galapagos sea turtle.jpg

Ocean Spray: 6-Day Cruise to Western & Central Islands

Galapagos – Luxury

6-Day Galapagos Cruise to Western & Central Islands

The western half of the Galapagos Islands was the most recently volcanic, meaning the panoramas here are dramatic and memorable. Isabela Island is the largest island in the island chain.

Here you will spend a few days in search of blue footed boobies, graceful cormorant birds, and even whitetip sharks. If you are a landscapes lover, this is the cruise for you.


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.

Ocean Spray welcome

AM: Balta Island, Embarkation

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

PM: Sombrero Chino Island – wet landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling

Sombrero Chino is named after its shape formed by volcanic rock giving it the name, Chinese Hat.  Since it was given a maximum visiting capacity by the National Park Service it offers rare, up close viewing of Galapagos wildlife and well preserved remnants of fragile volcanic rock that can’t be found in such a unique condition anywhere else.  The islet is home to a colony of sea lions on the white coral sand beach.  Here you can see American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Penguins swimming along the shores, and Sally-Lightfoot Crabs in bright contrast to the dark volcanic rock. Possible activities include a hike of 400 meters starting at the beach rising up to160 feet exploring the different volcanic remnants and rare plant life along with amazing views, and snorkeling among White-Tipped Reef Sharks and various tropical fish! Highlights include American Oystercatchers, Sally-Lightfoot Crabs, sea lion colonies, Galapagos penguins, Lava Lizards, marine iguanas, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Galapagos Island landscapes

AM: Isabela Island, Vicente Roca Point – no landing

Activities: panga exploration, snorkeling

The largest in the archipelago, this seahorse-shaped island is also one of the youngest and most volcanically active. The morning visit is to Vicente Roca Point. 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). Highlights include penguins, blue-footed boobies, terns, Nazca boobies, two types of sea lions, snorkeling: sea turtles, rays and puffer fish.

PM: Fernandina Island, Espinosa Point – dry landing

Activities: hiking

Crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, we will land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, we'll reach the island's highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos Hawk. Highlights include flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, A'A lava, sea lions, penguins, and active volcano “La Cumbre”.

Galapagos iguana

AM: Isabela Island, Tagus Cove – dry landing

Activities: hiking, panga exploration, snorkeling

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. Highlights include penguins, flightless cormorants, Darwin Volcano & Lake.

PM: Isabela Island, Urbina Bay – wet landing

Activities: hiking, panga exploration, snorkeling 

Urbina Bay is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954, causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling. Highlights include land iguanas (the biggest in Galapagos), hawks, coral reef, giant tortoises; snorkeling: turtles, rays, and tropical fish.

Ocean Spray captain's bridge

AM: Isabela Island, Elizabeth Bay – no landing

Activities: panga exploration

Elizabeth Bay is located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and blue-footed boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks. Highlights include mangrove forest (unique in Galapagos), sea turtles, penguins, rays, herons, and sea lions.

PM: Isabela Island, Moreno Point – dry landing

Activities: hiking, panga exploration, snorkeling

Moreno Point is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted. Highlights include flamingoes, gallinules, pintail ducks, turtles, and whitetip reef sharks.

Galapagos sunset

AM: Santa Cruz Island, Charles Darwin Research Station – dry landing

Activities: hiking

The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own. Highlights include giant Tortoises in captivation and discovering the center.

PM: Santa Cruz Island, Highlands – dry landing

Activities: hiking

Here at the Highlands, you can walk along a path, observing the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, White-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. Highlights include wild turtles and the tortoises breeding center.

Galapagos Island sea lions

AM: South Plaza Island – dry landing

Activities: hiking

In the morning, you will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was 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. Highlights include land iguanas, sea lion colony, Audubon´s shearwaters, swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, and amazing cliff landscapes.

AM: Balta Island, Transfer to the Airport

Be assisted to Balta 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