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Colorful South Plaza Island

Central Islands + Genovesa

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Bonita
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Embark on a 5-day cruise in Galapagos' Central Islands aboard Bonita. Start at South Plazas, where Galapagos land iguanas and sea lions captivate. Explore Black Turtle Cove's mangrove forests by boat, spotting sea turtles, sharks, and vibrant birdlife. Journey to the highlands to witness Galapagos Giant tortoises in their natural habitat and encounter rare birds. Genovesa Island offers vast seabird colonies and a wildlife spectacle. Conclude at Bartolome Island with panoramic views, penguins, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and harmonious coexistence of marine and land iguanas.
Sea lion in galapagosCruising in the Galapagos - Sullivan Bay by Bartolome IslandThe iconic feet of a Blue-Footed BoobySea lion on North SeymourColorful South Plaza Island
Highlights
  • Zodiac ride through coves, inlets, and mangroves in Black Turtle Cove
  • Land in Darwin Bay and explore its coral sand beach and tide pools
  • Hike along an extraordinary cliff where sea birds nest at South Plazas
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: South Plazas | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Departure to the Galapagos Islands, arrival at Baltra airport, where your naturalist guide of the National Park will be waiting for you.

Of the two twin islands, only South Plazas is allowed to be visited, while North plazas is kept exclusively for scientific research. This is a small islet, but it packs an impressive amount of wildlife. Right after you land you will see Galapagos land iguanas waiting under prickly-pear cactus feed on their fruits. A large colony of sea lions will give you the opportunity to see playful pups enjoying the tide pools, but also large grumpy males defending their territories. The trail will take you to a cliff where you can observe many sea birds, such as frigatebirds, red-billed tropicbirds, boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and pelicans. A reddish succulent vegetation with scattered cactus covers most of the islands like a carpet, giving this island a unique personality.
Highlights: Galapagos land iguanas, sea lions, tropicbirds, pelicans, boobies, Galapagos shearwaters, swallow-tailed gulls. 
Trail: 1.4 km / 0.8 mi
Level: Moderate
Dry landing and hiking

Day 2: Black Turtle Cove | Santa Cruz Highlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Black Turtle Cove gets its name from the abundance of green sea turtles, locally known as: “tortugas negras”. There is no landing here so you will be doing a boat tour on the dinghies, exploring shallow channels and small coves surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests. Reef sharks, sea turtles and several species of rays inhabit this beautiful area which is considered an important mating area for turtles and a nursery for several species of sharks. Herons, pelicans and boobies are also common here as they pray in schools of anchovies.
Highlights: White-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, green sea turtles, rays, herons, blue-footed boobies, mangroves. 
Level: Easy
Panga Ride

Either if you do this visit starting from Baltra or from Puerto Ayora, a bus will take you to the highlands stopping along the way at one of the reserves to visit the lush highland forests where you will look for Galapagos Giant tortoises in their natural environment. This is the best place in the Galapagos to see these gentle giants (reaching over 300 kg / 600 pounds!) casually grazing and resting in freshwater ponds. This is also home for a great diversity of birds rarely found at the lowlands, including finches (tree, woodpecker and vegetarian finches), flycatchers and several species of water birds. You will visit a lava tunnel (depending on the itinerary) and learn how these extraordinary formations were created by ancient volcanic eruptions.
Highlights: Giant tortoises, Darwin finches, barn owls, white-cheeked pintails, Galapagos flycatchers, Lava tunnels. 
Trail: 1-1.5 km / 0.6-0.9 mi
Level: Easy
Dry landing and hiking

Day 3: Darwin Bay | El Barranco

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Genovesa is a favorite island for birdwatchers as it is home for very large colonies of seabirds. From the minute you set foot at the beach you will be amazed by the noise of hundreds of boobies, gulls and frigatebirds flying over your heads, perched in the bushes or nesting on the sandy terrain. The trail is an ultimate wildlife experience as there are animals everywhere; sea lions and marine iguanas near the sea; night herons, lava & swallow tailed gulls, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and many more species inland.  
Snorkel: The bay offers several places to snorkel; from deep waters along the cliffs across the bay, to shallow waters by the beach. In either case, there are many fish to see and great chances of seeing sharks, rays and sea lions.
Highlights: Nesting great frigatebirds, red footed & Nazca boobies, Galapagos sea lions, lava & swallow-tailed gulls, yellow-crowned night herons, Genovesa ground finch, Genovesa cactus finch, Galapagos mockingbirds.
Trail: 1.2 km / 0.7 mi
Level: Hard
Wet landing, Hiking, Snorkeling, Panga ride, Paddle boarding, and Kayaking

El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay at Genovesa Island. The cliffs facing the sea are made of very fragile fractured lava, making it the ideal place for storm petrels to build their colonies, which attracts an important population of short-eared owls preying on the nesting birds. Red footed and Nazca boobies are abundant along the trail. At the base of the cliffs you can see Galapagos fur seals resting in shaded areas, as well as several species of seabirds.
Snorkel: You can snorkel along the cliffs where there are many fish and great chances of seeing sharks, rays and sea lions.
Highlights: Nesting great frigatebirds, red footed & Nazca boobies, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, lava & swallow-tailed gulls, yellow-crowned night herons, Genovesa ground finch, Genovesa cactus finch, Galapagos mockingbirds.
Trail: 1.2 km / 0.7 mi
Level: Hard
Wet landing, Hiking, Snorkeling, Panga ride, Paddle boarding, and Kayaking

Day 4: Sullivan Bay | Bartolome Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This hike is a journey into understanding the birth of these volcanic islands. You will walk in a very well preserved flow of Pahoehoe lava, which will give you endless opportunities to see the delicate textures of these types of lavas which only appear in a few places throughout the world. At first sight the barren landscape looks completely deprived of life, but look carefully for pioneer plants, lava lizards and small birds. By the shore, you can find penguins, pelicans and oystercatchers.  
Snorkel: You will have the option to swim or snorkel from a coral sand beach or from the dinghies. Getting underwater is like traveling to another world: if the land is almost lifeless, the sea is teaming with life, including large schools of fish, Galapagos penguins, reef sharks, turtles and rays.
Highlights: Pahoehoe lava, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, Galapagos hawks.
Trail: 2.2 km / 1.4 mi
Level: Hard
Dry landing, Hiking, and Snorkeling

Bartolome is one of the most iconic places in the Galapagos and one of the few where you can see penguins without going to the remote areas of western Isabela and Fernandina. You will get great views of Pinnacle Rock, located on the northern side of the island, right next to a beautiful peach-color sand beach. The hike to the top of the island is fantastic and will offer you incredible views of lunar landscapes with scattered volcanic cones. Many islands are visible from this outlook, as well as the bay of Sullivan and the Pinnacle rock.
Snorkel: You will have the option to swim or snorkel from the beach. This area holds a well-deserved reputation of being one of the best snorkeling places in the Galapagos, not only because it’s clear and calm water, but also because of the presence of penguins, which are relatively easy to find while snorkeling, along with an incredible diversity of fish, colorful invertebrates, sea lions, turtles, rays and reef sharks.
Highlights: Galapagos penguins, volcanic landscapes, Pinnacle rock, blue- footed boobies, herons, sea lions, sharks.
Trail: 1.5 km / 0.9 mi
Level: Moderate
Dry landing, Hiking, Snorkeling, and Panga ride

Day 5: Seymour | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This island is home for large colonies of both magnificent and great frigatebirds and you can see them displaying their red balloons to attract a female. Blue-footed boobies nest in the ground and perform their famous dance in the open areas, while swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Land iguanas are common inland while their marine cousins bask in the rocks by the sea, close to sea lions, which often like to body surf in the waves. 
Hiking: This place is a really great location for a walk, as it has tremendous diversity and amount of Galapagos sea lions, blue footed boobies, magnificent & great frigatebirds, land & marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, Darwin finches.
Trail: 1.4 km / 0.8 mi
Level: Easy
Dry landing and hiking

Then, transfer to the airport to take your flight back to continental Ecuador.
 

Ship/Hotel

Bonita

Side View Bonita Cruise
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Bonita Cruise Boarding

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$2,600
Twin Cabin
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Lower Deck
Cabins # 1, 2 & 4 have two twins lower beds and porthole windows. These two cabins can be sold as triples. (Cabins average 110 square feet.)
Double Cabin
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Upper/Main Deck
In the upper deck, we have 4 cabins. Cabins # 7, 8, 9 & 10 could be matrimonial or twin, while in the main deck, we have 2 matrimonial cabins. . (Cabins average 95 square feet.)

Notes

Stand-up paddleboarding equipment is included on this voyage.

Child Discount

10% discount for children under age 12 at time of Galapagos 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.
Included
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 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
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • 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.
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675

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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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