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Galapagos: Wildlife Wonderland (BBC Earth Journey, For Families)

8 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Tour begins: Swissôtel Quito. A transfer is included from Quito Airport to the Swissôtel Quito, where you'll enjoy an Executive Level room; get set for an early morning start. 

Day 2 Visit the Equator and explore Quito
Quito is not only 9,200 feet above "seal" level, it's also on the Equator. Take the opportunity to stand on both hemispheres at the same time and visit the Inti Ñan Museum before an Ecuadorian brunch near a volcanic crater. Explore Colonial Quito on a guided tour, then join us for a special reception with local entertainment, before our welcome dinner at the hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Cruise to islands time forgot
Fly to Baltra Island for the start of your Galápagos cruise* aboard Santa Cruz II. We'll be charting a course for Santa Cruz Island today, where a wet landing takes you to pearly white Las Bachas Beach (named for the US military barges, referred to as "bachas," that were beached and abandoned there after WWII) - an important nesting area for the green sea turtle - surrounded by saltwater lagoons. Look for pintail ducks, flamingos, stilts, and sandpipers on a guided walk. A welcome briefing aboard ship this evening introduces your captain and crew. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Meet the locals on Santiago Island
Go ashore on Santiago Island for a walk through a mangrove forest to see flocks of pink flamingos. This morning we'll take a boat ride off Buccaneer's Cove to observe seabirds like frigates, pelicans and boobies and go snorkeling off the panga. After lunch, a wet landing at Puerto Egas provides even more opportunities to see seabirds, along with a colony of sea lions, and marine iguanas. Go for a swim and a snorkel, and learn more about the sea lions and marine iguanas who live here. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Explore Rábida & Hike on Bartolomé
Meet Darwin's finches and other rare birds today after a wet landing on Rabida (Jervis) Island, with its red-colored beaches. Experience both wet and dry landings on your excursion to Bartolomé Island; hike up to the summit and drink in amazing vistas of its volcanic features and the neighboring islands. Ride a panga around Pinnacle Rock, and view sea lions, sea turtles and tiny tropical Galápagos penguins in a panorama of life found only here. Tonight you'll find out more about the Galápagos Islands with our shipboard naturalists. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Towering sights & birds at Darwin Bay
Explore Genovesa (Tower) Island by panga and a dry landing; climb up Prince Philip's steps for a hike across the island, where you'll see masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and more. An afternoon cruise and a wet landing at Darwin Bay offers more amazing views of thousands of rare birds, including red-footed boobies, gulls, mockingbirds, herons and finches, as well as an optional walk across volcanic terrain. Back aboard the ship, celebrate the end of your cruise at our Captain's farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Disembark on Santa Cruz & fly to Guayaquil
Disembark Santa Cruz II on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, and visit a tortoise reserve to observe in the wild one of the rarest forms of wildlife that continue to thrive here on the Galápagos Islands - the giant tortoise - and efforts being made by the Ecuadorian National Park Service to preserve and protect life on the islands for future generations. Late morning, travel to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil on the mainland, and an overnight at the Wyndham Guayaquil. Join us this evening for a poolside farewell party at your hotel as your family's Ecuador and Galápagos tour comes to a close. (B, D)

Day 8 Homeward bound
Tour ends: Guayaquil. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the Wyndham Guayaquil to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is included. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)
Map
All This Included
Earth Journeys, created by Tauck and BBC Earth... featuring Santa Cruz II! Join us on this Earth Journeys family travel experience, featuring custom-made film vignettes by BBC Earth natural history experts plus other select BBC Earth touches. Pack your bathing suits, sunscreen, hats and comfortable hiking shoes and prepare to get wet as you set sail for some of the most amazing tropical islands in the world on Tauck Bridges' family Galápagos tour that features a four-night cruise aboard the new expedition ship Santa Cruz II. Have you ever seen birds wearing bright red or blue "shoes"? You will during this eco-cruise because the Galápagos is one of their favorite places to kick up their heels. How about prehistoric-looking marine iguanas? Or penguins and sea lions so friendly that they might swim right alongside you in brilliant blue water? Even the crabs are different here, with their bright red and yellow shells that provide quite a contrast to the black-lava rocks of these volcanic islands. Special microphones bring the voices of nature to your ears... thermal imaging cameras bring the nighttime world "to light"... learn from Galápagos naturalists who travel with you... take walks on lave terrains... travel ashore via pangas... swim and snorkel... And much more!

  • All gratuities to Tauck Directors, local guides, drivers, naturalists and ship staff
  • On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts plus other select BBC Earth touches
  • 4 nights aboard the new 90-guest Santa Cruz II, designed especially for Galápagos Islands cruising; dry and wet landings
  • Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions
  • Licensed Naturalist Guides of Galápagos National Park accompany shore excursions and hold briefings aboard ship, offering hands-on natural history lessons
  • Private Tauck Shore Excursions with experts, averaging two daily, for wildlife sightings and exciting activities
  • Entrance fee to Galápagos Nat'l Park - $100 value per adult
  • Have brunch near a dormant volcano close to the Equator and explore colonial Quito on a guided tour
  • Learn about the Galápagos' natural history and conservation in the islands during a visit to the Cristóbal Interpretation Center on San Cristóbal
  • Aboard ship - daily cocktail hour; all day soft drinks; wine and beer with dinner
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 18 meals (7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners); gratuities to drivers, service charges, most taxes and porterage
Highlights
  • 4-night Galápagos Islands cruise aboard new Santa Cruz II with expert naturalist guides
  • On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts
  • Average of two shore excursions per day
  • Explore Quito and visit the Equator
Accommodations
Quito: Swissôtel Quito
Cruising: Cabin onboard M/V Santa Cruz II
Guayaquil: Wyndham Guayaquil
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Activities marked with an asterisk (*) are at your own risk; a signed liability waiver will be required.
  • Children under 18 must be booked in a room with at least one adult. Triple accommodations are not available for more than two adults, age 18 or older, sharing a room. Aboard ship, Triple cabins include upper and lower berths and are limited to two adults (age 18 or older) sharing a room with one or two children under age 18. In hotels, Triples are usually a two-bedded room plus one rollaway bed.
  • All gratuities to Tauck Director, local guides, drivers and ship staff included.
  • Recommended age: 8+. Minimum age required to sail on M/V Santa Cruz is 6 years.
  • Internal air (approximately $395) is not included in the prices above.
  • Galápagos: Wildlife Wonderland  is a very active journey with considerable walking on uneven terrain. We may not visit each of the islands in the order outlined, but we typically visit two different sites per day. Our Galápagos itinerary is subject to change due to wildlife encounters, atmospheric conditions and Galápagos National Park directives.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.