On this journey, you will discover the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, Santiago Island (Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas), Rabida, Bartolome Island, and the sunken crater of Genovesa Island, Galapagos’ best natural aviary.
About the vessel:
Conceived for operations in remote areas, our state-of-the-art expedition vessel affords the perfect infrastructure for Galapagos exploration. At just over 70 metres long, the generous, 5-deck craft holds 50 cabins for 90 guests and features ample, generous social areas indoors and out. This infrastructure and the crew’s heritage of decades of experience working in the islands allow guests to make the most of their Galapagos cruise experience. The vessels’ main features include 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, medical care on board (not including the cost of medication), shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests step from 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.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
You will land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and be transferred to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II, where you will receive a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. You may enjoy swimming and or snorkelling at this beach too. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.
Buccaneer Cove (Santiago Island)
After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. 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. Opportunity for snorkelling, and a ride on the panga or glass-bottom boat.
Puerto Egas (Santiago Island)
Once we disembark at the beach, you can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and you can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. After the visit, you will have some time for swimming and snorkelling.
Rabida Island (Jervis)
Some groups will go for a fascinating panga ride along the shores while others will disembark on Rabida Island’s red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. This walk brings you close to a colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond occasionally hosts American flamingos. 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. During navigation to our next island, you can sometimes spot dolphins!
Today’s afternoon activities begin with a wet landing on the golden beach of this famous island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkelling and swimming from the beach plus the chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship, we split into two groups: the first lands for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! The second takes to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline. The groups then swap so that each one experiences the full beauty of this island.
Prince Philip Steps (Genovesa Island)
The morning starts with a steep climb (only 90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat rocky plateau. Along our walk, you can observe 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). Kayaking is optional.
Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
In the afternoon, we land at this beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling. Following the dip, you will take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Opportunity for snorkelling, kayaking and swimming.
Tortoise Reserve – Baltra airport
You will start the last morning at the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, your luggage will be taken to the airport, while you visit the Tortoise Reserve. A dry landing at a passenger’s wharf and a bus ride to the loftier region of the island will provide the last highlight of the cruise: giant tortoises in the wild. The windward slopes of the island are home to two species of giant tortoises. These lush highlands include dense forests of Galapagos daisies, orchids and bromeliads, and several endemic land birds. After this visit we will transfer directly to Baltra airport for your onward flight.