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Sea lions on Rabida beach

Galapagos Central Islands Cruise

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Golondrina I
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Take a 5-day cruise through the central islands of the Galapagos, aboard the charming and comfortable Golondrina I. Spend your days exploring the enchanted archipelago, encountering Galapagos giant turtles,  sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays and much more! Visit some of the most popular destinations such as Tortuga Bay, Charles Darwin Research Station, Rabida, Dragon Hill and Black Turtle Cove. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Baltra | Embark | Tortuga Bay Beach, Santa Cruz
Day 2 : Charles Darwin Research Station | Hacienda Primicias, Santa Cruz
Day 3 : Tintoreras | Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza, Isabela
Day 4 : Rabida | Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz
Day 5 : Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra


  • Visit Tortuga Bay, a pristine beach covered with beautiful white sand
  • Explore the red sand beaches of Rabida, a colorful and popular destination
  • Snorkel with reef sharks, rays, marine turtles and sea lions


Golondrina I

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Baltra
  • Black Turtle Cove
  • Centro de Crianza (Turtle Breeding Ctr.)
  • Charles Darwin Center
  • Dragon Hill
  • Isabela
  • Las Tintoreras
  • Rabida
  • Santa Cruz
  • Tortuga Bay


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Sea lions on Rabida beach Beach on Isabela island Galapagos tortoise Lava tubes on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Land Iguana in the Galapagos

Day 1 Baltra | Embark | Tortuga Bay Beach, Santa Cruz

Arrive at Baltra Island, home of the main airport for the Galapagos Islands where tourists and colonists arrive and depart. Transfer to the hotel and attend to a welcome briefing before you board the Golondrina I.

Spend the remainder of your day in Tortuga Bay Beach, a pristine location covered with beautiful white sand beach. It takes around an hour walk to get the beach. Beautiful birds including the famous Galapagos finches can be admired. There are two beaches at Tortuga Bay, the main beach is used for surfing due to its strong waves, and there is also a site where sea is calm. After this visit you can enjoy the attractions of the night-life offered by the Island.  

Day 2 Charles Darwin Research Station | Hacienda Primicias, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, walk for about 20 minutes to the Charles Darwin Station, to observe the Galapagos Giant Turtles breading. The Darwin Station is part of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands, an international non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research in the Galápagos Islands since 1959.

After lunch, visit Hacienda Primicias to see Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Here the tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around eating grass and leaves and wallowing. Some highland birds, like cattle egrets, mockingbirds, finches or flycatchers can be seen here. After the hike return to the yacht for a delightful dinner and briefing.

Day 3 Tintoreras | Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast visit Tintoreras, located south of Puerto Villamil. It has a small bay of completely calm turquoise waters, where you can appreciate sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, and more. The bay is connected to a crevice of crystal clear water, that's shallow and when the tide is low, the entrance closes. In this crevice, you can see how reef sharks swim along with other small fish and sea lions.

Lunch on board and prepare yourself to visit the Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza. This center has a captive breeding program for tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela. Afterwards, disembark at Isabela's wetlands and walk for about 30 minutes. This area is characterized by sandy beaches, rocky shores, and mangroves. The area has a number of trails where you can see all four species of mangroves found in Galapagos and also migratory birds: whimbrel, short-billed dowitcher, Wilson’s phalarope, common tern, blue-winged teal, osprey, black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, greater and lesser yellowlegs to name a few.

Then take a bus to Wall of tears a sad reminder of the history of Isabela. The wall was constructed between 1946 and 1959 while Isabela was a penal colony. As punishment the prisoners were forced to build the wall from huge blocks of lava. The wall is named for the many convicts that died while building the wall. 

Day 4 Rabida | Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast disembark (wet landing) in one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago as well as a great snorkeling site. Start your day on Rabida's famous maroon sandy beach and after an easy hike (1 km aprox) arrive to a stunning lookout to enjoy the amazing landscapes.
The island is a birdwatcher's delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.

After lunch, walk to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon behind the beach, often frequented by flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. There is a short walk to the hill, which rewards with a great view of the bay and a resting site of land Iguanas. Many of the Iguanas that rest here have been repatriated by the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Day 5 Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast visit Black Turtle Cove, this destinaton is very special due to its lovely beach with sea lions and its clear, calm water. Black (Pacific Green) turtles and many different types of birds can be seen feeding here as you are paddled around the beautiful lagoons hidden in the mangroves. After this visit transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to Guayaquil/Quito.

Golondrina I

Per person starting at
Comfortable double cabins on board the Golodrina I
Select a Date
Lower Deck Cabins
Double cabins (upper/lower berths) with private bath and air conditioning
Select a Date
Upper/Main Deck Cabins
Double cabins (upper/lower berths) with private bath and air conditioning


Solo travelers can opt for a single cabin at 1.8 the posted fare

Child Discount

10% discount for children under age of 12 at time of Galapagos cruise. Not applicable for holiday departures

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


  • Accommodations on board Golondrina 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


  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • Snorkel equipment available - $20 for 4-day and 5-day tours, and $25 for 8-day tours
  • Wetsuits available - $30 for 4-day and 5-day tours, and $35 for 8-day tours
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

  • Quito - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $530 - $675
  • Guayaquil - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $475 - $620

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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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