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Natural Paradise: 8-Day Cruise - A

Galapagos Islands Map

8-Day Galapagos Cruise: Visit 8 Galapagos Islands

Journey all around the Galapagos Islands on this 8 day cruise aboard the Natural Paradise Galapagos Yacht. Visit a total of 8 islands on this breathtaking itinerary. 

You will visit: San Cristobal, North Seymour, South Plazas, Santa Cruz, Santiago, Bartholomew, Rabida and Genovesa Islands. 


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.

rabida island galapagos

DAY 1: Tuesday – San Cristobal Island


Morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.

You will arrive at San Cristobal Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by the Natural Paradise staff and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing.


In the afternoon, you will visit Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and scuba diving allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life.


Activities: Snorkeling and dinghy ride
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: No landing
Highlights & Animals: Great snorkeling, sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, spectacular rock formations, sea birds, blue- footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigate birds.


Galapagos wildlife

DAY 2: Wednesday – North Seymour and South Plazas Islands

In North Seymour you will be able to see Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds which are abundant on this island. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.


Activities: Dinghy ride & hiking (1.5 miles / 2.41 km)
Difficulty: Moderate / Difficult
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Land & marine iguanas, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, sea lions; snorkeling: rays, reef sharks, fish, garden eels. 


In the afternoon 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 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. 


Activities: Hiking (1.5 miles / 2 ½ km)
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Land iguanas, sea lion colony, Audubon's shearwaters, swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, amazing landscape with cliffs

galapagos snorkeling

DAY 3: Thursday– Rabida & Bartholomew Islands

In the morning you will visit Rabida Island (Jervis), one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkeling site. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.


Activities: Snorkeling, dinghy ride & short hike (0.6 miles /1 km)
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Type of Landing: Wet landing
Highlights & Animals: Snorkeling: white-cheeked pintail ducks, colorful fish, sea lions, brackish water lagoon, penguins, Galapagos hawk


In the afternoon, you will visit Bartholomew, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock and consisting of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.


Activities: Dinghy ride, snorkeling & hiking (1.2 miles/ 2 km)
Difficulty: Moderate/difficult. Walk up to the top of volcano 114 meters, 375 wooden steps
Type of Landing: Dry and wet landings
Highlights & Animals: Pinnacle rock, panoramic view, moonlike landscape, penguins, pioneer plants, lava cactus; snorkeling: penguins, reef sharks, rays, and great colorful fish.

Galapagos cruises

DAY 4: Friday – Santiago & Santa Cruz Islands

In the morning, you will visit Sullivan Bay located on the southeast part of Santiago. This place is interesting for its geology because the area is covered by lava flows. This place has elevations in the form of small volcanoes formed by the lava flows. 

Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Lava flows, small volcanoes

In the afternoon, you will head to Dragon Hill, situated on Santa Cruz Island and one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galapagos walking trails will lead visitors along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted.

Activities: Walking and hiking
Difficulty: Easy to moderate: the trail may get muddy at times, and there is uneven rocky terrain.
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Land iguana nesting spot, Galapagos flamingos, common stilts, palo santo trees and cacti forest

Galapagos Natural Paradise

DAY 5: Saturday – Santa Cruz Island

In the morning, as we traverse Santa Cruz Island we will visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, which are located opposite each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. The view is breathtaking.


Activities: Short hiking
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Pit craters, Scalesia forest


In the afternoon you will visit Charles Darwin Station on Santa Cruz Island. The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own. 


Activities: Walking
Difficulty: Easy
Type of landing: Dry landing
Highlights & Animals: Galapagos Tortoises in captivity

Natural Paradise Cruise

DAY 6: Sunday – Genovesa Island

In the morning, you will visit El Barranco which is also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps. It is a steep, rocky path that 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.


Activities: Hiking (0,9 miles / 2 Km)
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of Landing: Dry, difficult landing
Highlights & Animals: Red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, storm-petrels, Galapagos doves


In the afternoon, you will visit the white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay which heads a half mile trail (0.75 km) 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 we’ll find tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view of a cliff.


Activities: Hiking (0.9 miles / 1.5 Km), snorkeling, kayaking, and dinghy ride
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet landing
Highlights & Animals: Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, mangroves, coral pebble beach, snorkeling: rays, colourful reef fish, and hammerhead sharks.

Natural Paradise Itinerary

DAY 7: Monday – Santiago Island

In the morning, visit is to Espumilla Beach where marine iguanas lounge and the Sally Lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey right before your eyes. Snorkeling is highly recommended as you could and yourself face to face with an octopus, moray eel, shark and a variety of other species of tropical fish.


Activities: Snorkeling and swimming
Difficulty: Easy
Type of landing: Wet landing
Highlights & Animals: Snorkeling


In the afternoon, you will go to Egas Port, also known as James Bay, on Santiago Island which is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to the 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.


Activities: Snorkeling, hiking (1.2 miles/2 km)
Difficulty: Easy / moderate
Type of landing: Wet landing
Highlights & Animals: Fur sea lions, Galapagos sea lions, tidal pools and grottos, Galapagos hawks, oystercatchers, marine iguanas, finches; snorkeling: reef sharks, turtles, rays, nice underwater formations. 

Galapagos Tour

DAY 8: Tuesday – Santa Cruz Island

The morning visit, Bachas Beach, is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz which is a swimming beach. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest on the beach.


Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet landing
Highlights & Animals: World War II remnants, Sally Ligthfoot crabs, hermit crabs, blacknecked stilts, whimbrels, sea turtles.


After this final visit, you will be transferred to Baltra’s airport in time for your 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. 

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