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Pinnacle Rock of Bartolome Island

Private Charter - Southeast Islands Aboard Archipell II

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Archipel II
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Indulge yourself in the unique beauty of the Galapagos southeast islands on this 8-day private cruise aboard the Archipell II. Along the way, enjoy fantastic swimming, hiking, and snorkeling, view an amazing variety of wildlife, and visit interactive research centers. Take a trip to North Seymour, a popular birding destination where an easy circular path takes you through the most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Enjoy the idyllic ‘Pinnacle Bay' postcard view with the wildest landscapes and best panoramas in the entire archipelago. The National Park information center, the Van Staelens Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult tortoises in captivity, all teach protection and conservation of the islands.

 
Blue-footed boobiesHiking at Punta Pitt, San CristobalGiant Tortoises in GalapagosCouple sitting on a beach among sea lionsPinnacle Rock of Bartolome Island
Highlights
  • Relax on Sullivan Bay's white coral sand beach with your private group of up to 16 guests
  • Discover the marvelous Galapagos underwater world
  • Visit Post Office Bay´s mailbox, used by pirates & whalers
  • Admire the spectacular panorama of the famous Pinnacle Rock
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Airport | Embark | North Seymour

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

Afterward, join an excursion to North Seymour, this islet is one of the most visited sites, and it is overloaded with bird life. An easy circular path takes you through the archipelago’s most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. At the beginning of the breeding season, adult frigatebird males blow up their vivid red pouches to impressive football-sized balloons. This is one of the few spots where you can compare the magnificent and the great frigatebird breeding next to each other.

Day 2: Bartolome | Espumilla Beach | Buccaneer Cove, 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 to witness how scanty pioneer vegetation such as lava cactus is struggling to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.

In the afternoon, visit Espumilla Beach, an important breeding site for turtles, as it is no longer suffering from digging wild pigs. The turtles return year after year to bury their eggs into the cinnamon-colored sand dunes. About two months later (roughly from February to August), the eggs hatch. The beach ridge hides a mangle with two lagoons on the backside. A colony of American flamingos and aquatic birds used to be its main attraction, but after the climate phenomenon of El Niño, strong sedimentation altered the water environment, and now no longer contains their food. Vegetation zones are very close by, providing great scenic contrasts. During the climb up a hill, be rewarded with a beautiful overview of the transitions from sea to the beach and from mangrove to a dry palo santo forest. At the nearby Buccaneers Cove, you have a great snorkeling opportunity.

Day 3: Puerto Egas, Santiago | Rabida

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning stop at Puerto Egas, a black beach located on the west side of Santiago Island. Volcanic tuff deposits formed this special black sand beach and made it the main attraction of the Island. This site is called Puerto Egas because Hector Egas attempted to exploit the salt, which failed because the price of salt on the continent was very cheap.

After lunch, head to Rábida, a unique island because of the red color of the rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous, and external factors as rain, saltwater, and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent. A short walk along a trail leads us to a coastal lagoon behind the beach that allows the observation of land birds as finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mocking birds. Meanwhile, at the lagoon, there is a colony of flamingos.

Day 4: Charles Darwin Research Station | Twin Craters, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are done. The main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Staelens Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.

The road to the highlands leaves from Bellavista, a small village located at a 15-minute drive from Puerto Ayora and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather, this area gives you beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round. Later visit the Twin Craters, which are two pit craters, as well as a local ranch where you can observe the Giant Tortoise species of Santa Cruz Island in its natural habitat.

Day 5: Cormorant Point | Post Office Bay, 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, formed by a 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. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The ‘flour sand beach on the southern side of the peninsula is formed of even finer white coral sand that feels very smooth to your feet. Parrotfishes have pulverized it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral. You can recognize schools of stingrays that love the sandy bottom to hide themselves. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs.

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.

Day 6: 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 a 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.

Afterward 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 into a lifetime experience.

Day 7: 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.

From saltbush and spiny shrubs behind the beach, a trail leads up to an area of tropical dry forest vegetation: most of the year leafless palo santo trees, yellow cordia shrubs, tiny prickly pear cacti, and carpetweed that turns red in the dry season. After the pretty steep climb through a gully to the clifftop, you can wander around the only colony in Galapagos that counts with all three species of boobies: blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca booby; as well as both species of frigate bird (great and magnificent), famous because of their scarlet balloon-sized pouches during mating season. Frigate birds would rather attack returning boobies and conduct aerial battles than fishing for themselves.

Afterward, visit Witch Hill, one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach, an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Witch Hill is the remains of a tuff cone and one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times, the lagoon is completely dry, and deposits of salt may be found in the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine.

Day 8: Interpretation Center | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
The Interpretation Center just outside the provincial capital Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is a perfect introduction as well as an interesting complement to the field explanations and briefings of your naturalist guide. Information panels (English/Spanish), pictures, maquettes, and true-to-life dioramas tell the background story of the islands in a different way, which helps you get an overview and learn what makes the Galapagos so unique. The well-maintained botanical garden with native species from the arid zone (including the giant prickly pear and candelabra cacti) is worth your visit as well, and you will probably spot the Chatham mockingbird, endemic to this island, that put Darwin on track of his evolution theory. The attractive exhibition is quite complete and explains a series of natural circumstances that create the Galapagos’ unique environment: such as the volcanic genesis of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, its ocean currents, its special climate, the arrival of different species, and their establishment, among others. It also recounts historic discovery and attempts of colonization and shows a diorama with ancient mail barrels from Post Ofice Bay. Extensively it concludes how times have changed with current conservation and the many ways in which this is being achieved, as well as the environmental challenges that proceed.

Transfer out to San Cristóbal Airport (SCY). Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the San Cristóbal Airport, where we will take the shuttle back to the airport.

Ship/Hotel

Archipell II

Relax on the deck and soak in the sun.
Enjoy sightseeing on the deck with a delicious snack.
The bridge and captain of the Archipell.

Dates & Prices

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Crewed Charter Price starting at
$73,520
or $4,595 per person based on 16 max passengers
Archipell I & II's Twin Cabin.
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Twin Cabin
Cabins feature lower berths and private en-suite bath facilities with hot & cold water, A/C.
Cruise the Galapagos on the Archipell ship
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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
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 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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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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