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Explore the Galapagos Northern & Central Islands

See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and our Galapagos Islands Tours

Explore the Galapagos Northern & Central Islands

On board M/V Galapagos Legend – First Class Boat

Cruise Length: 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS

Starting From: US$ 3149,00 per person, based in double accomodation (Standard cabin)

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2014 Dates: Jan 13-20 / Jan 27-Feb 03 / Feb 10-17 / Feb 24-Mar 03 / Mar 10-17 / Mar 24-31 / Apr 7-14 / Apr 21-28 / May 5-12 / May 19-26 / Jun 2-9 / Jun 16-23/ Jun 30-Jul 7 / Jul 14-21 / Jul 28-Aug 4 / Aug 11-18 / Aug 25-Sep 1 / Sep 8-15 / Sep 22-29 / Oct 6-13 / Oct 20-27 / Nov 3-10 / Nov 17-24 / Dec 1-8 / Dec 15-22 / Dec 29 – Jan 5* (Holiday Departure)

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Explore the Galapagos: Program Overview

Enjoy an 8 days / 7 nights cruise visiting the northern & central islands of the archipelago.

Itinerary includes visits to Santa Cruz Island, Santiago (James), Bartholomew Island famous for its Pinnacle Rock, Fernandina and Isabela Island. Along the cruise you will explore the Highlands of Santa Cruz characterized by its exuberant flora, lush vegetation and Scalesia forest, visit the lava tubes geologic formation and a giant tortoise farm.

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Visit Port Egas at Santiago Island, a black sand beach and its saltwater lagoon which during the summer dry season becomes a salt mine. Swim and snorkel around the Pinnacle Rock at Bartholomew Island to find penguins, marine turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and other tropical fish.

Visit Dragon Hill at Santa Cruz to watch along the trials land iguanas foraging, and a flamingo lagoon. Continue to North Seymour Island, home to a large population of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and frigate birds. Explore Isabela Island, the largest Island in the archipelago, formed of the merging of six large volcanoes into a single land mass. Isabela is the home to Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, land iguanas, pelicans and Galapagos tortoises.

One of the highlights of Isabela is Elizabeth bay where you can see giant red mangroves along the shore, which contrasts with the lava formations. Continue to Fernandina, the youngest and westernmost island of the archipelago. One of Fernandina’s main attractions is Punta Espinosa; a narrow ledge of lava and sand that extends from the base of the volcano to the sea, where hundreds of marine iguanas gather, largely on black lava rocks.

Punta Espinosa is famous for being the habitat of the unique flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos snakes, among others. It is a great place to observe the lava cactus (Brachycerus nesioticus), which grow on young lava and survive with little water.

Boat description

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The M/V Galapagos Legend offers all the commodities of a cruise liner, yet it is still small enough for an intimate experience with nature. Their philosophy is based on an environment without any formalisms or strict etiquette as in other luxury vessels but maintaining some important aspects like excellence in quality services. The vessel also exhibits spacious interior social areas; auditorium, interpretation center, library, comfortable lounges and dinning rooms, Kids’ Corner.

Special services such as; satellite internet, long distance calls, 24h doctor, sauna & steam room, special menus for kids or vegetairans are available to fulfill guests´ needs. Cabins are equiped with lower berths, air conditioning, phone service for internal, local and international calls, Video system with LCD TV, music, activities, itineraries and consumption on board, safe-deposit box and private bathroom. Some cabins have panoramic windows and balcony.

Capacity:

100 passengers in 57 suites, 60 crew members, 1 physician, plus up to 6 naturalist guides.

Facilities on board:

Sundeck; Pool bar; Inside & Al Fresco dining areas; lounge; library; Boutique; Infirmary; Kids corner equipped with soft padding, stuffed animals and video games; conference room.

Explore the Galapagos Itinerary – Day by Day

Day 1: Monday AM Baltra airport Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (2 ½ hours flight).

Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend. PM Highlands Pit Craters (Santa Cruz) Dry landing. A 45 minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years.

Additionally, travelers can walk inside surprising lava tubes ; we also visit Pit Craters created from the collapse of surface materials into chamber fissures underground. It’s a great place to spot Vermilion Flycatcher as we walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest.

  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Type of terrain: flat & muddy sometimes (depending on season)
  • Duration: 45 minutes drive / 1h30 walk

Day 2: Tuesday AM Egas Port (Santiago)

Wet landing on a beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half of partially uneven terrain is comprised of volcanic basaltic rock lounging the shoreline. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron and astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are also a highlight.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: the first part flat and then semi rocky.
  • Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling

PM Bartolome Dry or wet landing. We discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones — lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones— as we hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards and blue-footed boobies*. Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish.

For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences; the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable. Pioneer plants are observed, so called because they are the first to establish roots onnew ground. They include Tiquilia nesiotica (which is endemic to the island) and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. Behind the beach we have dunes covered by mangroves.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate.
  • Type of terrain: trail made of steps (372 steps)
  • Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling

Day 3: Wednesday AM Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz)

Dry landing. We walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingoes can be occasionally found. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas , offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warblers and Galapagos Doves.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: rocky
  • Duration: 2 hours walk

PM North Seymour Dry landing. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora. An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: rocky
  • Duration: 2 hours walk, 30 minute snorkeling

Day 4: Thursday AM Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)

Wet landing on the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lie two small flamingo ponds with iguanas, coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native and endemic vegetation, red and black mangroves, salt bushes, and much more. This beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but then spend 3 or 5 years without breeding. At this paradisiacal site we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago, once property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. That is why the beach is called “Bachas” because the word “barges” in English was hard to pronounce for the local people.

  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Type of terrain: sandy
  • Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling/swimming

PM Black Turtle Cove On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea where four species of mangrove crowd from the shore out into the lagoon, turtle enjoy swimming in the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface while fish, rays and small sharks circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets, all feed in the cove. This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary”.

  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: 1h00

Day 5: Friday AM Sullivan Bay (Santiago)

Wet landing. This visitor site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island, and of important geologic interest, features extensive lava flows believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th century.

  • Difficulty level: difficult, 1.5 km path.
  • Type of terrain: flat volcanic lava
  • Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling/swimming

PM Rabida Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers these unique beaches with incredible landscape; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting Brown Pelicans are found from July through September and nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can be seen. We will also take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting Seabirds, and snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.

  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Type of terrain: sandy
  • Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling / 1 hour dinghy ride

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Day 6: Saturday AM Urbina Bay (Isabela)

Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Depending on the season, we may find Giant tortoises, land iguanasand the unusual Flightless Cormorant. After a short walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plant life that changes depending on the season. We can observe the beautiful colors of plants that attract different insects, birds and reptiles. We wil l explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo Volcano.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: flat
  • Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling

PM Tagus Cove (Isabela) Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt water crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm. tall; the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator. They are monogamous and lay their eggs in small cracks of lava, on the lower parts of the island near the shoreline not reached by the ocean waves. The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south on the island. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: steep
  • Duration: 2 hour walk / 40 minutes dinghy ride / deep water snorkeling 1 hour

Day 7: Sunday AM Espinosa Point (Fernandina)

Dry landing. Espinosa Point is the only spot that we visit on Fernandina, and from it we can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. The largest, most primitive – looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk. “Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but we encounter Brachycereus cacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores.

  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Type of terrain: rocky
  • Duration: 2 hours walk / 1hour snorkeling

PM Vicente Roca Point (Isabela) Great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolívar Channel). We take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans,penguins, flightless cormorants . The upwelling of coldwater currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life.

Duration: 1 hour snorkeling / 1 hour dinghy ride

Day 8 : Monday AM–Highlands (Santa Cruz)

Dry landing. A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years.

  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Type of terrain: flat & muddy sometimes (depending on season)
  • Duration: 45 minutes drive / 1h30 walk

After the visit passengers will be transferred to Baltra airport for return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

Included

  • All meals scheduled on board
  • English speaking naturalist guide
  • Excursions according to the day by day itinerary

Not Included

  • Airfare to/from Galapagos
  • Cruise fuel surcharge
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card
  • Galapagos National Park fee
  • Travel insurance, medical services and others not specified
  • Tips & personal expenses.

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.


See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and our Galapagos Islands Tours

Explore Ecuador & The Galapagos

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