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West & Central Islands + Genovesa

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard M/C Galapagos Endemic
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Experience the wonders of the Western & Central Galapagos Islands while on this amazing 8-day cruise. This paradisiac archipelago is made up of rocky islets which are home to many spectacular species of Galapagos wildlife including penguins, the Galapagos Hawk, Nazca Boobies, finches, flightless cormorants, and warblers. Hike through special forests which allow good wildlife watching as well as geology and many spectacular spots for taking unforgettable photos. There is also a chance of passing many nesting birds including Red-footed and Nazca Boobies, Frigate Birds, gulls and more. Cool off with a swim or some snorkeling with fish, sea lions and turtles.
 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Baltra Island | Embark | Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz
Day 2 : Darwin Bay | El Barranco, Genovesa Island
Day 3 : The Twins, Santa Cruz Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
Day 4 : Sierra Negra | Wetlands | The Wall of Tears | Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, Isabela Island
Day 5 : Elizabeth Bay | Urbina Bay, Isabela Island
Day 6 : Tagus Cove, Isabela Island | Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island
Day 7 : Espumilla Beach | Buccaneer Cove, Santiago Island | Rabida Island
Day 8 : Mosquera Islet | Disembark | Baltra Airport

Highlights

  • Kayak, snorkel or take a panga ride around the tranquil bay of Genovesa
  • Walk over recent lava flows in Punta Espinoza
  • Visit Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, home to hundreds of baby tortoises
  • Hike along scenic rock formations surrounded by cactus groves at Rabida

Ship

M/C Galapagos Endemic

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Bachas Beach
  • Baltra
  • Buccaneer Cove
  • Darwin Bay
  • El Barranco
  • Elizabeth Bay
  • Espinosa Point
  • Espumilla Beach
  • Fernandina
  • Genovesa
  • Humedales and Wall of Tears
  • Isabela
  • Los Gemelos (Twin Craters)
  • Mosquera
  • Prince Philip's Steps
  • Rabida
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Sullivan Bay
  • Tagus Cove
  • Urbina Bay

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Snorkeling with friends Sea lions on beach in Rabida Warm waters of the Galapagos archipelago A male frigatebird rests in the trees of the Galapagos Flamingo Lagoon

Day 1 Baltra Island | Embark | Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz

Arrival to Baltra Island Airpot and transfer to the M/C Endemic. The name “bachas” is derived from the English word ‘barges’ and dates from World War II when the USA had a military base in the Galapagos Islands. Bachas is a lovely beach, great for swimming or some easy snorkeling offshore. Shorebirds like whimbrels and stilts are common, as are sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. A brackish lagoon popular with flamingos is a short walk from the main beach.

Day 2 Darwin Bay | El Barranco, Genovesa Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, visit Darwin Bay, which is the only sandy beach found in the caldera on Genovesa. Colonies of the Great Frigates are found along the beach. Male exhibit their red balloon pouch to females for a hope of a match. Red-footed boobies nest in the trees in contrast to the other two booby species which do so on the ground. 

In the afternoon, go to El Barranco (Prince Philip’s Steps), a carved out of stone stair. This leads you to a wide plateau, where you can observe large colonies of masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and ducks. During this easy stroll, you cross a small Scalesia forest, the habitat of the short-eared owl. The same path will lead you back to your boat.

Day 3 The Twins, Santa Cruz Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The “twins” of the leafy highlands of Santa Cruz island are two sinkholes created long ago by underground lava tunnels which collapsed. A shady trail covers the short distance between the main road and the two sinkholes. Learn about the special forest found in and around the sinkholes: it is home to many Scalesia pedunculate trees, endemic to Galapagos. The Twins visitor site is a good place to see finches, Vermilion Flycatchers and mockingbirds.

Sullivan Bay features a sandy shore surrounded by lava fields. The lava is relatively recent, being only about 100 years old. Observe the hardy “pioneer” plants: specialized flora which is the first to colonize a lava field. After a hike, enjoy a refreshing swim with the chance to do some snorkeling!

Day 4 Sierra Negra | Wetlands | The Wall of Tears | Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sierra Negra (“Black Mountain”) Volcano was active as recently as 2005 and it is possible to see very recent lava flows and fumaroles. The visit includes the main volcanic caldera and several smaller craters at the Chico Volcano site. There are not many animals in the barren heights of the volcano, but hikers are rewarded with an unforgettable lesson in volcanic geology and a great view of Isabela and Fernandina Islands!

Island’s wetlands are home to abundant bird life, including flamingos, stilts, whimbrels, gallinules, finches, pintail ducks, brown pelicans and more. Marine iguanas creep through the marshes as well, and an occasional giant tortoise makes an appearance. Part of the trail goes up Orchilla hill, which offers a nice view of the nearby town of Puerto Villamil.

The Wall of Tears is a wide, high stone wall built not far from Puerto Villamil. A visit to the Wall of Tears offers a rare glimpse into the human history of the Galapagos; Isabela Island was once home to an Ecuadorian penal colony, and construction of the Wall of Tears was a form of punishment. Some locals think it’s haunted!

The Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding center is a highlight of any visit to Isabela Island. Here, giant tortoises of the Isabela Island subspecies are hatched and cared for until they can survive on their own in the wild. Hundreds of adorable baby tortoises slowly move about in raised pens, designed to protect them from predators including rats and ants. Even the walk to get to the breeding center from town is fun, as it is connected to Puerto Villamil by a boardwalk over some marshy wetlands where sightings of flamingos and other water birds are common.

Day 5 Elizabeth Bay | Urbina Bay, Isabela Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Elizabeth Bay and the small, rocky islets which are found there are home to many spectacular species of Galapagos bird life, including penguins, the Galapagos hawk, Nazca boobies, finches, flightless cormorants, warblers and more. In the clear sea below, visitors see thriving marine life, including schools of fish, spotted eagle rays, sea lions and marine iguanas. Elizabeth Bay is only seen by panga ride: visitors do not land at all.

In 1954, volcanic activity deep underground rocked Isabela Island, thrusting up part of Urbina Bay. The bay’s landscape changed overnight, gaining five meters in height and a kilometer of soggy land that had previously been underwater. Visitors can still see desiccated coral formations on the trail around part of the bay. Urbina Bay is home to abundant wildlife, including land iguanas, giant tortoises, and lava lizards. Birdlife includes finches, hawks, and mockingbirds. The hike, a relatively long one at 3000 meters, is followed by a refreshing swim or some snorkeling in the bay.

Day 6 Tagus Cove, Isabela Island | Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A visit to Tagus cove includes a short hike to a scenic outlook and a panga ride along the coastline to look for penguins. After the hike, guests may choose to do some kayaking and snorkeling, where they are almost certain to see sea turtles.

Punta Espinoza is one of the most remarkable visitor sites in all of Galapagos. This memorable hike includes good wildlife watching as well as geology and many spectacular spots for taking photos. Guests walk over recent (geologically speaking) lava flows, see a nesting colony of flightless cormorants, and step gingerly through a low maze of marine iguanas sunning themselves. Look for lava lizards, Galapagos snakes, and Galapagos Hawks.

Day 7 Espumilla Beach | Buccaneer Cove, Santiago Island | Rabida Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Playa Espumilla (“Foamy Beach”) is a pristine sandy beach on the northern part of Santiago Island. At either end of the beach, trails lead through some mangroves to a salty lagoon, where lucky visitors may get to see flamingoes, pintail ducks, stilts or other wading birds. There is good snorkeling and kayaking off the beach.

The islands are so beautiful that it’s possible to forget about their interesting human history. Although there is nothing left of their presence (no buried treasure – sorry!), pirates and whalers used to stop in Buccaneer Cove to repair their ships, take on fresh water and capture tortoises for food. There is no trail here, but it is a good spot for a panga ride, snorkeling, and kayaking. As the panga cruises along the shore, look for blue-footed and Nazca boobies, fur seals, sea lions, and Galapagos hawks soaring overhead.

Rabida is a remarkable island, famous for its cactus groves and scenic rock formations. Finches and other small land birds are commonly seen flitting around the cacti alongside the trails. The hike starts along a red sand beach where brown pelicans nest in mangroves. Short trails lead from the beach to some lagoons where flamingos are sometimes seen. After the hike, visitors can cool off with a swim or some snorkeling. Lucky snorkelers and kayakers see fish, sea lions and turtles.

Day 8 Mosquera Islet | Disembark | Baltra Airport

In the morning, visit Mosquera, a small islet found between Baltra & North Seymour Islands. Lava gulls, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs inhabit this sandbank with an extension of over 600 meters. It also hosts the largest populations of sea lions and orca whales that can be seen occasionally depending on the season you visit the islet.

After this last visit, transfer to Baltra airport for your return flight to mainland Ecuador.
 

M/C Galapagos Endemic

Per person starting at
$7,450
M/C Endemic, Matrimonial Cabin
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Suite
Each cabin has personalized air conditioning control, a balcony, spacious private bathroom and either a king-size bed or two twin-size beds.
M/C Endemic, Single Cabin
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Single Suite
Each cabin has personalized air conditioning control, a balcony, spacious private bathroom and twin-size bed.

Notes

Rates do not include: 
-Round trip flights to Galapagos
-Galapagos National Park Entrance fee
-Transit Control Card
-Alcoholic and bottled beverages
-Tips for guides and crew
-Travel insurance

Child Discount

25% Discount applies when traveling with two adults. Children must be under 12 years old by the time they cruise

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

Included

  • Accommodations on board M/C Galapagos Endemic 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
  • Snorkeling Equipment
  • Wetsuit
  • Sea Kayaking

Excluded

  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • $45 International Departure Tax
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

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

Optional Hospitality Packages

Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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