Sail the islands of the Galapagos aboard M/Y Monserrat. Explore an abundance of natural wildlife and breathtaking landscapes on this 7-day cruise. Visit the islands´ largest colony of magnificent frigate birds, discover a marvelous underwater world, land on a white sand beach, and learn about the natural history of the Galapagos. Explore Bahía Gardner, Cormorant Point, Charles Darwin Station, El Barranco, and Black Turtle Cove.
Discover the natural history and variety of flora and fauna in Galapagos.
Enjoy a great view of beautiful landscapes at Tijeretas Hill.
Visit the white sandy beach of Gardner Bay.
Observe the bird, wildlife and natural history at Punta Cormorant.
Catch an early flight to San Cristóbal Island. In the afternoon, visit Tijeretas, a great viewpoint, and our first wildlife encounter. Learn about the origins of the Galapagos at the Interpretation Center.
Interpretation Center Visit (PM)
San Cristóbal Island (1h-2h)
Learn about the history of the Galápagos Islands from the very beginning of their volcanic origins through to today’s conservation efforts. Tour the Human History exhibit to learn about the islands’ discovery and colonization, and discover the natural history and variety of flora and fauna that make the Galápagos so fascinating.
Tijeretas Hill (PM)
This hill bears its name thanks to the frigate birds as “Tijeretas” is how people locally call them. Here we will enjoy a great view of beautiful landscapes at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.
Enjoy the day on Española Island, one of the oldest in the archipelago. Visit the white sandy beach of Gardner Bay and the bird colonies of Punta Suárez. Arriving at Gardner Bay's in the morning, spend the day exploring on shore and snorkeling at Gardner Island in the bay. After lunch, sail to the western side of the islands to Punta Suárez, known for its amazing bird colonies and home to the waved albatross (April and December).
Gardner Bay Visit (AM)
Bahía Gardner (1h-3h)
Visit Gardner Bay's magnificent white sandy beach, home to sea lions and sea birds. Be sure to explore the beautiful turquoise water and its incredible sea life. Spot young sea lions and large schools of surprisingly big tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrotfish.
Snorkeling (Gardner Bay) (AM)
Bahía Gardner (45m-1h)
Head to Tortuga Rock and Gardner Bay for a spectacular snorkeling experience. Spot playful young sea lions and large schools of tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrotfish. Look for white-tipped reef sharks napping on the bottom.
Punta Suárez Visit (PM)
Visit Punta Suárez, one of the richest wildlife landing sites in the Galápagos. Be greeted by surfing young sea lions on arrival. Head to the trail to find many species of nesting sea birds, and, if lucky, see the waved albatross. Follow the path up to a cliff for great views over the ocean, and watch sea birds gliding in the wind.
Land at Punta Cormorant on Floreana. Guided walks to observe the bird and wildlife and learn about the natural history. Snorkeling excursion at Champion Islet. Visit Post Office Bay.
Punta Cormorant Visit (AM)
Visit Punta Cormorant, the only landing site on Floreana Island, and discover two amazingly different beaches: one with green sand, colored by olivine crystals, and another with white sand particles known as 'Flour Beach'. Spend the afternoon observing flamingos and other shorebirds feeding in the lagoon. Spot penguins and marine iguanas at the water’s edge, and explore the lava tubes with the Galápagos CEO.
Snorkeling (Champion Islet) (AM)
Jump on in and get up close and personal with the playful sea lion colony that resides in the waters off this tiny island. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, rays, and colorful fish swimming by. There can be currents in this area, this activity should be done by strong swimmers only.
Post Office Bay Visit (PM)
Visit Post Office Bay and learn about its unique history. In the late 18th century, English whaling vessels placed a barrel here to be used as a post office. Today, the box is used mainly by tourists, who may drop off and pick up unstamped letters to be carried to far destinations. Continue the tradition – leave a letter and take one to deliver (be sure it makes it to the correct location)
Day 4: Charles Darwin Station | Santa Cruz Highlands
Disembark in Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the giant Galápagos tortoises. In the afternoon enjoy the highlands, visit a tortoise ranch and see some of the amazing volcanic formations on Santa Cruz.
Charles Darwin Research Station Visit (AM)
Puerto Ayora (45m)
Visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close – a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened. This area also houses the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos' ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. While the offices themselves are not open to visitors, the research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community.
Santa Cruz Highlands Excursion (PM) (2h-3h)
Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz and see the Galápagos giant tortoise in its natural surroundings. Explore the area and its incredible underground lava tunnels some are more than 1km (.6 mi) long! Wander along the volcanic tubes and keep an eye out for the (mainly) nocturnal barn owls that sometimes roost here.
This morning we visit Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz to see land iguanas and a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds. In the afternoon, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkeling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.
Dragon Hill (AM) (1h-3h)
Visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) for some prime birdwatching. Take a short walk from the beach to a hypersaline (saltier than the ocean) lagoon frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks, and other species of birds. Pass through a Scalesia tree forest; endemic to the area, there are only 400 specimens of Scalesia trees left in the world.
Chinese Hat Visit (PM) (1h-2h)
Explore Chinese Hat’s beautiful landscape and spectacular white-coral sand beach followed by snorkeling with sea lions and penguins and swimming opportunities in the cove.
Snorkeling (Chinese Hat) (PM)
Chinese Hat (45m-1h)
Snorkel right from the white coral sand beach and come face to face with playful sea lions and large schools of tropical fish. Keep an eye out for marine iguanas and penguins too!
Today we will be visiting the beautiful and remote Genovesa Island. This northern island, famous for its red-footed colony, is a paradise for bird lovers. It is estimated that about 200,00 Red-footed boobies live on this island.
Prince Phillips’s Steps (AM) (2h)
El Barranco or Prince Phillips’s Steps as otherwise known was named after a visit by the British Monarch in 1964. El Barranco's steep 81-foot stairway leads up to a high cliff-face that opens out onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay. Here an amazing view can be appreciated. Once at the top of the stairway we will meet Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, mockingbirds, and finches along the way of a palo santo trail. It will also be possible to see wedge-rumped storm petrels swarm and short-eared owls.
Darwin Bay (PM) (1 1⁄2h)
Darwin bay was formed by the collapse of the flooded caldera of Tower Island, another name used for Genovesa. After landing at small sand and coral beach, it is easy to realize why this island is a bird lover paradise. Among the bird species found here, the most common are swallow-tailed and lava gulls, mockingbirds, yellow-crowned night herons, lava herons, Galapagos doves, and yellow warblers. We will continue on a short and flat trail to encounter red-footed booby and great frigatebird nests. We will visit a tidal lagoon where sea lions swim playfully ending our path on a cliff with magnificent views of this remote part of the Galapagos.
Day 7: Black Turtle Cove | Baltra
Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove. Disembark at Baltra and fly back to Ecuador mainland.
Black Turtle Cove Excursion (AM)
Black Turtle Cove
Explore the mangroves by panga to find rich marine wildlife between the fresh and salt waters. Keep an eye out for manta rays and sea turtles in this tranquil ecosystem. Whitetip reef sharks can also be seen gliding by.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.