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A male frigatebird rests in the trees of the Galapagos

Galapagos Islands Expedition Cruise: Iconic Wildlife & Sublime Scenery

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Santa Cruz II
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Spend 5 incredible days exploring the Galapagos Islands and its human history and stunning wildlife. Sail towards Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island for an interesting hike through palo santo forests full of famed land iguanas. Cruise around the seahorse-shaped Isabela Island to two great visitor sites: Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island with the fascinating geology of collapsed Ecuador volcano, and then wild and pure Punta Espinosa on Fernandina, one of the most pristine islands in the world, with one of the islands’ densest colonies of marine iguanas and opportunities to see flightless cormorants. 
The iconic feet of a Blue-Footed BoobySnorkel the crystal, warm waters of the Galapagos archipelago Enjoy a blissful snorkeling trip.Land iguana looking out over waterA male frigatebird rests in the trees of the Galapagos
Highlights
  • Walk across Dragon Hill and enjoy the beautiful view of the western islands
  • Explore the underwater wonders around fantastic Champion Islet
  • Snorkel along Punta Vicente Roca's cliffs to admire its rich marine life
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Quito

Your journey of discovery begins on the equator in the lush Andean foothills. At 9,350 ft, Quito is the second-highest capital city in the world, and its main draw is the exquisite Old Town, which was founded on an ancient Inca settlement. This UNESCO World Heritage site is packed with well-preserved colonial architecture, including colorful plazas, magnificent churches, and stately monuments.

If you have time in the evening, make sure to visit Calle La Ronda, an ancient pedestrian street with links to poets and other artists who have lived here. It’s full of shops and café and there are also plenty of handicrafts for sale.

Pre-Programs: Why not experience another highlight of South America and discover the lost civilization of the Inca people? See the breathtaking mountain stronghold of Machu Picchu. This optional four-day Pre-Program in Lima before your cruise starts and ends in Quito. Or arrive a few days earlier in Quito and join the four-day tour to a Cloudforest Lodge at the Mashpi Reserve. This area is part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest areas for biodiversity. This optional extension is also available as Post-Program.

Day 2: Quito

Today, enjoy a guided tour of Quito’s remarkable Old Town, one of the largest and best-preserved colonial-era quarters in South America. Wander through cobblestone streets as you admire the architecture and sample delicious chocolate made from the finest Ecuadorian cacao along the way.

Next, head to the iconic ‘Middle of the World City’, located around 16 miles north of Quito. After lunch, visit the famous monument that delineates the imaginary line that is the Equator. Have your camera ready to capture the moment you stand with one foot in each hemisphere.

Day 3: Baltra Island | Embark | Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz

As your South American land adventure draws to a close, it is time to embark on the next stage of your journey. After breakfast, a short flight will take you to Baltra Island, a part of the spectacular Galápagos Archipelago. A transfer takes you straight to the port, where your comfortable expedition ship MS Santa Cruz II awaits you.

Begin your afternoon exploration of the Galápagos Islands by following the north shore of Santa Cruz to the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón, or Dragon Hill, where you’ll land. On the first part of our walk, pass a brackish lagoon frequented by shorebirds and American flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as your first chance to encounter some land iguanas.

Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela | Fernandina Island

Start your day at Punta Vicente Roca, on the north-western tip of Isabela Island. After breakfast, explore the coast by dinghy and your naturalist guides will teach you about the area’s dramatic geology. This site is a nesting place for several bird species, so look out for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, and boobies. Weather permitting, you can snorkel beside the cliffs, where you might find green sea turtles, oceanic sunfish, and even fur seals. 

In the afternoon, explore Fernandina, an island with a unique environment and a high density of marine iguanas. Scan the coast for sea lions, Sally lightfoot crabs, hawks, and penguins.

Day 5: Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz

Today, explore Santa Cruz Island. In the morning, disembark at Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. 

At this giant tortoise breeding center, you can see recently hatched tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches – the birds he used as a basis for his theory of evolution by natural selection. There’s also an impressive forest of prickly pear cacti that is home to many land birds.

Enjoy a cooler climate over lunch in the lush highlands, where giant tortoises shuffle about munching on grass and wallowing in pools. You’ll also have time for another activity, including mountain biking or visiting a sugar plantation.

Day 6: Baroness Tower and Post Office Bay | Champion Islet and Punta Cormorant

After breakfast, enjoy a dinghy ride among the channels on Floreana’s north shore before taking in the incredible views of the island from Baroness Cove. Later, land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries.

After lunch, explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet in a dinghy or glass-bottom boat. This is one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago.
From there, head to Cormorant Point, where you walk from an olivine-crystal beach to a brackish lagoon. Along the way, see if you can spot American flamingos, pintail ducks, and other birds.

Day 7: Baltra Island | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
As your expedition cruise comes to a close, it’s time to bid farewell to the amazing wildlife and scenery of one of the world’s most incredible nature destinations. You’ll also say farewell to your wonderful crew and Expedition Team as you disembark at Baltra Island. 

A transfer takes you to the airport, where your waiting flight brings you to Guayaquil. Upon arrival in Guayaquil, a representative will assist with the international flight connection. Alternatively, continue from Guayaquil to Quito to catch your international flight from there. Flight to Quito must be requested at the time of booking. 

Post-Programs: Explore more of Ecuador with one of the optional Post-Programs. Join the travel to the Napo River, in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Fly to Coca and spend three nights in a lodge surrounded by the beautiful rainforest, and observe and learn about flora and fauna on selected activities.   
Or travel from Quito to the Mashpi Reserve, a unique habitat and ecosystem. Enjoy a  3-night stay in the luxurious Cloudforest Lodge and discover this breathtaking area (also available as a Pre-Program). Both Post-Programs include two nights in Quito.

Ship/Hotel

Santa Cruz II

BEAGLE RESTAURANT
Evolution Hall Santa Cruz II

Quito - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$5,734 2-3 travelers
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Explorer Cabin - Horizon deck (EH)
With comfortable spaces and large picture windows to illuminate the interior spaces and allow guests to take in the views, these cabins offer elegant areas to relax after a day of active exploring. There are 23 Explorer cabins located on the Horizon deck. Beds convert from double to twin upon request. Cabin code: EH
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Explorer Cabin - Expedition deck (EE)
With comfortable spaces and large picture windows to illuminate the interior spaces and allow guests to take in the views, these cabins offer elegant areas to relax after a day of active exploring. There are 17 Explorer cabins located as on the Expedition deck. Beds convert from double to twin upon request. Cabin code: EE
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Explorer Cabin - Panorama deck (EP)
With comfortable spaces and large picture windows to illuminate the interior spaces and allow guests to take in the views, these cabins offer elegant areas to relax after a day of active exploring. There are 3 Explorer cabins located on the Panorama deck. Beds convert from double to twin upon request. Cabin code: EP
Select a Date
Explorer Family Cabin - Horizon deck (FH)
With comfortable spaces and large picture windows to illuminate the interior spaces and allow guests to take in the views, these cabins offer elegant areas to relax after a day of active exploring. There are 2 Explorer family cabins located on the Horizon deck. Cabins are equipped with twin beds and a sofa bed (ideal for children under 12). Cabin code: FH
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Darwin Suite - Panorama deck (DS)
Our three Darwin suites on the Panorama deck feature double picture windows, and offers superb comfort and deluxe amenities. Available with a twin or double bed, and if more space is desired, these suites can be interconnected with an Explorer cabin. Cabin code: DS

Notes

Please provide your wetsuite size in advance prior to trip

Rates and availability subject to change without notice until a firm booking has been made.

Child Discount

Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
Included
  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 6 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • 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: $200 per adult, $100 per child under 12 (fees of $100 per adult and $50 per child valid on arrivals through Aug 1, 2024). Payable upon arrival to the Galapagos, only in cash dollars. Subject to increase by Galapagos Park Service.
  • Wetsuits are not included but are available to rent on board - $22 for 5-day tours, and $41 for 7-day tours.
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately

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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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