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Wooden boardwalk in Bartolome

Western Islands 2021

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, where life has evolved in its natural state, far from the intervention of man. 
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
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Airport | Puerto Ayora | 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 us 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. 
Note: Please dress in comfortable shoes and clothes, bring a small backpack with any medications you may currently be taking. We recommend bringing sunblock, insect repellent, and anything else you need. 

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

Day 2: Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bartolome Island 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, we take a panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock in search of Galapagos penguins and other wildlife. 

Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island) After lunch, we 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. 

Day 3: Dragon Hill | James Bay, Santiago Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island) The north coast of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Dragon Hill. After disembarking, the first part of our 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 our walk, we can snorkel from the shore, hoping to spot rays, green turtles, and sharks. 

Salt Mine (James Bay, Santiago Island) Our wet landing on James Bay follows in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. The young naturalist spent about six days exploring this island in 1835, enthralled not only by the species he encountered — finches, mockingbirds, lava lizards, and yellow warblers, as well as Galapagos doves, hawks, and flamingos — but also by the vegetation and the fascinating geological formations. Our hike takes us uphill to one of these for panoramic views: a crater filled with brackish water. The salt from this lagoon was mined in the 20th century, but the businesses didn’t prosper. More active explorers can hike all the way round the cone.

Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca | Punta Espinoza

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) Since there is no landing site at this location, we 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, we’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Back on board, we navigate along the Bolivar Channel, where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans. 

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island) We end our 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. Our 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. 

Day 5: Baltra Island | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Your journey ends at Baltra Island where we 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
$3,820
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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Master Suite Cabin
1 suite with double bed. Located on the main deck.

Child Discount

25% 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, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • 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: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12
  • 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.

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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.
Nancy Sin

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