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Cruises

Santa Cruz II (Western; Thu to Mon)

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

5 days

Summary

Get onboard this luxury cruise and travel through the Galapagos Islands in style. This journey begins at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island, home to Galapagos land iguanas. The next day is spent at Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Roca) and Fernandina Island, the pristine jewel of the national park. From there, we are on to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station and its captive tortoise breeding program. Floreana Island’s Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant round off the trip with insights into human presence on the islands.

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.

Highlights

  • Appreciate firsthand the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Admire the incredible life under the sea, if weather conditions permit, snorkel with Rays, Sea Turtles and Sharks.
  • Get to see the famous Galapagos giants. At the Charles Darwin Research Centre, you will be able to see the largest living species of Tortoise.
  • Enjoy and relax at the beautiful beaches that Galapagos offer. Magnificent long white sandy beaches.
  • Get to see the Nazca & Blue Footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorant, American Flamingo, Frigatebirds, Galapagos Hawks, Land & Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapagos Giant Tortoises, Galapagos Fur Seal & Galapagos Penguins among other species.
  • Visit Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina & Floreana Islands

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in selected cabin
  • All meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish, medical care on board (but not the cost of medication)
  • Snorkelling equipment, Sea kayaks & Glass bottom boat

ITINERARY

Day 1 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands

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.

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

PM: Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The first part of your walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, Ducks and Flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing Land Iguanas.

Day 2 Isabela Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Punta Vicente Roca
After breakfast, explore the coast by panga, while your naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, nesting place for a Galapagos highlight: Flightless Cormorants. Depending on weather conditions, you can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally visited by Green Sea Turtles and oceanic Sun Fish (Mola mola).

PM: Punta Espinoza
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of Marine Iguanas, who share their space with Sea Lions, Sally Light-foot crabs, Hawks, Penguins and the Flightless Cormorants.

Day 3 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
In the morning, disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre 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.

PM: Santa Cruz Island
You have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the Tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

Day 4 Floreana Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Baroness Tower – Post Office Bay
A short walk leads you to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Opportunity for snorkelling or swimming. Lunch will be served onboard.

PM: Champion Islet and Cormorant Point
Following lunch and a siesta, take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species such as greater Flamingos, Pintail Ducks, Common Stilts, Herons, Sandpipers, and others gather. Continue your walk over to a white-sand beach, where Sea Turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Day 5 Santa Cruz Isl.

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your ongoing flight.

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