Enjoy an 8-day cruise through the western islands of the Galapagos. Get ready to see an abundance of unique wildlife including flamingos, giant tortoises, frigatebirds and iguanas, and enjoy some friendly interaction with the island's playful sea lions. Highlights of the west include beautiful Santa Cruz, wildlife-rich Isabela, cliff-laden Fernandina, and the amazing black beaches of Santiago. The wildlife here is abundant and the landscape is stunning to behold, making this an incredible vacation.
Visit Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center to meet giant tortoises
Explore Cormorant Point's olivine beaches seeking for greater flamingos
Snorkel in the waters of Urbina Bay, a nesting site for green sea turtles
Learn about the intriguing human history of the Galapagos Islands
Arrive at Baltra airport and board a bus that takes you to Puerto Ayora for the first visit on the islands: the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center. Here, see tortoises from different islands. The animals are found in large semi natural pens for their protection, but also to ensure an easy view for the tourists. The pens are divided according to four different stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (held here until they are mature enough to be "repatriated"), and adults.
Afterwards head back to Puerto Ayora, where you have some time to explore the town and shop by yourself before boarding the Mary Anne at around 5:00 p.m. Once on board, be welcomed by the crew and captain, have a short security drill and enjoy dinner and the briefing for the next day´s activities.
Day 2: Cormorant Point | Devil's Crown | Post Office Bay, Floreana
Spend the day on Floreana, legendary homestead of infamous Baroness Eloise Von Wagner de Bousquet. Land onto the olivine beaches of Cormorant Point, seek for Greater Flamingos on your way to another special beach with the finest sand you have ever set foot on, a sea turtle nesting ground where sharks and rays also visit
regularly. End the outing with a short panga ride to Devil’s Crown, a key snorkeling site.
After lunch visit Post Office Bay (wet landing), where you can drop your postcards in the barrel as the whalers did centuries ago and select cards to hand deliver when you return home.
This morning visit Floreana Island´s Black Beach to learn about the intriguing human history of the island and its first inhabitants. Floreana was the first island in the archipelago to be inhabited, since it has one of the very few fresh water sources. Visit this fresh water source known as Asilo de La Paz, as well as the caves that served as hideouts for pirates and where the first Galapegueño was born, according to the stories of Floreana, which involve the infamous Baroness Eloise Wagner von Bousquet and her lovers who mysteriously began to disappear after settling on the island.
After your visit, have the best opportunity for a not‐so‐common yet well beloved activity in the archipelago, a full afternoon navigation to look for whales and dolphins. The waters of the Galapagos form the second largest marine reserve in the world very rich in wildlife. The biggest representatives of the underwater fauna are the different species of whales and dolphins found here. Navigate form Floreana to Isabela Island while looking for these fascinating creatures, which are commonly
seen in this area. This afternoon is completed by the impressive landscapes of Isabella and the Cerro Azul volcano.
We arrive at Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. After breakfast, step ashore at Punta Moreno (dry landing) onto a superb pahoehoe lava flow surrounded by giant shield volcanoes, some of which are still active! From here do a short hike to a lagoon where flamingos are usually present.
In the afternoon, disembark at Urbina Bay (wet landing) onto a black sand beach, nesting site for green sea turtles. Take a brief hike inland in search of land iguanas and giant tortoises (seasonal) that migrate to and from the highlands. At the beach, admire the remains of a geological uplift exposing coral heads and marine fossils and if the sea conditions and time are on your side, you can also snorkel in these waters.
Day 5: Tagus Cove, Isabela | Espinosa Point, Fernandina
This morning land near Tagus Cove, historic pirate hideaway where names of countless ships are recorded for posterity on the cliff face. Hike through beautiful Galapagos landscapes to Darwin Lake, a salt‐water crater lagoon surrounded by tuff stone.
After lunch, cross Bolivar Channel to Fernandina Island, one of the world’s most unspoilt sites, and disembark (dry landing) at Punta Espinosa. Strolling along the shoreline, be on the lookout for flightless cormorants, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and hawks, sooty‐colored marine iguanas and bright red‐orange Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Day 6: Egas Port | Buccaneer Cove | Espumilla, Santiago
In the morning visit Egas Port (wet landing), disembark on a dark sand volcanic beach with an interesting history of human settlement. Sleepy Galapagos fur seals lounge under arches of lava carved by the ocean and occasionally dip into the crystalline pools, also known as “grottos”. Walk along the shore and observe the abundant marine life.
This afternoon take a panga ride around the beautiful coastline of Buccaneer Cove. This place got its name due to the fact that used to be a refuge for British Buccaneers during the time they would anchor here to collect supplies and clean their ships among other activities. The cove is very scenic with views of the cliffs and a dark beach. Do not forget to look for two unusual rock formations known as ‘the monk’ and ‘elephant rock’.
After three days exploring the fabulous western islands, head to central Santiago to disembark at Espumilla (wet landing), onto a golden‐colored sand green sea turtle nesting site. A forest trail takes you through some of the largest specimens of Palo Santo on the islands to observe yellow warblers, the unbelievably tame Galapagos flycatcher and the ever‐intriguing Darwin finches.
Head across to Sullivan Bay (dry landing) in Santiago to walk over a recent lava flow, including very fresh pahoehoe lava formations, lava bubbles containing crystallized minerals and pioneer plants. Along the shoreline, you may find Galapagos penguins and herons going after small fish.
This afternoon, disembark on North Seymour (dry landing), a small uplifted island, where you can walk right up to bird nesting colonies of the two species of frigate birds, blue‐footed boobies and swallow‐tailed gulls, and experience, depending on season, spectacular mating ritual displays.
Day 8: Mosquera Islet | Baltra | Disembark
Mosquera is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands, it consists of many coral reefs, making it a great site for practicing snorkel and observing the marine life.
Mosquera is also home to one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos, and there have been occasional orca whale sightings around the islet. As is usual in the archipelago, the islet is shared by many seabirds, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
After this visit, the ship sails to Baltra, the final destination of your Galapagos adventure.
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!