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Colorful South Plaza Island

Private Charter - Southeastern and Western Islands Aboard Archipell I

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Archipel I
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Wildlife in the Galapagos
Highlights
  • Take a zodiac ride along the cliffs of Tagus Cove with your private group of up to 16 guests
  • Enjoy opportunities to go snorkeling, swimming or kayaking
  • Observe Galapagos flora and fauna impossible to compare to anything else
  • Observe one of the best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Airport | Embark | Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today your guide awaits you at Baltra Airport and takes you to the Archipell Catamaran which anchors in Puerto Ayora harbor. After arrival on board, check-in and receive general information, then enjoy your first lunch on board.

Afterwards get ready for your first excursion visit to the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center. 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 to conserve endangered species. The captive tortoises are used in the presence of visitors, so it's a great place to take photos with them.

Day 2: Cormorant Point and Devil's Crown | Post Office Bay and Baroness Lookout, Floreana

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today land at Cormorant Point´s green olivine sand beach. The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which formed by number of smaller volcanic cones, covered by tropical dry forest (palo santo). At the landing beach, be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. Devil’s Crown offers one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos due to the coral reef in its centre, which attracts a lot of marine life. Here you can spot Galapagos penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, many different colourful sh and even some dolphins. The current can be a bit strong sometimes, so it should not be attempted by novice swimmers.

In the afternoon visit Post Office Bay, one out of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s northern coast. Bring your postcards and post them in the peculiar barrel on this historic site. The barrel commemorates an improvised mail service that was set up for communication between British 16th century whalers and poachers. You can also relax on the beach, where in addition to Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden rays, you may see Galapagos penguins. This is the only place in the southeastern archipelago where penguins reside. You can also climb the small basaltic cone of the Baroness Lookout and enjoy the coastline’s paradisiacal views. This viewpoint was the favourite spot of one of Floreana's first settlers, the eccentric baroness and self-proclaimed "Empress of Galapagos" Eloisa von Wagner, who even built her house a few metres further back.

Day 3: Gardner Bay | Suarez Point, Española

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. However, without doubt its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years, although these start to fish after 5 months of their birth. During the breeding- and mating season, the colony becomes even bigger.

Afterwards visit Suarez Point, one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago. Huge ocean waves bang onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays meters high into the air (depending on the season, the tide and how strong the sea breeze pushes the waves). Take your time for a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment in a lifetime experience.

Day 4: Pitt Point | Witch Hill, San Cristobal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning stop at Pitt Point, one of the only two sites where all of the three types of boobies breed and it is also the site where great frigate birds and swallow tailed gulls are seen. Two wind sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point make up the extreme eastern end of San Cristobal, and thus, the archipelago as well. These cliffs were the first sight of land when HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrived on September 15, 1835. On the small green sand beach, be welcomed by a group of barking Galapagos sea lions. This is a bachelor colony, where males usually relax and prepare themselves for fighting and mating.

Afterwards visit the Interpretation Centre, just outside the provincial capital city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, gives a perfect explanation of this unique archipelago. Its attractive exhibition is quite complete and helps you to get a clear overview and learn what makes this archipelago so unique. Information panels (in English and Spanish), pictures, documents, maquettes, and true-to-life dioramas tell various background and conservation stories about the islands in a different way.

Day 5: Lobos Islet | Interpretation Centre and Frigatebird Hill, San Cristobal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Lobos Islet beach harbors a colony of Galapagos sea lions. As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few meters. In the breeding season this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating the harem on their part of the beach. This low islet houses more than just Galapagos sea lions. Two other emblematic species breed here. Male blue-footed boobies and great frigate birds that try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances heaving their striking blue feet or blow-up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. During the breeding season, the fluffy and hungry chicks cry for food, and when their wings get strong enough they learn to fly.

Afterwards, prepare yourself for your first excursion to Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Center. Located at 40 minutes approximately by bus to the south east of the island, this center was built to improve the status of the population of the island tortoises. It includes a large corral, a visitors center, breeding center and an interpretative trail. Along this trail, it is possible to see different species of native and endemic plants as well as birds like the San Cristobal mockingbird, yellow warblers, many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.

On your visit to Colorado Hill, discover the amazing and emblematic Giant Galapagos Tortoises in the Tortoise breeding center, and maybe even get to see one hatch (seasonally)! In addition, you get to see how much hard work is put into save the last local giants of San Cristobal.

Day 6: 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, you will 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, 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 its 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 are seen along with other sea birds such as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.

Day 7: 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. You will 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 8: 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 really 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 suffered 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 to conserve endangered species. The captive tortoises are used to the presence of visitors, so it's a great place to take photos with them.

Day 9: Moreno Point | Elizabeth 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.

This is a marine visitor site, so the excursion has no landing point. Your dinghy ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where the largest and most important penguin colony resides in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove, surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leaves. Here, you can observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequent visitors have been able to see Galapagos hawks soaring overhead with schools of pompano and dorado fish swimming down below.

Day 10: Tagus Cove | Espinoza Point, Fernandina

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A tour along the cliffs in a dinghy will give the visitors a good chance to see 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 you can view Darwin Lake, 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! They were written by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries.

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.

Day 11: Egas Port, Santiago | Rábida

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Puerto Egas is a black beach located on the west side of Santiago Island. Volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach and this is the main attraction of the Island. This site is called Puerto Egas because there was an attempt of Hector Egas to start the exploitation of salt, which failed. After all, the price of salt on the continent was very cheap and did not justify its exploitation in the Galapagos. The project was abandoned and they left their infrastructure.

Rábida Island is unique because of the red color of the rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous and external factors such as rain, salt water and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent. A short walk along a trail will lead you to a coastal lagoon behind the beach that allows for the observation of land birds as finches, doves, yellow warblers and mockingbirds. There is also a colony of flamingos at the lagoon.

Day 12: Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
These two small beaches are found to the west of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. There is a small brackish water lagoon behind one of the beaches, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel. After this, assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, you will be taken to the Seymour Ecological Airport.

After you visit to Bachas Beach disembark and transfer to Baltra Airport.

Photo Gallery

Wildlife in the Galapagos Snorkeling with friends Blue Footed Booby in the Galapagos Colorful South Plaza Island Wildlife in the Galapagos

Map

Ship/Hotel

Archipell 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
$119,120
or $7,445 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
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities 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
  • 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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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.
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