruise cost and are available for your use onboard.
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide 
  • Adventure Life Pre-departure Services and In-Country Assistance (Quito Representative)
  • Shore Excursions, Swimming and Snorkeling 
  • Transfers and Baggage Handling in the Galapagos
  • Wifi
  • All non-alcoholic beverages onboard are included in the cost of your cruise, as well as a limited variety of wine, beer, and spirits.
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Galapagos Park Entrance Fee: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • If you are traveling to the Galapagos, your crew will work very hard to make your Galapagos adventure most enjoyable.  At the end of the voyage, tips will be collected and distributed among your guide and other members of the crew. Gratuities or tips are always at your discretion.

    For passengers on the MV Origin, it is recommended that you budget a $350-400 gratuity per person, per week. For passengers on the Letty, it is recommended that you budget a $250-300 gratuity per person, per week. This is, of course, if you are pleased with the service on board.


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