One of the most remote places on the planet, the archipelago of Galapagos Islands continues to hold a magical attraction for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Situated in the Pacific Ocean, at the confluence of three ocean currents and some 1,000 kilometres from the South American continent, the Galapagos Islands are made up of 19 islands, of which only five are inhabited. These islands have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’ and are on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
Enjoy your island adventure onboard the luxurious M/V Santa Cruz ship. Each day explore a new uninhabited island, a treasure-house of rich plant and animal life. Each island offers a gamut of activities: snorkelling with playful sea lions, admiring the amusing blue-footed boobies, whale-watching, or hiking to lava tunnels on Santa Cruz Island.
Cruise around the Galapagos Islands and enjoy a truly beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The M/V Santa Cruz is a luxury cruise vessel equipped with facilities that make exploring the Galapagos Islands a memorable experience. The 46-stateroom M/V Santa Cruz features a jacuzzi and an observation platform for dolphin and whale watching on the top deck. Its dining room, lounge, and bar are elegantly appointed, as is the well-stocked library/reading room. All staterooms are outside and feature air-conditioning, private bathrooms, hairdryers, and safety deposit boxes. There is also a well-stocked bar on board the ship that serves wine, beer and soft drinks
Day 1: Arrive at Baltra Island – Transfer to MV Santa Cruz
You will be picked up from the Baltra airport and transferred by bus to the Baltra dock to board the MV Santa Cruz. The pier is just a five minutes’ drive from the airport.
Check into your cabin aboard the cruise vessel. This will be followed by an introductory welcome talk. Settle down and unpack. Later, enjoy a delicious lunch on board the ship while listening to a briefing about the boat’s drill.
There will be island visits everyday. The ship also organizes activities like shorter walks, boat rides, glass-bottom boat trips, snorkeling, swimming, lectures, all complementing everyone’s experience.
Santa Cruz Island: Your visit will be at the Santa Cruz Island. The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). There will be a dry landing and a walk along a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings, and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for birdwatching, where Darwin’s finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galápagos flycatcher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings.
Tonight, you will enjoy an interesting lecture about the islands, and your expedition plan will reveal the interesting sites of the days ahead.
Dinner and overnight on the ship.
Day 2: Buccaneer Cove & Puerto Egas (James Island)
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): Afternoon outing at Puerto Egas (wet landing). 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 snorkelling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Expedition plan for Wednesday and dinner.
Dinner and overnight on the ship.
Day 3: Rábida Island (Jervis), Bartolomé Island
Rábida Island (Jervis): Disembark at Rábida Island (wet landing) on a red-coloured 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 saltbush, 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.
Bartolomé Island: Disembark at Bartolomé 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 snorkelling, possibly with Galápagos penguins, or else a ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Expedition plan for Thursday and dinner.
Dinner and overnight on the ship.
Day 4: Prince Philip's Steps & Darwin Bay (Tower/Genovesa Island)
Prince Philip's Steps: 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: 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 snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour, or join us in a Glass Bottom boat ride. Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.
Dinner and overnight on the ship.
Day 5: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island)
After breakfast, optional departure to see the breeding programme 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 Cristóbal Island.
Return to town and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
The itineraries and programme are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galápagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.
• 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.
Mondays & Wednesday
6 Days/ 5 Nights
Start time: Depends on your flight arrival time<
Duration: 6 Days/ 5 Nights
You will be picked up from Baltra airport.
(Please mention your flight details at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
Tour ends at Baltra airport
Wear informal to very informal clothes. Essentials include shorts, long- and short-sleeve lightweight shirts, bathing suit, a wide-brimmed hat, long pants, and a wind breaker or light jacket for evenings. Most walking ashore is over rocky lava terrain. Therefore tennis shoes, sneakers or walking shoes with rubber soles must be worn. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of film. Don't forget your camera. Binoculars are a must for bird watching at the marshland lakes.
A copy of the passport for minors is required before the cruise starting date
On your Galapagos Island tour, you will be issued a yellow-colored Transit Control Card at the airport, when the Galapagos National Park entrance fee is paid. The card costs US$10 and it will have to be acquired in cash. It allows you a maximum 90-day stay in the islands and has a code bar which will be registered upon entering the Galapagos National Park.
For the issue of the card, please mention your name, passport number and date of birth in the special request section while booking this tour.
Upon the completion of your trip, the card must be presented again to the INGALA (The Galapagos National Institute) personnel at the airport, to register your departure from the Galapagos.
Take care to not misplace the card in order to avoid delays upon departure.
Municipal Tax US$ 2 for Hotel Marriott, Swissotel, Plaza Grande, Sheraton, Dann Carlton, Mercure, Radisson, Le Parc
Municipal Tax US$ 1 for Hotel Patio Andaluz, Mansión del Angel, La Rábida, Relicario de El Carmen, Akros, Quito, Café Cultura, Casa Aliso, Villa Colonna, Vieja Cuba (payable direct)
Children between 6 and 12 years get a discount of 25% of the adult rate if sharing cabin with 1 adult paying full fare. Discount is granted for 1 children per adult.
Children using exclusive cabins will pay full fare.
A fuel surcharge of US$ 168 applies per person
See the Cancellation policy for this product