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Sea lion on a pristine beach

Central Islands Cruise

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard M/C Elite
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This incredible 8-day cruise takes you across the archipelago, to the most emblematic locations. The Charles Darwin Research Station provides an opportunity to find out about the vital work that is being carried out to preserve the archipelago’s ecosystems. Discover El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, is a rocky stairway that leads you past a colony of Nazca and red-footed boobies lead up to a plateau of dried lava. Continuing through the thin Palo Santo forest and looking out over the plain, visitors are often treated to sites of storm petrels launching out over the ocean. Explore Kicker Rock, an iconic feature of the Galapagos that has been formed over time by the erosion of the cone of an extinct volcano.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : San Cristobal Airport | David Rodriguez Breeding Center | Embark
Day 2 : Suarez Point | Gardner Bay | Osborn Islets
Day 3 : Cormorant Point | Champion Islet | Post Office Bay | The Baroness' Lookout
Day 4 : Mosquera Islet | Charles Darwin Research Station
Day 5 : Prince Philip's Steps | El Barranco | Darwin Bay
Day 6 : Espumilla Beach | Buccaneer Cove | Egas Port
Day 7 : Bachas Beach | Twin Craters | Santa Cruz Highlands
Day 8 : Kicker Rock | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport

Highlights

  • Visit the historic David Rodriguez Breeding Center
  • Walk past nesting sites of large colonies of blue-footed boobies at Suarez Point
  • Experience the pristine white sandy beach of Gardner Bay
  • Take a panga ride to Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano

Ship

M/C Elite

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Bachas Beach
  • Buccaneer Cove
  • Champion Inlet
  • Charles Darwin Center
  • Darwin Bay
  • El Barranco
  • Espanola
  • Espumilla Beach
  • Floreana
  • Gardner Bay
  • Genovesa
  • Highlands
  • Los Gemelos (Twin Craters)
  • Mirador de la Baronesa
  • Mosquera
  • Osborn Islet
  • Post Office Bay
  • Prince Philip's Steps
  • Puerto Egas
  • Punta Cormorant
  • Punta Suarez
  • San Cristobal
  • San Cristobal Airport
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Punta Suarez, Espanola Cruising in the Galapagos - Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Our first landing at Espanola- Punta Suarez Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido Sea lion on a pristine beach

Day 1 San Cristobal Airport | David Rodriguez Breeding Center | Embark

Arrive at San Cristobal airport where you are transferred to the visitor site.

A visit to the David Rodriguez Breeding Center provides information about the origin and evolution of the giant tortoise and explains why the center is so vital in safeguarding the future of these incredible creatures. Walking through the trails of the reserve, you can see baby tortoises being reared in semi-natural conditions - a brilliant demonstration of the commitment the local people have to preserve the wildlife that makes the Galapagos so special.  
 

Day 2 Suarez Point | Gardner Bay | Osborn Islets

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Suarez Point is packed with wildlife and is best explored by following the circular walking trail. This memorable walk takes you past nesting sites of large colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies and mockingbirds. Unique to Española island is also the beautiful waved albatross, that can be seen majestically launching themselves out across the ocean from the cliffs and the red and green marine iguanas.

A geological highlight is several blow holes, capable of shooting water 25m into the air, that make for a spectacular photo. The pristine white sandy beach of Gardner Bay dotted with sea lions provides a perfect spot to relax and kayaking or paddle boarding is a fantastic way to observe a large number of waved albatross who use this beach as a breeding site. A short panga ride takes you to the Gardner and Osborn Islets, which are superb locations for snorkeling with young sea lions and a variety of colorful tropical fish and corals.

Day 3 Cormorant Point | Champion Islet | Post Office Bay | The Baroness' Lookout

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cormorant Point features two Islet beaches: one with green-tinted sand due to the high content of olivine crystals, and another with pure white sand (commonly known as ‘Flour Beach’) derived from pulverized coral. The saltwater lagoon is a must-see as it, by one of the largest population of Galapagos flamingos as well as other shorebirds such as stilts, white-cheeked pintails and large-billed flycatchers.

A panga ride to Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, provides a fantastic opportunity for snorkeling in an area that is known for having a high diversity of fish. Post Office Bay is a man-made site that offers an insight into a remarkable mailing tradition developed by British whalers in the 18th century, that visitors can still take part in today. The beach here provides for good snorkeling and kayaking and it is also possible to descend into and walk through a lava tube. Next, take a panga ride to the Baroness’ Lookout, a volcanic rock formation named after an Australian baroness, who visited the island in the 1930’s and is believed to have mysteriously disappeared. A short trail leads to a brilliant vantage point with panoramic views of the surrounding mangroves and coastline.

Day 4 Mosquera Islet | Charles Darwin Research Station

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Mosquera islet is a small, flat, sandy islet located between Baltra and North Seymour islands. With no fixed trail, you are free to explore the beautiful surroundings on foot, where you can encounter a large population of sea lions, shorebirds and the striking Sally Lightfoot crabs that cling to the dark rocks. The numerous coral reefs also make it a fantastic site for snorkeling and catching sight of a range of marine life including sharks, turtles, and rays.

The Charles Darwin Research Station provides a unique opportunity to find out about the vital work that is being carried out to preserve the archipelago’s ecosystems. One element of this is a significant breeding programme for Galapagos tortoises, whose numbers have been in decline since the 1970’s. These captivating enormous reptiles are very accustomed to humans, so be sure to bring your camera for some close-ups.

Day 5 Prince Philip's Steps | El Barranco | Darwin Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, is a rocky stairway that leads you past a colony of Nazca and red-footed boobies and up to a plateau of dried lava. Continuing through the thin Palo Santo forest and looking out over the plain, visitors are often treated to sites of storm petrels launching out over the ocean.
A panga ride or kayak/paddle board along the edge of the cliffs provide a good chance to see the elusive Galapagos fur seals nestled on the rocks, and snorkeling is a great activity if you fancy a dip with a variety of shark species.

Darwin Bay has a small sand and coral beach that provides the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding in calm, sheltered waters in the company of hammerhead sharks, rays and a plethora of colorful reef fish. Onshore, a short trail leads along a tidal lagoon and mangroves, home to a variety of land bird species, including Nazca and red-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. The trail culminates at a viewpoint that offers a stunning view overlooking the cliffs and the bay below.

Day 6 Espumilla Beach | Buccaneer Cove | Egas Port

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Espumilla beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago island, is an exquisite white sand beach, whose name refers to the meringue-like trails of foam left by the lapping of the waves. Sally Lightfoot crabs are in abundance here and as a result, it is common to see predatory birds such as hawks, herons and pelicans.
This idyllic location is perfect for snorkeling or kayaking/paddle boarding amongst a raft of marine life, including species of octopus, eels and sharks.

Buccaneer Cove has an interesting history as it is where sailors, Buccaneers, and whalers frequently anchored their vessels in search for food and water. In more recent times it has become an important nesting site for turtles and is also popular with sea lions. A panga ride along the eroded shoreline provides views of intriguing rock formations that provide excellent ledges for boobies, pelicans and gulls.

Egas Port was once the site of a salt mine, but now this impressive black sand beach is an excellent location for snorkeling and observing shorebirds, Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas. A stroll along the wide trails inland leads you past tidal pools and rocky volcanic formations known as grottoes where it is possible to spot fur seals enjoying a spot of shade.

Day 7 Bachas Beach | Twin Craters | Santa Cruz Highlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bachas Beach is a glorious white sand beach on which the remnants of a rusted barge, thought to have been abandoned by the Americans during WWI, can be seen. It is a popular nesting site for turtles, so if you go for a snorkel, you might find yourself sharing the water with these wonderful creatures. The beach is also full of vibrant Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs and elegant pink flamingos that frequent the saltwater lagoon behind.

In the afternoon, visit the Twin Craters. The best way to appreciate these remarkable, almost identical crater-like holes, caused by the collapse of empty lava chambers, is to take the trail that leads up and around the rims. From this vantage point, one can revel in the beauty of the surrounding highlands, lush with ferns and an abundance of Scalesia trees. Here, Bird enthusiasts can also enjoy spotting the distinct red feathers of Vermilion Flycatchers, Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves and, with a bit of luck, an endemic short-ear owl. 

Day 8 Kicker Rock | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
Kicker Rock is an iconic feature of the Galapagos that has been formed over time by the erosion of the cone of an extinct volcano.
The channel that runs between two imposing shards of rock is often described as one of the most thrilling sites for snorkeling and diving where it is common to see spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, marine iguanas, Galapagos sharks, and even hammerhead sharks. In addition, on the rock formation itself, blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds and sea lions can often be seen perched on the ledges above.

Disembark and transfer to the San Cristobal airport, where you will depart for home.

M/C Elite

Per person starting at
$7,450
M/C Elite
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Golden Suite
Approximately 35 m2 the Golden Suites are spacious and comfortable. Each suite features an ocean view, sliding glass doors to an outdoor balcony, and rainforest-style showers in a private bathroom.

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 Elite 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

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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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