Galapagos Islands Small Yacht Cruise IVS

11 Days
From $5,800

Galapagos Islands Small Yacht Cruise IVS

Cruise the Galapagos in an upscale yacht on this exciting International Veterinary Seminars course!

The Galapagos are a wildlife treasure. Nothing quite compares to the joy of observing animals in the wild here, or the sense of wonder and privilege felt while spending time with creatures that don’t run or fly away when humans approach.

An outstanding natural history guide will lead us on exciting hiking trips each day through incredible habitats in this unmatched wildlife spectacle.

You’ll enjoy watching the world’s only seagoing lizards, to flightless cormorants and penguins, flamingos, inflatable frigate birds, wave albatrosses, clownish boobies, patriarchal giant tortoises, and 13 species of Darwin finches. There can often be thrilling encounters with animals–up close and in large numbers.

This expedition often provides extraordinary opportunities to swim with marine mammals such as sea lions, fur seals, dolphins, and manta, eagle, and golden rays, as well as thousands of the 300 species of colorful fish.

We have selected the “Coral I” or “Coral II” motor yachts for our travels as it is a spectacular small yacht with only a maximum of 36 or 20 people, respectively, making this is the ideal way to explore these enchanting islands.

March 2022: Dr Tony Johnson will present his thoughts on the management of common emergencies. Seminar registration fee is $795.00

October 2022: Stan Marks B.V.Sc., Ph.D. will present his thoughts on managing common gastrointestinal problems. Seminar registration fee is $795.00

IVS in the Galapagos Trip Highlights:

  • Deluxe, upscale yacht limited to 18-36 passengers (depending on the date you choose)
  • Enjoy up close and personal encounters with wildlife in one of the world’s top nature destinations!
  • The most comprehensive Galapagos experience available, with nature hikes, swimming, and sea kayaking excursions
  • Knowledgeable and personable naturalist on board our yacht to lead all hikes and activities.
  • Optional opportunities to SCUBA dive

SCUBA option!
For adventurous and certified divers looking for the best diving sites in the Galapagos Islands, now you can add a diving tour in the Islands along professional masters and instructors to your itinerary. Most divers consider the Galapagos Islands the best diving experience of their careers.

The massive amounts of sharks that swim on the Galapagos waters, the feeding frenzies to be witnessed in several locations, the playful sea lions and the diverse volcanic formations, make this location a unique diving experience.

This is an optional activity for certified divers, which you can enjoy during our cruise tour. The diving experience is the most rewarding complementary activity for those who know the secret of the underwater world. Please call for more information!

Itinerary Snapshot

(Meals included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Please note the change in cruise itineraries, depending on your chosen date (see below)

March 25 – April 4, 2022
Day 1
Arrive to Quito and check in to hotel, SwissÔtel.
Hotel website: http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/quito/

Day 2
Walking tour of historic Quito. B

Day 3
AM – Depart from Quito to Baltra Airport.
PM – Visit Charles Darwin Station with some free time to visit town and shop. B, L & D

Day 4
AM – Dragon Hill hike, Santa Cruz Island, dry landing.
PM – Bartolome Island, dry or wet landing. Walking, then snorkeling. B, L & D

Day 5
AM – Rabida Island, considered epicenter of Galapagos due to volcanic geologic diversity. Walking tour, followed by snorkeling/swimming.
PM – Buccaneers Cove/Espumilla Beach, Santiago Island. B, L & D

Day 6
AM – Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island, dry landing.
PM – Highlands Tortoise Reserve, dry landing. B, L & D

Day 7
AM – Vicente Roca Point, wet landing. Snorkeling and dinghy ride.
PM – Espinosa Point. Walking tour and snorkeling. B, L & D

Day 8
AM – Urbina Bay, wet landing. Walking tour with snorkeling.
PM – Tagus Cove, dry landing. B, L & D

Day 9
AM – Egas Port, wet landing. Walking tour and snorkeling.
PM – Sullivan Bay, wet landing. Walking tour, snorkeling and beach time. B, L & D

Day 10
AM – Bachas Beach, wet landing. Walking followed by snorkeling and beach time. Then catch return flight to Quito.
PM – Check-in Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita, near the airport: hotelnuevoaeropuerto.com

Day 11
Fly out of Quito. B

October 3-13, 2022 & April 3-13, 2023
Day 1
Arrive to Quito and check in to hotel, SwissÔtel. Hotel website: http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/quito/

Day 2
Walking tour of historic Quito. B

Day 3
AM – San Cristobal Airport
PM – Interpretation Center Station & Tijeretas hill B, L & D

Day 4
AM – Cerro Brujo
PM – Punta Pitt B, L & D

Day 5
AM – Punta Suarez
PM – Gardner Bay, Gardner o Osborn Islet B, L & D

Day 6
AM – Punta Cormoran, Devil`s Crown or Champion Islet
PM – Post Office B, L & D

Day 7
AM – Highlands Turtle Reserved & Pitt Craters
PM – Charles Darwin Station B, L & D

Day 8
AM – Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
PM – Bartolome Island B, L & D

Day 9
AM – Rabida Island
PM – Buccaneer Cove & Espumilla Beach (Santiago Island) B, L & D

Day 10
AM – Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island) & Baltra Airport. Check-in Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita, near the airport: hotelnuevoaeropuerto.com

Day 11
Fly out of Quito. B

*Note: depending on availability we may choose a different hotel of similar type and equal quality.

Meals: Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8:30, except for Sunday when it is served at 6:00 and Wednesday at 7:00. Lunch is at 12:30 and dinner at 19:30, except on Monday and Saturday when it will be served at 18:30.

Dry Landings: Passengers step directly from a dinghy onto rocks or a dock. We recommend: walking shoes. Special care is highly recommended when walking on wet rocks.

Wet Landings: The dinghy edges toward the beach, where you step into knee-deep water assisted by crew members and guides. We recommend: swimming suit or shorts, walking shoes or sandals, towel (provided by the crew while disembarking)

Please note the change in cruise itineraries, depending on your chosen date (see below)

March 25 – April 4, 2022
Day 1
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador where a representative will meet and bring you to SwissÔtel. For more information on our hotel accommodations, please see their website at www.swissotel.com/hotels/quito/

A bit about Quito
The capital of Ecuador was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the ‘Baroque school of Quito’, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

Day 2
Guided informational hike of Quito. Quito’s old-town is like walking through time and back again amidst splendid 16th century architecture, churches bathed in gold, convents tucked away behind hand–carved, baroque doors and block upon block of Spanish-style.

DAY 3
AM – Baltra Airport
Departure from Quito Baltra Airport (2 1/2 hours flight). Arriving in Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II..

PM – Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of his species) lived for decades. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and variety Darwin’s finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to the communities, schools, and tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat
Duration: 1 ½-hour visit

DAY 4
AM – Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, see an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 2-hour walk

PM – Bartolome Island
Dry or wet landing. We discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon. Going up to the summit there will be impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: trail made of 372 steps
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

DAY 5
AM – Rabida Island
Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home of sea lions colonies; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September plus nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs is done, to observe nesting seabirds. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride

PM – Buccaneers Cove / Espumilla Beach (Santiago Island)
This is an amazing location, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions. Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays.
Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: white sand
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time

DAY 6
AM – Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island)
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd and form an internal lagoon, turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface while fish, rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets. This cove has been declared as a “turtle sanctuary”.
Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: none
Duration: 1-hour dinghy ride

PM – Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)
In the mountains of Galapagos, you can admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shells). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: flat & muddy sometimes (seasonal conditions)
Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk

DAY 7
AM – Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island)
Great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Accessible by water, we take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling.

Difficulty Level: moderate / high
Type of terrain: water
Duration: 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride

PM – Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island)
Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, you get a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here the largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Fernandina displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos hawk. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with few brachycereus cacti. In the shore mangrove can be found.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat/semi rocky
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

DAY 8
AM – Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
Wet landing (might be difficult depending on the tide). Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove, whale watching is usual in May – December.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat & rocky
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

PM – Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island, where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Bluefooted Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics. The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.

Difficulty level: intermediate/difficult
Type of terrain: steep/steep
Duration: 2-hour walk / 40-minutes dinghy ride / 1-hour deep water snorkeling

DAY 9
AM – Egas Port (Santiago Island)
Wet landing. Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat & semi-rocky
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

PM – Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
Wet landing. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relatively young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellowcolored tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.

Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: flat volcanic lava
Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time

DAY 10
AM – Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island)
Wet landing. On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling/ beach time

Baltra Airport
After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the airport for return flight to Quito and land around 4pm. We will check into our hotel, Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita, which is near the airport in Quito.

Day 11
Transfer to airport for your flight back home, or begin your trip extension.
Call for details.

October 3-13, 2022 & April 3-13, 2023
Day 1
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador where a representative will meet and bring you to SwissÔtel. For more information on our hotel accommodations, please see their website at www.swissotel.com/hotels/quito/

A bit about Quito
The capital of Ecuador was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the ‘Baroque school of Quito’, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

Day 2
Guided informational hike of Quito. Quito’s old-town is like walking through time and back again amidst splendid 16th century architecture, churches bathed in gold, convents tucked away behind hand–carved, baroque doors and block upon block of Spanish-style.

DAY 3
AM – San Cristobal Airport
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal (2 1/2 hours flight). Arriving in Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II..

PM – Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill (San Cristobal Island)
Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about islands’ history in The Museum of Natural History which displays information about the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and the island’s colonization.

Difficulty level: easy /intermediate
Type of terrain: flat/stairs
Duration: 1-hour visit / 1-hour walk

Tijeretas Hill involves a high-intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.

Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: Rocky
Duration: 1-hour visit

DAY 4
AM – Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)
Wet landing. Cerro Brujo is an eroding tuff cone that at several locations is composed of AA lava formations and a beautiful white sandy beach, great for snorkeling and sunbathing. There is a lagoon visit where migratory bird species can be seen: Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, other sandpiper species and White-cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, the southern part of San Cristobal and the vadjacent coast.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

PM – Pitt Point & Islet (San Cristobal Island)
Wet landing followed by a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain. The trail includes a 90 meters long, olivine beach and a path that climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff, through several magnificent viewpoints. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as, two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. It is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.

Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 2½-hour walk/ 40-minutes snorkeling or kayaking

DAY 5
AM – Suarez Point (Espanola Island)
Dry landing. An island of geological interest, being one of the oldest in Galapagos, it has a high percentage of endemism due to its isolation from the rest of the islands. Due to the great variety of wildlife, this is one of the most attractive spots in the Galapagos. Here, it is possible to explore volcanic formations and see large colonies of sea lion and seabirds including the Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, and the spectacular red-billed tropicbirds. Here, the singular marine iguanas have a turquoise color with reddish parts during the breeding season, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally light-foot crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike brings visitors to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birdwatchers favorites include the Galapagos dove, the Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (April-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous “Soplador,” a seaward blowhole that shoots water up to 23 m. (75 ft.) into the air.

Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: rocky ground
Duration: 2 ½-hours walk

PM – Gardner Bay, Gardner & Osborn islets (Española Island)
Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sandy beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin’s finches: a subspecies of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offer a great variety of the Galapagos’ marine wildlife: king angelfish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

DAY 6
AM – Cormorant Point / Devil’s Crown / Champion (Floreana Island)
Wet landing, on an olivine green, sanded beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white sandy beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach, one can spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in the search for food. This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on, to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy & flat
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

PM – Post Office (Floreana Island)
Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay was named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them back to their destinations. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler, going to the letter destination, will take it back for free. The chances are that the letter posted can take a long time to arrive at its destination. However, there have been cases where it has arrived before the sender. We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and Lava Lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. As well, the island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus Pinnatifidus, and the Galapagos Milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 30-minutes walk / 1-hour snorkeling

DAY 7
AM – Pit Craters (Santa Cruz Island)
The Pit Craters, geologically speaking, were not directly formed by volcanic action. They were created as a result of the collapse or sinking of surface materials into cracks or manholes. It’s a great place to spot vermilion fly catchers as we walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest. Great opportunity to observe giant tortoises. Type of Terrain: Flat, sometimes the trails can be muddy.

Difficulty level: Easy
Duration: 45-minutes drive / 1 ½-hour hike

PM – Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of his species) lived for decades. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and variety Darwin’s finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to the communities, schools, and tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat
Duration: 1 ½-hour visit

DAY 8
AM – Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, see an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 2-hour walk

PM – Bartolome Island
Dry or wet landing. We discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon. Going up to the summit there will be impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: trail made of 372 steps
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling

DAY 9
AM – Rabida Island
Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home of sea lions colonies; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September plus nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs is done, to observe nesting seabirds. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride

PM – Buccaneers Cove / Espumilla Beach (Santiago Island)
This is an amazing location, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions. Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays.
Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: white sand
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time

DAY 10
AM – Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island)
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd and form an internal lagoon, turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface while fish, rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets. This cove has been declared as a “turtle sanctuary”.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: none
Duration: 1-hour dinghy ride

Baltra Island Airport
After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the airport for their return flight to Quito and land around 4pm. We will check into our hotel, Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita, which is near the airport in Quito.

Day 11
Transfer to airport for your flight back home, or begin your trip extension.
Call for details.

The Coral I is the perfect combination of classic beauty and exquisite style.  Built in Germany,  she surpasses all the standards you would expect from a high-class yacht in order to make your cruise among the enchanted islands extraordinary.

Every cabin features handsome wood decoration, along with air-conditioning, a private bathroom, safe deposit box, telephone, and your choice of background music.  Additionally, the Coral I has plenty of room to relax with three sundecks (some shaded), a Jacuzzi, comfortable dining room and lounge.

Deck Plan Coral I & II 2020

View photos of the cabins

Departure Dates:

2023
April 3-13

Trip Length: 11 Days
Trip Price:

2023:
$5,900 (Standard Plus Cabin) or $6,400 (Junior Cabin), per person, based on double occupancy.
Does not include price of flight between Quito and Baltra or National Park entrance fees.

14 CE hours (optional): $825.00

 

Oct 3-13, 2022: Stan Marks B.V.Sc., Ph.D., 14 CE hrs

April 3rd – 13th, 2023  Dr Ross Palmer 14 CE hrs

Youth Price: From $5,900
Deposit: $600

Extensions available:

  • Galapagos Safari Camp

    Galapagos Safari Camp is a new way to experience the Galapagos, either in addition to a cruise or as a unique destination in itself.

    This eco-luxury tented camp – one of the first in Latin America – follows the African safari tradition in which guests enjoy total comfort under canvas while experiencing nature in its purest form.

     

    5 Days from $4,035.00 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Hacienda Zuleta in the Andes

    Built in 1691, Hacienda Zuleta lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet. Explore the mountains by horseback, mountain bike or foot. Learn about the rich culture of this community that still operates as they did hundreds of years ago. Dine on food that is locally sourced and fall asleep to the crackling fire in your room’s fireplace.

    Customizable from $280 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Ecuador Amazon Extension

    In only 4 or 5 days, it is not uncommon for even the most casual birder to see over 250 species here. With only minimal effort you can expect to see dozens of colorful parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks, and oropendolas, as well as many monkey, frog and snake species, to name a few.

    4 Days/3 Nights or
    5 Days/4 Nights from $1,190 Per person, based on double occupancy