Galápagos Islands | Biodiversity and Volcanic Terrain

Galápagos Islands | Biodiversity and Volcanic Terrain

About this trip

Discover firsthand the fascinating biodiversity, volcanic terrain, and geological history that make the Galápagos Islands so compelling. This 11-day small group cruise expedition to the western islands includes visits to landmarks like Pinnacle Rock, Chinese Hat, and Dragon Hill, plus the chance to see native and endemic wildlife. Accompanied by an expert naturalist guide, you’ll learn about the forces, both natural and human, that have shaped the archipelago through the years.
PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change without prior notice due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. weather) or at the discretion of the captain, guide, or the Galápagos National Park.

Highlights

  • Discover fascinating geological history while trekking volcanoes and lava fields.
  • Come face-to-face with the iconic wildlife of the Galápagos, including Blue-footed Boobies, marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, Galápagos Penguins, and Flightless Cormorants.
  • Visit a local farm to look for giant tortoises in the wild.
  • Experience dramatic landscapes, such as the red sand beaches of Rábida Island, Chinese Hat, Dragon Hill, and the iconic Pinnacle Rock.
9 Travelers

Land Cost

$5,685 - Jan 10, 2021 - Dec 25, 2022

$5,795 - Jan 1 - Dec 25, 2023

Book 8 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

Land Cost

$5,595 - Jan 10, 2021 - Dec 25, 2022

$5,695 - Jan 1 - Dec 25, 2023

Book 14 travelers and 2 group
leaders travel for free

16 Travelers

Land Cost

$5,195 - Jan 10, 2021 - Dec 25, 2022

$5,295 - Jan 1 - Dec 25, 2023

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Quito

Day 1

Upon arrival in Quito you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Arrival into Quito should be on a Wednesday for the Friday cruise departure.

Overnight at Sheraton Hotel

Quito

Day 2

After breakfast this morning you’ll take a city tour of Quito including a visit to the Middle of the World Monument. Please note you may substitute the city tour and visit to the monument with a full day excursion to Otavalo market, Cotopaxi National Park, Antisana Reserve, or Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve for an additional cost. Before dinner have a lecture about "Introduction to Geology of the Galápagos Islands".

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sheraton Hotel

Galápagos

Day 3

Fly from mainland Ecuador to Baltra. After boarding M/C Tip Top II or V, attend your first orientation and have a light snack. After lunch, disembark on Mosquera Islet, a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach. Observe colonies of sea lions, Brown Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Back on board the boat, enjoy a welcome cocktail with the entire crew, followed by dinner. Each night during the cruise there will be an orientation to discuss the events of the day and the next day’s plans.

*Cruise itineraries are subject to change without prior notice for various factors including, but not limited to: safety, weather, mechanical breakdown, unforeseen emergencies, and the discretion of the Captain, Guide, and the Galapagos National Park.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 4

After breakfast, go ashore at Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, a perfect place to get a feel for the volcanic origin of the islands. Look for new plant growth among the two distinct types of lava, pahoehoe and a’a. Return to the boat for lunch, followed by an excursion on Rábida Island, distinguished by its red sand beaches. Here you can observe marine iguanas, sea lions, Blue-footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, and Brown Pelicans. Walk to a small saltwater lagoon where you can see Galápagos Flamingos. This evening enjoy a presentation by your Galapagos guide before dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 5

Today visit Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island to observe a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, Flightless Cormorants, and clumps of lava cactus. In the afternoon, take a panga boat ride around the islets of Elizabeth Bay to look for marine iguanas, marine turtles, seabirds, shorebirds, herons, Galápagos Penguins, and Blue-footed Boobies. Tonight attend an orientation to learn about conservation efforts to protect the islands.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 6

This morning disembark on Isabela Island at Urbina Bay, a coral area at the base of Alcedo Volcano with land iguanas, Flightless Cormorants, and giant tortoises. Return to the yacht for lunch. In the afternoon, take a panga ride around Tagus Cove, located between the shoulders of two volcanic craters, which protect it from the open sea. Observe marine iguanas, sea lions, and a varety of birds, including Galápagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, and Blue-footed Boobies. This evening enjoy a presentation by your Galapagos guide before dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 7

After breakfast, land at James Bay (Puerto Egas) on Santiago Island to walk and observe sponges, snails, hermit crabs, a variety of shore birds, barnacles, the endemic four-eyed blenny, marine iguanas, and sea lions. Visit Bartolomé Island in the afternoon to hike to the summit. During the hike, it’s possible to observe colonies of marine iguanas and lava lizards, and on the summit you’ll see an impressive view of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone of Pinnacle Rock, one of the most iconic sights in the archipelago.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 8

After breakfast, land on Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino), a small island off the coast of Santiago Island. Here you can observe Galápagos Penguins, eagle rays, sea lions, and marine iguanas from the rocky shoreline. This afternoon land at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island, where you can see land iguanas and walk to a hypersalinic lagoon (saltier than the ocean) to observe flamingos, Common Stilts, White-cheeked Pintails, and other bird species.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Galápagos

Day 9

After breakfast, disembark and take the bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the native forests and the Twin Craters, two formations caused by the collapse of surface material casued by underground fissures. Then, visit a local farm where you can see giant tortoises in the wild and have lunch. Return to Puerto Ayora. Visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Interpretation Center inside the Charles Darwin Research Station. Return to the yacht for dinner and nightly orientation.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tip Top II or V

Quito

Day 10

After breakfast take an early morning walk along the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, a low, flat island that was uplifted from the sea by underground seismic activity. Observe Blue-footed Boobies, which nest from May to November, as well as marine iguanas, pelicans, frigatebirds, shore birds, sea lions, and the endemic palo santo trees. Return to the yacht and navigate to the pier, where you’ll disembark at 9 am. Your guide will accompany you on the bus ride directly to the airport. Lunch at the airport is on own today. Enjoy the afternoon in Quito at leisure before gathering for a farewell dinner at the hotel this evening. For those departing this evening, you will be taken to the Quito International Airport for your flight(s) home.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Rincon de Puembo

Quito

Day 11

Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Breakfast- included