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Sally Lightfoot Crab on a rock

Isabela, Fernandina & Central Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Petrel
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Aboard the Petrel and visit nesting sites of frigate birds and blue footed boobies, explore the remote side of Isabela and Fernandina islands with chances to spot Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and lava lizards. The route takes you to the summit of Sierra Negra volcano, the largest crater in the islands. Swim with sea lions, marine turtles, rays, eels and other ocean creatures. The Petrel offers luxury on board and an attentive crew. Facilities on board a top notch with private balconies in each cabin and a sun deck with hot tubs and loungers. The navigation is smooth as on any catamaran and the itinerary is optimized for wildlife viewing.
Rocky coastline of Isabela Kayaking Tagus CoveLand Iguana, North SeymourView of Isabela From FernandinaSally Lightfoot Crab on a rock
Highlights
  • Take a dinghy ride around Elizabeth Bay and see an abundance of marine life
  • View the Sierra Negra Volcano and enjoy sites of the lowlands
  • See a plethora of birds while hiking along tide pools and mangroves
  • Visit Lobos Island and watch the sea lions rest and play on the shores
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra Island / Embark / North Seymour Island

Arrive in Baltra airport and transfer to the boat. Attend a briefing on board about the boat and the island.

Explore the rocky coast of North Seymour Island, where Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds are abundant. The island was formed by a series of submarine lavas containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.

Day 2: Isabela - Vicente Roca Point / Fernandina - Esp

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The largest in the archipelago, the seahorse-shaped island of Isabela is also one of the youngest and most volcanically active. The morning visit is to Vicente Roca Point. the geological formations are simply outstanding and it is a great place to view various bird species such as blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and brown noddy terns. Activities here are all done on the water by either dinghy or panga, or snorkeling. On this western part of the island the Cromwell Current provides cold water and many nutrients. Due to this it is possible to see various feeding frenzies of an assortment of animals such as whales, dolphins, sea lions, and marine birds diving. At times it may also be likely to see fur seals.
Then, you will visit Fernandina Island, no foreign species have ever invaded it and therefore it is one of the world’s most pristine island ecosystems. It is one of the most active islands and is the westernmost island in the archipelago. The volcano “La Cumbre” dominates the landscape with lava fields reaching the ocean. The Cromwell Current also flows on the west making the cold and nutrient-rich water an ideal habitat for the Galapagos Penguin and Flightless Cormorant that nests here.
 

Day 3: Isabela - Tagus Cove & Urbina Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tagus Cove is located across from Fernandina Island, near the Bolivar Channel dividing the two islands. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s, using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge display wonderful views. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another lovely beach surrounded by mangroves. Here have the opportunity to see penguins as well as marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and sea lions.

A bit more south of Tagus Cove is Urbina Bay. Urbina Bay is an interesting site due to the uplifts of the island caused by volcanic and tectonic activity. When it rose, so did the corals and reefs that were under the surface. You can still see them although they are beginning to deteriorate due to air exposure. There are chances of seeing giant tortoises, land iguanas, and more flightless cormorants near the coast

Day 4: Isabela - Elizabeth Bay & Moreno Point

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A visitor site on the way down to the southern parts of Isabela Island is Elizabeth Bay. There are a series of islets, a lagoon and mangroves surrounding it. The mangroves provide a great place to observe many birds and at the lagoon, it is possible to see sea turtles resting and feeding.
Isabela Island is home to endemic species known only to the barren lava flows found here. Various activities are possible such as a hike, a panga ride to better see various seabirds, geological features, and snorkeling to view the vibrant underwater life.

Day 5: Isabela - Sierra Negra Volcano, Wetlands, & Wall of Tears

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Sierra Negra has two volcanoes located in the South of the Island and they are two of the oldest of all Isabela’s volcanoes. A hike will show different types of vegetation and geological zones and possibly inside the caldera where petrified lava is present. Volcano Chico is easier to reach and recent lava flows from the 70’s can even be walked on.
Isabela Breeding Center is named after Arnaldo Tupiza. It is another area where Galapagos Tortoises are bred in order to later be released into the wild.

Day 6: Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Station & Los Gemelos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Santa Cruz is one of the most popular tourist sites. One of the biggest conservation efforts is to eliminate all non-native plants and animals that are destroying native and endemic species on the island. There is no longer any volcanic activity but that does not mean there is no evidence. Santa Cruz means holy cross, but it’s English name comes from the British vessel – Indefatigable.
Charles Darwin Research Station conducts many different research projects and provides assistance to other researchers and governmental institutions and agencies, especially the Galapagos National Park. Many of the results are later published online, in magazines, and popular scientific journals. The research station also plays a big part in educating the community and public schools in Galapagos. There is also the longtime running Giant Tortoise restoration program that includes various stages of the giant tortoise from eggs, hatchlings and adults.

Twin Craters: The Twin Craters or Gemelos, meaning twins in Spanish, are two caved in magma chambers of a previous volcano. After years of erosion and extinction, the once full chambers caved in leaving two similar craters that can be seen on a short hike that passes by a Scalesia forest.

Day 7: South Plaza Island & Santa Fe Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
South Plaza Island is a small island with steep cliffs formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is the Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.

Santa Fe (Barrington) is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. Endemic land iguanas are often seen.

Day 8: San Cristobal - Isla Lobos / Disembark

In the early morning, visit Isla Lobos or Lobos Island, an islet about an hour away from San Cristobal. Blue-footed boobies will nest here seasonally. In recent years frigate birds have begun to nest here. Sea lions are abundant, as well as marine iguanas. It is a very calm and tranquil site with beautiful views, including Kicker Rock off in the distance.

Disembark and transfer to the airport for your returning flight to Ecuador's mainland.

Ship/Hotel

Petrel

petrel
Petrel
petrel

Petrel

Petrel Sundeck
Sun deck on the Galapagos ship Petrel
Petrel

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$7,225
Suite on the Galapagos ship Petrel
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Stateroom
30 m2 / 323 ft2, Air Conditioner / Private Balcony, Convertible Twin or King Accommodation.
Suite on the Galapagos ship Petrelpetrel
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Suite
43 m2 / 463 ft2, Air Conditioner / Private Balcony, King or Triple Accommodation

Notes

This Galapagos cruise itinerary is subject to change without previous notice due to weather conditions and National Park regulations. Itineraries of 8 or more days may be scheduled to stop at ports for various cruise logistic reasons and/or for embarking/disembarking passengers.

Child Discount

Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, transparent sea kayaks, and stand-up 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: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675

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When to Go

Jan
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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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