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Santa Cruz II

  • SANTA CRUZ II

  • SANTA CRUZ II social areas

  • SANTA CRUZ II cabins

Santa Cruz II

The Santa Cruz II replaced its predecessor, on October 10, 2015. This 50-cabin vessel provides guests with an elegant new way to experience the glories of the Galapagos Archipelago in both style and comfort. On top of Metropolitan Touring’s unrivalled expeditions, this ship guarantees that the utmost care will be given to the Galapagos Islands by implementing the newest sustainable advances in sailing, thus protecting their delicate ecosystem.

With five spacious desks and gorgeous chic interiors designed by the distinguished ship designer, Richard Nilsson, the Santa Cruz II offers tours that are better than ever. Based on the principle of stylish simplicity, our new vessel guarantees its guests a luxurious ambience from which they can appreciate the breath-taking views of the enchanted islands.

The three decks of Santa Cruz II host 90 guests throughout 50 modern cabins. Guests may choose from a variety of options, which include single, double and family cabins. However, if they desire something more lavish, we also offer the exclusive Darwin Suites, which meet an exceptional standard of accommodation on the boat’s Panorama Deck. These suites provide guests with enhanced service, as well as particularly selected details such as a take-home Galapagos coffee table book and a tablet loan for each cabin.

When they are not exploring the islands’ treasures, guests can kick back in the elegantly designed communal spaces or viewing platforms. These include indoor and outdoor dining, a lounge bar, complete library, two sumptuous hot tubs overlooking the ocean and a gym.

HorizonDeck

OceanDeck

CABIN 5 NIGHTS 4 NIGHTS
PER PERSON IN DOUBLE ACCOMMODATION PER PERSON IN DOUBLE ACCOMMODATION
   
Horizon Deck Explorer Family $3,995 $3,196
Horizon Deck Explorer Twin/Double $4,250 $3,400
Horizon Deck Voyager Single* $5,795 $4,636
Expedition Deck Explorer Twin/Double $4,425 $3,540
Panorama Deck Explorer Twin/Double $4,550 $3,640
Panorama Deck Darwin Suite Twin/Double $5,155 $4,124
* Only 2 cabins are available for single use

SANTA CRUZ – GALAPAGOS RATES INCLUDE:     
Accommodations, all meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish (guiding in other languages upon request for groups larger than 10 guests: German, French, Italian), snorkeling gear, luggage handling, medical care on board (but not the cost of medication), taxes and transfers in the islands.

Transfer from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Swissôtel, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton) to airport for flights to / from Galapagos are included in these rates.  To coordinate these transfers we must have guest’s hotel contact.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Wet Suits available for rent
  • Air transportation to / from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($ 100 subject to change without previous notice)*
  • Migration Control Card ($ 10 subject to change without previous notice)*
  • Fuel Surcharge
  • Alcoholic and non alcoholic beverage, gratuities, laundry or valet services, gifts and additional items.
  • Internet / Wi-Fi **

* At your request, we can include the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of $100 and migration control card fee of $10 (subject to change). However, please note that, due to administrative and operational reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operation departure date. This service does not apply for guests who travel before a departure date (even if the departure is with us).

** Please note, we charge guests who wish to bring bottles of wine and/or spirits aboard our vessels a corkage fee of $25+taxes.

 

*** Note: internet connections onboard consist in computer stations and wifi in the vessel’s social areas;  due to the Galápagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.

WESTERN ISLANDS 5 NIGHTS: WEDNESDAY TO MONDAY

WEDNESDAY

Baltra Island
Morning arrival to Baltra Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.

North Seymour Island
Afternoon disembarkation (dry landing) for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island, observing bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas.  Opportunity for snorkelling or coastal exploration.  Expedition plan for Thursday, welcome cocktail and dinner.

THURSDAY

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by panga, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. This is the nesting place for flightless cormorants, the only existing marine birds in the world other than penguins that have changed their condition of flying birds to diving birds. Wildlife here also includes sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos penguins, blue-footed and Nazca boobies and noddy terns. Depending on the conditions of the ocean, it will be possible to schedule a snorkelling outing along the cliffs of partly-sunken Ecuador Volcano, near the northern tip of Isabela Island. This area has a very rich marine life, and is seasonally visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola). Lunch on board.

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
Afternoon visit to the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina. Disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk over dark lava. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and a lot of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina boasts a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant. Snorkelling off the shore. Expedition plan for Friday and dinner.

FRIDAY

Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, dry landing on the northwest of Isabela.  Secluded Tagus Cove provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti is still found carved on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the fragrant palo santo trees. These white-barked trees are leafless and look dead most of the year. They leaf and spring back to life in the wet season.

An uphill hike takes guests to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabela’s six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. We include a panga ride along the volcanic shore of the cove to see boobies, penguins, flightless cormorants, terns, and sea lions. Possibilities to swim or snorkel. There is no beach in the area, so these activities are done from the pangas. Lunch on board.

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
After lunch (wet landing) disembark at Urbina Bay, located at the foot of volcanoes Alcedo and Darwin, western Isabela Island, the result of an uplifting of the ocean in 1954. Here you can find corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally); a good spot to observe Darwin’s finches. Along the shoreline, after the hike, guests may encounter flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkelling in this beautiful cove. Expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.

SATURDAY

Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
Morning disembarkation (dry landing) to visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Lunch at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.

Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
After lunch, a 30-minute bus ride to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enter the famous Giant Tortoise Reserve, and witness the impressive migrations these giant reptiles must endure every year for feeding and reproduction. Santa Cruz hosts one of the largest tortoise populations in Galapagos. The enclosure is framed with lush vegetation and many unique land birds can be seen, such as the rare woodpecker finch, one of the world’s few tool-using species. Return  to Puerto Ayora and back on board.  Expedition plan for Sunday and dinner.

SUNDAY

Post office Bay and Baroness’s Tower (Floreana (Charles)Island)
Morning visit to Post Office Bay. A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where mail can be left for other guests from other vessels to be hand-delivered to its destination. This tradition of over two centuries is unique. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. Rays, turtles and sea lions can be seen gently swimming next to our pangas. After a wet landing and a short walk up to a volcanic cone, we reach the Baroness’s Tower, from where the entire northern shore of the island can be seen. Learn more about the fascinating past of this island. Lunch on board

Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
Disembark at Cormorant Point (wet landing) on an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others may be observed.  This outing also includes a white-sand beach where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).  Possibility of snorkelling or a glass-bottom boat ride close to Devil’s Crown. Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.

MONDAY

Baltra Island
Disembark at Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent.

Notes:

  • Please remember that the exact route and programme may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
  • Itineraries and programme are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.

Important Facts
The itineraries and programme are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galapagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.

EASTERN ISLANDS 4 NIGHTS: SATURDAY TO WEDNESDAY

SATURDAY

A morning flight brings us from Quito or Guayaquil into the Airport of San Cristobal Island, where Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the administrative capital of the Archipelago is located. After the arrival procedures, our Naturalist Guides will transfer us on a five minute bus ride to the pier and onto the Santa Cruz, anchored at the colorful Bay. Once we settle into our cabins, an Introduction briefing will be provided, to explain to us life on board, safety and National Park Regulations, and the program for the afternoon. Following lunch on board, our afternoon visit will feature Punta Pitt, on the easternmost tip of San Cristobal Island and of the entire Archipelago.  Here, the very scenic trail will allow us to walk on the only place in the archipelago where the three species of boobies (blue-footed; red-footed and Nazca) can be found together. If weather conditions allow, we may have a chance to swim from the beach or to snorkel around the nearby islets. The evening will feature the Guide’s briefing about the next day’s activities, followed by a Welcome drink and dinner on board.

SUNDAY

Today we start out with a visit to Santa Fe Island, where some of the highlights of the visit are a sea lion colony; a pretty cactus forest, home to the famous land iguanas, an endemic sub species, exclusive to this island. Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, Galapagos doves and yellow warblers are some of the land birds to be seen; while the rocky cliffs provide the venue to watch some blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and marine iguanas. Plenty of time is allowed for a host of water activities, including swimming and great snorkeling. After lunch on board, the afternoon brings us to South Plaza Island, small uplifted island just off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island. Here we will engage on a fascinating nature hike observing large colonies of sea lions; the other species of land iguana in the islands; a forest cactus with great chances to admire the graceful cactus finches and an impressive cliff where sea birds such as pelicans, red-billed tropic birds and blue-footed boobies can be seen. In the waters, below the cliff, there are frequent sightings of schools of yellow-tailed mullets and, in season, sea turtles.  The evening will include the daily briefing, followed by dinner.

MONDAY

We will spend all day exploring Santa Cruz Island, the second largest of the Archipelago. The order of the visits will depend on climatic conditions, National Park regulations and operational factors.  Highlights of the day will be the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will have the opportunity to observe the famous giant tortoises, main icon and symbol of the Islands. Here we will also learn about the conservation and research efforts that are conducted by the Darwin Foundation and the National Park. The installations are scattered amidst a forest of high Opuntia and Candelabra cacti, teeming with several species of Darwin’s finches and mockingbirds. Also featured is a stroll through the picturesque village of Puerto Ayora, the Archipelago’s main human hub these days, center of the touristic and scientific activities, a vibrant place filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, fishing and commercial activities. The day will also include an excursion by bus to the Highlands of Santa Cruz to observe the unique flora with its endemic “Scalessia” forests and lush vegetation as well as the agricultural and farming zones. In season (December to April), weather permitting, a hike may be included to watch giant tortoises in the wild. Another feature of the day will beLos Gemelos, or Twin Craters, a curious geological formation known as “Sink Holes”. Optional activities offered today include mountain biking to the beautiful El Garrapatero Beach; a sea Kayak outing or a Sustainable Agriculture experience at an organic coffee plantation. The evening will have its usual program of Guides’ conference and dinner aboard the Santa Cruz.

TUESDAY:

Today we spend the entire journey visiting two different locations on the southernmost of all the islands: Hood or Española Island.  In the morning, the turn is forPunta Suarez, on the westernmost tip of the island for one of the most remarkable nature walks in Galapagos.  The rocky lava trail will show us scores of sea lions and the marine iguanas, endemic to this island. Next will be large colonies of nesting blue-footed boobies and Nazca boobies; swallow-tailed gulls and some species of Darwin’s finches, the endemic mockingbirds and yellow warblers. The highlight of the visit is found at the end of the trail where we find the only nesting colony in the world of the awesome Galapagos Waved Albatross (May to December only). The courtship dance of these large sea-birds is truly spectacular.  A natural crack in the lava rocks by the cliffs’ side creates a roaring blow-hole, permanently spouting sea water and foam into the air, adding drama to the already fabulous landscape and wildlife. The afternoon is dedicated to Gardner Bay, a very long and sparkling white coralline beach with colonies of sea lions and also a good place to observe the endemic mockingbird and lava lizard, unique to this particular island. Gardner Bay’s highlight is the beach and the host of aquatic activities which can be provided here: superb deep water snorkeling; swimming from the beach or taking scenic dinghy rides along rugged coastlines or small islets, teeming with bird life, sea lions and marine iguanas. The fish life and underwater creatures are among the best in the Archipelago. Evening will include a departure briefing and dinner on board.

WEDNESDAY:

The morning finds us anchored at Baltra Island’s Bay. We will disembark on the ship’s dinghies to the main pier, where we will board the buses which take us on a short ride to Baltra Airport, for our return flight to mainland Ecuador.

Notes:

  • Please remember that the exact route and itinerary may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
  • Itineraries and itinerary are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: Itineraries are assigned by the National Park and subject to change without prior notice due to safety or operational reasons; wildlife preservation and seasonal or temporary climatic conditions. The sequence of the daily visits may also vary, for the same reasons.
NORTHERN ISLANDS 4 NIGHTS: MONDAY TO FRIDAY

MONDAY

Baltra Island
Morning arrival to Baltra Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz.   Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that morphed to “Bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach (wet landing), with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkeling gear and techniques. Welcome Cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.

TUESDAY

Buccaneer Cove (James Island)
After breakfast, enjoy a coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove. Learn about the history of Santiago Island, its relevance for the whalers, pirates and early researchers, including Darwin’s epic voyage in 1835, and the conservation projects aimed at eradicating feral species (a fence stretched along the rocky outcrop is visible to save native plants from the once existing enormous goat population). Today the island is free of feral goats, and the cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling too! Lunch on board.

Puerto Egas (James Island)
Wet landing for a mid-length walk.  Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds.  At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and there is a colony of fur-sea lions.  Opportunity for snorkeling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Expedition plan for Wednesday and dinner.

WEDNESDAY

Rabida Island (Jervis)
Disembark at Rabida Island (wet landing) on a red-colored beach, due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A gratifying stroll along the beach of this small island (1.9 sq. mi.) allows the observation of a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green salt bush, is a salt pond where at times greater flamingos migrate. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat. During navigation to our next island, dolphins are often spotted. Lunch on board.

Bartolome Island
Disembark at Bartolome Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase resting platforms and handrails; the view from the top is worth the effort. Dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, then time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and some snorkeling, possibly with Galapagos penguins, or else a ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.  Expedition plan for Thursday and dinner.

THURSDAY

Prince Philip’s Steps (Tower/Genovesa Island)
The morning starts with a very interesting panga ride along the cliffs and then disembark (dry landing) on rocks for a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, the land is flat, allowing for a stimulating walk of about a mile to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). Lunch on board.

Darwin Bay (Tower/Genovesa Island)
In the afternoon, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor, or join us in a Glass Bottom boat ride. Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.

FRIDAY

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal (Chatham) Island)
After breakfast, optional departure to see the breeding program of giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado. Learn about his endangered species, and its promising recovery. This site is 45 minutes by bus, on the south shore of San Cristobal Island. Return to town and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Notes:

  • Please remember that the exact route and itinerary may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
  • Itineraries and itinerary are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Itineraries are assigned by the National Park and subject to change without prior notice due to safety or operational reasons; wildlife preservation and seasonal or temporary climatic conditions. The sequence of the daily visits may also vary, for the same reasons

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