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.
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
Arrive at San Cristobal airport where you are transferred to the visitor site.
A visit to Jacinto Gordillo breeding center, named for a renowned environmentalist, is one of a handful of breeding centers in the Galapagos Islands. Located about an hour from the town, the center is home to hundreds of tortoises of different species and ages.
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
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
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
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
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
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: Lobos Island | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport
Isla Lobos, or “Sea Lion Island,” is a long, thin island not far off the coast of San Cristobal Island. As the name implies, it is home to a healthy colony of sea lions. There is a trail on the island, and visitors can see different species of birds, including Boobys of both the Blue-footed and Nazca varieties.
Disembark and transfer to the San Cristobal airport, where you will depart for home.
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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.
25% Discount applies when traveling with two adults. Children must be under 12 years old by the time they 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.
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!