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Petrel: 8-Day Cruise

Galapagos – Luxury

8-Day Galapagos Cruise

Have your cake and eat it too on Petrel’s 8 day cruise that takes in both the western and eastern sides of the Galapagos archipelago, with a notable number of hiking outings.

Kayak next to swimming marine iguanas, hike under the flight of Galapagos hawks, zip on pangas past curious penguins, and snorkel with reef sharks!


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.

Petrel luxury catamaran


AM: Baltra Island, Embarkation

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

PM: North Seymour Island – dry landing

Activities: hiking, panga exploration, snorkeling

Galapagos Sea Lions, Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds are abundant on North Seymour Island. 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. Highlights include Land & marine iguanas, frigatebirds, Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions; snorkeling: Rays, reef shark, fish, and garden eels.

Galapagos hikes


AM: Isabela Island, Vicente Roca Point – no landing

Activities: panga exploration, snorkeling

At Punta Vicente Roca you will do a panga ride around the beautiful coast line before jumping into the water to enjoy one of the best snorkeling sites of the Galapagos. The underwater cliffs found here are filled with enough colors and life to amaze everyone looking at them for the first time.

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 turtles


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.

Galapagos trails


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 iguanas


AM: Isabela Island, Sierra Negra Volcano – dry landing

Activities: hiking

The Sierra Negra Volcano boasts the largest basaltic caldera in Galapagos at 9 x 10km. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to 7 species of finch and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005. Highlights include Basaltic caldera, stunning views, and finches.

PM: Isabela Island, The Wetlands – dry landing

Activities: hiking

The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The Wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as Common Stilts, Whimbrels, White-Cheeked Pintails, and Gallinules. The Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path that winds through the swamps. Highlights include giant mangroves and shore birds.

PM: Isabela Island, The Wall of Tears – dry landing

Activities: hiking

From 1945-1959, a penal colony hosted prisoners who were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation. This now historical site (El Muro de las Lagrimas), towering at 65 feet (25m) high, took the lives of thousands during its construction. Locals claim to hear cries emanating from the heavy energy surrounding the site.

Galapagos animals


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, Los Gemelos – no landing

Activities: hiking

You’ll also visit the highlands. A place 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. You will come upon the underground lava tubes, which are more than one kilometer (half a mile) long. Local guides are will provide information and flashlights. Walking through the lava tubes is a unique and surreal experience. Highlights include pit craters and Scalesia forest.

Galapagos crabs


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.

PM: Santa Fe Island – dry landing

Activities: hiking

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. Highlights include Land Iguanas and giant tunas.

Galapagos sealion


AM: San Cristobal Island, Isla Lobos – dry landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling

Isla Lobos or Lobos Island is named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores. It is also home to blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. There is good snorkeling in the clear waters of the channel and this is one of the best sites at which to swim with sea lions underwater. Highlights include Snorkeling with sea lions, frigatebirds, and Blue-footed boobies.

AM: San Cristobal Island, Transfer to the Airport

Be assisted to San Cristobal 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