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San Cristobal

East Central & Northwestern Islands

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat
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Take an 11-day cruise through the islands of the Galapagos, aboard the charming and comfortable M/Y Monserrat. Spend your days exploring the enchanted archipelago, encountering Galapagos giant turtles, sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, and much more! Visit some of the most popular destinations such as Chinese Hat, Cowley Islet, Albany Islet, Sullivan Bay, and Mosquera. 
cloud formations over San CristobalSUNSETSan Cristobal  sunsetwhere earth meets sky, tranquility and peace begin
Highlights
  • Enjoy a great view of beautiful landscapes at Tijeretas Hill.
  • Visit Gardner Bay's magnificent white sandy beach.
  • Explore Punta Suárez, one of most rich wildlife landing sites.
  • Discover the mangroves at Black Turtle Cove.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: San Cristóbal | Embark | Interpretation Center | Tijeretas Hill

Catch an early flight to San Cristóbal Island. In the afternoon, visit Tijeretas, a great viewpoint, and your first wildlife encounter. Learn about the origins of the Galapagos at the Interpretation Center.

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.

This hill bears its name thanks to the frigate birds as “Tijeretas” is what people locally call them. Here you will enjoy a great view of beautiful landscapes at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 2: Gardner Bay | Punta Suárez

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 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).

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 parrot fish.
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 parrot fish. Look for white-tipped reef sharks napping on the bottom.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

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.
Activities: Hike

Day 3: Cormorant Point | Post Office Bay

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.

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 shore birds feeding in the lagoon. Spot penguins and marine iguanas at the water’s edge, and explore the lava tubes with the Galápagos CEO.
Champion Islet: 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.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

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).
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 4: Charles Darwin Station | 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 in Santa Cruz.

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.
Activities: Hike

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.
Activities: Hike

Day 5: Dragon Hill | Chinese Hat

This morning you 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.

Visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) for some prime birdwatching. Take a short walk from the beach to a hypersalinic (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.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

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. 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!
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 6: El Barranco | Darwin Bay

Today you 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.

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, you 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.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Darwin bay was formed by the collapse of the flooded caldera of Tower Island, another name used for Genovesa. After landing at a 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. You will continue on a short and flat trail to encounter red-footed booby and great frigatebird nests. You will visit a tidal lagoon where sea lions swim playfully ending your path on a cliff with magnificent views of this remote part of the Galapagos.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 7: Black Turtle Cove | Bachas Beach

Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove. In the afternoon visit Bachas Beach. Here you can relax and swim on its crystalline waters. This site also gives visitors the opportunity to see frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.

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.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride

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.
Go snorkeling or swimming 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.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Day 8: Tagus Cove | Urbina Bay

After a long journey from the central part of the Galapagos, you will arrive at the pristine and remote West of the archipelago. Your visits today are Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay on the west of Isabela Island, where you will have your first encounters with flightless cormorants, penguins, giant tortoises and beautiful landscapes, and amazing snorkeling opportunities.

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, you 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, you can 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. The naturalist guide will tell you what are the different scientific theories for this occurrence. Meanwhile, in your snorkeling, there are chances to see sharks, turtles, and sea stars. You may also see various different types of colorful fish.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Urbina Bay is a fascinating visitor site that came to be as 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.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Day 9: Espinoza Point | Vicente Roca Point

Today you 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, you will visit Vicente Roca Point, on Isabela Island, famous for its rich underwater sea life thanks to its location on the Bolivar Channel.

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 you 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 you are lucky, a sea turtle or ray may be trapped in the pools. A little further ahead you 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 the western Galapagos, and experts estimate that they may only be a few hundred individuals in total.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

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. You 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, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of coldwater currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life. Your snorkeling will take us along the cliffs and offers the chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves with rich marine wildlife.
Activities: Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 10: Puerto Egas | Playa Espumilla | Buccaneer Cove

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, and land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water.

Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay. Spot a great number of shore birds and reptiles – the beach area is home to a plethora of wildlife. 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.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Head to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites.

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.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 11: North Seymour | Baltra | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies.

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.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Disembark at Baltra for a flight back to Ecuador's mainland.

Ship/Hotel

M/Y Monserrat

The Monserrat
Bar area
Sun Deck

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,300 2-3 travelers
Lower deck cabin of the MonserratLower deck cabin of the MonserratLower deck cabin of the MonserratLower deck cabin of the Monserrat
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Lower Deck Cabin
• LOWER DECK CABINS – TWIN Cabin size: 3.21m x 2.32m Bathroom: 2.32m x 0.96m Total: 4.17m x 2.32m • LOWER DECK CABINS – MATRIMONIAL Cabin size: 3.40m x 2.02m Bathroom: 2.02m x 1.03m Total: 4.43m x 2.02m
Upper deck cabin of the MonserratUpper deck cabin of the MonserratUpper deck cabin of the MonserratUpper deck cabin of the Monserrat
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Upper Deck Cabin
Cabin size: 2.99m x 2.17m Bathroom: 2.32m x 0.90m Total: 3.89m x 2.17m

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
  • 10 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • Wetsuits - Available on board
  • 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: $200 per adult, $100 per child under 12 (fees of $100 per adult and $50 per child valid on arrivals through Aug 1, 2024). Payable upon arrival to the Galapagos, only in cash dollars. Subject to increase by Galapagos Park Service.
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • Alcohol and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Map

When to Go

Jan
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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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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!
Justin Chappelle
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