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Sea lion coming in from a swim

Galápagos Islands Nature and Wildlife Expedition Cruise

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Santa Cruz II
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On this voyage, you will explore fascinating sites on Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove, home to a number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms, and Puerto Egas, with its great walk-along pools, snorkeling and swimming. The next day you will visit the red-sand beach of Rabida Island, a popular spot for aquatic activities, with some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos! Stop at Bartolome Island, which offers a volcanic viewpoint with room for hiking, swimming, and exploring the beach and the coast. Cross the equatorial line, to the sunken crater of Genovesa Island, home to thousands of marine birds. Finish with an opportunity to witness the giant Galapagos tortoises at a private reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island before making your way back to the airport at Baltra.
Snorkeling in the GalapagosA close up look of the Sally Lightfoot Crab.Punto Egas, Santiago Island, GalapagosGalapagos penguin RabidaSea lion coming in from a swim
  • Hike along the red beaches and volcanic cliffs of Rabida Island
  • Visit famous Pinnacle rock and snorkel off of its white sand beaches
  • Cruise to Buccaneer Cove and learn about its history of pirates
Activity Level: Relaxed

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. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s packed with well-preserved colonial architecture, including colorful plazas, magnificent churches, and handsome monuments. If you have enough time in the evening, make sure to visit the Calle La Ronda, an ancient pedestrianized street with links to the poets and artists who’ve lived here. It’s lined with shops and cafes, and there are many handicrafts available to buy.

Pre-program: Arrive in Quito a few days early and join the 4-day tour to Cloudforest Lodge in the Mashpi Reserve. The area is part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. This optional extension is also available as a Post-Programme.

Day 2: Cotopaxi National Park

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you’ll visit Cotopaxi National Park, home to one of South America's most active volcanoes. But first, you’ll stop at Cotopaxi Interpretation Center to learn about the history of its major eruptions as well as the local flora and fauna. 

Afterward, walk to Limpiopungo Lagoon, tucked in a high valley within the Cotopaxi National Park at 12,800 ft above sea level. Spot herds of llamas on the slopes and keep your eyes open for birds such as the Andean Gull, several species of hummingbird, and – with luck – the majestic Andean Condor. You’ll enjoy a tasty lunch prepared by some of the region’s best chefs before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Baltra | Embark | Las Bachas, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, a short flight will take you to Baltra Island in the spectacular Galápagos archipelago. A transfer brings you straight to the port where your comfortable expedition ship MS Santa Cruz II awaits. 

In the afternoon, land at Las Bachas Beach located on the northern shore of Santa Cruz Island. This glorious white beach with turquoise waters is a great first place to spot iconic Galápagos wildlife like flamingos and sea turtles, and it’s named after some sunken barges left after WWII. Enjoy some swimming or snorkeling before heading back to the ship for a welcome cocktail and an expedition briefing about the following day.

Day 4: Buccaneer Cove | Puerto Egas, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you’ll explore Santiago Island’s pristine beaches and picturesque landscapes. Take in the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove on the northwest coast, home to a large number of marine birds and sea lions. Immerse yourself in the scenery through a range of water activities and marvel at fantastic rock formations such as ‘Elephant Rock’ and ‘The Bishop.’ 

In the afternoon, head to Puerto Egas, one of the best visitor sites on the island. You’ll have the opportunity to see a colony of fur-sea lions and exotic birdlife on an excursion. Or you could just swim or snorkel along the rocky shorelines, typically, in the company of marine turtles.

Day 5: Rabida | Bartolome

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your day starts on tiny Rábida Island, located off the southern shore of Santiago. You can go for a thrilling dinghy ride along the coast or join an excursion exploring the island’s mesmerizing, red-colored beach. Soak up the sights and sounds made by a colony of sea lions, and spot marine iguanas, mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, and several species of Darwin’s Finches.  

In the afternoon, sail to the golden sands of Bartolomé Island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. You can swim or snorkel off the beach here or discover colorful marine life from the glass-bottom boat, and spot Galápagos Penguins on the shore. Hike up to the summit of the island for fantastic views.

Day 6: Genovesa Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you’ll explore Genovesa Island. The morning starts with a steep but short climb – only 90 ft – up a flight of steps to reach a flat and rocky plateau. Once there, you can walk along comfortably and check out large colonies of Nazca Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Great Frigatebirds, and Storm Petrels. Afterward or instead, hop into a kayak for some aquatic adventuring!

In the afternoon, land at the beautiful beach that fringes Darwin Bay for a swim. Following this refreshing dip, take a stroll and observe hundreds of island birds, or alternatively just take it easy on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking.

Day 7: Disembark | Tortoise Reserve | Baltra Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
Start your last morning on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, your luggage will be taken to the airport while you visit the Tortoise Reserve. A dry landing at a passenger’s wharf and a bus ride to the loftier region of the island will provide the last highlight of the cruise: giant tortoises in the wild. The windward slopes of the island are home to two species of a giant tortoise. These lush highlands include dense forests of Galápagos daisies, orchids and bromeliads, and several endemic land birds.

After this visit, transfer directly to Baltra Airport. Farewell to Galápagos. 

Post-programs: Explore more of Ecuador with one of the optional Post-Programmes. 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 instead, travel from Quito to the Mashpi Reserve, a unique habitat and ecosystem. Here you’ll enjoy a 3-night stay in the luxurious Cloudforest Lodge and discover this breathtaking area (also available as a Pre-Programme). Both post-programs have two nights in Quito included.


Santa Cruz II

Evolution Hall Santa Cruz II

Quito - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Explorer Family Cabin - Horizon deck
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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Explorer Cabin - Horizon deck
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
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
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
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Darwin Suite - Panorama deck
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


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.
  • 5 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.
  • 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. Payable upon arrival to the Galapagos, only in cash dollars.
  • 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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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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