This itinerary, through the Central Islands of Baltra, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plaza, North Seymour, Bartolome and Santiago allows you to see 11 of the Big 15! Enjoy white sand beaches, swim with sea lions and get to see the famous Giant Galapagos Tortoises.
About the vessel:
Yacht Isabela II offers the perfect, intimate space for exploring Darwin’s islands in comfort. Traditionalists will enjoy feeling at home with a crew that has remained almost unchanged for years, leading to seamless attention to detail that will make your stay extra special. With just 20 guest cabins, the yacht’s convivial atmosphere leads to a close-up experience of this unique destination. On board, guests find delicious cuisine, faultless service and excellent facilities, including a Hut Tub, fitness room, bar and outside deck for al fresco meals, and sunbathing. Scout the island sites for Big 15 wildlife in groups that average no more than 11-14 guests per naturalist guide which surpass the National Park standard, which permits up to 16 guests per guide. The ship offers a wide variety of aquatic activities including a glass bottom boat, free use of snorkelling equipment and kayaks, wet suit rental and the use of pangas for shore excursions.
Very early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Galapagos.
Your Galapagos Cruise include: Accommodation in selected cabin, all meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English, snorkelling gear, shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife you will encounter.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests disembark the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Upon arrival at Baltra airport you will be driven to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes you to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, after which you will continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, you will undertake a short hike which will be a great introduction to Galapagos wildlife.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, located within an impressive giant Prickly-pear Cactus forest, home to many land birds and Giant Tortoises. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon, stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. You’ll review the expeditions plan for the next day, and enjoy the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
Kindly note that soft drinks are not included in Isabela II.
AM: Santa Fe Island
A stunning anchorage provides your jumping-off point for your visit to this sandy white beach with many Sea Lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic Land Iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling from the skiffs, kayaking or a ride in the glass-bottom boat wraps up the rewarding experience.
PM: South Plaza
The turquoise waters here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet Sesuvium Succulents serves as ground cover for a grove of luminescent green Prickly-pear Cactus. Keep your eyes peeled for the remarkable beaks of cactus Finches. Along the coastline, you will also see Sea Lion colonies and sea birds playing with the thermals.
AM: North Seymour Island
Your morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, an absolute favourite for many visitors. You will have the chance to observe numerous bird colonies as well as Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas. This is a great opportunity for snorkelling and exploration. An excellent chance to spot fur seals along the rocky coastline. This uplifted island is also home to a nesting colony of Frigate birds. The site also offers great views of the surrounding islands due to its central location in the archipelago.
PM: Las Bachas
After World War II, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals refer to the beach as the “barges” beach, a name that changed 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, Las Bachas is a glorious white beach 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 an excellent opportunity for swimming and snorkelling. In the evening, you will preview Thursday’s expedition plan and have dinner.
AM: Bartolome Island
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits: Bartolome Island. A steep climb up marks the start of the day: the view from the hilltop will worth the effort! Following the walk, you take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock. Next, it is time to enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling. Explore the shores and stay alert for Galapagos Penguins. You can also ride the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
PM: Sullivan Bay
After lunch, you get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago; a white coral sand beach great for swimming. The beach features a trail over a lava field that flowed here around 120 years ago and is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos. Many label this location as a geologic wonder.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Baltra airport for your ongoing flight.