Galapagos Islands | Cruising the Enchanted Islands aboard the M/V Legend

Galapagos Islands | Cruising the Enchanted Islands aboard the M/V Legend

About this trip

Explore the volcanic landscapes, underwater wonders, and renowned wildlife of the archipelago’s central and western islands as you cruise aboard the comfortable M/V Galapagos Legend. This 10-day private journey is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime, leaving you with the same sense of wonder that inspired Charles Darwin during his landmark voyage nearly 200 years ago.
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

  • Come face-to-face with the iconic wildlife of the Galápagos, including Blue-footed Boobies, fur seals, Darwin’s finches, Galápagos Penguins, and Flightless Cormorants.
  • Experience the archipelago's dramatic landscapes, such as Dragon Hill, Alcedo Volccano, and the red sand beaches of Rábida Island.
  • Go snorkeling for the chance to observe sea turtles, feeding marine iguanas, colorful fish, reef sharks, and spotted eagle rays.
  • Take a hike at Isabela Island's Tagus Cove, enjoying the picturesque scenery of Darwin Lake and the island's northern volcanoes.

 

2 Travelers

$6,299

Land Cost

Quito

Day 1

Upon arrival at Quito International Airport, you will be met outside of baggage claim by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Surrounded by volcanoes and sitting 9,350 feet above sea level, Ecuador's capital city is the second highest in the world. It also boasts one of the largest and best-preserved colonial centers in the Americas, earning it recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town in central Quito is an area of colonial churches, monasteries, museums, and white-washed buildings with red-tiled roofs. To the north is the modern city, a vibrant hub of commerce replete with high rises, bustling sidewalks, and shopping centers.

Overnight at Rincon de Puembo

Quito

Day 2

Today you can choose from among several guided activities. You may take a city tour of Quito, which includes a visit to the Middle of the World Monument near the equator. Other options (at additional cost) include day trips to the Otavalo artisan market, the cloud forests of Mindo, Cotopaxi Volcano, or the Antisana Ecological Reserve

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Rincon de Puembo

Galapagos Islands

Day 3

This morning you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos Islands. Note that there is a 50-pound weight limit on the internal flights; please pack accordingly. Upon arrival, you will be met by your naturalist guide and transferred to the vessel, where you will receive safety instructions and cruise information. Casual, comfortable clothing is recommended for the cruise, including bathing gear and a good windbreaker. This afternoon, you'll make your first stop in the central highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Take a short walk for the chance to see Galápagos giant tortoises roaming in the wild, as well as other fauna typical of the highlands, especially several species of the famed Darwin's finches. After dinner onboard the boat each evening, you'll gather for a briefing to discuss the next day's activities.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 4

Spend today exploring Genovesa Island. First ride by panga to the far side of the caldera. Red-billed Tropicbirds display vociferously overhead, while Galápagos fur seals can be seen on the shoreline. Ascend the natural rocky stairway known as Prince Philip's Steps, then follow the path through a palo santo forest and arrive at an expansive, open lava field. Along the way, look for Nazca and Red-footed Boobies, mockingbirds, finches, Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, and endemic Galápagos Short-eared Owls. This afternoon, visit Darwin Bay. From within the flooded caldera of Genovesa, you'll set foot onto a sandy beach to be greeted by Swallow-tailed Gulls. The short, flat trail leads past stands of mangroves and saltbush on which you have views of nesting Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds. At the tidal lagoon, you may also see the endemic Lava Gull, thought to be the rarest gull in the world.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 5

This morning, land at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. Arriving to a small lava dock, your first encounters are with marine iguanas that blend in perfectly with the dark rock. Walk past large prickly pear cacti and arrive to one end of a long, sickle-shaped beach, with Dragon Hill visible in the distance. The walk takes you on a circular path, past a shallow lake where flamingos frequently come to feed. Wading birds such as stilts, turnstones, and sandpipers work the muddy edges, frenetically looking for food. Continue inland to a dry, forested habitat where land iguanas nest and burrow. This afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island. You'll have the opportunity to snorkel in the turquoise waters of a protected bay, where you may observe sea lions, turtles, reef sharks, and spotted eagle rays. Next, land on a sandy beach populated by sea lions. Walk past a forest of giant, endemic Opuntia cactus, and search for another species found only on this island, the Santa Fe land iguana, which is distinguished from other species by its pale yellow color. Also watch for Galápagos Hawks and even endemic rice rats.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 6

Start today with a landing on Santa Cruz's Bachas Beach. Named for some wrecked World War II barges whose ribs are still visible in the sand, this visitor site offers great swimming, a lovely walk along the shore, and a visit to a lagoon behind the high tide line with wading birds, marine iguanas, and sometimes flamingos. The two beaches are also favorite nesting sites for green turtles, which often leave tractor-like tracks in the sand. This afternoon, land on Mosquera Islet, a tiny, low-lying islet covered in coral sand and set between North and South Seymour Islands. Mosquera is home to a group of sea lions that come to laze on the soft white sand and is a good spot to observe shorebirds as well as herons, Lava Gulls, and boobies. For those who wish to snorkel or dive, it's possible to see sharks, rays, and barracudas here.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 7

Today begins with a landing at Puerto Egas on Santiago Island. Egas is best known for its dramatic shoreline; the black volcanic sand sets this landing apart from most. Among the species you'll see here, a highlight is the small colony of endemic Galápagos fur seals. Other species of note include American Oystercatchers, sea lions, herons, lava lizards, and Galápagos Hawks. An optional visit takes you to an abandoned salt mine famous in its day for supplying salt to mainland Ecuador. This afternoon, visit Rábida Island. Lying at the heart of the archipelago, this dramatic island has a distinctive red-sand beach and is home to sea lions, mockingbirds, finches, endemic Galápagos Doves, and Vermilion Flycatchers. Walk through a forest of palo santo and cactus to a beautiful lookout over the bay. Snorkeling here can be excellent, often with large schools of black-striped salemas, sea lions, and sea turtles.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 8

Begin the day at the volcanic black beach of Urbina Bay on Isabela Island. (Please note: This wet landing can be challenging due to the tide.) Depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual Flightless Cormorant. After a short walk inland, enjoy a chance to swim and snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants and colorful flowers that attract different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the island's highlights is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from seismic activity in 1954; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. This afternoon, visit Tagus Cove. From May to December, it's not uncommon to see whales while navigating from Urbina Bay to Tagus Cove. A well-known hideout and deep water anchorage in the days of pirates, the cove was also one of the few sites visited by Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle in 1835. A beautiful hike leads past a lookout point over Darwin Lake and on to a stunning volcanic landscape revealing Isabela Island's dramatic northern volcanoes. Once back at sea level, you'll have a chance to snorkel along a submerged wall with turtles, lots of fish, Galápagos Penguins-the only penguin species found north of the equator-and perhaps Flightless Cormorants. You might even be tempted to take a kayak or panga ride

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Galapagos Islands

Day 9

Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine islands in the world and geologically is the archipelago's youngest. It's also considered the "marine iguana capital of the world." This desolate volcanic backdrop is home to a huge concentration of these enigmatic reptiles. Go snorkeling at Espinosa Point this morning for the chance to view them feeding underwater. Also look for turtles, cormorants, and Galápagos Penguins. This afternoon's visit is to Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. The upwelling of cold currents in this part of the Galápagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, making it a perfect place for deep-water snorkeling. Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds, such as noddies, Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Pelicans, Galápagos Penguins, and Flightless Cormorants.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Legend

Departure

Day 10

This morning, disembark at Santa Cruz and visit one of several private tortoise reserves in the highlands. The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the island's contrasting ecosystems; the road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, tortoises can be seen along the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is also relevant for birdwatchers, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here. Possible sightings include tree and ground finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Paint-billed Crakes, Yellow Warblers, and Cattle Egrets (usually found on the shells of the tortoises). From here, continue to the airport for your flight to Quito, where you will connect with your evening departure flight to USA

Breakfast- included