Boundless Journeys Galapagos Islands
Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands

Cruise Ecuador's Galapagos Islands and encounter rare and beautiful wildlife. Swim with sea lions, stand next to a Blue-footed Booby feeding its young, and float eye-to-eye with a penguin.

Galapagos Islands Special Event

If you would like to ring in the 2014/2015 New Year in the Galapagos Islands, join us for an exclusive Boundless Journeys charter, December 25, 2014 - January 4, 2015. For more details, visit our Galapagos New Year's Cruise Trip Page.

Galapagos Islands Trip Overview

There is no better synonym for Ecuador than diversity. This small country has a cultural and biological richness that is difficult to find anywhere else in the world. The Galapagos Islands live up to our dreams of a sheltered place far removed from the usual concerns. The skies are almost always sunny, and the sea breezes create that perfect air temperature, instantly relaxing the body. The ocean is an ever inviting turquoise blue, matched by long sandy beaches of crystal white, pink, and volcanic black. There are quiet coves and mangrove lagoons, and that's just for starters. What will make your exploration of the Galapagos Islands truly exceptional are the many opportunities for close-up encounters with wildlife. The islands and surrounding waters are quite literally teeming with exotic and colorful creatures that have never learned to fear humans.

Our naturalist-led cruise introduces us to many wonders that are unique to the Galapagos Islands. We visit blue-footed boobies, land iguanas basking in the sun, lively sea lions, and families of penguins, among many other diverse species. Our active adventure allows us to discover the Galapagos from many different perspectives. We enjoy snorkeling with sea lions, walking on volcanic islands, paddling kayaks through peaceful mangrove lagoons, strolling bare-footed along sun drenched beaches, or simply lying back and relaxing in the equatorial sun.

Itinerary at a Glance

Galapagos Cruise map, Boundless JourneysDays 1-2: Arrive in Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador and transfer to your hotel. Optional guided tours on Day 2, or feel free to explore these fascinating cities on your own.

Days 3-9: Fly to the Galapagos Islands and board your yacht. The next seven days are sure to be among the most memorable of your life as we cruise the Galapagos, visiting many of the same places Charles Darwin did over 150 years ago. Each day provides one-of-a-kind experiences, discovering the wonders of the islands with a naturalist guide. Visit several islands, each with its own special highlights: beautiful beaches, great snorkeling, volcanoes, marine iguanas, penguins, giant tortoises, and other delights. Cruise the islands in style on our deluxe yacht, with private bathrooms, hot showers, and air conditioning.

Day 10: Return to Quito or Guayaquil mid-late afternoon.

Day 11: Depart at your leisure.

Traveling with the Kids?

Designated family departures are offered on the Eclipse, and on the Eric, Flamingo & Letty, and feature age-appropriate activities depending on the ages and number of children on board. Our naturalist guides know how to bring these Islands they love to life and to balance learning with fun for the entire family. 

Proud Members of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association

A non-profit association dedicated to the complete and lasting protection of the Galapagos Islands. Their mission is to preserve the Galapagos Islands as a unique and priceless world heritage site, that will provide enjoyment, education, adventure, and inspiration to present and future generations of travelers. If you travel to the Galapagos Islands the most important decision you make is the choice of a responsible travel company. By choosing an IGTOA member you will travel with a knowledgeable and responsible tour operator that supports sustainable ecotourism.

CHOOSE FROM ONE OF THE FOLLOWING YACHTS:

  • The Cormorant: A deluxe 16-passenger catamaran featuring cabins with private balconies, a sundeck Jacuzzi, and two interconnecting cabins - perfect for friends or family.
  • The Athala II: A recently renovated deluxe 16-passenger catamaran featuring a Jacuzzi, cabins with large portrait windows, and main deck cabins with private balconies. 
  • The Eclipse: A deluxe 48-passenger yacht, with spacious cabins, large sundeck and Jacuzzi, and one naturalist guide for every 12 passengers. 
  • The Eric, Flamingo & Letty: Superior first-class 20 passenger yachts, each with a comfortable sundeck, 2 naturalist guides, and 10 cabins.

For more details, click on the Accommodations tab above.

 

RESERVE EARLY!
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
 
QUESTIONS?...CONTACT US.
If you have any questions about the level of comfort, difficulty, or any activities included in this trip, please call Boundless Journeys at 800-941-8010, or Contact Us by e-mail. Our travel experts look forward to helping you choose the perfect adventure!

Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)

Description of Trip Ratings

Adventure travel may involve exotic destinations, varying levels of physical exertion, and activities that may be new to you. We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that's right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have had a "+" added to the number, indicating something that falls in between. Our Trip Ratings may be found on the trip schedule and on our website. Our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail or e-mail; or you can find them on our website: www.BoundlessJourneys.com). We encourage you to call one of our travel experts with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are happy to assist you in selecting the most appropriate adventure for you.
 
EASIEST 1
 
Our easiest trips are generally hotel-based cultural and nature journeys that offer light activity. Walks and hikes (approximately 2 to 4 hours) are through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Examples: Galapagos Islands Cruise, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
 
EASY TO MODERATE 2
 
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3 to 5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples: Tuscany & Umbria, Turkey, and Bhutan.
 
MODERATE 3
 
Hotel or inn-based hiking trips, that involve full day hikes (approximately 4 to 6 hours), mostly on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. There may be occasional steep sections of trail. Examples: Slovenia, Amalfi Coast, Spain.
 
MODERATE TO STRENUOUS 4
 
Full day hikes (approximately 5 to 7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000 to 3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Vehicle support is limited. These trips may involve some full-service camping or simple accommodations in remote locations. Examples: Tour du Mont Blanc, Peru Trek, Haute Route.
 
MOST STRENUOUS 5
 
Full-day trekking (approximately 6 to 8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths with some exposure. These trips typically offer minimal to no vehicle support and include full-service camping in a remote setting.

Activity Details

Easy to moderate walking and hiking 2-4 hours per day; plenty of time in the Galapagos Islands for daily snorkeling, swimming, and sea kayaking.

Meeting Point

Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador

Departure Point

Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador

Traveling to and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Quito International Airport (Airport code UIO), or Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, Guayaquil (Airport code GYE).

Meeting Time and Place:
You will be met at your choice of Quito or Guayaquil airport by a Boundless Journeys representative upon the arrival of your international flight on the first day of the trip (Day 1). Please look for a sign with your name on it, or that of Boundless Journeys. Most flights from the U.S. arrive into Ecuador in the late afternoon or evening. You will be transferred to our first hotel where, if you choose, you will be picked up for a day tour at 9:00 a.m. on Day 2, or you will be transported to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands on the morning of Day 3.

Departure Time and Place:
Day 11, at your leisure, Quito International Airport or Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, Guayaquil.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Physical Activity
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. The Galapagos Islands is rated 1+, easy, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks on this trip average 2-4 hours per day. There will be plenty of time in the Galapagos for optional snorkeling, swimming, or sea kayaking.

Life on board a yacht requires physical agility and a flexible and social nature. Daily excursions from our yachts aboard our zodiac, or panga, bring us ashore for walks and wildlife observation. Walking times from our landing areas are typically a couple of hours with plenty of time to study, enjoy, and photograph the flora and fauna. Some of our landings are dry, but many may be wet, requiring cautious footing and a good sense of balance on slippery rocks. Crew members will be on hand to assist you.
 
The Galapagos Islands are ideal for healthy, active people of all ages looking to enjoy nature up close. While a trip to the islands can be fairly easy when it comes to activity, a basic level of fitness is in order. Even though our walks are evenly paced in gorgeous settings, you can expect some long walks in hot weather. Quito stands at roughly 9,500 feet above sea level, so a stroll along the cobblestones of its colonial sector can cause shortness of breath. It’s really up to you how much or little you want to participate in activities versus relaxing.
 
Preparing for this Trip
It is important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well-prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Please consider engaging in moderate aerobic activities (walking, jogging, or cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness programs. 
 
Weather
Though Ecuador is named for being on the equator, it encompasses the snowcapped mountains of the Andes, the tropical rainforests of the Amazon, and the pleasant marine climate found in the Galapagos, making for a wide range of temperatures and climates.
 
The Andes: Quito
Quito can be surprisingly cool and misty, but in general the highlands are usually sunny and quite warm by midday. Temperatures in the Andean mountains vary, but generally speaking, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. It tends to be drier from June to September and wettest from January to May. Average temperatures throughout the year are in the mid 60’s during the day, and in the mid to upper 40’s during the evening.
 
The Coast: Guayaquil
As a coastal city just a few hundred kilometers from the equator, Guayaquil has a tropical climate. From November through March Guayaquil is sunny, hot, and humid, with occasional rain showers. The rest of the year, due to the Humboldt Current, it is cloudier, dryer, and cooler but daytime temperatures still rarely dip below 80°F. Average temperatures throughout the year are in the mid to upper 80’s during the day, and low to mid 70’s during the evening.
 
The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate regulated by the cold Humboldt Current and the warm El Niño Current. November through March is the warmest time of year, with highs in the upper 80's. Although the islands receive slightly more rainfall during this time, the lower elevations of the islands, where you will spend almost your entire trip, typically offer blue skies and sunshine with occasional haze. The sea is at its warmest and is usually calmer at this time of year. Average temperatures for the Galapagos Islands range from the upper 70's in the summer to the mid to upper 80's in the winter and spring.

Average surface water temperatures for the Galapagos Islands range from 70°F in the fall to 76°F in the winter.

You may obtain more detailed weather information by visiting www.weatherbase.com.
 
When to Go
The Galapagos and Andes can be enjoyed at any time of the year, with each season offering certain benefits. The best time to visit is up to your individual preference. There are two seasons in the Galapagos: the warm season (November-March), and the cool season (April-October). If you prefer warmer days, higher ocean temperatures, and calmer seas, then you may want to consider a departure during the warm season. In addition to abundant wildlife, the warm season offers calm, clear waters great for snorkeling. It is also a good time to view the green sea turtles that come to the islands to breed.
 
Cool season departures are typically characterized by slightly less rainfall, cooler daytime temperatures, and fewer visitors. The cool season is the best time of year to view baby sea lions, courting albatrosses, dancing boobies, whales, and dolphins. No matter when you visit, there is always much to see.

Ecuador Accommodations

Overview:  A boutique city hotel in your choice of Quito or Guayaquil, and a deluxe yacht to cruise the Galapagos Islands. All private baths.

Nights 1, 2 & 10:  Hotel Patio Andaluz
Quito, Ecuador

Patio Andaluz, Quito, Ecuador Hotel Patio Andaluz, located in the heart of the historic Quito, is surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments. Its spacious restaurant, El Rincón de Cantuña, inside its main patio offers excellent options of Ecuadorian and Spanish flavors and a variety of wines from its recognized wine cellar.


OR

Nights 1, 2 & 10:  Mansion Del Rio Boutique Hotel
Guayaquil, Ecuador

Mansion del Rio, Guayaquil, EcuadorSet in a stylish, renovated mansion from 1920, this elegant hotel features luxurious marbled interiors and a panoramic terrace with views of Guayas River. The interior colonial-style patio features a water fountain and decorated tile work.

 


Nights 3-9: Cruise
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Boundless Journeys' yachts are all rated first-class, or luxury. They boast the most spacious accommodations, top level cuisine, private baths, air conditioned cabins, and superior service onboard to ensure an unforgettable Galapagos experience.

The Eclipse

The Eclipse - Galapagos Islands from Boundless Journeys

48 guests in 26 cabins, plus 31 crew members, 4 naturalist guides, 1 cruise director and 1 doctor.

The Eclipse accommodates half the number of passengers of vessels her size in the Galapagos. This vessel preserves a smaller boat atmosphere and attention to detail. Features aboard the Eclipse include an alfresco dining area for all 48 passengers, a naturalist guide for every 12 passengers, two single passenger cabins, and a library/video room. The Eclipse is equipped with such amenities as air conditioning, a Jacuzzi, observation deck, and an entertainment center with library, stereo, TV, and on-board shop for anything thing you might have forgotten. Click here for The Eclipse Deck Plan.

Eclipse Double Cabin - Galapagos IslandsEclipse Twin Cabin - Galapagos Islands

 

 

 

 


The Eric, Flamingo, and Letty 

The Eric - Galapagos Islands from Boundless Journeys

Each boat features 20 guests in 10 cabins, plus 10 crew members, and 2 naturalist guides.

Built in 1991 and refurbished annually, these superior first-class sister yachts accommodate no more than 20 guests each and feature three decks of spacious staterooms with polished teak interiors trimmed with shiny brass fittings. Accommodations include ten double outside-facing cabins with a window or porthole view, one double bed or two twin lower beds, fully air-conditioned with private bath (hot and cold water showers), hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls for your comfort. There’s a dining room, well-stocked bar and conference area with a flat screen TV and panoramic picture windows. You can always relax in a lounge chair on the sun deck and enjoy sea breezes, sunshine or a sky full of stars. Click here for The Eric, Flamingo, and Letty Deck Plan.

The Eric Double Cabin - Galapagos IslandsThe Eric Twin Cabin - Galapagos Islands

 

 

 

  


The Athala II

The Athala II Yacht, The Galapagos Islands 16 guests in 8 cabins, plus 10 crew members, 1 naturalist guide, and 1 cruise manager.

The newly refurbished Athala II is unrivalled in offering the generous, comfortable accommodation and amenities of a larger boat while still preserving the relaxed exclusivity of a smaller vessel. All cabins on board are deluxe, with well-appointed private bathrooms, air conditioning, and large portrait windows. The main deck also boasts the dining area and a separate comfortable lounge area complete with plasma TVs, lap tops (no internet service), a DVD player, stereo, and library. The upper deck has a well-stocked bar, Jacuzzi, and a beautiful open teak deck area for relaxation, al fresco dining, and barbeques. The huge sundeck is great for whale and dolphin watching or to simply relax and soak up the sun between island excursions. In the evenings there is no better place for star gazing. Click here for The Athala II Deck Plan.

Athala II Cabin Galapagos Cruise

Athala II Cabin Galapagos Cruise

 

 

 

 

 

 The Cormorant

Comorant Yacht, Galapagos Cruise16 guests in 9 cabins, plus 10 crew members, and 1 naturalist guide.

The Cormorant is a beautiful 16-passenger vessel with all the little touches necessary to make a Galapagos cruise truly memorable. All staterooms feature individually controlled air conditioning and a private balcony; even the bathrooms have panoramic windows. The two suites on the Main Deck are especially spacious, and the four Upper Deck staterooms can be interconnected, offering great flexibility, particularly for families. As one of the newest vessel in the Galapagos, the Cormorant features a fresh, modern design and plenty of places to lounge, such as in the Sun Deck Jacuzzi and the well-curated library. This high quality, high value vessel is the epitome of affordable luxury. Click here for the Cormorant Deck Plan.

The Cormorant Cabin - Galapagos IslandsThe Cormorant Interior - Galapagos Islands

A Boundless Moment in the Galapagos Islands...

As rotund and unwieldy as they appear on land, underwater, Galapagos penguins are the hawks of the sea. Sleek and aerodynamic, they dart through the water like speeding torpedoes, changing course with just the smallest flip of their wings. With our large fins and snorkeling masks, we must look strange to them, but they regard us only with curiosity and continue on their way.

ECUADOR DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1 
Arrival in Ecuador


Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival of your flight into Quito or Guayaquil, you will be met by a Boundless Journeys representative and transferred to your hotel.
Hotel Patio Andaluz, Quito, or Mansion Del Rio Boutique Hotel, Guayaquil

DAY 2
Mainland Exploration


Today’s activities are entirely up to you. Perhaps you will decide to join a Boundless Journeys guide for a city tour of Quito or Guayaquil, or a drive into the highlands and the famous market town of Otavalo (day tours are at an additional expense). Of course, you may also choose to spend the day exploring on your own.

Quito is nestled in a long, narrow valley in the Andes, between the Pichincha Volcano to the west and the Machángara River Canyon to the east. The historical center – or “old town,” as it is called – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a maze of colonial splendor.

If you prefer to explore the volcanic highlands of Ecuador you may opt to take a 2 ½ hour drive north from Quito to Otavalo, Ecuador’s famed market town. Here you can find all types of indigenous handicrafts, from woven wall-hangings and skillfully embroidered blouses and dresses, to hand-knitted alpaca sweaters, rustic ceramics, and Panama hats. In addition to the crafts market, Otavalo has a farmers’ market where there is colorful and interesting Andean produce such as quinoa, tree tomatoes, and babaco.

Guayaquil, located further south on the Pacific coast, offers a multitude of archaeological and colonial sites, monuments, museums, and parks. Some of the main attractions of Guayaquil include a newly restored boardwalk, Malecon 2000, with an incredible view of Guayas River, the famous Iguana Park (Parque Bolívar), and colonial churches such as The Cathedral, La Merced, and Santo Domingo.

You may also simply relax today in preparation for an unforgettable week in the Galapagos Islands.
Hotel Patio Andaluz, Quito, or Mansion Del Rio Boutique Hotel, Guayaquil

DAY 3 - MORNING
Fly to the Galapagos Islands


Following an early breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands. As we approach the islands, the inviting turquoise-blue water surrounding the coast comes into view. We arrive in San Cristobal or Baltra, depending on your expedition vessel. Our naturalist Galapagos guide meets us after passing through park inspection, and soon we depart from shore aboard a zodiac to reach our yacht. The captain and crew are there to greet us and show us to our cabins as well as give us a tour of the boat.

The next eight days are sure to be memorable as we cruise the Galapagos Islands, visiting many of the same places Charles Darwin did over 150 years ago. The active itinerary from our yacht features walks and hikes during shore excursions, and plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and sea kayaking in tranquil coves and lagoons.
Deluxe Yacht, The Galapagos Islands

DAYS 3 – 10
Galapagos Islands Cruise

Standard cruise is 8 days; longer and shorter options are available upon request.

The cruise itinerary varies according to weather and local events, new Galapagos regulations, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience, but most trips will visit a combination of the following islands. For a list of the islands you can expect to visit on each cruise please click on the links at the end of this section.

On Santa Cruz Island, we look for giant tortoises, Woodpecker Finches, and other diverse species in the highlands. We also visit the Charles Darwin Research Center in Puerto Ayora. On the north side of the island, we may enjoy flamingos and other coastal birds on the beautiful white sands of Las Bachas Beach, or perhaps visit the iguana nesting site at Cerro Dragon. From here a short panga ride takes us to Black Turtle Cove, one of the most beautiful marine sites in the Galapagos. This complex maze of salt-water inlets, surrounded by three different species of mangrove, is a resting site for sea turtles, rays, and sharks.

A visit to Puerto Egas on Santiago Island begins with a walk along the rocky coast where we glimpse some of the best tide pools in the Galapagos Islands. Along the way we may encounter the endemic Galapagos Hawk, the colorful Vermillion Flycatcher, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and sea lions. A short distance beyond these tide pools is the fur seal grotto, where fur seals and sea lions can be seen swimming in the rocky lava-ringed pools. The crystal clear water and volcanic bridges make this a magnificent place for swimming and snorkeling.

Less than an hour north from Puerto Egas is Buccaneer’s Cove, with steep cliffs made of tuff formations, and a dark reddish-purple sand beach. This dramatic landscape is made all the more impressive by the hundreds of seabirds perched atop the cliffs.

Neighboring Espumilla Beach is an important nesting site for marine turtles.  Here we may have the chance to swim or snorkel, and those with a watchful eye may spot a variety of Darwin finches or a Vermilion Flycatcher.

On the east coast of Santiago Island is Sullivan Bay, where lava flowed less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of the Galapagos Islands. We conclude our walk on a white coral-sand beach where we may have the chance to snorkel with sea lions, tropical fish, turtles, and reef sharks.

On North Seymour Island the rocky shore displays white sand and large flocks of pelicans. Along our trail we may encounter Blue-footed Boobies and the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the Magnificent Frigatebird.

Bartolomé Island has two visitor sites.  At the first site, we can swim and snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. From here a short panga ride takes us to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the islands. The route is not difficult and presents remnants of the last volcanic eruption: tuff cones and lava tubes in various stages of erosion. From the summit we gain a spectacular view of Santiago Island, James Bay, and Pinnacle Rock.

Española (Hood Island) is the southernmost island in the archipelago, and one of the most popular due to the breathtaking variety and sheer number of endemic fauna. At Punta Suárez, sea lions surf the waves, marine iguanas bask in the sun, Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies nest alongside the trail, and Galapagos Doves, Cactus Finch, and mockingbirds forage in the underbrush. Our trail continues to a shelf of black lava where a blowhole shoots a geyser of water into the air. Farther east along the cliffs is the “Albatross Airport” where Waved Albatrosses line up to launch their great bodies into the air.

On the northeastern shore of Española, Gardner Bay offers a magnificent long white-sand beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals. We may have time to snorkel or kayak by Tortuga Rock and Gardner Island, encountering sea lions and large schools of tropical fish.

On Floreana Island there are opportunities to swim in the crystal clear waters of Champion Islet. Here an extinct volcano peaks out of the waters just off of Floreana’s coast and offers a magnificent snorkeling experience.  From here we head to Cormorant Point for a hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingos.

Also on Floreana Island is the famous Post Office Bay, where 18th-century whalers placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The custom continues to this day with Galapagos visitors, so don’t forget your postcards, and don’t be surprised if your post card arrives to its destination before you even get home!

Genovesa Island (Tower Island) is alive with an active year-round colony of frigatebirds, the males inflating their red pouches to attract the females overhead. We also view Red-footed and Nazca Boobies and thousands of Storm Petrels. We may have the opportunity to snorkel along the cliffs of Tower Island’s submerged caldera where angelfish, parrotfish, and perhaps manta rays can be see; or perhaps walk up Prince Philip’s Steps to a narrow stretch of land that opens onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay. Here we may encounter Red-footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, and the Short-eared Owl.

Isabela Island, the largest island in the Galapagos, is made up of a series of volcanoes. Tagus Cove makes for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Noddies, pelicans, and Noddy Terns make their nests, and Flightless Cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges. We continue along the southwestern coast of Isabela to visit the mangrove lagoons of Elizabeth Bay and Urbina Bay, where land iguanas and giant tortoises roam.  On the northern part of this diverse island, we visit Punta Vicente Roca, where the remnants of Volcano Ecuador, along with the upwelling of cold water currents, create an abundance of marine life in sheltered turquoise coves.

A visit to Isabela may also include the Wetlands, a series of trails past lagoons, streams, and mangrove swamps during low tide; or the Wall of Tears, a historic site where prisoners built a wall with huge blocks of lava. Here a set of stairs provides a bird’s eye view of the Wall and the surrounding landscape.

Isabela is also home to a Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where we can observe tortoises of all ages and sizes. We also learn about the reproduction and rearing of giant tortoises and see all the work that is being carried out to help recover the wild populations of these species.

A short distance from Isabela is the small island known as Las Tintoreras. Here a colony of white tip sharks can often be seen resting in a lava canal. We may have the opportunity to snorkel or swim in the unique habitat of these animals. Nearby, hundreds of marine iguanas can be observed, as Las Tintoreras is one of their main breeding sites. On the nearby sandy beaches, sea lions play and relax in the sun.

At Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island, penguins dive from the rocks into the sea, red and turquoise-blue zayapas crabs scatter across the shoreline, and herons and egrets forage through the mangrove roots. A short walk leads us to a large colony of marine iguanas resting atop one another in friendly heaps along the shore. Nearby, sea lions frolic in a sheltered lagoon, and farther down the shore we visit with the world’s only species of Flightless Cormorants.

Rábida Island is one of the most volcanically varied islands in the chain. A visit here begins with a wet landing on its deep-maroon colored northern beach. Marine iguanas and sea lions are often seen resting in the shade of the caves nearby. Behind the beach is a salt brush home where Brown Pelicans make their nests. Rábida may be the only opportunity visitors have to see pelicans nesting up close. On the cliffs above the pelicans, Blue-footed and Masked Boobies can be seen. Following the path, we arrive at a small saltwater lagoon where Pink Flamingos, Bahama Pintail Ducks, and Common Stilts are frequently seen feeding. Rábida offers the best lagoons in the islands for viewing flamingos.

Isla Lobos, or Sea-Lion Island, is home to many lively sea lions. It is also a nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies and a good place for snorkeling.

Daphne Major is the site of a major scientific research project. Scientists have captured and banded each of the island’s finches, monitoring the birds in an attempt to earn a greater understanding of their lives. A circumference cruise around this island introduces us to the many birds and sea lions that live here.

Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands. This flat, sandy island attracts many sea lions. It is also a good place to observe shorebirds such as herons and Lava Gulls.

South Plaza Island has one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the Galapagos. These larger than average yellow-brown land iguanas feed on the fruit and pads of the prickly pear cactus.

South Plaza is also home to marine iguanas living along the coast and a hybrid iguana whose fathers are marine iguanas and mothers are land iguanas. As we walk along the sea cliffs, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Frigatebirds, Audubon Shearwaters, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies and Masked Boobies are frequently seen. Along the shore a colony of bachelor sea lions can be seen.

Visits to Santa Fe Island begin with a panga ride across a lovely turquoise lagoon. Once ashore we enjoy the company of many sea lion colonies. Our loop trail leads past salt bushes where Galapagos Hawks can easily be approached. Hiking towards the cliffs leads us to a forest of prickly pear cactus.

Santa Fe is home to endemic land iguanas. These iguanas are the largest in the islands and they are beige to chocolate brown in color. Reaching the summit there is a stunning view of the cove beneath.

Returning to the beach, there is often time to snorkel in the lagoon. Playful sea lion pups and fluorescent fish make for fascinating company. Or we may visit a submerged rock where several manta rays and marine turtles can be found.

Heading northeast along the coast to San Cristobal Island, we land on the inviting powdery beach of Playa Ochoa, home to a small colony of sea lions. A tidal lagoon sitting behind the beach is frequented by flamingos, Darwin Finches, and the endemic San Cristobal Mockingbird. We may also have time to visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Center, or we may drive to La Galapaguera, one of the Galapagos National Park’s tortoise breeding centers. From San Cristobal Island we pay a visit to Leon Dormido, also known as Kicker Rock. This spectacular formation rises 500 feet out of the Pacific.

Sombrero Chino is a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means ‘Chinese Hat’; a name that makes perfect sense because of its unique shape. Here we find interesting geological formations, various marine species such as Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions, as well as different species of Darwin’s finches.

For a list of the islands visited on each cruise, click on the links below.

DAY 10
End Cruise and Return to Quito or Guayaquil


Today we motor back to port followed by a flight to Guayaquil or Quito. Arriving mid- to late afternoon, depending on your cruise, you are transferred to your hotel for a relaxing evening and dinner on your own.
Hotel Patio Andaluz, Quito, or Mansion Del Rio Boutique Hotel, Guayaquil

DAY 11
Departure


Today, at your leisure, you are transferred to the airport to connect with flights home.

Eclipse Daily Itinerary

Eric, Flamingo & Letty Daily Itinerary

Athala II Daily Itinerary

Cormorant Daily Itinerary

Trip Length

11 Days (shorter cruises available upon request)

Trip Dates

Upcoming Trips:

Available most weeks throughout the year. If cruising on the Eclipse, the Athala II, or the Cormorant, arrive mainland Ecuador on a Thursday, depart on a Sunday. If cruising on the Eric, Flamingo or Letty, arrive mainland Ecuador on a Friday, depart on a Monday.

Prefer a group departure?
Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America | South Pacific

Trip Cost

From $4,310 per person

Trip Cost Details

All prices include 2 pre-cruise and one post-cruise night in your choice of Quito or Guayaquil, all airport transfers, 8-day cruise, and breakfasts on the mainland. Please inquire for 4, 5, or 6-day cruise rates.

The Eclipse

2014 High Season Rates:
Deluxe Stateroom: $7,160 per person
Superior Stateroom: $6,760 per person
Stateroom: $6,210 per person
Standard Stateroom: $5,910 per person
Single Stateroom: $6,110

2014 Low Season Rates:
(Cruises departuring January 4, January 11, and October 11 - December 13, 2014)
Deluxe Stateroom: $6,910 per person
Superior Stateroom: $6,460 per person
Stateroom: $5,910 per person
Standard Stateroom: $5,660 per person
Single Stateroom: $5,810

2015 High Season Rates:
Deluxe Stateroom: $7,635 per person
Superior Stateroom: $7,235 per person
Stateroom: $6,635 per person
Standard Stateroom: $6,335 per person
Single Stateroom: $6,535

2015 Low Season Rates:
(Cruises departuring January 3, January 10, and September 26 - December 12, 2015)
Deluxe Stateroom: $7,385 per person
Superior Stateroom: $6,885 per person
Stateroom: $6,335 per person
Standard Stateroom: $6,035 per person
Single Stateroom: $6,235

Additional notes:

  • Children under 12 will benefit from a 25% discount on all departures except Easter, Christmas, and New Years cruises. This discount applies to the cruise only. One child discount per Deluxe triple cabins.
  • Single Supplement: 1.5 x the twin rate for Staterooms, and 2 x the twin rate for Superior and Deluxe Staterooms. No Single Supplement for Single Stateroom.
  • Third person in Deluxe Stateroom is assessed at the Twin Stateroom cabin rate.
  • Fuel Surcharge $260 per person.
  • Holiday Surcharge $400 per person.

The Eric, Flamingo, and Letty

2014 Rates
Dolphin Deck: $5,210 per person
Booby Deck: $4,860 per person
Iguana Deck: $4,410 per person
Single Cabin on Iguana Deck: $6,335
Triple Cabin on Iguana Deck: $4,310 per person

2015 Rates
Dolphin Deck: $5,485 per person
Booby Deck: $5,135 per person
Iguana Deck: $4,685 per person
Single Cabin on Iguana Deck: $6,685
Triple Cabin on Iguana Deck: $4,585 per person

Additional notes:

  • Children under 12 will benefit from a 25% discount, and children 12-17 will benefit from a 15% discount on all departures except Easter, Christmas, and New Years cruises. This discount applies to the cruise only. One child’s discount per adult fare. Iguana deck only - based on double occupancy rate.
  • Children 7 and older welcome on family and teen departures. Inquire for specific dates.
  • Children 12 and older welcome on all departures.
  • Private charters for up to 20 passengers available upon request.

The Athala II

2014 Rates (based on double occupancy)
Upper Deck: $5,710 per person high season; $5,460 per person low season
Main Deck with balcony: $5,910 per person high season; $5,660 per person low season
Low season dates: Cruises departing January 4, January 11, August 30 - September 27, and November 1 - December 13, 2014.

2015 Rates (based on double occupancy)
Upper Deck: $6,085 per person high season; $5,835 per person low season
Main Deck with balcony: $6,335 per person high season; $6,085 per person low season
Low season dates: Cruises departing January 3, January 10, August 29 - September 12, and October 31 - December 12, 2015.

Additional notes:

  • Children under 12 will benefit from a 25% discount on all departures except Easter, Christmas, and New Years cruises. This discount applies to the cruise only.
  • Children are welcome from the age of 8 and up.
  • Private charters available for up to 16 passengers upon request.
  • Single Supplement 1.5 x rate for cabin selected.
  • Fuel Surcharge $200 per person.
  • Holiday Surcharge $400 per person.

The Cormorant

2014 Rates (based on double occupancy)
Stateroom: $6,390 per person
Suite: $6,905 per person

2015 Rates (based on double occupancy)
Stateroom: $6,820 per person
Suite: $7,365 per person

Additional notes:

  • Children under 12 will benefit from a 25% discount. This discount applies to the cruise only.
  • Private charters for up to 16 passengers available upon request.
  • Single Supplement: 50% surcharge.

Optional Pre/Post Cruise Day Tours:
City tour in Quito or Guayaquil: $175 per person for 2+ guests (including lunch)
Day trip to Otavalo Market from Quito: $250 per person for 2+ guests (including lunch)
Solo travelers please inquire for pricing. 

Consider a Pre or Post Tour Extension:
Trip extensions to the Ecuadorian Amazon or the Highlands can be organized upon request. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for more details.

Single Supplement

$375 (land only)

View Single Supplement Policy

Single Supplements:

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

Internal Airfare

$490 from Guayaquil ($305 for children under 12); $560 from Quito ($345 for children under 12); subject to change.

View Internal Airfare Description

Quito or Guayaquil - Galapagos - Quito or Guayaquil

Galapagos Park Fees & Transit Card

$110 per person; $60 for children under 12

View Additional Fees Description


What's Included

  • Bilingual naturalist guide
  • Accommodations on your choice of Deluxe yachts
  • Two pre-cruise nights, and one post-cruise night in a boutique hotel in your choice of Quito or Guayaquil
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals on cruise; breakfasts on the mainland
  • All airport transfers

Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.

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About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.

Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. Our guides in the Galapagos Islands are known for their dedication to conservation in the Islands, and the passion they bring to their work.

Featured Guides

Galapgos Cruise Tour guide - Cecibel Guerrero - Boundless JourneysCecibel Guerrero: Ecuadorian born, “Ceci” spent 15 years living and studying in Toronto, Canada.  After having two children she returned to the Galapagos Islands as a Naturalist Guide - the place she loves the most. She enjoys snorkeling and has a special interest in reptiles. Ceci has a contagious enthusiasm and says she feels "blessed and honored to work in one of the most pristine places on earth."

Galapgos Cruise Tour guide - Javier Cando - Boundless JourneysJavier Cando: Javier was born and raised in the Galapagos Islands. He grew up on his parents’ ranch near a small, yet charming town in the Santa Cruz Highlands called Bellavista. It was here, working with his parents at their ranch, that he grew to appreciate the beauty and fragile nature of the Islands. After obtaining a high school degree in the Galapagos Islands, he transferred to the mainland to continue his studies with the hope of one day becoming a Naturalist Guide. In 1992, all of his hard work paid off and Javier earned his license and began guiding in the Islands. He did not stop there however, he also became a certified Dive Master, and is involved in Galapagos Islands conservation programs.

Galapgos Cruise Tour guide - Jorge Gonzalez - Boundless JourneysJorge Garcia: Originally from San Cristobal Island, Jorge is a Naturalist Guide and certified Dive Master. He studied Environmental Conservation and is interested in protecting and maintaining natural areas within the Park.  Jorge has served in various public positions within the Islands, such as President of the Association of Guides in the Galapagos Islands for two years, Provincial Counselor of the Galapagos Islands from 1998-2002, and Deputy of the Galapagos Province from 2002-2006. Currently he works with the Charles Darwin Station and National Geographic to monitor Galapagos Sharks.

Galapgos Cruise Tour guide - Karina Lopez - Boundless JourneysKarina Lopez: Karina has Bachelors degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She has been a Naturalist Guide and Dive Master in the Galapagos Islands since 1997. She enjoys snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, and of course, diving. Terrific with guests of all ages, Karina often guides our family departures.


Galapgos Cruise Tour guide - Washington Cando - Boundless JourneysWashington Tapia: Washington is a Santa Cruz Island native. He is a Dive Master and a certified Naturalist Guide. He graduated college with a degree in Physics and Mathematics, and has completed many specialty courses including Environmental Implementation, Guiding in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and Naturalist Guide courses II and III.

What other guests have said about our guides in the Galapagos Islands:

“The guides went out of their way to help everyone have a good experience. They were able to explain everything from biology and geology to human history and conservation efforts. My whole family has never had so much fun while learning so much. We are all absolutely recommending this trip to our friends!” – R.M.

“The naturalists were amazing. The ship had a wide range of passengers, from a 7 1/2 year old to a 65 year old, and yet they were able to explain things in a way that was interesting for everyone. Their knowledge and interaction was fun and kept the group interested. They were kind to everyone and made sure that each passenger had an amazing experience. Thanks to all for an unforgettable Galapagos adventure!” – J.S.

“Our guides were wonderful: informative, skilled, caring, prepared, and funny; and their command of the English language was perfect. All of them were warm, friendly, proficient and showed a genuine concern for making sure that all onboard had a great time. It was a once-in-a-lifetime amazing experience! Again, thank you for everything!” – S.A.

“The trip was everything and more than we could have expected. First of all, our guides were sensational. They really are Galapagos naturalists rather than guides. Their knowledge of the islands and its fauna and flora was outstanding. Their patience and ability to get along with everyone was remarkable. They gave you the feeling that they were seeing things for the very first time—even though they obviously had led many trips. – A.M.

Ask a Question about our Private Collection Trips

Call us toll-free 1-800-941-8010 or send a message below

Picture Yourself Here:

Active 8-day Galapagos Islands cruise aboard a deluxe yacht

Breathtaking nature walks, snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming

Fascinating Galapagos wildlife, including Blue-footed Boobies, playful sea lions, giant tortoises, and land iguanas

Swimming with sea lions and snorkeling with penguins

Upcoming Trips:

Available most weeks throughout the year. If cruising on the Eclipse, the Athala II, or the Cormorant, arrive mainland Ecuador on a Thursday, depart on a Sunday. If cruising on the Eric, Flamingo or Letty, arrive mainland Ecuador on a Friday, depart on a Monday.

You may also be interested in:

Extension Options:

Peru toursPeru: Land of the  Incas Private Journey

Peru: Into the Amazon

 

Private trips to the Ecuadorian Amazon or the Highlands can be organized upon request. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for more details.

Announcements:

Athala II Cruise GALAPAGOS ISLANDS SPECIAL EVENT
If you would like to ring in the 2014/2015 New Year in the Galapagos Islands, join us for an exclusive Boundless Journeys charter, December 25, 2014 - January 4, 2015. For more details, visit our Galapagos New Year's Cruise Trip Page.

What others have said...

We saw indescribable beauty every day, came home with an understanding of the islands from the conservation and preservation aspect, and with a love for the wildlife native to the islands. We will cherish and discuss with friends and family this remarkable trip for a lifetime.

- Marilyn Z., Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands

Latest Blog Posts About Ecuador

Going Green in the Galapagos

Boundless Journeys’ strongly believes in choosing travel partners who support local communities and actively work to preserve cultural traditions and natural habitats. One of our valued partners in the Galapagos Islands, Ecoventura, is a recognized leader in responsible tourism through its core commitment to the on-going sustainability of the Islands.

Protecting the Galapagos Islands Wildlife

Voted as the World’s Best Islands (Mexico & Latin America) in the August issue of Travel + Leisure, and voted #1 Best Travel Experience of a lifetime in the August issue of Wanderlust (UK), the Galapagos Islands have become one of the more popular tourist attractions in the world.

Cruise in Style and Comfort on the Athala II

The catamaran Athala II was specifically designed and built to cruise the Galapagos Islands in style. All cabins have ocean views with large portrait windows (not portholes), and those on the main deck have the additional luxury of a private balcony.

An Update From the Foundation for African Medicine & Education

A few years back a group of Boundless Journeys guests on our Tanzania: Migration Safari shared a special experience. They engaged in volunteer work at the Foundation for African Medicine & Education (FAME).

With A Little Help From Our (Internet) Friends

It happens to everybody, even those of us who live, breathe, eat, and dream the travel industry – when faced with the question “how long does it take to get there?” we can freeze like the proverbial fawn in high beams.

Read More from the Boundless Journeys Blog »

Testimonials

"The trip was absolutely wonderful from start to finish. Dawa and Pema are both very special people and just could not have been nicer, more caring, or more professional. Every day, in every way, they were excellent! The itinerary was perfectly planned and executed. I can't wait for you to use me as a reference for future Boundless Journeys travelers – I will give you a glowing recommendation!"
- Kim Cox, Bhutan: A Journey Into the Peaceful Kingdom

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