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Sea lions on Rabida beach

Private Charter - West Central Islands Aboard Estrella

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Estrella
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Embark on a 7-day private West Central Galapagos Island cruise aboard Estrella. Marvel at Rabida Island's striking red rocks and relax by the green lagoon. Dive into Buccaneer Cove's pirate history, then soak up the turtle nesting sites at Espumilla Beach. Witness the flightless cormorant at Espinoza Point and encounter the rare pink iguana at Urbina Bay. Enjoy serene kayaking at Elizabeth Bay, followed by shark sightings at Punta Moreno. Explore Tintoreras Islet for up-close views of whitetip sharks and marine iguanas. Immerse yourself in Santa Cruz's highlands, Twin Craters, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Finally, conclude at Lobos Islet, observing lively displays of Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and frigate birds!
Beach on Isabela islandSea lions on beach in RabidaSea lions on Fernandina IslandIsabela rock with birdsWall of Tears on Isabela IslandSea lion on San Cristobal Island in the GalapagosGiant TortoiseKayak on a beach in the galapagosCurious blue footed boobySee Blue-footed boobies on your Galapagos tour!Young Nazca Booby with hikersHiker stopping for a photograph in the GalapagosSea lions on Rabida beach
Highlights
  • Explore Rabida's unique red sand beach teeming with unique wildlife
  • Discover mangrove forests and scenic lagoons near Espumilla Beach
  • Marvel at Punta Moreno's volcanic landscapes and diverse wildlife
  • Explore the historic Wall of Tears on Isabela Island
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 | Rabida

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer in. Pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee (unless pre-paid) and have your luggage inspected. One of the guides meets you, helps you collect your luggage, and escorts you on a short bus ride to the harbor. Here, you climb aboard the yacht. After greeting the crew and the captain, they assign your cabins to you and you enjoy your first lunch aboard.

Rabida Island is unique because of the red color of the rocks and sand. This, along with many islands in the Galapagos, has an extraterrestrial-looking scenery because of its volcanic materials combined with the oxidation caused by the salty humid atmosphere.

The beach wall contains a green lagoon, which is an oasis on this otherwise barren islet. This saltwater pool attracts all kinds of water birds, such as pintails and often American flamingos. Many species of songbirds hide among the foliage! One of the highlights is the breeding colony of brown pelicans, the only ones in existence capable of diving. On the way back, inflatable boats pick you up to prepare for snorkeling.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Day 2: Buccaneer Cove | Egas Port | Espumilla Bay, Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Buccaneer Cove is a testament to the fact that Santiago Island was once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach, are a magnificent site.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Visit Espumilla Beach, located on the western coast of Santiago island. This beach has been revived as an important breeding site for turtles, free from the impact of introduced digging wild pigs. The turtles return year after year to bury their eggs in the cinnamon-colored sand dunes. You have time to enjoy this far-fetched beach, kayak on its coast, and explore a mangrove forest with two pretty lagoons inside. After, disembark to Puerto Egas, where you enjoy a very unique guided walk along its coastline, masterfully sculptured with black basalts and polished multi-colored ash-layers.

All this scenery forms a photogenic location with collapsed lava tunnels, natural arches, caves, and blowholes known as as ‘Darwin’s toilet’. The site is called Puerto Egas because, at the beginning of the previous century, there was an attempt by a man named Hector Egas to extract the salt from the lagoons. The enterprise failed but it left traces of the infrastructure amidst the island’s wilderness.

Activities: Hiking

Day 3: Espinoza Point, Fernandina | Urbina Bay, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, visit Espinoza Point, Fernandina's only terrestrial visitors' site, and one of the few locations where you will find some bizarre animal species, products of natural selection.

The figurehead is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of the Galapagos, and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. This bird lost its ability to fly but instead became an agile marine hunter. You also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcán La Cumbre as a spectacular backdrop. The narrow headland that you walk along is the end of a lava tongue that reaches the coast and solidifies upon contact with the water.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Urbina Bay is located along the west coast of Isabela, and is close to the base of the Alcedo volcano, home to one of the rarest, most endangered species of the Galapagos: the endemic pink iguana of Isabela. The coastline here has undergone major changes recently due to volcanic activity, expanding the shore three-quarters of a mile out to the sea. Observe corals, shells, mollusks, and many curious organisms.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Day 4: Elizabeth Bay | Moreno Point, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As landing is not allowed on this site, board the dinghies to reach the points of interest of Elizabeth Bay. Head first to the Marielas, a group of rocky islets where Galapagos penguins have formed a colony. The biggest colonies of penguins are found in this area due to the cooler waters of the west coast of Isabela. This area is also the home of the biggest specimens of Marine Iguanas, due to the abundant supply of algae, their primary food.

The dinghy takes you through a narrow cove, flanked by some unusually tall mangroves of the three species (red, black, and white mangroves). These calm waters make it possible to see golden rays, spotted eagle rays, white-tip sharks, and green turtles swimming around. The cove at Elizabeth Bay is one of the best places for kayaking in the Galapagos.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

During the night we navigated to the northwest coast of Isabela, where two huge volcanoes are found, the Sierra Negra and the Cerro Azul. In between these two is located our visit point, Punta Moreno. There, we will follow a trail that runs along a solidified black lava flow until we reach a complex of tidal lagoons, where sharks and marine turtles are often seen. Several species of birds can also be visible, including flamingos, which are found around the lakes and mangroves.

Activities: Hiking, Dinghy ride

Day 5: Tintoreras and Volcano Chico | Wall of Tears and Wetlands, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Just outside the port of Puerto Villamil, a group of islets protrude above the ocean. They are the remains of a lava stream that reached the ocean and solidified. At low tide, marine life is trapped in internal pools, including spectacular whitetip sharks (called "Tintore- ras" in Spanish, giving the site its name). At this unique site, you can watch them comfortably from the shore in crystal clear waters, close to turtles and graceful eagle rays. This islet also breeds the largest marine iguanas in the Galapagos, some members reaching a length of 1.5 m/5 ft!

The rocky coastline with its intertidal life attracts light-footed crabs, lava herons, and Galapagos penguins. The tour continues to the dome of the Chico Volcano and lets you stare right into the throat of this lateral vent, that breaths escaping vapors. Fissures, smoking fumaroles, cascades, and lava tubes of solidified lava illustrate that all this has been created recently.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Back on the coast, the road leads to the Flamingo Lagoon, an important spot for spotting elegant flamingos. Afterward, visit the local tortoise breeding center, where you can see hundreds of giant Galapagos tortoises of all sizes. The hatchlings are not gigantic at all, even smaller than the size of your hand! This project was created to rescue the endangered populations of the two southernmost volcanoes of Isabela. Finish the tour at the historic "Wall of Tears", a massive wall made of sharp lava chunks built by political prisoners during the 1950s.

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Day 6: Charles Darwin Center | Highlands | Twin Crater, Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The dinghies bring you to the tourist pier of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island, where you're taken to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This institution was named after the British naturalist who developed his Theory of Evolution after visiting these islands in 1835 and works on the conservation and restoration of the Galapagos ecosystems, as well as for 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 will probably be the successful breeding center and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild Galapagos giant tortoises, roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the transition zone of the adjacent El Chato Tortoise Reserve. In this rainy and exuberant highlands are located the Twin Craters, impressive lava formations that appeared during a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, and now are covered by forest. It is a great spot for bird watching: the endemic carpenter finch, which is considered a holy grail of evolution, can sometimes be seen in these areas using tools.

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Dinghy ride

Day 7: Lobos Islet | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
Lobos Islet harbors a colony of Galapagos sea lions. As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few meters. During breeding season this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating their harem. Two other emblematic species are breeding here: male blue-footed boobies and great frigate birds who try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances, heaving their feet or blowing up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches.

Activities: Hiking

Ship/Hotel

Estrella

Estrella yacht
Estrella shaded terrace
Estrella shaded terrace

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Crewed Charter Price starting at
$59,920
or $3,745 per person based on 16 max passengers
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
  • 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
  • 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: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12. 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
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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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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