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Beautiful Galapagos landscape

Islands Circumnavigation

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Samba
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Embark on a 15-day circumnavigation through the hidden wonders of the Galapagos. Indulge your senses and bask in the beauty that surrounds you while on vacation in this incredible place. Wander across island trails, explore peaceful lagoons full of unique birdlife, swim and snorkel in crystalline waters with a variety of marine life. Also enjoy some relaxing and bask in the sun on white sandy beaches, soak in extraordinary volcanic vistas, and get up close and personal with fascinating wildlife throughout your Galapagos adventure.
Sea kayaking expedition in the GalapagosSea Lion resting on Red SesuviumPunto Egas, Santiago Island, GalapagosPunto Egas, Santiago Island, GalapagosBeautiful Galapagos landscape
Highlights
  • Sunbathe accompanied by sea lions on Mosquera
  • Explore Elizabeth bay and know about mangrove
  • Enjoy a volcanic Olivine beach surrounded flamingos
  • Take the most incredible landscape photos of Barrington Bay
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 | Mosquera

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On arrival at Baltra Airport, all visitors pay their entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park, pass through immigration control, purchase their bus tickets, claim their checked pieces, and get their hand luggage checked by the Galápagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG also known as the Quarantine system). The Samba’s naturalist guide will assist you as you come out of the terminal and accompany you on a short bus ride to the harbor to board the Samba. Lunch will be served around 12:30.

After a light lunch, the Samba will navigate for 45 minutes to Mosquera. Imagine a beach rising from the ocean floor in the middle of nowhere. Imagine sand grains as soft as sugar. Now imagine a sea lion colony and a fabulous sunset. You are here! Mosquera Islet is by far the best beginning of a Galápagos journey. This volcanic uplift dates from 100 thousand years ago and is a geological treasure for an admirable start. On the shore is easy to encounter Galápagos sea lions, sally light foot crabs, and shore birds.

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

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After 6 to 7 hours of navigation from Santa Cruz, you will wake up to the beautiful cacophony of one of the largest tropical seabird colonies on the planet. The cliff tops are decorated with frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, tropic birds, and many other pelagic animals. Darwin Bay is the home of many nesting sea birds. Following a wet landing and with the early morning light you will blend in with the red-footed boobies displaying for potential mates as they collect nesting material. The great frigate birds inflate their gulag sacks hoping to attract a female while others play their favorite game: piracy. Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves, and mockingbirds stroll the ground to find seeds and insects. The red mangroves, cacti, and saltbushes contrast with the blue sky and the dark basaltic walls.

Following lunch, you will do a dry landing to climb Prince Philip’s Steps. The steep ascend takes you 100 feet above sea level, to be welcomed by the elegant silhouette of a red-billed tropic bird and the aerobatic Galapagos shearwater, both interacting with the precipice on fast approaches. The lava rock trail takes through the endemic dwarf incense tree forest, to find more red-footed “lancers” nesting and many of their gannet-like relatives, the Nazcas, loudly claiming the floor as their residence. The Palo Santo forest is dormant most of the year, to awaken in the rainy season and contaminate the air with a refreshing aroma. As you exit the latent trees your breath may cease by the panorama of thousands of storm petrels flying erratically beyond the lava flows. This is the perfect scenario for the island predator to make a successful kill. The short-eared owl, known elsewhere around the world as a nocturnal predator, in Genovesa hunts in bright daylight. More cat than owl waits patiently outside lava tunnels and crevasses to capture the stormy petrels as they leave their houses after feeding their young.

Snorkeling on Tower offers a view of a wide variety of tropical fish.

Day 3: Punta Mejía | Playa Negra, Marchena Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
All boats will travel back south after sailing to Tower; the Samba is the only one heading west-northwest. The Galapagos National Park Service granted the chance of using Marchena’s magical shorelines to snorkel, dinghy ride, and kayak. The forbidding endless and untouched lava flows where only science has reached land, no fresh water, and very little precious soil, Bindloe’s serenity scenario is only awakened by the murmur and surge of the Pacific swells and musical argument of the castaway sea lions. Punta Mejía is one of the best sites in the Archipelago to snorkel. The calm and clear deep blue water of the northwest coast and the dark hostile topography of the location give the sensation of witnessing the beginning of the planet and its underwater world.  Apart from great fish diversity, when you snorkel you often see rays, reef sharks, and sea turtles.

Navigating the southwest for 45 minutes to Playa Negra is always an exciting experience. More than once in the past have seen bottle-nosed dolphins, other cetaceans, or feeding frenzies. After an early afternoon snorkel around a recently formed lava grotto where marine iguanas feed, start a 5 to 6-hour sail to the west. As you get further away from the island the sea floor changes dramatically and enters deep water, an oceanic drop-off. The Cromwell current, which arrives from the west from the very profound waters, brings richness to the surface and generates a superlative upwelling. As a result, there are positive effects throughout the marine food chain, and have a good record of cetaceans and other ocean wanderers on this navigation. Whales or dolphins are never a guarantee but give it your best shot and keep an eye out for them!

Day 4: Punta Albemarle | Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Human history has left its footprint on this small corner of the Galapagos. Punta Albemarle, the farthest north point of Isabela, was one important US radar station to prevent any Japanese attempt of destroying the Panama Channel. A small and deteriorated building is a reminder of the boredom and routine that rusted the mind of the juvenile navy officers. The soldiers were in charge of the three-week shifts where they never saw any action. Nevertheless, wildlife gives the best example of a constant struggle for survival, a fight where only the fittest continue. The recent lava flows are the nesting ground of the only flightless cormorant in the world and the basking terrain of the largest marine iguanas of the Galapagos. Because not many boats visit this site the cormorants, which are very shy birds, display as they built their bulky nest in seaweed with total indifference to human presence. As the morning advances the iguanas give a show of adaptation as they wander into shoreline to feed on green and red algae. With this fantastic setting, you can only be reminded that the only constant of the Islands is change.

Punta Vicente Roca offers an overwhelming diversity of geological formations. Located on the southwest end of Ecuador Volcano only a few miles south of latitude 0°, the area is an outstanding example of how the Islands were formed and how the forces of change have transformed the landscape and shaped the wildlife. Vicente Roca is the home of tuff cones and lava dikes and is fertile ground for erosion and the disaster of collapse. Look at the dramatic structures from the dinghies, as you also enjoy watching the Galapagos penguins, brown noddies, blue-footed boobies, and other marine life. When the waters are calm enough the snorkel is fascinating. The walls of the tuff cones are full of colorful invertebrates and rich algae blooming giving a great chance of watching numerous sea turtles feeding.

Day 5: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina | Urbina Bay, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Only 30,000-100,000 years old Fernandina is the youngest island of the Archipelago. This immature shield volcano is less than an instant in the geological time scale. Not even your wildest imagination can give you a better setting to experience the start of life on an island. The whole Island is covered with hostile worthless lava. However, at Punta Espinoza, the shoreline is teeming with life. Reptiles, birds, and mammals all coexist, singing and sexing. It is a living museum with piles of marine iguanas, playful sea lions, hard-working flightless cormorants, dwarf penguins, busy Sally light-foot crabs, and much more. Don’t forget to look around because Galapagos Hawk is always on the hunt. The site is a true cradle of evolution. Snorkeling with turtles, iguanas, cormorants and plenty of fish is the best way to refresh after the lava walk.

The hotspot under the Galapagos generates intense volcanic activity. The west islands are the youngest and most active of the Archipelago. Located in the center of Isabela, Alcedo Volcano is a reminder of how volatile these Islands are. On the west shoreline of Alcedo lays Urbina Bay. The landmass of the inlet was uplifted in 1954. More than ¾ of a mile of shoreline was created, and many coral reef extensions were exposed to air as the upheaval rose the seabed. The brand new land became a perfect nesting terrain for the most beautiful land dragon. The land iguanas of Isabela are the largest in the Galapagos and in Urbina the colorful population offers a great example of their growing potential. The impressive yellow, orange/brown iguanas roam the lowlands looking for flowers, fruits, leaves, and shoots of their favorite plants. Also, when the rains arrive is possible to see giant tortoises sharing the land with the other primitive-looking reptile. Urbina is a miniature reminder of a Jurassic time.

Day 6: Elizabeth Bay | Punta Moreno, Isabela

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Isabela Island constitutes almost half of the entire surface of the Archipelago. It is nearly 100 miles long and offers a remarkable diversity of habitats. Shaped like a seahorse and with volcanoes over 5000 feet of altitude, it is also the place of birth of vast mangrove extensions. Elizabeth Bay is the only place on the Earth where old tropical mangrove forests and penguins can be conjugated in the same sentence. The ecosystem is also the residence of spotted eagle rays, and sea turtles, and a nursery for fish and marine invertebrates. With the outboards off and using only oars for speed, enjoy this serene array of life.  

When you land on Punta Moreno you understand why the Spanish Bishop that discover the Islands said: “It was as if God had decided to rain stones”. When he first set foot on a lava field he struggled to find fresh water and in desperation was reduced to chewing on cactus pats to quench his thirst. More than three centuries later a young Naturalist saw beyond the lava. Charles Darwin was amazed by the colonization of plants and the start of life over this terrain. He thought this process could easily compare to the origin of life on the planet. The mystery of mysteries… The pioneer cactus growing over the country of lava is contrasted with a stunning oasis. Where lava tunnel roofs have collapsed, brackish water accumulates o give life to greater flamingoes, moorhens, black-necked stilts, and Galapagos Martins.

Day 7: Post Office Bay | Baroness Bay | Devil's Crown | Navigation to Punta Ayora

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Adventure, survival, mystery, and murder are the main ingredients for your next stop. Post Office Bay has left a legacy of pirates, whalers, scientific expeditions, intense stories of slaying, and constant ambiguity. After a wet landing, walk a very short distance to be part of the most important Galapagos tradition that goes back to the late 1700s. Get your postcards ready and enjoy the lovely stories that bond the past with the present.

Around late morning, sail for 25 minutes to do a snorkel and a panga ride at Champion Islet. The snorkeling around the island is extraordinary, with lots of fish, rays, sharks, and the playfulness of the Galapagos sea lions. This small piece of land is one of two places where the Floreana mockingbird survives after its extinction on the Big Island. While trying to find the rare bird from your dinghies, enjoy a beautiful landscape full of fairy tale cactus and terracotta rock formations.

Day 8: Santa Cruz Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Highlands of Santa Cruz, at 1800 feet with amazing greenery, offer the opportunity to admire the remnant of a Galapagos mature forest. The Daisy trees of the genus Scalesia decorate a couple of extraordinary geological formations. Known as “Los Gemelos”, these collapse craters and their surroundings are the home of many Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, vermillion flycatchers, and a wonderful diversity of indigenous plants. Breakfast will be served at 6:00 am.

Day 9: Punta Cormorant & Devil's Crown | Baroness Lookout, Floreana

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Following a four-hour navigation from Puerto Ayora do a wet landing on a volcanic olivine beach. Punta Cormorant is located on the northern shore of Floreana and is the house of greater flamingos and sea turtles. On one side, the point is partially flooded with a brackish lagoon where flamingos occasionally feed. Whimbrels, herons, and stilts are other common shore and migratory birds of the wetlands. On the other side sea turtles use every corner of a white sand beach to deliver their eggs.  You often see stingrays and reef sharks from the shore and if you are lucky turtles end up basking.

Late that morning, snorkel at one of the best spots in the world! Devil´s Crow is a magical start to the Galápagos underwater experience.

To make absolutely sure you get a full day from sunrise to sunset, kayak/panga ride and climb at the Baroness Lookout. Navigating through a small set of islets with a sea lion colony, boobies, and mangroves. Finally, following your ride, start the short hike to the top of this eroded spatter cone to share the vivid obscurity of the human history of “Las Encantadas”. A fantastic landscape decorated with little islands is the perfect setting to engage with the fascinating story of the Wittmer´s, Doctor Ritter and Dora, and the famous Baroness and her three lovers. Charles, Floreana, and Santa María are the official names of the Island that holds an overwhelming mystery of human history.

Day 10: Punta Suárez | Gardner Bay, Española

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Hood is the oldest Galapagos Island, the Queen. Her Majesty has traveled 100 miles away from the volcanic hotspot; she sets an example of splendor and wisdom. When landing on its western tip, Punta Suárez, it is difficult to digest the beauty and the overwhelming amount of life. It takes a few minutes to understand that you are not dreaming and that the marine iguanas are really covered with fiery colors, sea lions leisurely wander around you, blue-footed boobies and Sally light-foot crabs coat the rocks with their intense grace. The long walk leads you to the finest illustration of an ancient seabird colony. The endless cliff shaped by strong wave action and the force of the wind is the home of the only tropical albatross on the Earth (may be absent at this tie of the year). This mythical elegant glider shares the precipice with many other sea birds like the tropicbirds, the sallow-tailed gull, and the Nazca booby.

Depending on weather conditions, either at the end of the morning or early in the afternoon, snorkel or kayak around Gardner Island. Its calm waters and attractive landscape give you a great experience above and below water. Located on the north coast of Española Gardner Bay has a tranquil white sand beach. The fine grains of sand make the perfect terrain for a soft walk and relaxing late in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be alone, sea lions and Hood mockingbirds will keep you company.

Day 11: Punta Pitt | Isla Lobos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Chatham is the first Island where Charles Darwin set foot in Galápagos. Beautiful tuff cones that are eroding away decorate this old basaltic formation. Upon arrival at the Airport, a short bus ride will take you to the Samba. You will soon start the navigation northeast to meet your first visiting site. Punta Pitt greets you with a mind-blowing landscape and its protected cove offers a great chance to kayak. On your tenders, ride very close to the large colony of seabirds nesting on a nearby islet. At a glance is easy to spot swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, Nazca and red-footed boobies, storm petrels, and shearwaters. The golden sand and castaway sea lions give you a welcome for your wet landing late in the afternoon. Climb and explore a tuff cone before sunset. This point is the closest landmass to South America.

After about 3 and a half hours of navigation South you find Isla Lobos where the barking of Galapagos sea lions welcomes you to a dry landing. Walk on very rocky terrain. To your surprise, red balloons will soon bind you, great and magnificent pirates’ nests on this small flat Island. Frigate birds with their magenta and green iridescent feathers decorate the saltbushes. The island is also the nesting ground of blue-footed boobies. Don’t miss the chance of swimming with sea lions; a few sea creatures are as playful as these marine mammals.

Day 12: Barrington Bay | South Plaza Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The bay looks as if the artist ornamented it. Barrington Bay is one of the most picturesque inlets of all visitor sites of the Galapagos. The white sand on the seabed reflects the light to turn the calm waters turquoise. A small forest of giant prickly pear cactus grows on a peninsula that keeps the bay sheltered. All the before mentioned are suitable conditions for a large sea lion colony. Santa Fe is an ancient extinct volcano and it has been isolated from another island long enough to have an endemic land dragon. Paler in color than its relatives, the Barrington terrestrial iguana has a primitive morphology. Galapagos Hawks, mockingbirds, finches, and endemic rice rats make the company a yellowish monster. The snorkeling won’t disappoint you.

A two-hour navigation north will take you to South Plaza. The dry landing takes you to a brilliant combination of life and colors. Land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed, Swallow-tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays. Mind the pirates of the sky; they will strike if you drop your guard. 13 acres of beauty Hectare is one of the best spots in the archipelago to see land iguanas and swallow-tailed gulls, both indigenous to the Galapagos. There are iguana nests scattered all over the hill. The sheer cliffs of the southern shore are a perfect bird habitat, making it an unparalleled bird observatory for especially swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds.

Day 13: Chinese Hat | Bartolomé Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The genesis of the islands is easy to acknowledge at Chinese Hat. The coiled shiny structures of the pahoe-hoe lava appear as if they were formed yesterday. Lava tubes run like petrified rivers and white sand from eroded coral surrounds the black rock, scenic falls short. Located on the Southeast shores of James this Island is a very symmetrical cinder cone. The contrast of colors and shapes of the basalt, rust, and shine of its surface will make you travel back to Mars if you’ve been there before. Did someone say penguins? You'll love snorkeling here.

Bartolomé Island offers an explosive volcanic landscape. Get ready to climb above 270 feet to admire the dramatic spatter cones and the view of Pinnacle Rock that everyone wants. Later, take a walk on magical golden beaches where sea turtle nest (December to March). Don’t forget to make time to swim near penguins, sharks, and lava tubes.

Day 14: James Bay | Rábida

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Subsequent to a three-hour sail northwest, wake up at Puerto Egas also known as James Bay. The magical shorelines of the west of James Island are a combination of tuff cones, lava flows, and organic sand. A rocky coast with a very gentle slope is used by a great number of shorebirds and reptiles. Oystercatchers, whimbrels, sanderlings, turnstones, tattlers, and other waders are mixed with marine iguanas and brightly painted crabs to feed by the rich littoral zone.

As grand finally, large lava tunnels, that are partially collapsed, are the houses of the Galapagos fur sea lions. The snorkel can be one of the best in the archipelago. Sea turtles feeding, parrot fishes, damsel fishes, white-tipped reef sharks, and more…

Galapagos offers a diversity of geological formations without boundaries. The island of Rábida has lavas rich in iron and after millions of years of exposure to air, they have turned red. The rusted volcanic material has eroded to form a beautiful crimson sand beach, lovely for a walk. The protected shore provides excellent conditions for a Galapagos sea lions nursery, occasional brown pelicans use the nearby saltbushes as a resting or nesting area and sometimes find flamingos in the brackish lagoon! Hawks and mockingbirds are common visitors to the lowlands. Furthermore, you will find that snorkeling on the beach can be very exciting as sharks, rays and many colorful fish are often visible.

Day 15: North Seymour | Baltra | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The visit to North Seymour is the best way of saying goodbye to the Galapagos. Following a dry landing at sunrise, walk amongst the largest blue-footed booby colony of the Islands. If breeding you will enjoy their dancing and singing to find a mate. Not far from the dancers, have great and magnificent frigate birds nesting. The males inflate their pouches to attract the ladies that fly above them. Swallow-tailed gulls and tropicbirds decorate the large basaltic walls of the island.

Be back on board for breakfast at 8:00 and you have to be ready to check out at 9:00. It is always a good idea to do most of your packing the previous night so you can have a pleasant last early morning visit and a relaxed breakfast.

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Cabin
Standard Cabins have upper and lower bunks, the bottom bunk is wider. Private bath facilities.

Notes

Please provide your wetsuit size in advance prior to trip

Child Discount

Inquire for special children's rates. Child discounts are conditional and may not apply on certain departures.

Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks, and paddleboards are all included in the cruise cost and are available for your use onboard.
  • 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
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

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
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