Begin your adventure at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island, home to Galapagos land iguanas. The next day is spent at Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Roca) and Fernandina Island, the pristine jewel of the national park. From there, you will
jewel of the national park. From there, you will
visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station and its captive tortoise breeding program. Floreana Island’s Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant round off the trip with insights into human presence on the islands. This itinerary visits the following islands: Baltra, Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz and Floreana
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. 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.
Please note that these departure dates can also be booked for 9D/8N journey lengths if you would like to extend your Galapagos experience.
Day 1: Thursday
We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.
Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island):
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). The first part of our walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and American flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.
Day 2: Friday
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island):
After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, boobies, etc. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island):
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.
Day 3: Saturday
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island):
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
Santa Cruz Island:
We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.
Day 4: Sunday
Baroness Tower – Post Office Bay (Floreana Island):
After breakfast, panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. We follow this visit by continuing to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. We land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkelling off the beach. We then head back on board for lunch.
Champion Islet – Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island):
Following lunch and a siesta, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).
Day 5: Monday
We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the 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.