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Nazca Booby on Genovesa Island

Northwestern & Central Islands

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat
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Join this 12-day Galapagos cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat and enjoy the highlands and wildlife viewing. Your journey starts at Baltra and visits the amazing volcanic formations at Santa Cruz. See the beautiful and remote Genovesa Island, well known as “The Bird Island”, for close interaction with numerous bird species. Explore Black Turtle Cove's amazing mangrove lagoon on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, and much more!
GalapagosDawn breaking as we motor to Black Turtle CoveExploring the GalapagosExploring the Galapagoslow clouds over volcanoone of the valleys on Dragon Hill-Santa Cruz in the distance
Highlights
  • Explore underground lava tunnels in Santa Cruz.
  • Visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) for birdwatching.
  • Sail through the beautiful and remote Genovesa Island.
  • Discover the rich marine wildlife at Black Turtle Cove.
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 Island | Embark | Santa Cruz Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 in Santa Cruz.

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 2: Dragon Hill | Chinese Hat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 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.
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 3: El Barranco | Darwin Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 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 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. You 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.

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: 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 5: Tagus Cove | Urbina Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a long journey from the central part of the Galapagos, you 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 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 at 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 6: Espinoza Point | Vicente Roca Point

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life. Your snorkeling will take you along the cliffs and offers the chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves with rich marine wildlife.
Activities: Panga Ride, Snorkeling

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, 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 8: North Seymour | Santa Cruz Highlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies. In the afternoon, enjoy the highlands. Visit a tortoise ranch and see some of the amazing volcanic formations in Santa Cruz.

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

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 9: Rabida Island | Bartolomé Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning you will have an excursion to Rábida its unique reddish landscape, to see a lagoon and a sea lion colony. Continue to Bartolomé for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint.

Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes – it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters. Take a panga ride from the beach to a cliff wall that drops off into the water to find one of the best deep-water snorkeling spots on the islands.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Hike to Bartolomé's summit for a stronger perspective of the islands' not-too-distant volcanic origins, and enjoy a panoramic view – it’s one of the best among the islands! See other Galápagos Islands in the distance as well as Pinnacle Rock, the island’s famous towering landmark. Take the opportunity to swim and snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, one of the most iconic volcanic rock formations on the islands. Home to Galápagos penguins, friendly sea lions, sea turtles, and a huge variety of fish, Bartolomé and its surrounding waters are a fantastic place to explore the natural wonders of the Galápagos.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 10: South Plaza Island | Santa Fé Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Land at South Plaza in the morning for wildlife spotting opportunities and a walk through the cactus forest. In the afternoon, take a guided walk around Santa Fé to observe wildlife and plentiful marine iguanas.

Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters
Activities: Hike

Lace up your hiking boats to explore the island's flora and fauna. Trek toward the cliffs along the island's northern shore to see a forest of giant prickly pear
cacti (Opuntia). See endemic land iguanas lounging in their favorite forest, and feasting on Opuntia pads and fruit.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 11: Punta Pitt | Cerro Brujo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Morning landing at Punta Pitt on San Cristóbal Island to observe the marine iguanas and seabirds along the beach and enjoy a snorkeling excursion. In the afternoon, you land at Cerro Brujo to observe the sea lions, marine iguanas, and seabirds along the beach.

Enjoy amazing wildlife watching and interesting geological formations on this fascinating expedition. Arrive at a quiet cove on the eastern tip of San Cristóbal to explore Punta Pitt. Made up of volcanic tuff substrate, it's the only site in the Galápagos where it's possible to see three species of boobies and two species of frigatebirds. Snorkel around Punta Pitt Island and spot schools of fish swimming below. On the shore admire the nesting birds and sun bathing sea lions.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Visit Cerro Brujo to explore its coastline, and look for wildlife on the beach, in the water, and in the air. Learn about the human and natural history of the area from the Galápagos CEO. Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise water, and head out on a short walk to a freshwater lagoon – a great place to see flamingos.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 12: Lobos Island | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
In the morning, visit Isla Lobos and be greeted by sea lions frolicking in the waves before being transferred to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno airport.

Explore this tiny island by foot and boat for some great wildlife encounters. Take a panga ride to view the sea and shore birds nesting and feeding. Spot a small colony of blue-footed boobies as well as two species of sea lions. Snorkel right off the beach at peaceful Isla Lobos, amid the families of sea lions and their inquisitive pups looking to play. Spot nesting frigate birds and the famous blue-footed boobies resting on the shore. Be sure to bring your camera to catch some snaps at this prime wildlife-watching haven.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Ship/Hotel

M/Y Monserrat

The Monserrat
Bar area
Sun Deck

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Per person starting at
$6,700
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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
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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
  • 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 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

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