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Northwestern Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat
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Discover the beauty of the Galapagos Islands on this 8-day cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat exploring the highlights of this historic archipelago. Snorkel through Darwin's Bay, where diverse marine life can be found. Explore Black Turtle Cove's amazing mangrove lagoon on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, discover Chinese Hat’s beautiful landscape and spectacular white-coral sand beach and much more!
GalapagosLava tubes on Santa Cruz Island, GalapagosSanta CruzIguana soaking up the sun on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagoslagoon on Dragon Hill which gets more than the avg. rainfalllow clouds over volcano
Highlights
  • Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas.
  • Visit the most idyllic beaches of Playa Espumilla.
  • Observe a great diversity of sea and coastal bird at Vicente Roca Point.
  • Discover and see a wide range of wildlife at Bachas Beach.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Island | Santa Cruz Island

strong>Baltra
Transfer to the boat to meet the guide and get on board. In the afternoon enjoy the highlands, visit a tortoise ranch and see some of the amazing volcanic formations on Santa Cruz.

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.

Day 2: Dragon Hill | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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!

Day 3: El Barranco | Darwin Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 4: Black Turtle Cove | Bachas Beach

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove. We will then sail to Bachas Beach. Here you can relax and swim in its crystalline waters. This site also gives visitors the opportunity to see frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.

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.

Bachas Beach Landing (PM)
Bachas Beach (2h)
Head to Bachas Beach where the sand is made of decomposed coral, making it soft and white, and a favorite site for nesting sea turtles. Spot abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs on the lava rocks along the water's edge -- these crabs will eat anything they can get their claws on! Trek to see a wide range of wildlife, including flamingos, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and sea lions.

Snorkeling (AM)
Bachas Beach (45m-1h)
Go snorkeling or swim right off the white sand beach of Las Bachas. Spot all sorts of marine wildlife in its shallow waters and tidal pools. Bachas is also one of the most important beaches for the green turtle as a nesting site.

Day 5: Tagus Cove | Urbina Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a long journey from the central part of the Galapagos, we will arrive at the pristine and remote West of the archipelago. Our visits today are Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay on the west of Isabela Island, where we will have our first encounters with flightless cormorants, penguins, giant tortoises, and beautiful landscapes, and amazing snorkeling opportunities.

Tagus Cove (AM)
Tagus Cove is located on the Northwestern coast of Isabela. It is a historical site visited by Charles Darwin in 1835, where graffiti has been carved into the rock walls by visitors over the past centuries. This spot has been frequented by whalers and pirates since the 1800s that used the area as anchorage. The name of the site dates back to 1814 when it was visited by a British ship, The Tagus, which had anchored there in search of giant tortoises to be used as a food supply on the boat. Here, we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, the flightless cormorant, and Galapagos penguins depending on the
season. Occasionally you might see woodpecker finches, the Galapagos hawk, the yellow warbler, or a large-billed flycatcher. After a dry landing, we climb up the trail to visit Darwin's Lake. The lake is located on the slopes of Darwin Volcano and is, surprisingly, a saltwater lake above sea level. Our naturalist guide will tell you what are the different scientific theories for this occurrence. Meanwhile, in our snorkeling, there are chances to see sharks, turtles, and sea stars. You may also see various different types of colorful fish.

Urbina Bay (PM)
Urbina Bay is a fascinating visitor site that came to be like the shallow sea bottom uplifted in 1954 showing a large coral reef sticking up above sea level. Because of this, Urbina Bay is one of the newest features in the Galapagos. This visitor site is located west of Isabela and provides spectacular views of the Alcedo volcano. The long trail starts on the beach where a wet landing is made. In this location, you will likely see wild Galapagos Giant Tortoises and Galapagos Land Iguanas. As the trail circles back towards the shoreline you'll come across colonies of the unique Galapagos Flightless Cormorant which lost its ability to fly. This is also a great spot for snorkeling, as you can come close to a Galapagos Penguin Colony and see Galapagos Marine Iguanas feeding underwater.

Day 6: Espinoza Point | Vicente Roca Point

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today we visit the most western visitor site of the Galapagos, Espinoza Point in Fernandina Island. This island is also one the most pristine on the archipelago as no foreign species have been introduced. In the afternoon, we will visit Vicente Roca Point, on Isabela Island, famous for its rich underwater sea life thanks to its location on the Bolivar Channel.

Espinoza Point (AM)
Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine islands in the world, with none of man’s introduced species to date. From here we can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Fernandina is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands and a visitor favorite. When landing, check out the tidal pools where there is an abundance of sea life, including small fish and mollusks. If we are lucky, a sea turtle or ray may be trapped in the pools. A little further ahead we will pass through some marine iguana burrows and sea lion colonies. The trail continues to where several flightless cormorants have their nests. This remarkable bird is only found in western Galapagos and experts estimate that it may only be a few hundred individuals in total.

Vicente Roca Point (PM)
Vicente Roca Point has great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolivar Channel). Vicente Roca Point is renowned for its Galápagos green turtles, which are very numerous on the bay. Although the spot is known for its high concentration of green turtles, sharks and rays can also be observed when underwater visibility is good. We take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life. Our snorkeling will take us along the cliffs and offers the chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves with rich marine wildlife.

Day 7: Puerto Egas | Buccaneer Cove

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Morning excursion to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools. Continue to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which boasts thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Head to Buccaneer Cove to witness the towering cliff wall rock formations. Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water.

Puerto Egas Visit (AM)
Puerto Egas
Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay. Spot a great number of shorebirds and reptiles – the beach area is home to a plethora of wildlife.

Snorkeling (Puerto Egas) (AM)
Puerto Egas (45m-1h)
Grab a snorkel and jump into the water right off the beach to explore Puerto Egas' interesting underwater world. Keep your eyes peeled for rays, turtles, and
reef sharks while snorkeling. After, visit the large tidal pool area – marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs are everywhere.

Playa Espumilla Excursion (PM)
Playa Espumilla
Head to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which have thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites.

Buccaneer Cove Visit (PM)
Jump into the panga and cruise alongside high cliffs and rock formations on this visit to Buccaneer Cove, which was a favorite hideout for pirates looking to stock up their boats with food and water. Spot sea lions relaxing on the beach and sea birds nesting in the cove – there are lots to see at this site.

Day 8: North Seymour | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
strong>Baltra
Visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies. Disembark at Baltra for flight back to Ecuador mainland.

North Seymour Island Visit (AM)
Have an amazing wildlife experience visiting North Seymour Island – This island is teeming with life! Follow trails to see all the action (you may need to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana while walking). See blue-footed booby nests where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Head to a rocky shore to see flocks of pelicans having lunch in a dive bomb feeding frenzy, then turn inland to a large nesting site of magnificent frigate birds. These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6.5 ft) wingspans, and males, with their puffed-up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. Top off the excursion with a snorkel among sea lions and rays.

Ship/Hotel

M/Y Monserrat

M/Y Monserrat Upper deck
M/Y Monserrat Alfresco
M/Y Monserrat Observation deck

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$4,279
Lower deck cabin of the MonserratLower deck cabin of the MonserratLower deck of the MonserratLower deck of the Monserrat.
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Lower Deck Cabin
LOWER DECK CABINS – TWIN Cabin: 3,21 m x 2,32 m Bathroom: 2,32 m x 0,96 m Total: 4,17 m x 2,32 LOWER DECK CABINS – MATRIMONIAL Cabin: 3,40 m x 2,02 m Bathroom: 2,02 m x 1,03 m Total: 4,43 m x 2,02
Upper deck MonserratUpper deck bathroom of the Monserraupper deck cabins of the MonserratUpper deck matrimonial of the Monserrat
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Upper Deck Cabin
Cabin: 2,99 m x 2,17 m Bathroom: 2,32 m x 0,90 m Total: 3,89 m x 2,17

Child Discount

15% discount for under 12 years old on gross rates

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
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide 
  • Gear Rental: Kayaking Gear
  • Adventure Life Pre-departure Services and In-Country Assistance (Quito Representative)
  • Shore Excursions, Swimming and Snorkeling 
  • Transfers and Baggage Handling in the Galapagos
  • Coffee, Tea & Water
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
  • Alcohol and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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