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Playful sea lions

Northeast and Southern Islands

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Archipel I
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Experience the wildlife and landscape of the northeast and southern islands of the Galapagos on this 8-day cruise aboard the Archipel I. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking in the pristine crystalline waters of this incredible area. Tour the amazing black beaches of Santiago, explore Santa Fe's unique cactus forest, experience incredible close-up encounters with Galapagos giant tortoises, and much more! 
Pinnacle rock in BartolomeColorful kayaks on the beachWhite tipped sharkFloreana IslandPlayful sea lions
Highlights
  • Visit Darwin Bay, the only sandy beach in the crater of Genovesa Island
  • See the huge turtles of Santa Cruz Island in their natural habitat
  • Stop at Pitt Point, a site where all of the three types of boobies breed
  • Tour the highlands of Santa Fe, where land iguanas can be found
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Airport | Embark | Mosquera

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today your guide awaits for you at Baltra Airport, then be transferred to the Archipel Catamaran which is anchored in Baltra harbor. After arrival on board, check in, receive general information and enjoy your first lunch on board.

Afterwards, join an excursion to Mosquera Islet located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach where a big population of sea lions likes to relax. You can also observe several species of shorebirds and the site offers great snorkeling and swimming. Along the rocks, it is common to see the red lava crabs and sally light-foot crabs

Day 2: Prince Philip's Steps | Darwin Bay, Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Before landing, make an inflatable dinghy-ride along the eastern arm of the caldera. While you approach, the massive 25 m / 80 ft high walls become overwhelming. Sometimes, a Galapagos fur seal is resting or a seabird is nesting on one of the ledges at the base. Then, you have to hike and overcome the steep stairs from the landing dock to a bush of palo santo shrubs on top. Red-footed boobies gratefully use these scarce nesting-places; so that they don’t have to nest on the rocky ground. On arriving at the seaside of the rim, the bushes open up and you can enjoy wide views, a strong sea breeze and the amazing flying skills of uncountable seabirds. Following the exposed seaside rim, pass the Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places, where you might be lucky to spot the well-camouflaged short-eared owl hunting for them on foot!

In the afternoon head to Darwin Bay. Inside the submerged caldera of Genovesa lies Darwin Bay, with a diameter of more than 1,5 km / 1 mi and it is almost 200 m / 650 ft deep. The small area surprise you repeatedly, walking along a coral sand beach, crossing barren lava formations and creeks, passing tidal pools, shrubs and further ahead following the top of some cliffs. With this peaceful surrounding, every single species has occupied its own ecological niche (or habitat) without disturbing others.

Day 3: Bartolome | Sullivan Bay, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The beautiful volcano islet of Bartolome is among the youngest of the islands, and on a geological scale was just recently born out of fire. Although at first sight lifeless, Bartolome offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramas in the entire archipelago. To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic ‘Pinnacle Bay’ you have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114m/375ft). Enter a dramatic world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The Summit Trail is also ideal to witness how scanty pioneer vegetation such as lava cactus is struggling to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.

This afternoon set foot at Sullivan Bay. The desolate, stretched-out fields seem mostly lifeless, but there is plenty to see on this highly popular site amongst photographers. Pacific green turtles seasonally burry eggs in the tiny white sand beach, where you may also encounter crabs, a strayed blue heron or an oystercatcher. On the lava flow, only sparse pioneer vegetation such as lava cacti and carpetweed are able to grow. You might encounter a lava lizard, locusts or a small snake-species (Galapagos racer).

Day 4: Twin Craters and El Chato Reserve | Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The native scalesia forest of El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers – where you are guaranteed to find tortoises in their corrals – there is nothing better than to observe them in their wild environment. Though it can be quite moist and muddy, your visit may turn into an adventurous quest when they have left their favorite pond silently. The Twin Craters are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations are not really volcanic craters and were formed by magma domes, which hardened on the outside while the lava continued flowing inside, leaving huge and empty magma chambers that eventually collapsed, leaving two large holes

This afternoon you will visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre. At this site, you can observe tortoises that come from various islands of the archipelago. They comply with the captive breeding program and then return to repopulate the areas where their population has been affected. The land iguanas of Santa Cruz, Isabela and North Seymour are also in a captive breeding program, as the populations in these areas suffered from feral dogs.

Day 5: Cormorant Point and Devil’s Crown | Post Office Bay and Baroness Lookout, Floreana

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today land at Cormorant Point´s green olivine sand beach. The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which formed by a number of smaller volcanic cones, covered by tropical dry forest (palo santo). At the landing beach, be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. Next, Devil’s Crown offers one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos due to the coral reef in its centre, which attracts a lot of marine life. Here you can spot Galapagos penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, many different colourful fish and even some dolphins. The current can be a bit strong sometimes, so it should not be attempted by novice swimmers

In the afternoon visit Post Office Bay, one out of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s northern coast. Bring your postcards and post them in the peculiar barrel on this historic site. The barrel commemorates an improvised mail service that was set up for communication between British 16th century whalers and poachers. You can also climb the small basaltic cone of the Baroness Lookout, and enjoy the paradisiacal views of the coastline. This viewpoint was the favourite spot of one of Floreana's rst settlers, the eccentric baroness and self-proclaimed "Empress of Galapagos" Eloisa von Wagner, who even built her house a few metres further back.

Day 6: Osborn Islet and Gardner Bay | Suarez Point, Española

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. However, without a doubt, its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year-round in this nursery, suckling their pups until they are three years old, although they start to fish at five months. During the breeding and mating season, the colony becomes even bigger

Afterward visit Suarez Point, one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago. Huge ocean waves bang onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays meters high into the air (depending on the season, the tide, and how strong the sea breeze pushes the waves). Take your time for a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment into a lifetime experience.

Day 7: Pitt Point | Witch Hill, San Cristobal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning stop at Pitt Point, one of the only two sites where all of the three types of boobies breed and it is also the site where great frigate birds and swallow tailed gulls are seen. Two wind sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point make up the extreme eastern end of San Cristobal, and thus, the archipelago as well. These cliffs were the first sight of land when HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrived on September 15, 1835. On the small green sand beach, be welcomed by a group of barking Galapagos sea lions. This is a bachelor colony, where males usually relax and prepare themselves for fighting and mating.

Afterwards visit Witch Hill, one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach, an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Witch Hill is the remains of a tuff cone and one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls; as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times, the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt may be found in the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine.

Day 8: Lobos Islet | Interpretation Centre and Frigatebird Hill, San Cristobal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Lobos Islet beach harbors a colony of Galapagos sea lions. As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few meters. In the breeding season, this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating the harem on their part of the beach. This low islet houses more than just Galapagos sea lions. Two other emblematic species breed here. Male blue-footed boobies and great frigate birds try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances heaving their striking blue feet or blow-up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. During the breeding season, the fluffy and hungry chicks cry for food, and when their wings get strong enough they learn to fly.

Afterward, In the afternoon visit The Interpretation Centre, just outside the provincial capital city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which gives a perfect explanation of this unique archipelago. Its attractive exhibition is quite complete and helps you to get a clear overview and learn what makes this archipelago so unique. Information panels (in English and Spanish), pictures, documents, maquettes, and true-to-life dioramas tell various background and conservation stories about the islands in a different way.

Day 9: Santa Fe | South Plaza

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Santa Fe is the home of several endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of land iguanas of the islands. After disembarking in the beautiful and clear waters, you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail, many salt bushes can be seen as well as giant prickly pear cactus, gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands.

In the afternoon visit, South Plaza which is located to the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of a pair of islands known as “Islas Plazas”. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas' land iguanas are smaller than their relatives found on other islands. There are several hybrid iguanas throughout the island; a result of crossing a marine iguana with a land iguana. They are unique and recognizable at rst glance by their black/grey color, with a land iguana’s crest, but the face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of prickly pears, their favorite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs is seen along with other sea birds as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.

Day 10: North Seymour | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and therefore is generally at and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnicent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.

After lunch head to the Chinese Hat is a 52 m/170 ft high volcanic cone, forming another islet right off the rocky coast of Santiago, where a small colony of Galapagos penguins has settled. Approaching Chinese Hat from the north, you will understand the meaning of the name. This is an excellent place to learn more about volcanoes, lava bombs and lava tunnels.

Day 11: Twin Craters and El Chato Reserve | Disembark | Baltra Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
The native scalesia forest of El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers. The Twin Craters are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations are not really volcanic craters and were formed by magma domes, which hardened on the outside while the lava continued flowing inside, leaving huge and empty magma chambers that eventually collapsed, leaving two large holes. The craters lie within a lush scalesia cloud forest, a high-altitude plant species that are endemic to the Galapagos

After this, assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, you will be taken to the airport for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.
 

Ship/Hotel

Archipel I

Enjoy sightseeing on the deck with a delicious snack.
Dining area on the Archipell I
Sundeck on the Archipell I

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$6,645
Standard Cabin on the Archipell I
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Standard Cabin
8 cabins with twin or double beds. Feature private facilities with hot & cold water, A/C.

Child Discount

20% discount for children under age 12 at time of Galapagos cruise. 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.
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • 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
  • Snorkeling and kayaking equipment is included in the cruise cost and available for your use on board.
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Galapagos Park Entrance Fee: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • Wetsuits are not included but are available to rent on board - $10/day per person.

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