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Blue-footed Boobie seen during Galapagos cruise

Northern Islands

Example 4 Day Cruise aboard Archipel I
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Discover the highlights of the northern islands on this short but complete itinerary, including visits to North Seymour, Genovesa, Bartolome and Santa Cruz. Spend 4 days days visiting volcanic formations, spectacular bays, white coral sand beaches, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies colonies, and the important Charles Darwin Research Station. Have the chance to really immerse yourself in the magnificent wonder of these islands. 
Exploring North Seymour IslandSea lions resting in Darwin BayPinnacle rock in BartolomeTwo frigate birdsBlue-footed Boobie seen during Galapagos cruise
Highlights
  • Visit the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos
  • Discover the marvelous Galapagos underwater world
  • Climb Bartholomew's stairs for stunning volcanic panoramas
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 Airport | Embark | Bachas

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 $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.

Around noon you will embark from Baltra airport on the Archipel cruise. Your cabins will be assigned, and lunch will be promptly served. Your first excursion will take place this afternoon after 14:00 PM, at Bachas beach. This is a lovely bay with soft, white coral sand that is frequently visited by sea turtles to lay their eggs, so please, watch your step! After enjoying some leisure time at the beach, you could explore a small lagoon hidden behind some bushes, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. You might also observe some rusty barges, which were abandoned here after WWII when the USA rented this island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel from Japan. After two hours on this visit, you will return onboard.
Activities: Hiking and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

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

Before landing, you will take a dinghy ride along the eastern arm of the caldera. As you approach, the soaring 25 m/80 ft high walls become overwhelming. Sometimes, a Galapagos fur seal is resting or a seabird is nesting on one of the ledges at the base. You will then have to hike and overcome the steep stairs from the landing dock to a bush of palo santo shrubs on top. Red-footed boobies gratefully use these scarce nesting places; so that they don’t have to nest on the rocky ground. Upon arriving at the edge of the rim, the bushes open up and you can enjoy panoramic views, a strong sea breeze and the amazing flying skills of countless seabirds. Following the exposed rim, you will first pass the Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places, where, if you’re lucky, you can spot the well-camouflaged short-eared owl hunting for food!
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Inside the submerged caldera of Genovesa lies Darwin Bay, with a diameter of more than 1.5 km/1 mi and it is almost 200 m/650 ft deep. The small area will surprise you repeatedly, walking along a coral sand beach, crossing barren lava formations and creeks, passing tidal pools, shrubs and further ahead following the top of some cliffs. With this peaceful surroundings, every single species has occupied its own ecological niche (or habitat) without disturbing others.
Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Day 3: Bartolome Island | Sullivan Bay, Santiago

The beautiful volcanic islet of Bartholomew is among the youngest of the islands and, on a geological scale, was just recently born out of the fire. Although it looks lifeless 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, Dinghy Ride, and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

The arrival in Sullivan Bay is like a moon landing. The desolate, sprawling fields seem to be mostly lifeless, but this island, which is particularly popular among photographers, still offers a lot to see. There is even some life! Green sea turtles burrow in the small white sand beach, where you can also find crabs, blue herons and oystercatchers.
Activities: Hiking and Snorkeling
Difficulty: Easy

Day 4: Twin Craters and El Chato Reserve, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra Airport

The native scalesia forest of El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers – where you are guaranteed to find tortoises in their corrals – there is nothing better than to observe them in their wild environment. Though it can be quite moist and muddy, your visit may turn into an adventurous quest when they have left their favorite pond silently.
The Twin Craters are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations are not really volcanic craters and were formed by magma domes, which hardened on the outside while the lava continued flowing inside, leaving huge and empty magma chambers that eventually collapsed, leaving two large holes. The craters lie within a lush scalesia cloud forest, a high-altitude plant species that are endemic to the Galapagos. This area is also home to the carpenter finch, which uses tools to search for food. There may also be opportunities to see the vermillion flycatcher, a small red-breasted bird.
Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy

After this, assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, you will be taken to Baltra airport.

Ship/Hotel

Archipel I

Enjoy sightseeing on the deck with a delicious snack.
Dining area on the Archipell I
Sundeck on the Archipell I

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$2,250 2-3 travelers
Standard Cabin on the Archipell I
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Standard Cabin
8 cabins with twin or double beds. Feature private facilities with hot & cold water, A/C.

Notes

Please reserve your kayak in advance prior to trip

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
  • 3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 3 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • 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
  • Snorkeling and kayaking equipment is included in the cruise cost and available for your use on board.
  • 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 - $10/day per person.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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