This thrilling 5-Day Galapagos Islands tour takes you to stunning volcanic island environments. On board the first-class 18-passenger Galaxy motor yacht, you will follow the “South-Central Route,” which will take you amazingly scenic islands such as San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz. In addition to the activities on board the yacht, you can go on daily land excursions for hiking, wildlife watching, kayaking snorkeling and swimming (as the Galaxy provides free snorkeling gear and kayaks to complete your Galapagos Islands vacation of adventure).
“The Samba cruise anyway was great, good boat, good food, amazing guide and friendly staff.”
AM: In the morning you will fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Galapagos Islands. At the airport on San Cristobal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the ship's crew will welcome you and accompany you to your yacht: the Galaxy.
PM: This afternoon we will visit Lobos Island, located across from San Cristobal Island. This is a seasonal nesting spot for Blue-footed boobies and Frigatebirds. You also can enjoy swimming and snorkeling with sea lions in the island’s calm bay. After this excursion, we will follow the route that Charles Darwin once took and sail around the massive tuff-rock called Kicker Rock, which is a nesting site for hosts of sea birds. Here, you will be able to find Blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and frigate birds. This is a great site for scuba diving, and hammerhead sharks can be seen in the area.
AM: Española is the southernmost, oldest and one of the most bio-diverse islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Its English name is “Hood Island,” in honor of the British admiral Samuel Hood. Because of its isolated position, there is much endemic wildlife to be explored here – in addition to great snorkeling from Española’s remarkably beautiful beaches. On Española Island’s eastern shore, Gardner Bay is noted for its turquoise-colored waters and its magnificent beach, which we will visit this morning. Around the bay’s small nearby islets, snorkelers will find an abundance of fish, as well as the occasional sea turtle and benign sharks. The bay is also frequented by a transient colony of Galapagos sea lions who love to swim with people. Birds, like the endemic Española mockingbird and different species of Darwin finches, are omnipresent. Small Gardner Island, situated across from Espanola Island’s Gardner Bay, is lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders. While snorkeling, you are likely to encounter the smallest of the Galapagos garden eels, Snake eels, as well as Black-spotted morays, Galapagos puffer fish, Scorpion fish, Trumpet fish, cornetfish and Red-lipped batfish. You will be able to see plenty sea lions lying lazily on the beach. On the north end of the island are twisting tunnels, and to the south are caves, which all make for a remarkable excursion. The area has an abundance of fish including schools of snappers, Creole fish, King angelfish, large Puffer fish, and a variety of sea urchins and sea stars. We will also take a ride around Osborn Islet, located close to Española Island. It is made of volcanic rock and is a popular fishing site among local small-scale fishers. On this Galapagos islet, you will have a chance to go snorkeling and see schools of tropical fish, Manta rays, Green turtles, Surgeon fish, Sea urchins and starfish.
PM: After lunch, we will go on an excursion to Suarez Point. One of the archipelago’s most outstanding wildlife areas, this site boasts a long list of species along its cliffs and its sand and pebble beaches. In addition to five species of nesting seabirds, the curious and bold Española Island mockingbirds are found here, as are other birding favorites that include Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks, Swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of Waved albatross – an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Several types of reptiles are unique to this island, including the marine iguana and the oversized lava lizard. In fact, this is also the only site where you will be able to see “red” sea iguanas. In addition, when heavy swells are running, Suarez Point is the site of a spectacular blowhole whose thundering spray shoots 30 yards up into the air. The trek here is on a stony path about a mile long, though the duration of this excursion is about 3 hours.
AM: Today we will visit Floreana Island, considered to be one of the most exotic in the Galapagos archipelago. Countless legends are part of the history of this island, as pirates and buccaneers were drawn to here in search of for food and water. Later the island was colonized by Norwegians, Brits, Germans and others who were in search of ways to make money from what they hoped to discover here. The name Floreana is in honor of Juan Jose Flores, Ecuador’s first president. Our first stop will be Post Office Bay, where the legendary post barrel that whalers historically used to put their mail in is still kept. After a wet landing, you can walk just off the beach to leave a letter here in hopes that it will make to its destination via another tourist.…so don’t forget to bring postcards along. Snorkelers can take a dip on the main beach among the playful sea lions and green sea turtles.
PM: This afternoon’s excursion is first to the Cormorant Point visitor site. After a wet landing on the beach, we will go down a 100-meter-long path to a mangrove lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks, black herons, oystercatchers and plovers. With a little bit of luck, you might also see flamingos. Another path leads to a small beach that is an important nesting site for sea turtles. In the shallow water there, one can often find stingrays and Whitetip reef sharks. Later on, you’ll be able to take advantage of the great snorkeling opportunities at Devil’s Crown, a broken volcanic cone that is one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The underwater world here includes reef sharks, starfish, sea turtles, sea lions and a host of tropical fish species.
AM: Today we will visit Santa Fe Island, a tiny rocky island covered in small Palo Santo trees and six-meter-high opuntia cactuses. The island is inhabited mainly by large yellow land iguanas, Galapagos buzzards, Blue-footed boobies and pelicans. While snorkeling in the wonderful blue-green bay in which the ship anchors, you can observe the many inhabitants of this underwater world, including countless tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and playful sea lions.
PM: Later, we will explore South Plaza Island, located just east of Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing on the northern part of this life-filled islet, you will encounter colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. While on the steep banks, you can see numbers of birds – like nesting Tropic birds and Fork-tailed seagulls – but most of all, you will enjoy the beautiful views from either atop the steep banks or while strolling along the base of the cliff. Opuntia cactuses grow on this island and the vegetation changes color throughout the year.
AM: This morning we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, the highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not; and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time.
Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, you will be transferred to the Baltra Island airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy your last look back at the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with inspiring natural wonders.
|Room||Lower Deck||Upper Deck / Main Deck|
|5 Days||US$ 2,485||US$ 2,598|
|Room||Lower Deck||Upper Deck / Main Deck|
|5 Days||US$ 2,634||US$ 2,753|
“The trip to the Galapagos was really fantastic! Although it was quite short, the trip itinerary made time for us to do quite a lot of things. Everything went very smoothly, too.”