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Snorkeling the tropical waters of the Galapagos islands.

Private Charter - Northwestern Islands II

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Archipel I
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Take a voyage on the Archipel I to discover Galapagos' most stunning northern islands, known for their spectacular volcanic features, pure white sand beaches, and tranquil lagoons. This 11-day tour begins in San Cristobal with a short hike to Frigatebird Hil, a mixed nesting colony of spectacular and great frigatebirds. Continue south to Santa Fe, home to the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats, one of two land iguana species, and massive prickly pear cactus. Sail to North Seymour and Twin Crater until you reach Moreno Point, the largest penguin colony in the Galapagos. Afternoons on Mosquera Islet are ideal for relaxing on the beach, swimming, or snorkeling. The journey concludes at El Chato Tortoise Reserve, an excellent location for viewing giant tortoises in their natural habitat.



 
A male frigatebird rests in the trees of the GalapagosBlue-footed booby mating danceSea lion by the kayaksWildlife in the Galapagos(Floreana) CoastlineSnorkeling in schools of tropical fish.Snorkeling the tropical waters of the Galapagos islands.
Highlights
  • Discover the marvelous Galapagos underwater world with your private group of up to 16 guests
  • Observe white tip sharks resting in the water near the shores of Tintoreras
  • Swim in Santa Fe´s calm waters and snorkel with playful sea lions
  • Visit La Loberia, a small beach home to a colony of sea lions
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: San Cristobal Airport | Embark | Interpretation Centre and Frigatebird Hill, San Cristobal

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today your guide awaits you at San Cristobal Airport and takes you to the Archipel Catamaran, which anchors at Baquerizo Moreno harbor. After arrival on board, check-in and receive general information. Enjoy your first lunch aboard and prepare yourself for your first excursion. A short, though often hot, uphill trail with steps leads from the Interpretation Centre to the summit of Frigatebird Hill. Four panoramic viewpoints show Puerto Baquerizo Moreno from above, as well as the bays on both sides of the headland. On clear days even the distant, offshore sculpture of Kicker Rock can be seen! These wooded hilltops are one of the rare places where some magnificent and great frigatebirds form a mixed breeding colony. A viewpoint with another Charles Darwin statue is a reminder that the HMS Beagle is anchored in the exotic bay below.

Day 2: Santa Fe | South Plaza

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift instead of a volcanic origin, which is why it is mostly flat. Some theories assure this could be the oldest island in the archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of several endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats, and one of the two species of land iguanas of the islands. After disembarking in the beautiful and clear waters, be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail, many salt bushes can be seen as well as giant prickly pear cactus, and gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands.

South Plaza is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas' land iguanas are smaller than their relatives found on other islands. There are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana; they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana's crest, but the face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs is seen along with other sea birds such as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelican.

Day 3: North Seymour | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and therefore is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas, and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.

Chinese Hat is a 52 m/170 ft high volcanic cone, forming another islet right off the rocky coast of Santiago, where a small colony of Galapagos penguins has settled. Approaching Chinese Hat from the north, you will understand the meaning of the name. This is an excellent place to learn more about volcanoes, lava bombs, and lava tunnels. Arrive just in time to witness how this barren islet is colonized by pioneer species that have begun to sprout! Beautiful beaches of white coral sand and holes in the eroding lava FIelds are FIlled up with lava sand, which enables rooting. Galapagos sea lions and countless marine iguanas contribute to fertilization and thus create many favorable options for newcomers, such as saltbush and the sesuvium carpet.

Day 4: Twin Craters and El Chato Reserve | Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The native scalesia forest of El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers – where you are guaranteed to find tortoises in their corrals – there is nothing better than to observe them in their wild environment. Though it can be quite moist and muddy, your visit may turn into an adventurous quest when they have left their favorite pond silently. The Twin Craters are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations are not volcanic craters and were formed by magma domes, which hardened on the outside while the lava continued flowing inside, leaving huge and empty magma chambers that eventually collapsed, leaving two large holes. The craters lie within a lush scalesia cloud forest, a high-altitude plant species that are endemic to the Galapagos. This area is also home to the carpenter finch, which uses tools to search for food. There may also be opportunities to see the vermillion flycatcher, a small red-breasted bird.

At this site, you can observe tortoises that come from various islands of the archipelago. They comply with the captive breeding program and then return to repopulate the areas where their population has been affected. The land iguanas of Santa Cruz, Isabela, and North Seymour are also in a captive breeding program, as the populations in these areas suffer from feral dogs. One of the main attractions is the famous embalmed Lonesome George. Estimated to have died between 93 and 109 years of age, it is recognized as the last of its kind and a symbol of the efforts invested in conserving endangered species. The captive tortoises are used to the presence of visitors, so it's a great place to take photos with them.

Day 5: Moreno Point | Urbina Bay, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Moreno Point is located on the north coast of Isabela Island, between the volcanos Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. The trail runs along a solidified pahoehoe lava flow into a complex of coastal lagoons. Its main attractions are several species of birds, which are found around the lakes and mangroves.

Afterwards, visit Urbina Bay which is close to the base of the Alcedo Volcano. The coastline has undergone a major uplift in 1954, which caused the shore to expand three quarters of a mile out. Here you will be able to find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. Urbina Bay is home to large and colorful land iguanas and giant tortoises of the Alcedo Volcano population. A lot of Darwin finches can be seen as well.

Day 6: Espinoza Point, Fernandina | Vicente Roca Point, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Fernandina is the third-largest island in the archipelago and has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza, located at the northeastern tip of the island. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than on any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and sometimes block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the flightless cormorant. This bird had to adjust its way of survival and perfect its skills of finding food in the ocean. Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. To see these birds is to witness evolution happening right in front of you.

Whilst having lunch we will cross the Bolivar Channel for the last time to Vicente Roca Point, just at the mouth of Isabela’s seahorse shape. While entering a dark cave below a spectacular arch, roaring echoes of the waves will accompany you. Just around the corner the collapsed amphitheater of Volcan Ecuador offers another impressive view.

Day 7: Egas Port, Santiago | Rábida

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today take a tour along the cliffs of Tagus Cove in a zodiac to get a good chance at seeing the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant, and other sea birds. From the landing dock, it is about a 30-minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where several volcanoes and Darwin Lake can be viewed. This is an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove, and it has been written by pirates, whalers, and buccaneers in past centuries!

This afternoon sail to Fernandina, the third largest island in the archipelago. Stop at the island's single visitor site: Punta Espinoza, located at the northeastern tip of the island. Here, marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than on any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and sometimes, block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, you can find the flightless cormorant.

Day 8: Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz | Bachas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore onboard the dinghy green landscape of Black Turtle Cove, which is mostly composed of mangrove trees that host innumerable aerial and aquatic species. Observe how the quiet emerald lagoon and surrounding shallow bays enables the easy observation of sea turtles and as well as groups of sharks. 

Afterwards, join an excursion to Bachas beach. This is a lovely bay with soft, white coral sand that is frequently visited by sea turtles to lay their eggs, so please, watch your step! After enjoying some leisure time at the beach, you could explore a small lagoon hidden behind some bushes, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. You might also observe some rusty barges, which were abandoned here after WWII when the USA rented this island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel from Japan. After two hours on this visit, you will return on board.

Day 9: Prince Philip's Steps | Darwin Bay, Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Before landing, make an inflatable dinghy ride along the eastern arm of the caldera. While you approach, the massive 25 m / 80 ft high walls become overwhelming. Sometimes, a Galapagos fur seal is resting, or a seabird is nesting on one of the ledges at the base. Then, you have to hike and overcome the steep stairs from the landing dock to a bush of palo santo shrubs on top. Red-footed boobies gratefully use these scarce nesting places; so that they don’t have to nest on the rocky ground. On arriving at the seaside of the rim, the bushes open up, and you can enjoy wide views, a strong sea breeze, and the amazing flying skills of uncountable seabirds. Following the exposed seaside rim, pass the Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places, where you might be lucky to spot the well-camouflaged short-eared owl hunting for them on foot!

In the afternoon, head to Darwin Bay. Inside the submerged caldera of Genovesa lies Darwin Bay, with a diameter of more than 1,5 km / 1 mi, and it is almost 200 m / 650 ft deep. The small area surprises you repeatedly, walking along a coral sand beach, crossing barren lava formations and creeks, passing tidal pools, shrubs, and further ahead following the top of some cliffs. With this peaceful surrounding, every species has occupied its ecological niche (or habitat) without disturbing others.

Day 10: Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The beautiful volcano islet of Bartolome is among the youngest of the islands, and on a geological scale, was just recently born out of the fire. Although at first sight lifeless, Bartolome offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramas in the entire archipelago. To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic ‘Pinnacle Bay,’ you have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114m/375ft). Enter a dramatic world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The Summit Trail is also ideal for witnessing how scanty pioneer vegetation such as lava cactus is struggling to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.

This afternoon set foot at Sullivan Bay. The desolate, stretched-out fields seem mostly lifeless, but there is plenty to see on this highly popular site amongst photographers. Pacific green turtles seasonally burry eggs in the tiny white sand beach, where you may also encounter crabs, a strayed blue heron, or an oystercatcher. On the lava flow, only sparse pioneer vegetation such as lava cacti and carpetweed can grow. You might encounter a lava lizard, locusts, or a small snake species (Galapagos racer).

Day 11: Twin Craters and El Chato Reserve, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
The Twin Craters are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations are not volcanic craters and were formed by magma domes, which hardened on the outside while the lava continued flowing inside, leaving huge and empty magma chambers that eventually collapsed, leaving two large holes. At the same time, El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers – where you are guaranteed to find tortoises in their corrals – there is nothing better than to observe them in their wild environment. Though it can be quite moist and muddy, your visit may turn into an adventurous quest when they have left their favorite pond silently.

After you visit, disembark and transfer to Baltra Airport.

Ship/Hotel

Archipel I

Enjoy sightseeing on the deck with a delicious snack.
Dining area on the Archipell I
Sundeck on the Archipell I

Dates & Prices

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Crewed Charter Price starting at
$108,640
or $6,790 per person based on 16 max passengers
Standard Cabin on the Archipell I
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Standard Cabin
8 cabins with twin or double beds. Feature private facilities with hot & cold water, A/C.

Child Discount

20% 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
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • 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: $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 - $10/day per person.

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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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