Ecuador

Western Galapagos Islands Cruise - ARCHIPEL I M/C

5 days | 4 nights
Shared tour
From 1950USD2850USD per person
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Archipel I

Mid Range

Cruise Description

Discover the most captivating ports of call with the Archipel I and explore the seemingly untouched western region on this five day Western Galapagos Islands cruise.

Meet and greet your expert naturalist guide at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island, and after a warm welcome on board by your captain and crew, sail towards Santa Cruz Island for your very first excursion.

Tour the island's Highlands where you'll see the Twin Craters and observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Then spend your second day onboard exploring the largest island in the archipelago - Isabela Island, with an extensive land area of 4640 sq. km.

Sail through the islets of Las Tintoreras and observe white-tipped reef sharks resting in the calm turquoise waters. Then continue to the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center situated just outside Puerto Villamil, where you'll observe giant tortoises live in captivity and learn the efforts behind ensuring their survival in the wilderness on the Galapagos Islands.

Journey towards Moreno Point and walk its lava fields and explore the tidal lagoons, keeping your eyes peeled for sightings of herons, frigatebirds, and green turtles. The Archipel I sails onward to Elizabeth Bay where you'll have the opportunity to visit the breeding grounds of the Galapagos penguins.

Uncover pirate history at Tagus Cove, your final stop on Isabela Island. This site on its northwestern shores was historically frequented by pirates who left their mark by carving the names of the vessels they commanded into the site's surrounding cliff faces.

Reach Fernandina Island, the third-largest in the Galapagos archipelago, and walk the barren landscape of Punta Espinosa, observing the large colonies of marine iguana that bask in the sun. You'll be surprised to discover that despite its barren landscape, lava cacti thrive here, against a dramatic backdrop of Volcán La Cumbre.

See Las Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island on the final morning of this Western Galapagos Islands cruise, where you'll learn the origin of its name and discover the role it played in World War II.

Built for exploring the islands of the archipelago, the Archipel I boasts 8 modern cabins with twins and doubles and sea view windows so guests can fall asleep and wake up to the natural beauty of the western Galapagos Islands. With an emphasis on comfort and intuitive service provided by a dedicated crew of nine, the Archipel I delivers a seamless experience at sea.

Destinations

Galapagos

Trip at a glance

Visits

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Highlands, Bachas Beach

ISABELA ISLAND: Tintoreras, Breeding Center

FERNANDINA ISLAND: Tagus Cove, Espinoza Point

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Morning

Arrival at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island

Meet and greet your naturalist guide upon arrival at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island. Before leaving the airport, you'll pass an inspection point where your Transit Control Card will be stamped. Be sure to store this with your travel documents as you'll need to show it again when you depart the Galapagos Islands. If you haven't already, you'll also pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of 100 USD here. You'll then be escorted on board the Galaxy where your captain and crew will welcome you.

Afternoon

Highlands

After lunch this afternoon, you'll visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz where you'll trek with your naturalist guide to see the Twin Craters and visit a local ranch to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. If the weather permits, you'll also be able to view the stunning scenery of extinct volcanic cones carpeted with lush greenery. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, long pants, a hat, and sunblock.

Evening

Evening onboard Archipel M/C. 

MEALS
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 2 ISABELA ISLAND

Morning

Las Tintoreras

A group of islets just off the shores of Puerto Villamil, Las Tintoreras is the Spanish name for white tipped reef sharks, which can be commonly spotted resting in the calm and clear turquoise waters. As you walk along the nature trail with your guide, keep your eyes peeled for Galapagos penguins and sea lions along the mangrove lined shoreline, as well as colonies of marine iguanas and lava lizards that like to bask in the sun.

Afternoon

Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre

Visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center situated just outside Puerto Villamil, where endangered Galapagos giant tortoises live in captivity. See five different endemic subspecies and how they're cared for to ensure their survival in the wilderness on the Galapagos Islands. Walk the manicured botanical garden that surrounds this breeding center and observe the colorful Yellow Warblers, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos and vermilion flycatchers that make this garden their home. In an adjacent saltwater lagoon, watch for American flamingos as they hunt for shrimp and algae.

Evening

Evening onboard Archipel M/C. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 3 ISABELA ISLAND

Morning

Moreno Point

Visit Moreno Point on the western shores of Isabela Island this morning and explore the tidal lagoons and extensive lava fields, keeping your eyes peeled for sightings of herons, frigatebirds and green turtles. Take in the shrub dotted landscape of Moreno Point, where candelabra cacti reach impressive heights of up to seven meters, towering above surrounding mangrove bushes and saltwater lagoons fringed with sea grass. Along the pristine shoreline, keep your eyes peeled for marine iguanas and brown pelicans. Then discover a striking panoramic view of the Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul and La Cumbre - the three most active volcanoes in the Galapagos.

Afternoon

Elizabeth Bay

Made up of a collection of small islets, coastal mangrove forests and rocky reefs, Isabela Island is a sanctuary for wildlife and the premiere breeding site for Galapagos penguins. View a variety of wildlife on your visit to Red Mangrove Cove, ranging from brown pelicans to spotted eagle rays and sea lions.

Evening

Evening onboard Archipel M/C. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 4 ISABELA & FERNANDINA ISLANDS

Morning

Tagus Cove

This morning, the Archipel I will cross the Bolivar Channel and reach Tagus Cove on the northwestern shores of Isabela Island. This site was historically frequented by pirates who left their mark by carving the names of their ships onto the cliff faces that surround the cove. Following a 3 km trail with your guide, reach Darwin Lake, a saltwater lagoon reaching nine meters in depth contained within a tuff cone. The cliff faces of Tagus Cove provide a number of nesting sites for sea and coastal birds, and from the inflatable dinghy, you'll have the opportunity to see flightless cormorants, storm petrels and flocks of blue-footed boobies and brown pelicans.

Afternoon

Punta Espinoza

As the third-largest island in the Galapagos, Fernandina is also the youngest. Visit Espinoza Point, home to the flightless cormorant and recognized for its large colonies of marine iguanas. Free of any introduced species, Fernandina is one of the world's most pristine islands, and despite its barren landscape, the lava cacti thrive here, against a dramatic backdrop of Volcán La Cumbre. Tread with care between January and June, during the nesting period of the marine iguana.

Evening

Evening onboard Archipel M/C. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 5 SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, DEPARTURE

Morning

Bachas Beach

Arrive at Santa Cruz Island on the Archipel I on your final morning and visit the dazzling white sand Bachas Beach on its northern shores. This beach earned its name after World War II when the American army abandoned their barges on the beach. Unable to pronounce "barge" in the English language, "bachas" is the result of a mispronunciation, resulting in the name of the beach. Stroll the pristine coastline where its sands meet the turquoise bay, and orange Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry between the rocks at your feet. Reach a brackish lagoon on your walk, where white-cheeked pintails and hunting herons wade in the water and catch a glimpse of the American flamingos that inhabit this island. From your naturalist guide, learn about the role Bachas Beach plays as one of the island's main sea turtle nesting sites.

Transfer to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island

Your visit to Bachas Beach concludes this five days Western Galapagos Islands cruise on the Archipel I. Your guide and friendly crew members will transfer you to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island for your onward journey, and accompany you to the check-in counters and departure hall.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard

Map

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
4 nights onboard Archipel M/C

Meals

Full board plan
4 breakfasts + 4 lunches + 4 dinners

Transportation

Bus
All transfers from/to Baltra Airport

Orientation

Guide
Shared English-speaking naturalist guide

What's not included

  • Entrance Fee to Galapagos National Park (100 USD/Person)
  • TCT Ingala Migration Card (20 USD/Person)
  • Domestic Flights
  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Wetsuit Rental
  • Extra Meals
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Dates and Prices

Arrival date

Important notes

Each guest must strictly follow the Galapagos National Park Rules: 

  • Remain on marked trails at visitor sites and respect signs at all times for the protection of wildlife
  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from wildlife to avoid disturbing them, even if they approach you
  • Never feed wildlife, as this can cause health problems
  • Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife
  • Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park Department
  • It is your responsibility not to introduce food, animals, or plants into the Archipelago. Cooperate fully with all environmental inspection and quarantine officials during your visit.
  • Do not take or buy any products or souvenirs made from banned substances, including black coral, shells, lava rock, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. This is illegal and must be reported
  • Practice “leave-no-trace” principles in order to maintain the beauty of the environment
  • Pack out all trash and dispose of or recycle it in the populated areas or on your tour boat
  • Smoking and/or campfires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park
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