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Galaxy II: 8-Day Cruise

Galapagos – Superior

8-Day Galapagos Cruise

The Galaxy II will take you on a 8 day cruise to the Western and Central Islands on this itinerary, combining the raw natural wonders of the west with the human populations and native influences on Santa Cruz Island.

Indulge yourself on an unforgettable vacation to red sand beaches as well as white ones, hike on some of the most remote trails on earth, and snorkel with endemic Galapagos fishes and other marine creatures you've only dreamt about.


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.

Galaxy II cabin


AM: Baltra Island, Embarkation

Arrival in Baltra airport and transfer to the boat. Welcome drink & briefing onboard about the boat and the island.

PM: Santa Cruz Island, Charles Darwin Research Center – dry landing 

Activities: hiking

The famous Charles Darwin Station is located in the main port of Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing, take our private bus to the entrance of the center where you will appreciate giant Galapagos tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. This center is the main breeding site in the archipelago especially for rare and endangered species. Thanks to the dedicated work of several institutions, some species are now bouncing back with success. Also here was where the most famous tortoise Lonesome George lived out his last years. He was the last survivor of his kind, a species of Pinta Island tortoise.

Galaxy II hike


AM: Isabela Island, Tintoreras, Humedales – dry landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling

Located south of Puerto Villamil, the town of Isabela Island, you will arrive to Tintoreras by panga. There is a small bay with turquoises water where you can appreciate sea lions, marine tortoises, marine iguanas, and rays. Along most of this trail you will find volcanic lava of type AA. Tintoreras is one of places where the introduction of iguanas has been successful. Continue to Humedales which is a set of complex paths that include sites and views like Orchilla Hill from whose viewpoint you can admire the bay, Puerto Villamil, Volcano Sierra Negra, islets, and dramatic rocks. El Estero, Poza Escondida, Poza Redonda, Tunel Del Estero are others paths located in the Humedales area, each one with its own beautiful landscape and characteristic.

PM: Isabela Island, Breeding Center & Muro de las Lagrimas – dry landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling, swimming

The Isabela Island Breeding Center is located 1.5 kilometers from Puerto Villamil. This place is dedicated to the reproduction of several species of tortoises in captivity; you will find more than 330 tortoises between youth and adult maturity. The Breeding Center also has beautiful gardens composed of native plants. Poza de Flamingos is a wonderful place where you can find flamingoes and get wonderful photos of those birds. Then at Concha & Perla, you will cross a mangroves area; it is a great place for swimming and snorkeling.

Galaxy II panga excursions


AM: Isabela Island, Elizabeth Bay – no landing

Activities: panga explorations, snorkeling

This is one of the island's breeding sites for penguins. Located on the west coast of Isabela, Elizabeth Point is a marine visitor site. Visit a red mangrove cove full of brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, and sea lion.

PM: Isabela Island, Urbina Bay – wet landing

Activities: hiking

This is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano between Elizabeth Bay and Tagus Cove. The trail length is around 3.2 kilometers and during this walking, observe land iguanas, hawks, tortoises; also it is possible to see red and blue lobsters.

Galaxy II kayak


AM: Fernandina Island, Espinoza Point – dry landing

Activities: hiking

Fernandina is the 3rd largest island in the Galapagos and has just one visitor sit: Espinoza Point. Espinoza Point is famous because you will find big colonies of marine iguanas and is a unique place where the flightless cormorant lives, in addition to Galapagos penguin, hawk, Galapagos snakes, and many other creatures. From here, you can admire Fernandina Island and its volcano whose last eruption was in May 2005. Fernandina is the only island that doesn’t have any mammals introduced and the open areas are very fragile. In the marine iguana nesting season (January to June) we must tread cautiously in the area.

PM: Isabela Island, Vicente Roca Point – no landing

Activities: hiking

Vicente Roca Point is comprised of two separate coves. This site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola-mola (sunfish).

Galapagos guides


AM: Santiago Island, Egas Port – wet landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling

At this site you find a black sand beach; south of this beach there is a volcano called Pan de Azucar with volcanic deposits which have contributed to the formation of this distinct beach. The crater of this volcano has a salt lake which in warm weather becomes dry, making it possible to appreciate a salt mine in its place. Between 1928 and 1930, there were some explorations of this mine but they were not successful; additionally, it caused damages to the environment because workers consumed endemic woods. Today, it is not permitted to go down to the salt mine.

PM: Rabida Island – wet landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling, swimming

This visitor site is located on the east coast of Rabida Island and consists of a red sand beach, coastal lagoon behind the beach, and a loop trail. The approximate distance of the trail is 1.1 kilometers. The color of the rocks and sand on the beach is due to the very porous volcanic material, which with the help of environmental factors (rain, salt water and sea breeze, has acted as an oxidizing agent. The main attraction of the place is the red sand beach, scenery, aside from the vegetation of the arid zone and the presence of native and endemic species.

Galapagos photography


AM: Santa Cruz Island, Black Turtle Cove – no landing

Activities: panga explorations

After lunch your first visit is to Black Turtle Cove which is situated in northern Santa Cruz. This bay is surrounded by mangroves and is accessible by dinghy only. The superficial cove is a safe refuge for marine life. Black-tip reef sharks, marine turtles, and a variety of rays are often spotted here.

AM: Santa Cruz Island, Bachas Beach – wet landing

Activities: hiking

This beautiful beach is located in northern Santa Cruz Island and extends about 1 kilometer. The site’s name has existed since World War II when the American army left two barges on the beach. The first colonizing people couldn’t pronounce the name correctly – barges – so they called it Bachas.

Galaxy II sun deck


AM: Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay – wet landing

Activities: hiking

All the roads and the island overall is composed of lava flows that still exist virtually without erosion and they cover an extensive area. Find lava pohoehhoes, hornitos, and mollugos, a plant that grows in the lava. These are lava colonizers. Snacks and refreshing beverages will be available.

PM: Bartholomew Island – wet landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling

Walk a path to the top (114 m) and see pioneering plants such as Tiquilia, Chamaesyce, and Scalesia in this place. The island is formed by cones and pipes of lava from where lava flowed. Then take a wet landing path to the south beach through mangrove swamps and dune vegetation. Here, go swimming and snorkeling. From the top of the island Bartolome, you will be able to observe the islands such as Santiago, Rabida, and Isabela in the distance. You might also find penguins at Pinnacle Rock!

Galaxy II family cruises


AM: Santa Cruz Island, Highlands – dry landing

Activities: hiking

After breakfast, visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island where you will go on short talks and find giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat; this is a natural spectacle! We recommend wearing sport shoes, long pants, a raincoat, hat, and sunblock depending on the weather.

AM: Baltra Island, Transfer to the Airport

Be assisted to Baltra airport for your flight to the Ecuador mainland.

  • 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

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA