Itinerary / Map
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- Wednesday Morning: Arrival in San Cristobal Airport
- Wednesday Afternoon: Ochoa Beach, San Cristobal Island
- Thursday Morning: Punta Suarez, Española Island
- Thursday Afternoon: Charles Darwin Station & Puerto Ayora, Sta. Cruz Island
- Friday Morning: El Barranco, Genovesa Island
- Friday Afternoon: Bahia Darwin, Genovesa Island
- Saturday Morning: Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island
- Saturday Afternoon: Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island
- Sunday Morning: Bartholomew Island
- Sunday Afternoon: Puerto Egas, Santiago Island
- Monday Morning: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island
- Monday Afternoon: Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island
- Tuesday Morning: Seymour Norte
- Tuesday Afternoon: Giant Tortoises, Santa Cruz Island
- Wednesday Morning: Lobería or Islas Lobos or Tijeretas
- Departure from San Cristobal
Important: The alternatives offered in the itinerary are not for passengers selection. The Guide will provide information about the final program directly to the passengers, all the alternatives offered are subject to the Galapagos National Park authorization.
This morning we fly from Quito or Guayaquil into San Cristobal Island’s Airport, five minutes from the centre of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the administrative and political capital of Galapagos, a maritime province of Ecuador. A short bus ride will bring us to the main pier at the picturesque town, to board the Zodiac dinghies which will transfer us to the Explorer, anchored at the pretty bay. An Introduction briefing and conference will be followed by our first lunch on board. The afternoon will take us to the first encounter with the celebrated Galapagos fauna and flora as we visit Playa Ochoa, on San Cristobal Island, a golden-color sandy beach, surrounded by mangroves. Strolling along the beach we may get first sightings of marine iguanas as well as the endemic San Cristobal mockingbirds and lava lizards. Some herons might be observed and there will be a chance to swim and or snorkel from the beach. Sunset will find us making our way back to the ship, with the magnificent background of the imposing Kicker Rock anchored further off-shore. A briefing about the following day’s activities will be followed by the Welcome Cocktail party and dinner on board.
This morning features a visit to one of the Archipelago’s highlights: Punta Suàrez on Hood or Española Island. A wet landing on a small sandy beach will lead us to a narrow rocky trail to be amazed by large colonies of nesting blue-footed boobies; Nazca boobies, sea lions and an endemic sub-species of marine iguana, unique to this island. Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves and yellow warblers will capture our attention on land. At the end of the loop trail, we will find the main attraction of this island: the nesting area of the majestic Galapagos Waved Albatrosses, the largest seabird of the Pacific Ocean, which only nests on this particular island of the Galapagos group, between May and December, every year. Their courtship dance is a natural wonder of synchronicity and grace. A natural blowhole in the lava rocks by the sea provides an additional element to admire. As we navigate towards the center of the Archipelago, lunch is served on board and in the afternoon we will visit Santa Cruz Island, featuring the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will meet the famous giant tortoises, amongst a forest of tall Opuntia cacti trees, teeming with Darwin’s finches. Later, a stroll through the colorful town of Puerto Ayora, bustling with commerce, its small fishing port and dozens of Souvenir shops, cafès and restaurants, will give us a feeling of human life out on this remote Archipelago. The evening will include the daily briefing or talk by the naturalist guides and dinner on board.
We will spend all of this day visiting two different locations at one of the most remote and isolated of the islands, at the north eastern extreme of the Archipelago: Tower or Genovesa Island. The morning will take us to El Barranco (“The Cliff”), also known as Prince Philip Steps, where, after a short but steep climb, aided by wooden railing, we will explore the south eastern tip of the island, to meet scores of red-footed boobies nesting on the “palo santo” trees; Nazca boobies, frigate birds and three species of Darwin’s finches. Further along the flat trail, we will encounter a huge lava field, the nesting home for thousands of storm petrels. After the hike, there will be opportunities to swim and or snorkel, from the dinghies, along the rocky cliffs, to admire colorful parrot fishes and other marine life or time for relaxing at a sandy beach. After lunch on board, we will disembark for our afternoon visit to the northern tip of Darwin’s Bay, in the center of Tower Island. A wet landing at a coral-pebbled white beach will bring us in contact with some Galapagos sea lions and a nesting colony of the beautiful swallow-tailed gulls, unique to these Islands. A short and easy flat trail over sandy terrain will show us one of the largest sea bird concentrations of the Archipelago (and of the Pacific), with thousands of red-footed boobies, sharing quarters with Great Frigate birds, the males with their brightly scarlet red inflated pouches on the breeding season, adding color to the already fabulous sight. Small and particularly dark black marine iguanas and some shore birds will complement the view as we explore the shoreline. Alternatives for a longer nature hike over more irregular lava terrain are offered or else, a new opportunity to enjoy the aquatic activities. Back on board, the evening will feature a Naturalist’s talk or briefing and dinner on board.
This morning we visit Las Bachas Beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, to observe a small lagoon with occasional flamingoes and shore birds, plus one more opportunity to enjoy some aquatic activities. Back on board it’s time for lunch. In the afternoon we visit Cerro Dragon (“Dragon Hill”), on the northwest coast of Santa Cruz Island. The name of the site is because of the dragon-looking land iguanas which inhabit the area. A hike over flat and rocky terrain will allow us amazing sights of these colorful reptiles, which were almost extinct some decades ago, but have been spared from the hazard of introduced feral animals, particularly dogs. The walk will also take us through a “palo santo” trees and Opuntia cacti forest, where we will see numerous Darwin’s finches and mockingbirds. Small tidal lagoons behind the beach provide views of occasional flamingoes and some wader birds. A refreshing swim from the white sandy beach or a snorkeling session may be offered too. The evening will include the Guide’s briefing about the next day’s activities and then dinner.
This morning is spent at the most photographed island in the Archipelago, because of its unique geological formations: Bartolome Island. A steep uphill hike, aided by a wooden staircase built by the National Park to prevent erosion of the fragile terrain, will display before our eyes a live textbook of geology: lava tubes and tunnels; spatter and cinder cones; ash fields with pioneer colonizing plants like the tiquilia and the Brachycerious cacti. At the summit, the view is stunning: the small island looks like a true “moonscape” with its many craters and down below, two golden beaches, separated by a narrow stretch of mangroves. At one end is the bizarre and majestic Pinnacle Rock, the perfect postcard picture of the islands. Back to the landing point we board our dinghies for a boat ride along the coast where we may see a small colony of the endemic Galapagos penguins and other sea birds. The beach will be the venue for a morning of swimming and or snorkeling, offering great opportunities to enjoy the fantastic marine life of the islands. After lunch on board, we disembark on the west coast of James Island, at Puerto Egas, where we land at a grayish volcanic beach, to start a scenic walk along the rocky shoreline, admiring colonies of marine iguanas, the colorful “sally-lightfoot” crabs, sea lions, pelicans and several shore birds around the tidal lagoons. At the end of the trail, a maze of solid lava grottos is the home for this location’s highlight: a colony of the rare and less common fur sea lions. Back at the beach, new opportunities to enjoy a variety of aquatic activities is possible. Back on board, the evening will include the naturalists briefing, followed by dinner.
Today we explore the westernmost part of the Archipelago. A morning visit to Punta Espinoza, on Fernandina Island shows us the youngest and most pristine of the islands. An impressive scenario where hundreds of marine iguanas, blend in with the dark lava rocks, providing a prehistoric sight, with the awesome backdrop of intriguing lava fields and the huge volcano that covers most of the island. Scores of small sandy coves are the home for playful sea lions, while the rocky shoreline is the venue to find two of the most remarkable Galapagos flightless birds: the Penguins and the Flightless Cormorants. Tall mangroves are home to some yellow warblers and sometimes of the imposing Galapagos hawks. Aquatic activities, according to the season and climatic conditions, are offered for the guests to enjoy the marvels of the Galapagos waters. While we navigate at midday, there are good chances of sighting dolphins and or whales as we sail across the deep waters of the Bolivar Channel, separating Fernandina from the west of Isabela Island. After lunch on board, we will spend the afternoon at Punta Vicente Roca, on the northwestern tip of the largest of all the islands: Isabella Island. A dinghy ride will take us along reddish cliffs, filled with perched blue-footed boobies, brown noddy terns and large marine iguanas. If the weather and wave action allow, we may venture inside a lava cove looking for more surprises like frolicking sea lions and numerous brown noddy terns. Later, new alternatives for swimming or snorkeling, form the dinghies, may be offered. The sunsets with Fernandina as the background are particularly beautiful and famous. The evening will feature the daily guides’ talk and dinner.
This morning is dedicated to explore North Seymour Island, teeming with bird life and other fascinating Galapagos fauna and flora. Landing on lava rocks will provide us with close views of the pretty and endemic swallow-tailed gulls. Then, a flat yet rocky trail over lava boulders will bring us inland to watch, in season, large colonies of nesting blue-footed boobies along with frigate birds. Here we may also watch some species of Darwin’s finches and mockingbirds. Later, along a sandy trail, following the coastline, to watch surfing sea lions and slow moving dark marine iguanas. Optional activities for the rest of the morning may include some water activities like swimming, snorkeling or a glass bottom boat ride. Lunch is served on board before our last afternoon’s outing. This time, a bus takes us from the turquoise waters of the Itabaca Channel into the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where we will admire the famous Los Gemelos Twin Craters and the lush vegetation of the second largest of the islands. Here, in season, we will look for giant tortoises in the wild and admire the fascinating forests of the unique Scalessia trees. In the evening, the Departure briefing will explain activities and procedures for the next day and will be followed by a farewell dinner.
This morning finds us at San Cristobal Island and we can opt between several alternatives (subject to weather, time and availability conditions) either to visit the National Park’s Interpretation Center; El Junco Lake up in the island’s hills; Cerro Tijeretas or a boat ride along Isla Lobos, (sea lions island), mainly to observe its large sea lion colonies. In the later part of the morning, a short stroll through the picturesque city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the Islands’ capital will be the prelude to the five minute bus ride to the local Airport for our return flight to continental Ecuador.
View Galapagos Island Tours: Explorer Cruise 7 nights Wednesday to wednesday in a larger map
The M/V Galápagos Explorer II is designed to provide comfort and scientific information to 100 passengers visiting the Galápagos National Park. It's operation is emphasized with interesting itineraries that offer the best of this pristine paradise. Expert naturalist guides will offer an environmentally friendly and educational cruise focused in the Natural History of the Galápagos.
Built in La Spezzia, Italy, the Galapagos Explorer II has a length of 88.16 meters (290 feet) and weighs 4077 tons of Gross Register. With a crew of seventy, the Ship offers an unmatched combination of adventure and discovery, together with the vessel’s great comfort and elegance, bringing together all the amenities of a large luxury cruise ship with the casual and friendly atmosphere of a top class Expedition vessel to explore the unique Galapagos Islands.
The Explorer is the only all-suites vessel operating in the Galapagos and in addition to its extremely comfortable guest accommodations, the vessel offers an elegant Restaurant with open seating; Lounge and Conference Room; a well stocked Library; Reception and Boutique; Karaoke Bar; as well as a Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Observation Deck, Karaoke Bar and Infirmary. The ship is fully air conditioned and has satellite communications, the latest navigation and security technology and an internal TV system. Ample space and maximum comfort describe the Galapagos Explorer II in a summary.
The carefully selected and friendly staff is eager to provide the guests with a memorable experience and will share with you their knowledge, hospitality and the culture of Ecuador. The superb Suites, all of them with a sea view; the imaginative itineraries and the diversity of on shore and on board activities, along with a great level of service and a delicious cuisine will certainly delight the most demanding travelers.
- Name: M/V (Motor Vessel) Galapagos Explorer II:
- Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Considered one of the most fantastic Natural Areas in the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, the Galapagos Archipelago is renowned for its scientific value, unique and unafraid animal species, spectacular sights and equally extraordinary Marine Reserve. The Islands are one of the top nature tourism destinations in South America and the world.
- Expedition Categories: Nature and wildlife; Adventure; Multi-generational trips
- Vessel Category: Deluxe
- Vessel size and type: Expedition Vessel, 100 guests’ capacity
Our suites average 250sqft and offer:
- Private bath with marble vanity (personal hair dryer) and refrigerator.
- TV set available every time you come back from your visits to the islands
- Two twin beds or one queen bed and small sitting area
- Telephone for national or international calls
Facilities on board: 50 suites, Boutique, Library, Karaoke Bar, Conference Room, Restaurant, Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi, Tea Station, Medical Assistance, Satellite communication.
We have an internal tv system that allows you to have 3 channels.
Entertainment movies. Documentaries on the islands or natural history in general and the daily program.