Ecuador

Northern, Southern & Central Galapagos Islands Cruise - SOLARIS M/Y

8 days | 7 nights
Shared tour
From 5295USD5995USD per person
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Cruise Description

This 8-day cruise on the luxury Solaris Yacht highlights the sights and sounds of the northern, southern, and central islands of the Galapagos, combining a visit to the bird lover's favorite island of Genovesa with the most popular attractions of South Plaza and Santa Fe.

Your journey begins with a warm welcome to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island, where you'll meet and greet your guide and fellow passengers before boarding the Solaris, your home for the next eight days.

This five-star vessel boasts 11 spacious and modern cabins, a sundeck with shaded areas, and sophisticated social lounges that encourage interaction between passengers. With a maximum capacity of 16 passengers and an attentive crew, your journey aboard the Solaris promises to be an exclusive experience.

Your first stop on the five-star vessel takes you to Mosquera Islet situated between Baltra and Seymour Islands, where you'll observe sea lions bask on a dazzling white sand beach.

Then spend time discovering the natural gems of Genovesa Island, where you'll encounter colonies of frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies and yellow warblers as you stroll its shoreline.

Conquer the steep steps of Prince Philip Steps, and from the rugged cliffs of 25 meters up, observe colonies of red-foot and masked boobies, as well as tropical birds.

Sail onward to South Plaza Island, half a pair of the Plazas Island off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz. Here, you'll embark on a hike with your knowledgeable naturalist guide and observe one of the largest sea lion colonies of the Galapagos archipelago.

Despite the small 24 sq. km land area of Santa Fe, this is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos, estimated to be some four million years old.

A morning visit to Leon Dormido presents you with the opportunity to snorkel among sea turtles and spotted eagle rays, and a visit to the Interpretation Centre will invite you to recount the natural and human history of the Galapagos with your guide.

Discover the four million-year-old Española Island, and spend your day strolling its pristine white sand beach, observing napping sea lions in the warm sunshine and snorkeling with these playful creatures.

Española Island's Punta Suarez is an unmissable site for bird lovers, as the island boasts a varied collection of seabirds. Among colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies, the endangered waved albatrosses also reside here, and visitors have the opportunity to watch them engage in synchronized courtship dances between May and November.

Sail onward to Floreana Island, where its shimmering olive green beach will awe you, and you'll embark on a guided walk to observe sea lions, frigatebirds, and pelicans in their natural habitat.

Then snorkel at Devil's Crown, a favorite in the Galapagos archipelago for its excellent visibility and diverse range of wildlife.

Mail home a postcard from historic Post Office Bay and climb Baroness Lookout for a striking panorama of the Galapagos. Here, you'll also learn about the self-proclaimed Empress of the Galapagos, Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet, and visit the ruins of her home.

Observe the volcanic features of Sullivan Bay by trekking across its extensive lava fields, then journey to the tiny 1.2 sq. km Bartolome Island to snorkel at the base of Pinnacle Rock. Your eight-day Northern Southern Central Galapagos Islands cruise ends with a visit to the tranquil mangrove forests of Black Turtle Cove, where you'll have the opportunity to encounter black-tip reef sharks, marine turtles and numerous varieties of rays.

Be transported to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island for your onward flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

This Solaris itinerary packs in some of the Galapagos Island's most popular north, south, and central highlights, with exciting opportunities to snorkel, conquer viewpoints and embark on guided walks along pristine beaches.

Destinations

Galapagos

Trip at a glance

Visits

BALTRA: Mosquera Islet

GENOVESA ISLAND: Darwin Bay, Prince Phillip's Steps

SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND

SANTA FE ISLAND: Kicker Rock

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND: Interpretation Center

ESPAÑOLA ISLAND: Gardner Bay, Punta Suarez

FLOREANA ISLAND: Punta Cormorant, Champion Islet, Post Office Bay

SANTIAGO ISLAND: Sullivan Bay

BARTOLOME ISLAND

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Black Turtle Cove

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL - BALTRA

Morning

Arrival at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island (GPS) 

Meet and greet your naturalist guide upon arrival at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island, and be escorted on board the Solaris Yacht by dinghy. 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. On board the luxury Solaris, your captain and crew will toast you with a refreshing welcome drink. Get acquainted with your cabin while lunch is prepared.

Afternoon

Mosquera

Situated between Baltra and Seymour Islands, this islet is a popular stop on any Galapagos itinerary for its sizable sea lion colony. Observe as they sunbathe or splash in the water, and then enjoy time on Mosquera's white sand beach, keeping your eyes peeled for sightings of sea birds. Formed by a geological uplift, the rocks along this islet's shores commonly sees red lava and Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Evening

Enjoy your first dinner and night on the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 2 GENOVESA ISLAND

Morning

Darwin Bay 

Set sail to Genovesa Island on the Solaris this morning. North of Santa Cruz Island, you'll reach Darwin Bay by wet landing and disembark on the white coral beach for leisurely strolls along its shoreline. As you reach a nearby mangrove swamp, you'll encounter colonies of frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies and yellow warblers, making Darwin Bay a favorite attraction for passionate birdwatchers. Wildlife enthusiasts will also be delighted by the presence of herons, the great terrestrial finch and cactus finch. Following your visit on land, you'll enjoy some time at leisure to swim and snorkel in the shimmering waters of Darwin Bay.

Afternoon

Prince Philip Steps

Named after a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in the 1960s, El Barranco is also fondly recognized as Prince Philip's Steps, a steep and rocky path that leads visitors to a set of rugged cliff faces some 25 meters up to view the island's varied species of sea birds. Despite its daunting appearance, this climb on the eastern stretch of Darwin Bay is made easy with the presence of sturdy wooden handrails. Embark on a walk along the Barranco Path, winding your way past colonies of red-footed and masked boobies high up in the trees, and observing tropical birds, petrels, frigatebirds and finches in their natural habitat. Here, you'll also have the opportunity to spot owls that have found a nesting place in the island's extensive lava fields.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 3 SOUTH PLAZA & SANTA FE ISLANDS

Morning

South Plaza 

Half a pair of Plazas Island off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz, South Plaza is recognized for its outstanding collection of wildlife species despite its small size. While the North Plaza Island is visited for research purposes only, you'll visit the South Plaza Island this morning to see one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Galapagos, which is estimated to be at about 1000. On a hike with your naturalist guide, you'll notice that the land iguanas on South Plaza Island are smaller, primarily due to overpopulation and heavy competition for food sources. You'll also have the opportunity to observe them as they feed on the fruit of the prickly pear cacti as you wind along a rugged cliff where seabirds nest.

Afternoon

Santa Fe

At an estimated four million years, Santa Fe Island is one of the oldest in the Galapagos archipelago. With a relatively small land area of 24 sq. km, this island situated between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal boasts a diversity of endemic species - the Santa Fe land iguana, Galapagos Mockingbird and rice rat. Its landscape is unique for their population of the large prickly pear cactus, Opuntia Echios, which feeds Santa Fe's land iguanas. Following a wet landing among a sea lion colony at Barrington Bay, enjoy a swim or snorkel in its shimmering waters as hawks fly overhead, keeping your eyes peeled for rays, tropical fish and marine tortoises.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 4 KICKER ROCK & SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

Morning

Leon Dormido

Its Spanish name for Kicker Rock, Leon Dormido refers to the shape of this rock which takes on the form of a sleeping lion. An old lava cone now split into two, Leon Dormido is a popular site for Nazca and blue footed boobies, as well as frigatebirds. End your morning by snorkeling among sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, and spotted eagle rays that glide effortlessly alongside you.

Afternoon

Interpretation Centre

Reach the easternmost island of the Galapagos this afternoon and recount the history of the archipelago with your guide. With displays and exhibits in both Spanish and English, the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal Island's main port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is an excellent source of information for visitors who are passionate about the natural and human history of the Galapagos. Discover the volcanic origins of the islands, the evolution and colonization of its species and the history of human settlement in the Galapagos.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 5 ESPAÑOLA ISLAND

Morning

Gardner Bay 

Following a wet landing at Gardner Bay this morning, go for a short walk along Española Island's pristine stretch of white sand beach, perfect for relaxing and swimming. Though Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles, the star of this morning's stop is the colony of lazy sea lions napping in the sun. Hop in the shallow water along the shoreline's rocks for a chance to swim with these playful creatures, and enjoy a morning of snorkeling among tropical fish and sea turtles, and perhaps observe sharks in the ocean's crystal clear waters. 

Afternoon

Punta Suarez 

Reach Suarez Point by dry landing this afternoon and walk among the island's lava rocks to view its lava tubes. A must-see destination for any passionate bird watcher because of its impressive and varied colonies of sea birds, Suarez Point also affords the exclusive opportunity for visitors to observe its endangered waved albatrosses in their natural habitat. Time your visit to their mating dances, which takes place primarily between May and November, when waved albatrosses engage in synchronized courtship dances by whistling and bowing. You'll also be able to witness these large birds take flight by using the rugged cliff of Suarez Point as a launching pad. Weighing up to four kilograms, these waved albatrosses are one of the largest birds in the Galapagos, with some 12,000 pairs nesting on Española Island. Enthusiastic birdwatchers will also appreciate sightings of Nazca and blue footed boobies. With your naturalist guide, point out colonies of marine iguanas and hood lava lizards on your afternoon excursion to Suarez Point.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on board the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 6 FLOREANA ISLAND

Morning

Punta Cormorant and Champion Islet

Situated on the western shores of Floreana Island, Cormorant Point is widely recognized for its olive green sands, due to a surplus of olivine crystals. Following a wet landing, join your naturalist guide on a short trek to observe sea lions, frigatebirds and pelicans in their natural habitat. Punta Cormorant also boasts Flamingo Lagoon, where various species of shorebirds besides flamingos reside. Continue to nearby Devil's Crown on the Solaris, aptly named for its ring shaped assembly of jagged rocks that resemble a crown when seen from afar. Hop into its enticing waters for a swim among the colonies of small fish and sea lions. With excellent visibility and a diverse population of marine wildlife, Devil's Crown is highly regarded by many as the premiere snorkeling spot in the Galapagos.

Afternoon

Post Office Bay 

Arrive at Post Office Bay this afternoon, one of three visitor’s sites on Floreana’s northern shores. Mail home a postcard from the traditional barrel on this historic site, which pays homage to an improvised mail system that was set-up for communication between British whalers and poachers in the 16th century. Learn about the history of the whaling industry here and how this post box revealed the positions of the whaling vessels to the American frigate USS Essex during the Anglo-American War between 1812 and 1815. Climb Baroness Lookout for a striking panorama of the Galapagos, and admire the blue waters of the ocean against lush red mangroves below. From your guide, learn about the self-proclaimed Empress of the Galapagos, Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet, who was one of the early settlers of this island, and view the ruins of what used to be her home. 

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on board the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 7 SANTIAGO ISLAND & BARTOLOME

Morning

Sullivan Bay 

Sullivan Bay is a favorite stop on this eight day Northern Southern Central Galapagos Islands itinerary because of its unique geological characteristics. Situated on the southeastern end of Santiago Island, reach Sullivan Bay by wet landing this morning and embark on an easy 1.5 km hike across a wild terrain of volcanic features, observing black lava flow, collapsed craters, and volcanic hornitos. (Does this cruise offer this activity? The Solaris itinerary on the website didn't specify.) Formed by two coalesced volcanoes, this stretch of Santiago Island was carpeted in flowing lava following an eruption in the early 1900s, formulating a relatively young landscape. Geologists and volcanologists will delight in experiencing hardened lava flow and pahoehoe - ropy lava, beneath your feet. Despite the island's barren landscape of tuff cones and eroded lava flow, you may be lucky enough to spot Pacific green turtles on the tiny white sand beach, along with stray herons and crabs.

Afternoon

Bartolome

Situated across Sullivan Bay, this tiny 1.2 sq. km island has an altitude of 114 meters, from which you can observe a dramatic landscape of lava fields, volcanic cones and lunar like craters. Enjoy some leisurely time on this wild island by swimming or snorkeling at the base of Pinnacle Rock, or go on a nature walk instead for an opportunity to spot the endangered Galapagos penguins.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on board the Solaris.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 8 DEPARTURE DAY

Morning

Black Turtle Cove 

Discover Black Turtle Cove on your final morning aboard the Solaris. Situated on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, land among a tranquil landscape of mangrove forests. Seemingly unscathed by human development, this bay is accessible by dinghy only, and the shallow cove acts as a refuge for a wealth of marine life, where you'll have the opportunity to encounter black-tip reef sharks, marine turtles and numerous varieties of rays.


Following your visit to Black Turtle Cove, you'll be transferred to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard

Map

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
7 nights onboard Solaris M/Y

Meals

Full board plan
7 breakfasts + 7 lunches + 7 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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