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Sea lions resting on the beach.

Western Islands

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Solaris
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Embark on Solaris to see the Galapagos' most stunning western islands. This seven-day journey begins on Baltra Island, with your first stop at Bachas Beach. From Santa Cruz, make your way to Isabela, where you may view white-tipped reef sharks, lava herons, Galapagos penguins, and sea lions on a zodiac excursion through Tintoreras. The next day, hike the Tagus Cove cliffs in search of the flightless cormorant. Then, sail to Isabela's Vicente Roca Point to view magnificent geological formations like volcanic tuff cones and a big cave. Scan the cliffs for nesting birds, including Nazca and blue-footed boobies. Put on a wetsuit if you prefer snorkeling and swimming among Galapagos penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and other aquatic life. Your adventure concludes with a visit to Santa Cruz Island's world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station.
LAVA HERONLearn at the Breeding Center on your Galapagos cruiseA woman walking on a white sandy beach spotted with sleeping seals.hiking across the lava, Port EgasSea lions resting on the beach.
Highlights
  • Admire Volcanic landscape at Fernandina Island
  • Explore Espinosa Point to see sunbathing Marine Iguanas
  • Visit Giant Tortoises at El Chato on Santa Cruz
  • Send some mail at Post Office Bay
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: Baltra | Embark | Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Upon arrival at Baltra airport, you will pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor. Here you will climb aboard the yacht Solaris. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch aboard.

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.
Activities: Hiking and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Day 2: Tintoreras | Wetlands, Wall of Tears and tortoise breeding center, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tintoreras consists of several small islets off the coast of Puerto Villamil and is one of the most emblematic visitor’s sites of the Galapagos. Its impressive concentration of Galapagos wildlife can be admired easily during the tour From a viewpoint, you can see herons on mangrove branches whilst Galapagos penguins and sea lions can be spotted on the land. Whitetip reef sharks can be found in the tidal channels, and their abundance is what gives these islets their Spanish name. Another highlight is the breeding colony with uncountable numbers of marine iguanas!
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

After lunch aboard, you will visit the local tortoise breeding center, where you can see hundreds of giant Galapagos tortoises of all sizes. The vulnerable hatchlings are not gigantic at all, even smaller than the size of your hand! This project, just outside Puerto Villamil, was created to rescue the endangered populations of Isabela’s southernmost volcanoes. In Puerto Villamil and the surrounding wetlands, there is the historical site called “The Wall of tears”, a national cultural heritage place where punished prisoners were forced to build this long wall and useless wall of lava rocks. Also, you might have the chance to see American flamingos. At the end of the afternoon, you will have some free time to explore the village and/or its beach.
Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy

Day 3: Moreno Point | Punta Mangle, Fernandina | Tagus Cove, 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 mangrove forests.
Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling and Dinghy Ride
Difficulty: Easy

You will enter the Bolivar Channel and navigate towards Tagus Cove. On the way, you will see how explosive eruptions have blown out a part of the outer rims of both tuff cones, and created their characteristic horseshoe shapes and Tagus Cove. Sailors used to write the names of their vessels on the eastern cliffs of this place. 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.
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Day 4: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina | Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.
Activities: Hiking and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Whilst having lunch, the yacht will cross the Bolivar Channel for the last time to Vicente Roca Point, just at the mouth of Isabela’s seahorse shape. While entering a dark cave below a spectacular arch, the roaring echoes of the waves will accompany you. Just around the corner, the collapsed amphitheater of Ecuador Volcano offers another impressive view. The calmer waters of the coves are well protected against the ocean swell and are a fairly cold but great place for snorkeling amongst various species of shark, penguins, pufferfish and even seahorses!
Activities: Snorkeling and Dinghy Ride
Difficulty: Easy

Day 5: Espumilla Beach, Bucaneer Cove | Puerto Egas, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Espumilla Beach is a visitor’s site at the northern end of James Bay, on the western coast of Santiago. This beach has been revived as 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. The beach ridge hides mangroves with two picturesque lagoons. The 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 brackish water environment and it no longer contains their food. During the climb of a hill, you will be rewarded with a beautiful overview of the transitions from sea into beach into mangrove into dry palo santo forest.
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Moderate

At lunchtime, you will navigate south to Puerto Egas, with its famous fur seal grottos, where you will enjoy another, very different guided walk along the coastline. Its masterfully sculptured coastline of black basalts and polished multi-colored ash layers forms a photogenic scene with collapsed lava tunnels, natural arches, caves and blowholes such as “Darwin’s toilet”. In a grotto directly below a spectacular rock arch at the end of the beach, a colony of sea lions occupies the shade. Hundreds of sally lightfoot crabs seem even brighter orange against the black rocks.
Activities: Hiking and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Day 6: Rabida | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After lunch and a “wet landing” on the remarkable red beach of Rabida, there are two short guided hikes. Oxidized iron particles give the rocks and sand their rusty color. The beach wall holds a shallow green-fringed lagoon. This oasis is the most fertile place on the otherwise arid islet, which is overgrown with leaf-dropping palo santo trees. The salty pool attracts all kinds of aquatic birds, like pintails and sometimes American flamingos. Between the evergreen foliage of the surrounding mangrove bushes, many species of songbirds hide and breed. One of the most outstanding attractions is the major breeding colony of brown pelicans; the only ones in the world that plunge-dive.
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Moderate

Chinese Hat is a 52 m/170 ft high volcanic cone, forming an islet off the rocky coast of Santiago, where a small colony of Galapagos penguins has settled. Because its primordial fire has been extinguished recently, this is an excellent place to learn more about volcanism, lava bombs and lava tunnels. On the beach, you can also find curious pillow-type lavas with coral heads on top! These spheres had a submarine origin before being lifted above sea level. Beaches of white coral sand grow, 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. This all together creates more favorable options for newcomers, like saltbush and the discoloring sesuvium carpet.
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate

Day 7: Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
The dinghies will bring you to the touristic pier of Puerto Ayora, from where you will be brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service, from which biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique but vulnerable archipelago are directed. You will be taken on an educational stroll where your most memorable visit will be that of the successful breeding center and the enclosure of the Galapagos giant tortoises.
Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: Moderate

After that, it is time to say goodbye to the Galapagos! Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the pier, where you will take the shuttle back to the airport. In case you have booked your trip for a longer stay, they would be welcoming any potential new fellow passengers to the yacht, and continue your trip to the next visiting site!

Ship/Hotel

Solaris

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$5,795
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Ocean View Suite
3 cabins (21 m²) with queen bed and single bed. 2 cabins (26 m²) with queen bed and single bed. All cabins with ocean views, and private facilities.
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Ocean View Single
5 cabins (11 m²) with single beds, Ocean view, and private facilities.

Child Discount

A discount for children under 12 years of age is available. Contact us for details. 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
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 6 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
  • 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
  • Glass bottom kayak
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
  • Wetsuits are not included but are available to rent on board- $24 for 4-day tours, $30 for 5-day tours, and $48 for 8-day tours.

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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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