Cruising the Galapagos Islands (BBC Earth Journey)
9 days with Tauck Rating:
Day 1 Arrive Guayaquil
Tour begins: Oro Verde Guayaquil. A transfer is included from José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport to Oro Verde Guayaquil, located in the city's dynamic business district. Most international flights arrive late in the day.
Day 2 Fly to the Galápagos Islands and embark your cruise
From Guayaquil, fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal Island, 600 miles off the Ecuadorian coast and home to wildlife found nowhere else in the world – the starting point of your 6-night Galápagos cruise aboard Tauck’s comfortable expeditionary-style yacht, Isabela II, topped by an observation deck. After boarding the ship, an orientation briefing and lunch begin the afternoon. Then head out for a dry landing at Puerto Baquierizo Moreno to board a bus that takes you to explore the town of Puerto Baquerizo. Back aboard ship, relax with a welcome cocktail, be briefed on tomorrow’s activities and enjoy dinner aboard ship.
(B, L, D)
Day 3 Going for the views atop Genovesa Island
San Cristobal, created by the fusing of multiple volcanoes, is known for its giant tortoise habitat. This morning you’ll visit La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, a station where tortoises are bred and raised as part of a conservation program to maintain and protect the population. At Punta Pitt you’ll have a chance to see all three species of boobies – Nazca, blue-footed, and red-footed – as well as Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds, in colorful dramatic seascapes as well as Chatham and San Cristobal lava lizards. After a wet landing on an olivine beach where sea lions often repose, climb up a ravine for a stunning panoramic view of the island archipelago. Back on board ship this evening a cocktail hour precedes dinner.
(B, L, D)
Day 4 Intriguing wildlife & lava on Santiago Island
Go ashore at Gardner Bay on Española, also known as Hood Island, where there are extensive nesting grounds for Waved Albatrosses and sea turtles, and a sea lion colony. Get a close up look at sea lions who love to bask and sleep on the glorious white sand beach, careless of the presence of humans. The bay and inlets provide swimming and kayaking opportunities today. At Punta Suarez, on the island’s western point, sheer cliffs provide thermal currents on which seabirds soar; Galápagos Hawks, cactus finches, and Hood Mockingbirds, the only carnivorous members of the species, may be seen here. Waves crash against the rocky coast and a blowhole sends water spouts skyward, 75 feet high. Dine back aboard your ship this evening.
(B, L, D)
Day 5 Galápagos “youngsters” – Isabela & Fernandina
Today Isabela II makes her way to Isabela and Fernandina, the youngest of the Galápagos Islands (they're only about 5 to 10 million years old). The day begins on Isabela Island with a guided mile-long walk from Punta Espinoza through lava flows. You can expect greetings along the way from the locals, who may include: blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, martins, terns, marine iguanas and sea lions. Next head to Fernandina Island for an opportunity to go snorkeling from one of the Galápagos' most pristine islands; keep an eye out for Sally Lightfoot Crabs and flightless cormorants. This afternoon, it’s off to secluded Tagus Cove on Isabela, a favorite anchorage spot for pirates and whalers in the 19th century. Join us for a hike to view scenic Darwin Lake from above and then explore the volcanic cliffs along the cove on a panga ride. Swimming, snorkeling or kayaking are all options this afternoon.
(B, L, D)
Day 6 Checking out volcanic Urbina Bay on Isabela
In the 1950s, geological activity on Isabela Island caused a mass of land to lift up some 15 ft., leaving the coastline pushed further out to sea and the underwater marine life stranded ashore. After a wet landing at Urbina Bay, take a walk across terrain that was once the ocean floor – making sure to tread carefully around delicate coral and shells. Share the sunshine with sunbathing land iguanas, penguins, Nazca boobies and flocks of Darwin’s finches as you observe coral reef formations with our naturalist, who will point out all the unique wildlife you'll encounter. This afternoon on your Galápagos cruise, you'll explore by panga along the coast of Punta Vicente Roca on northern Isabela Island, an area known for abundant sea life. Depending on the conditions of the waters, snorkeling may be possible.
(B, L, D)
Day 7 Exploring Rabida & Santa Cruz Islands
Choose an early morning wake-up call this morning if you’d like to join us on the lookout for whales. After breakfast, it’s time for a wet landing and exploring along the sandy beach of Rabida (Jervis) Island, where views may include sea lions, marine iguanas and yellow warblers. Snorkeling here is a pleasure, for beginners and the experienced, but another option is a ride by glass bottom boat or kayak. Later, a dry landing and on a trail walk on Cerro Dragon, named after the land iguanas that inhabit the area on northern Santa Cruz Island, you'll find lagoons that are home to stilts, pintail ducks and sandpipers. Savor spectacular views of the islands. This evening, join us for farewell cocktails aboard Isabela II and bid farewell to the crew before your final night of sailing on your Galápagos cruise.
(B, L, D)
Day 8 Disembark & back to Guayaquil
Your Galápagos cruise ends today as you disembark Isabela II in Baltra for your return flight to Guayaquil and another night at Oro Verde Guayaquil; spend some free time at your hotel or perhaps take a stroll along the city's waterfront promenade, El Malecón. Tonight, we invite you to share favorite experiences from your Galápagos cruise with your fellow travelers at our farewell cocktail party and dinner.
Day 9 Journey home
Tour ends: Guayaquil. A transfer is included from Oro Verde Guayaquil to José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport; allow 3 hours for flight check-in.
All This Included
Join us on a Galápagos cruise that is enriching and informative, adventurous and in-depth. Throughout the archipelago, your Galápagos cruise Earth Journeys experience features custom-made BBC Earth on-tour film vignettes and other select BBC Earth touches. Enjoy a six-night Galápagos cruise aboard one of the finest expeditionary-style yachts in the region, Isabela II – with no more than 40 Tauck guests – and experience amazing wildlife viewing and an opportunity to get up-close to creatures such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, iguanas and penguins. Our Galápagos cruise itinerary is flexible, allowing the ship to access many remote islands, choosing beaches that are full of wildlife for shore excursions with our expert naturalists. Landings are made in a panga, a Zodiac-style raft. Dry landings mean stepping from the panga onto rocks or a dock – with the helpful hand of a Tauck naturalist; wet landings require stepping into knee-deep water from the panga, then wading ashore onto a sandy beach.
Guayaquil: Oro Verde Guayaquil
Cruising: Aboard Isabela II
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.