Santa Cruz II Vessel ( Capacity: 90 passengers) Western Islands: 6 Days / 5 nights

Santa Cruz II Vessel ( Capacity: 90 passengers) Western Islands: 6 Days / 5 nights

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Something for Everyone

The Santa Cruz II offers more flexibility in group composition. Our Expedition Leader works with guests to create appropiate groups depending on numerous factors including language, physical abilities and/or personal interests (e.g. shorter walks, glass-bottom boat rides instead of snorkelling, or children’s panga rides). There are options for all: the active, families, underwater enthusiasts, nature lovers, and others.

 The Expedition Leader, Onboard Expedition Photo Specialist, and 7 or more licensed Naturalist Guides form the heart of our Galapagos Travel Team. All will delight guests with diverse natural history explanations, superb on-board talks, and eye-catching lectures regarding natural history issues. Their multimedia presentations will complement the day’s activities. Together with the Captain, they will plan the day’s programme, ensuring maximum coverage of fascinating Galapagos Big15 wildlife. Soon enough, our Naturalists will become the highlight of your voyage on Santa Cruz II. At night, in the midst of pitch-dark starry skies, the journey of discovery continues with amazing stargazing opportunities in equatorial skies beautifully arranged with exuberant constellations.

 These activities, combined with the crew’s deep sense of service, lead our guests to return home enriched, revived and inspired.

Highlights

Bartolome (Pinnacle Rock), Santa Cruz (Charles Darwin Research Station), Floreana (Post Office Bay), San Cristobal (Kicker Rock), Santiago (Buccaneer Cove), Isabela (Darwin Lake), Isabela (Urbina’s Upheaval), Española (Española Blowhole), Genovesa (Darwin´s Bay Crater Anchorage), San Cristobal (Giant Tortoise Reserve at Cerro Colorado)

Highlighted species

Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapagos Giant Tortoises, Marine Iguanas, Blue-Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-Footed Boobies, Galapagos Hawks, Galapagos Albatrosses (From April to January), Greater & Magnificent Frigatebirds, Galapagos Doves, Galapagos Mockingbirds, San Cristobal Mockingbirds, Española Mockingbirds, San Cristobal Lava Lizard, Española Lava Lizard, Darwin Finches, Short-Eared Owls, Swallow-Tailed Gulls, Lava Gulls, Lava (striated) Herons, Greater Flamingoes, Brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, Lava gulls, Española mockingbirds, Land Iguanas, Marine Iguanas, Santa Fe Land Iguana, Flightless cormorant, American flamingos, Galapagos Penguins, Short eared Owls.

Itinerary

Wednesday: Baltra Island: Airport / PM North Seymour Island: North Seymour Island

Thursday: AM Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca / PM Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza

Friday: AM Isabela Island: Tagus Cove / PM Isabela Island: Urbina Bay

Saturday: AM Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station / PM Santa Cruz Island: Optional activities

Sunday: AM Floreana Island: Post Office Bay / PM Floreana Island: Champion Islet & Punta Cormorant

Monday: AM Baltra Island: Baltra Airport

Baltra Island

We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.

North Seymour Island

This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas.

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) 

After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area and shows us a nesting place for a Galapagos highlight: Flightless cormorants.  Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina Island, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.

Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)

After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. It provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, where we can observe Darwin Lake, filled with salt water, and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkelling.

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)

After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galapagos land iguanas, and occasionally to Galapagos giant tortoises. We return back on board for our expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.

Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)

In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

Santa Cruz Island

We have several midday and afternoon options available (mountain biking, kayaking in Tortuga Bay, hiking), which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)

A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana Island along narrow channels teeming with life. We then head back on board for lunch.

Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)

Following lunch and a siesta, we take to the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Baltra Island

We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Important notes:

  • At your request, we can include the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$ 100 and Migration Control Card Fee of US$ 20 (subject to change). However, please note that, due to administrative and operational reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operation departure date. This service does not apply for guests who travel before a departure date (even if the departure is with us).
  • Please note, we charge guests who wish to bring bottles of wine and/or spirits aboard our vessels a corkage fee of US$ 25+taxes.
  • Internet connections onboard consist in computer stations and wifi in the vessel’s social areas; due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.

Horizon Deck – Family Explorer Cabin $ 4235.00
Horizon Deck – Explorer Cabin $ 4505.00
Horizon Deck – Voyager Cabin $ 5195.00
Expedition Deck – Explorer Cabin $ 4685.00
Panorama Deck – Explorer Cabin $ 4825.00
Panorama Deck – Suite Darwin $ 5465.00

**In high season like Christmas and New Year there is a charge of US$ 159 per adult and $117 per child.

**All prices are subject to change without prior notice.

The rate includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Island sightseeing
  • Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish (guiding in other languages – French, Italian – is available upon request for groups larger than 10 guests and for German groups is a minimum of 4 guests)
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Luggage handling
  • Medical care on board (not including the cost of medication)
  • Taxes
  • Transfers in the islands
  • Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton, Unipark) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.
  • Wet Suits: Available for rent, NET rate US$ 15 + VAT per guest for 5- or 6-day expeditions
  • Air transportation to / from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Migration Control Card (US$ 20 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Alcoholic ***- and non alcoholic beverage
  • Internet / Wi-Fi ****
  • Gratuities
  • Gifts and additional items
  • Travel insurance

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