Galapagos

Western & Central Galapagos Islands Cruise - GALAXY M/Y

8 days | 7 nights
Shared tour
From 4900USD per person
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Cruise Description

Discover the spellbinding natural beauty of the Enchanted Islands on this eight-day Western and Central Galapagos Islands cruise onboard the Galaxy Yacht.

Your journey begins at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island where you'll meet and greet your expert naturalist guide and fellow passengers. Then after a warm welcome on board the luxury yacht, sail towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. Spend your first afternoon here where you'll see the Twin Craters and observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Then dedicate the second and third days to exploring Isabela Island in depth. At 4640 sq. km, Isabela Island is the largest, yet one of the youngest islands in the archipelago, and you'll have the opportunity to observe white-tipped reef sharks resting in the calm turquoise waters as you sail through the islets of Las Tintoreras.

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

Then reach Urbina Bay and embark on a 3.2 km trail with your naturalist guide to observe land iguanas, tortoises, and Darwin's finches in their natural habitat, and uncover pirate history at Tagus Cove on the northwestern shores of Isabela Island. This final stop on Isabela Island is a site historically frequented by pirates who left their mark by carving the names of the vessels they commanded into the site's surrounding cliff faces.

Then sail to Fernandina Island, the third-largest in the Galapagos archipelago at 642 sq. km. Walk the barren landscape of Punta Espinosa, observing the large colonies of marine iguana that bask in the sun. Despite its barren landscape, the lava cacti thrive here, against a dramatic backdrop of Volcán La Cumbre.

Reach Santiago Island and begin with a visit to Puerto Egas, a site that briefly operated as a salt mining business in the late 1920s. Sail onward to Santiago Island to observe green turtles nest on striking Espumilla Beach, backed by the tallest Palo Santo trees, and explore Dragon Hill on the northwestern shores of Santa Cruz, aptly named for the population of Galapagos land iguanas that populate this island. Observe mini-land dragons roam the sun-drenched sands, feeding on the fruits of the Opuntia Cacti.

Allow the tranquil mangrove forests of Black Turtle Cove to captivate you, and encounter black-tip reef sharks, marine turtles, and numerous varieties of rays. Explore the striking red landscape of Rabida before seeing Chinese Hat, a gently sloping volcanic cone on a tiny 1 sq. km islet near the southeast coast of Santiago that takes the form of a Chinaman's hat.

Leave this curious geologic feature for North Seymour and learn how a group of 72 undernourished land iguanas colonized the land. Following your time on North Seymour, be transported to the airport for your onward flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

This eight-day Western and Central Galapagos Islands cruise on the Galaxy Yacht brings you the best this region has to offer with an itinerary that perfectly combines excursions with leisure time. This five-star vessel was newly renovated in 2017 and boasts nine spacious double cabins, a sundeck with shaded areas, and cozy social lounges that invite you to relax. With a maximum capacity of 16 guests and an enthusiastic crew of eight, Galaxy delivers a comfortable and personalized experience.

Destinations

Galapagos

Trip at a glance

Visits

BALTRA ISLAND

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Highlands, Black Turtle Cove

ISABELA ISLAND: Tintoreras, Moreno Point, Elizabeth Bay, Urbina Bay, Tagus Cove

FERNANDINA ISLAND: Espinoza Point

SANTIAGO ISLAND: Egas Port, Espumilla Beach & Caleta Bucanero; Daphne Mayor Or Dragon Hill

RAVIDA ISLAND: Chinese Hat

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND: Mosquera Islet

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL: BALTRA ISLAND – SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Morning

Arrival at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island (GPS)

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 across the Itabaca Channel and onboard the Galaxy where your captain and crew will welcome you with drinks and lunch.

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

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

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. Return to the Galaxy for breakfast as you sail towards Moreno Point.

Afternoon

Moreno Point

Visit Moreno Point on its western shores of Isabela Island this afternoon 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 seagrass. On a dinghy ride 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.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 3 ISABELA ISLAND

Morning

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. Then enjoy lunch aboard the Galaxy.

Afternoon

Urbina Bay

On the western shores of Isabela Island at the base of Alcedo Volcano, Urbina Bay is an area that was a result of an uplift from the sea in 1954, causing the land to rise some five meters in height. Following a wet landing on the beach, you'll follow a 3.2 km trail with your naturalist guide, observing land iguanas, tortoises and Darwin's finches.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 4 ISABELA ISLAND & FERNANDINA

Morning

Tagus Cove

This morning, the Galaxy 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

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 5 SANTIAGO ISLAND

Morning

Puerto Egas

Reach Puerto Egas on Santiago Island this morning and disembark on its black sand beach by wet landing, a site named after entrepreneur Hector Egar who opened a salt mine here in the late 1920s. The site, which operated briefly, is now home to white-cheeked pintails and flamingos, though it remains closed to visitors. Admire the view of the 395 meters high Pan de Azúcar, and with your guide, learn the factors that made the salt mine business impractical on this island while roaming its scenic shoreline for a chance to see marine iguanas, sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Here, you'll also have the opportunity to see a colony of Galapagos fur seals bask in the shade provided by the area's rock arches and grottos.

Afternoon

Espumilla Beach and Caleta Bucanero

Sail to the western shores of Santiago Island this afternoon and take in its stunning landscape and see some of the region's tallest Palo Santo trees. Walk along the golden sands of Espumilla Beach, where green turtles come to nest. With your naturalist guide, ascend a hill for sweeping views of the sand and sea below.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 6 DAPHNE MAYOR OR DRAGON HILL – SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: BLACK TURTLE COVE

Morning

Dragon Hill

Visit Dragon Hill this morning on the northwestern shores of Santa Cruz. Aptly named for the population of Galapagos land iguanas that populate this island, these mini-land dragons spend their afternoons roaming the sun-drenched sands and jagged boulders, feeding on the fruits and flowers of the Opuntia Cacti. Despite their healthy population on Santa Cruz now, these land iguanas were under threat by wild dogs, cats and goats in the 1970s and were transferred to surrounding islands for over a decade to encourage re-population. On a leisurely 2.4 km walk with your naturalist guide, discover the stark desert landscapes of Santa Cruz, winding past Palo Santo trees on your way to the summit of the hill where you'll be met with sweeping views over the bay. Conclude your visit to Dragon Hill with a stop at a saltwater lagoon where you have the opportunity to spot the elusive flamingo.

Afternoon

Black Turtle Cove

Discover Black Turtle Cove - 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.

Evening

Enjoy dinner and evening on the Galaxy.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 7 RABIDA ISLAND – CHINESE HAT

Morning

Rabida

Otherworldly Rabida boasts a landscape of strewn boulders and large prickly pear cacti, as well as a striking red sand beach backed by matching rust-colored cliffs. A result of oxidized iron, sunrise and sunset give these geologic features an intense glow. Outside of the mating season, visitors to the red beach are greeted by a large colony of Galapagos sea lions. Here you'll also visit a small saltwater lagoon, and because it's the arid island's most fertile place, it attracts a range of marine wildlife like pintails and flamingos. With your naturalist guide, embark on a 1.1 km trail and look for varieties of songbirds in the surrounding mangrove bushes. Rabida is also a favorite stop on this Western Galapagos Islands cruise for its breeding brown pelicans. Watch from the beach as they hover above the surface of the sea and hunt in V-shaped formations, plunge-diving for their prey.

Afternoon

Chinese Hat

A gently sloping volcanic cone with a height of 52 m, this tiny 1 sq. km islet near the southeast coast of Santiago takes the form of a Chinaman's hat, hence its name. Volcanic in origin, the spatter cone Chinese Hat is a product of an eruption on nearby Santiago Island, which spewed a mountain of molten rocks and lava, forming this islet. A walk with your naturalist guide will reveal Chinese Hat's volcanic history, its lava bombs and tunnels. Continue to a white sand coral beach and spot marine iguanas and lava lizards along the trail as your guide discusses the predicted rapid colonization of this islet due to its favorable conditions and close proximity to Santiago.

Evening

Dinner and night on board.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner onboard

Day 8 DEPARTURE: NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND – MOSQUERA ISLET

Morning

North Seymour

The island of North Seymour was formed by the uplifting of underwater volcanic lava, which resulted in a small flat island 1.9 sq. km in size. Following a dry landing, learn about the 72 land iguanas that were introduced to North Seymour in 1932 to colonize the island. Captain Alan Hancock and his crew transported these undernourished iguanas from Baltra Island in the hopes that they will thrive in better conditions on North Seymour. And in 1934 just two years later, the species was identified to have adapted without issues. Walk the arid boulder-strewn landscape with your guide, and follow along an easy circular path that takes you past the most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds in the archipelago. Following your visit to North Seymour Island, transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

MEALS
  • Breakfast onboard

Map

Video

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
7 nights onboard Galaxy M/Y

Meals

Full board plan
7 breakfasts + 7 lunches + 7 dinners

Transportation

Bus
All transfers from/to Baltra/San Cristobal 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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