This diverse 6 day itinerary on the Petrel engages you with the postcard-perfect beaches, ancient lava tubes, and hikes to scenic overlooks that remind you of the remoteness of the Galapagos Islands.
When not out exploring the islands, retreat to your luxury vessel and jump in the Jacuzzi, watch the passing landscapes from the sun deck, or perhaps sip a few cocktails at the well-appointed bar!
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.
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY
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
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.
DAY 2: THURSDAY
AM: South Plaza Island – dry landing
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
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.
DAY 3: FRIDAY
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.
PM: San Cristobal Island, Interpretation Center – dry landing
The Interpretation Center was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Visitors enjoy expositions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. The Interpretation Center has an outdoor stadium, audio-visual equipment, and meeting rooms. Highlights include various interactive exhibits for all ages.
PM: San Cristobal Island, La Galapaguera – dry landing
A visitor site in the southeast part of San Cristobal Island that can be reached in roughly one hour by road from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On the trees and shrubs surrounding the site, you may see land birds like warbler, finches and mockingbirds, and on the trails, giant tortoises. Highlights include giant tortoises in captivity and land birds.
DAY 4: SATURDAY
AM: Española Island, Gardner Bay – dry landing
Activities: hiking, kayaking, panga exploration, snorkeling
Spend the rest of the day in fantastic Española, starting with Gardner Bay, an outstanding beach with sea lions, marine iguanas, and the intrepid Española Mockingbird.
AM: Española Island, Osborne Islet – wet landing
Activities: snorkeling, swimming
After landing, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. This small island is a marine visit where you can enjoy fantastic snorkeling and swimming. Highlights include a white sandy beach, sea lions, and mockingbirds.
PM: Española Island, Suárez Point – dry landing
This area is great for spotting Blue-footed Boobies, albatrosses and Nazca Boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large Waved Albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities. Highlights include Hood Mockingbird, Nazca Boobies, Waved Albatross, Red-billed tropicbirds, lava lizards, Galapagos Hawk, blue-footed boobies, blow hole, and amazing landscapes.
DAY 5: SUNDAY
AM: Floreana Island, Cormorant Point – wet landing
Activities: hiking, panga exploration
This site hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts, White-cheeked Pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” composed of white coral. Highlights include flamingoes and a green-colored beach.
AM: Floreana Island, Devil's Crown– no landing
One of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos, this volcanic crater has been eroded by the waves leaving the northern and southern sides poking out of the water. The coral reef in the middle is perfect for attracting marine life. Snorkelers enjoy the variety of marine life and exciting currents that rush through the crown, creating an exhilarating experience. Highlights include snorkeling with sharks, rays, rock formations, and lots of tropical fish.
PM: Floreana Island, Post Office Bay – wet landing
In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. Highlights include a nice sandy beach.
DAY 6: MONDAY
AM: Santa Cruz Island, Charles Darwin Research Station – dry landing
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.
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.