closedown-arrowemailfeaturedmagnifying-glassphoneright-arrow
galapagos sea turtle.jpg

Cormorant: 8-Day Cruise to Western & Central Islands

Galapagos – Luxury

8-Day Galapagos Cruise to Western & Central Islands

Sail intimately through the Galapagos Islands on this 8 day cruise to the Western and Central islands where you will find some of the most marvelous landscapes in the archipelago.

The expert guides of the 16 passenger Cormorant catamaran will take you on multiple excursions throughout the day, allow you to swim with manta rays, snorkel with tropical fish, and witness a myriad of other wildlife not seen anywhere else in the world.

Note:

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 birds

DAY 1: SATURDAY
AM: Baltra Island, Embarkation

Arrival in Baltra airport and transfer to Santa Cruz to visit the highlands before boarding. Dress appropriately for a hike.

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.

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 creatures

DAY 2: SUNDAY
AM: Isabela Island, Tintoreras Islet – no landing

Activities: panga exploration

The Tintoreras Islet, located a short distance from Puerto Villamil, is home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos Penguins, marine turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches, surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully. Highlights include white-tipped reef sharks, penguins, marine turtles, sea lions, and marine 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, Tortoise Breeding Station – dry landing

Activities: hiking

This center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys. Giant tortoise eggs are collected and brought to the center where they are hatched and kept for five years before being released to their natural environment. Highlights include two of the five sub-species of the giant tortoise.

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.

Cormorant catamaran sun deck

DAY 3: MONDAY
AM: 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.

PM: 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.

Cormorant bar

DAY 4: TUESDAY
AM: Fernandina Island, Mangle Point – no landing

Activities: hiking, kayaking, panga exploration, snorkeling

A visit to Mangle Point allows visitors to witness the amazing views and wildlife on the Coast of Fernandina Island. This is a small inlet on Fernandina’s coast where you can snorkel to your hearts delight and watch playful sea lions, curious penguins, and also catch a glimpse of where flight less cormorants reside. Highlights include penguins, lava cactus, sea lions, flightless cormorants, and marine iguanas.

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.

Cormorant Galapagos cabins

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY
AM: 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”.

PM: 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.

Galapagos hermit crab

DAY 6: THURSDAY
AM: Santiago Island, Puerto Egas – dry landing

Activities: hiking, snorkeling 

Also known as James Bay, Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos Hawks and Quick-footed Galapagos Lava Lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos Fur Sea Lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site. Highlights include Fur sea lions, Galapagos Sea Lions, tidal pools and “grottos”, Galapagos Hawk, oyster catchers, marine iguanas, finches; snorkeling: reef sharks, turtles, rays, and nice underwater formations.

PM: Santiago Island, Buccaneer Cove – wet landing

Activities: panga exploration, snorkeling

Years ago Buccaneer Cove was a safe haven where pirates in the 1600 and 1700’s would stake out on the Northwestern side of Santiago Island.  Sea turtles now take the pirates place and dig their nests for their eggs near the mangrove trees.  It is a great location for snorkeling and many marine birds and sea lions can be found here. Highlights include rock formations, tropical fish, turtles, and sting-rays while snorkeling.

PM: Santiago Island, Espumilla Beach – dry landing

Activities: hiking

Espumilla Beach is a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons, performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eel, and shark, snorkeling is highly recommended. A highlight is snorkeling.

Galapagos twilight

DAY 7: FRIDAY
AM: Genovesa Island, Prince Phillip’s Steps – dry landing

Activities: hiking

Also known as El Barranco, Prince Phillip's Steps' steep, rocky paths leads up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to Palo Santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared Lava Owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.

PM: Genovesa Island, Darwin Bay – wet landing

Activities: hiking, kayaking, panga exploration, snorkeling

This white-sand coral beach heads a half mile trail (.75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff. Highlights include Nazca Boobies, Red- footed Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, mangroves, coral pebbles beach, snorkeling: rays, colorful reef fish and hammerhead sharks.

Cormorant patio deck

DAY 8: SATURDAY
AM: 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.

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.

Testimonials

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