- Starts at: Quito, Ecuador
- Ends at: Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador
- Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
If you are looking for the trip of a lifetime then look no further. This is a bespoke cruise, offering you the perfect way to see the Archipelago on board the Beluga!
You will have exclusive opportunities to visit Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) funded projects and to meet passionate conservationists working on the islands.
Arrive in Quito, the capital of Ecuador in the middle of the Andes that has an altitude of 2800m. Your local guide will be at the airport to welcome you and organise your transfer from the airport to your hotel. He will also inform you of your activities during your stay in Quito.
Welcome cocktails in the evening and a talk by whale shark expert Alex Hearne.
(Indefatigable) is the second largest island and the most populated of all islands. It is here you will meet further scientists and learn about the giant tortoise project. In Puerto Ayora visitors can enjoy a stroll through town and shopping at one of the many tourist shops, visit the Charles Darwin Station a research facility. There will be a visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz where Galapagos giant tortoises can be seen in the wild.
Floreana Island is best known for its colourful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and early colonists. You will visit some of the Island’s bays and beaches: Punta Cormorant, Devil’s Crown and Post Office Bay. GCT is working to restore the outstanding ecosystem of the island and reintroduce locally extinct species. You will have a unique insight into the eradication programme by GCT funded scientist.
Punta Cormorant has two very different beaches and a large, inland lagoon where pink flamingoes can be seen. Visit Devil’s Crown – a stunning snorkeling site, formed by completely submerged volcano, eroded to create the appearance of a jagged crown. Post Office Bay gives you a glimpse into some of the human history of the area: visit the wooden mail barrel where letters are dropped off and picked up, as well as the remains of a Norwegian fishing village.
Isabela Island was formed by the fusing together of five volcanoes. It is the largest of the Galapagos Islands with Wolf Volcano being the Galapagos’ highest point at 1707m. With so much to explore, you will have three days on Isabela, taking in the coves, beaches and bays.
Today, you will visit Volcán Sierra Negra’s cauldron-like caldera (diameter of 10km), view recent lava flows, moist highland vegetation, and parasitic cones. You will also visit the charming village of Puerto Villamil, situated on a stretch of sand white beach. Highlights here include the Tortoise Breeding Station and the flamingo lagoon.
This day of exploration includes a visit to Punta Moreno, located in the central southwestern coast of Isabela Island and an outing to Elizabeth Bay by dinghy. Punta Moreno boasts spectacular views of the Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes. Some highlights include impressive lava flows, desolate and pristine landscapes, as well as varied and unusual arid zone vegetation. Elizabeth Bay is a long, narrow bag surrounded by three species of mangroves and is a great place to spot Galapagos sea turtle and rays, and to watch endangered penguins at play – GCT support research into monitoring these birds to ensure their protection.
Your third day exploring Isabela Island includes a trip to Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove. Urbina Bay is located at the central-west coast of Isabela Island at the foothills of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Highlights include the colourful land iguanas, Galapagos Giant tortoises and the coral uplifting from 1954. Tagus Cove is a natural harbor where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship’s names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill to Darwin’s Crater saltwater lake will provide an excellent view.
Your final port of call on Isabela is a dinghy ride along the cliffs to the sunken cave of Punta Vicente Roca, where flightless cormorants Nasca and blue-footed boobies inhabit the shoreline. You will then sail on to Fernandina Island – the youngest, still active volcanic island in Galapagos. Here you will visit Punta Espinoza, home to unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, as well as large marine iguana colonies.
Located between Isabela and Santa Cruz, James Island is home to a wide variety of seabirds (such as the rare oystercatcher), marine iguanas and fur seals. At Puerto Egas, you will walk along the rocky coast line exploring some of Galapagos’ most dynamic tidal pools. Other highlights include: Sugar loaf volcano and the old salt mine. On Bartolome Island you can hike to the highest point for a spectacular view. Sea lions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock, and the sandy beach is an ideal swimming and snorkeling spot.
North Seymour Island is a piece of land that formed thousands of years ago when oceanic lava bubbled up from the ocean, leaving a fascinating flat piece of land. It is home to endemic Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and magnificent frigate birds.
Today you leave the Enchanted Isles via Baltra Island to catch your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.