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Wooden boardwalk in Bartolome

Western Islands

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Isabela II
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This journey begins on Santa Cruz Island, where we explore the lush vegetation of the Highlands before venturing down to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station. The next day, take in the panoramic views from Bartolome Island, snorkeling with penguins with luck, before swimming off the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay, exploring its dramatic lava field. The next morning takes us to Dragon Hill, home of dusty- yellow land iguanas, and then the volcanic crater at James Bay, following in the steps of Charles Darwin. Heading west, we take to our dinghies to discover the wildlife of Punta Vicente Roca, and later make our way to the youngest island in the archipelago, Fernandina, widely regarded as one of the most pristine environments anywhere on the planet. 
Meeting giant tortoises in the GalapagosIconic wildlife of the Galapagos sunning themselvesCruising in the Galapagos - Sullivan Bay by Bartolome IslandWildlife in the GalapagosWooden boardwalk in Bartolome
Highlights
  • Take in the panoramic views from Bartolome Island
  • Swim off the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay
  • Discover Dragon Hill, home of dusty yellow land iguanas
Places Visited
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: Baltra Airport | Embark | Charles Darwin Research Station

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After landing at Baltra Airport, drive to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes you to a restaurant in the fascinating, more humid Highlands of the island to enjoy lunch, and then continue south down to Puerto Ayora on the coast.

At the eastern end of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the archipelago, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, the islands’ headquarters for scientific research and conservation. Later in the afternoon, stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking. 

Day 2: Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the panoramic view from the top is well worth the effort! Following the walk, take a panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock in search of Galapagos penguins and other wildlife. 
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Panga Ride, Glass-bottom boat, Beach, Swimming

After lunch, board the pangas (inflatable dinghies) and land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach that is ideal for swimming. A trail runs along a lava field that flowed here around 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and understand the volcanic origin of the Galapagos. 
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Beach, Swimming

Day 3: Dragon Hill | Buccaneer Cove

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The north coast of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Dragon Hill. After disembarking, the first part of your walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks, and American flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas (for which the visitor site is named, following a concerted effort to conserve them by the Galapagos National Park). After your walk, you can snorkel from the shore, hoping to spot rays, green turtles, and sharks. 
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Swimming, Glass-bottom boat, Beach

After lunch, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. Opportunities for snorkeling and a ride on the panga or glass-bottom boat are available.
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Beach, Swimming

Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca | Punta Espinoza

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Since there is no landing site at this location, explore the captivating coast by dinghy, seeking out abundant wildlife including colonies of Galapagos fur seals, the nesting sites of Nazca boobies, not to mention flightless cormorants, penguins, and marine iguanas. Depending on the conditions of the ocean, you’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Back on board, navigate along the Bolivar Channel, where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans.
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Panga Ride, Glass-bottom boat, Swimming

End your journey on a high note, by visiting the island of Fernandina, the youngest island of the archipelago and arguably one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet. The visitor site of Punta Espinoza boasts an amazing combination of apparently barren landscapes and abundant wildlife, all dominated by the lofty volcano at the heart of the island. Highlights to spot include hawks, penguins, huge numbers of marine iguanas, and the famous flightless cormorant, with its beguiling blue eyes. 
Aquatic Activities: Snorkeling, Swimming

Day 5: Baltra Island | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Your journey ends at Baltra Island where you transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Ship/Hotel

Isabela II

Enjoy a meal on the sun deck of the Isabela II.
Isabela II's fitness center.
Breakfast aboard the Isabela II.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,256 2-3 travelers
Isabela II
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Standard Cabin
1 cabin with double bed. Located on the cabin deck.
Isabela II
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Classic Family Cabin
2 cabins on the Cabin Deck with one lower double bed. 128 sq. ft
Isabela II
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Classic Cabin
16 cabins on the Cabin Deck -- some with double beds and some with separate twins. Some cabins have an additional twin bed and can be used as a triple. Located on the cabin deck.
Isabela II
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Owner's Cabin
1 suite with double bed. Located on the main deck.

Notes

Please provide your wetsuite size in advance prior to trip

Child Discount

10% discount if sharing with two adults, 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
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • 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
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • 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
  • 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
  • Carbon Neutral Fee - To be invoiced separately

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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