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Galapagos Legend: 5-Day Cruise to the South-East Islands

Galapagos – Luxury

5-Day Galapagos Cruise to the South East Islands

This 5-day Galapagos cruise itinerary takes you on a trip to the south east islands of the archipelago from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal. 

There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with endemic wildlife during daily morning and afternoon excursions that will leave you tired yet wanting more by nightfall.


Please note that the itinerary below is dependent on the Galapagos National Park regulations, weather and sea conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.

Galapagos Legend vessel

AM: San Cristobal Island, Embarkation

Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend.

PM: San Cristobal Island, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill – Dry landing

Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands.
Difficulty level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour visit

Tijeretas Hill involves a high intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigatebird nesting colony. 
Difficulty level: High
Duration: 1 hour visit

Galapagos hiking

AM: Española Island, Gardner Bay, Osborn Islets, Snorkeling – Wet landing

Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin’s finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offer a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling.

PM : Española Island, Suarez Point – Dry landing

An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca Boobies and the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, Swallow-tailed Gulls and the world’s largest colony of Waved Albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Type of terrain: Rocky
Duration: 2 hour 30 minute walk

galapagos snorkeling

AM: Floreana Island, Post Office Bay – Wet landing

Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years to arrive! We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles as well, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 30 minutes walk / 1 hour snorkeling


PM: Floreana Island, Cormorant Point, Devil's Crown, Champoin – Wet landing

From a wet landing, on an olivine green sand beach, we hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food. This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy and walk on a flat terrain
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling


Galapagos Tortoises


AM: Santa Cruz Island, Highlands – Dry landing

 A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150- 200 years. Additionally, travelers can walk inside surprising lava tubes.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Flat & muddy sometimes (depending on season)
Duration: 45 minutes drive / 1h30 walk

PM: Santa Cruz Island, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Charles Darwin Station – Dry landing

We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of his species) lived for decades. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety of Darwin’s finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Type of terrain: Flat
Duration: 1h30 visit

galapagos Legend Itinerary


AM: Daphne Islet

We circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation that was created by successive volcanic activity, for an opportunity to see Darwin’s finches, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Brown Noddies. Afterwards, you will go straight to the airport for the return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

  • Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in ocean cruising conditions) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
  • Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior. 

About Rainforest Cruises

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