Cruising the Galapagos Islands (BBC Earth Journey)
9 days with Tauck Rating:
Day 1 Arrive Guayaquil
Tour begins: Wyndham Guayaquil. A transfer is included from José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport to Wyndham Guayaquil, located just steps away from the city's historic Santa Ana Hill and overlooking the Babhayo and Guayas rivers. Most international flights arrive late in the day.
Day 2 Fly to the Galápagos Islands and embark your cruise
From Guayaquil, fly to Baltra on San Cristobal 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 wet landing on 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. On a guided hike around a saltwater lagoon today, look for flamingos, pintail ducks, sandpipers and stilts. Back aboard ship, relax with a welcome cocktail, be briefed on tomorrow’s activities and enjoy dinner aboard ship.(B, L, D)
Day 3 A day of discovery on San Cristóbal
San Cristóbal, 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 Cristóbal 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
Climb aboard a panga this morning to explore Gardner Bay on Espanola Island; lined with beaches the color of white coral, enjoy a short walk as you observe the local wildlife including sea lions, mockingbirds and finches or, if you wish, simply enjoy the beach. Additional choices this morning include; Kayaking, a ride aboard an inflatable dinghy or a ride on a glass-bottom boat perfect for seeing the incredible aquatic ecosystem in the waters below. This afternoon, join us for a wet landing at Puerto Suarez, where a walk along the coastline lets you experience the porous texture of tuff stone and rocky lava flows, formed long ago by volcanic activity. Along the way, view the unique sea bird colonies that inhabit this area including the Waved Albatross and Swallow-Tail Gulls and keep your eyes peeled for the island's famous Marine Iquanas, known for their distinct red shading as well as their unique size. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Punta Cormorant & Post Office Bay on Floreana
Today Isabela II makes her way to Floreana Island, the southernmost island within the Galapagos. Board a panga for a wet landing on Punta Cormorant and its radiant green beach, caused by the drifting of Olivine crystals from nearby volcanic sites to the beach's edge over the years. Walk along this rare, global phenomenon as you make your way to the other side of the island, a white sand beach known as being a nesting point for the local sea turtles. At Champion Islet, you have choice of activities; Snorkeling, a panga ride or a ride in a glass-bottom boat. This afternoon, a dry landing brings you to Post Office Bay for a visit to the historic barrel that has served as an informal post office within the archipelago for over two centuries. Enjoy snorkeling off the beach before returning to your ship for the evening. (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 Punta Moreno, join us for a walk along the rugged trails of the island, a perfect opportunity to view the unique lava formations, lava cacti, scalesia tress and of course, the abundance of wildlife that calls this place home; such as the Galápagos penguins, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, brown pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs. After lunch aboard the ship, board a panga for an adventure along the coastline of Punta Mangle, the archipelago's youngest ecosystem. Filled with tiny bays, tall mangroves and tranquil coves, stay on the lookout for the Galápagos penguins and green-eyed flightless cormorants or the sea turtles and rays gliding beneath the ocean surface. Depending on the conditions of the waters, snorkeling and the glass-bottom boat ride may be possible. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Exploring Santa Cruz Island
This morning, board a panga for a wet landing on Eden Islet. Located off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, this small island (less than 2,000 square feet) is perfect to observe blue-footed boobies, reef sharks and frigates that inhabit this island. Your Galápagos adventure takes you to North Seymour Island this afternoon for one of the archipelago's hidden gems. Disembark for a walk along the interior of the island, passing by nesting frigate birds and witness the males display their vibrant, balloon-like red gular sacs. If you wish to not walk on land, you have the option to explore the coast by panga. Please join us tonight for a farewell cocktail aboard your ship.
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 the Wyndham Guayaquil; spend some free time at your hotel. Tonight, we invite you to share favorite experiences from your Galápagos cruise with your fellow travelers at our farewell cocktail party and dinner. (B, D)
Day 9 Journey home
Tour ends: Guayaquil. A transfer is included from the Wyndham Guayaquil to José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport; allow 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)
All This Included
Join us on a Galápagos cruise that is enriching and informative, adventurous and in-depth. Throughout the archipelago, your Galápagos cruise takes you past breathtaking scenery and a plethora of exotic animals unique to only this part of the world 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: Wyndham Guayaquil Hotel
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard 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.