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Sea lion at sunset

North Central Islands

Baltra roundtrip - Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Estrella
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Embark on a 5-day cruise with Estrella to explore the Galapagos North Central Islands. Start with a transfer to Baltra, then venture to Bartolome for a choice of trekking or snorkeling, spotting Galapagos Penguins, Herons, and Hawks. Genovesa, 'The Bird Island,' offers frigatebirds and snorkeling. Darwin Bay features red-footed boobies. Explore El Barranco's cliffs before lunch. Discover North and South Plaza's unique flora and land iguanas. Santa Fe is ideal for snorkeling and diving. Encounter giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station and Tortuga Bay's pristine beach named for black turtles. Conclude your journey at Mosquera, with playful Galapagos sea lions basking on pristine white beaches.
Pinnacle Rock of Bartolome IslandPinnacle rock in BartolomeBartolome Island and Pinnacle RockColorful South Plaza IslandSouth Plaza IslandLounging iguana on South Plaza Island, GalapagosFrigate bird showing offGalapagos penguin by the waterBlue-footed booby mating danceSea lion at sunset
Highlights
  • Explore Bartolome's volcanic beauty and snorkel by Pinnacle Rock
  • Visit El Barranco's lava cliffs and nesting boobie colonies
  • Explore unique wildlife and flora on North and South Plaza
  • Stroll along Mosquera's shores, admiring vibrant waders and sanderlings
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 | Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer in. Pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee (unless pre-paid) and inspectors will check your luggage. One of our guides meets you, assists in collecting your luggage, and escorts you on a short bus ride to the harbor. Climb aboard the yacht. Greet the crew and captain, and your cabins get assigned to you. Enjoy your first lunch aboard.

The beautiful volcanic islet of Bartolomé is among the youngest of the islands and, on a geological scale, was just recently born out of the fire. Although it looks deserted at first sight, Bartholomew offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramas of the entire archipelago. To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic “Pinnacle Bay” you will have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114 m/375 ft).

Enter a dramatic world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The summit trail is also ideal for witnessing how scanty pioneer vegetation, such as lava cactus, struggles to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.

Activities: Hiking

Day 2: Darwin Bay | Prince Philip's Steps, Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As one of the outer islands and most exclusive places on the Galapagos, Genovesa is well worth last night’s longer navigation. This compact site in the heart of its flooded crater shows the extremely varied coastal ecosystems of the Galapagos in miniature; nearly too much for a single day.

Whimbrels and wandering tattlers forage actively along the surf, next to resting Galapagos sea lions. Impressive frigatebirds and red-footed boobies nest in the mangroves, where you can also see vocalists such as the yellow warbler, Darwin’s finches, and the Galapagos mockingbird. Uniquely, two subpopulations of the same species of large cactus finch differ in their singing.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Not only because of its historical English name (Tower) Genovesa has a royal touch. Follow in the footsteps of Prince Philip – a Galapagos lover for many years – and visit this favorite birding spot with the largest breeding colonies of red-footed and Nazca boobies, and look for the remarkable short-eared owl that hunts on foot!

Activities: Hiking

Day 3: South Plaza | Santa Fe

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Popular South Plaza is not to be missed! This bizarre ‘Jurassic islet’ is the best place to see the emblematic ‘Galapagos dragons’, which crawl across it. Return on board.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

While exploring Santa Fe island, be surprised by how close some curious sea lions waddle toward you. Galapagos hawks perch at their outlooks, ready to snatch away a baby marine iguana or lava lizard. Next, traverse a cactus forest trail revealing surrealistic, house-high giant opuntia prickly pears grown larger than on any other island, narrating a fascinating evolutionary story. At calm, turquoise Barrington Bay, swim in close company with Galapagos sea lions, fluorescent blue chin parrot fishes, yellowtail surgeon fishes, whiptail stingrays, Pacific green turtles, whitetip reef sharks, and more.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Day 4: Charles Darwin Center | Tortuga Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dinghies bring you to the tourist pier of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. From there, you are brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This institution is named after the British naturalist who developed his Theory of Evolution after visiting these islands in 1835. It works on the conservation and restoration of the Galapagos ecosystems, as well as on the sustainable development of its communities. There is an interpretation center about the National Park and its Marine Reserve. The most memorable part of your visit is probably the successful breeding center and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Tortuga Bay, which is a beautiful, gigantic, perfectly preserved white sand beach, is ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful by Condé Nast magazine. It is named after the fact that it is a favorite nesting site for the black turtle and marine iguana. Swimming in the first, large beach is NOT recommended although experienced local surfers ride its waves and make it seem easy. It is great for birdwatching and sunbathing for some Vitamin D. If you want to enter the sea, the second recreational beach further along the way is a better idea. It holds a sheltered bay surrounded by evergreen red mangroves. Its tranquil waters are an excellent place to cool down and snorkel. Return on board for a welcome toast and dinner.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Day 5: Mosquera | Disembark | Baltra

  • 1 Breakfast
Galapagos sea lions are true beach lovers and Mosquera offers beautiful white coral sand beaches, which contrast with the blue water and thus attract numerous sea lions. During a beach walk, you can observe numerous species of waders and sanderlings. Between the rocks, the red clip crabs wait to play hide and seek while you try to get the perfect photo. If you are lucky, you may even encounter yellow-crowned night herons or even a red-footed booby.

Activities: Dinghy ride

Transfer to Baltra Aiport.

Ship/Hotel

Estrella

Estrella yacht
Estrella shaded terrace
Estrella shaded terrace

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Lower deck cabin
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Lower deck
4 lower deck cabins with bunk beds. Complete with private amenities and air conditioning.
Ocean view upper deck cabin
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Ocean View
4 upper deck cabins with ocean view and bunk beds. Complete with private amenities and air conditioning.

Child Discount

20% discount for children under age 12 at time of Galapagos cruise. 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
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Use of Kayaks
  • Unlimited water, coffee, and tea
  • Snorkeling Gear
  • Airport-yacht-airport transfers (for all guests arriving at the scheduled meeting point, date, and time)
  • All excursions as mentioned in the itinerary with one English-speaking naturalist guide
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.
  • Wetsuits are not included but can be rented on board
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • Soft drinks or alcoholic beverages 

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
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Dec
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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin
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