Itinerary 5 Days
Itinerary 5 Days
- Day 1 Saturday: Airport arrival & San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center
- Day 2 Sunday: Santa Fe Island & South Plazas Island
- Day 3 Monday: Genovesa Island: Prince Philip´s Steps & Darwin Bay
- Day 4 Tuesday: Sullivan – Santa Cruz
- Day 5 Wednesday: Santa Cruz Island / Baltra Island / Guayaquil / Quito
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Arrival to San Cristobal & Interpretation Center
A US$20 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival on the islands. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as credit cards can be time consuming.
You are met in the arrival’s hall by the cruise guide, and then transferred to our boat, the Grand Daphne, anchored a short distance away. Once on board you will be assigned your cabins, meet the crew members and get to know your naturalist guide and fellow travelers over a delicious lunch.
Then you visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre. The center brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonization of the Galapagos and all the problems the islands face today is also explored. This is a great place to get a complete overview of the Galapagos.
Santa Fe Island & South Plazas Island
Santa Fe is home to one of the biggest colonies of sea lions, and these ones are very eager for swimming partners! It’s a lovely place to take a dip, as it offers a dense concentration of wildlife, and it is a fantastic place to see many of the Galapagos residents in one relatively small area. Expect to see Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, sea lions, marine turtles, frigate birds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island as well with one of the most attractive coves in the archipelago and the jade-green waters are ideal for snorkeling. Our trail follows the coast into the opuntia forest, where we see Santa Fe's trees - the largest in the Galapagos.
Hiking into the island you can see a forest of giant cacti and Palo Santo trees. Once back at the beach we have free time to snorkel in the jade green water. Playful sea lion pups and fluorescent fish make for fascinating company.
In the afternoon, after lunch, you sail towards a small island, Plaza Sur (or South Plaza) is nonetheless a place of great beauty where we get close to sea lions and on to trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, resting amid cacti and volcanic landscapes colored bright red and green by sea-purslanes. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are excellent places to spot tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the Gentlemen’s Club’ - a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be ‘beach masters’!
Genovesa Island: Prince Philip´s Steps & Darwin Bay
It takes us an overnight sail to reach Genovesa Island, the archipelago's north-eastern outpost, but it is undeniably worth the voyage. Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself is one of abundant beauty, with varying landscapes and wonderful wildlife. It is also a paradise for all bird lovers, with all three kinds of boobies, including the rare red-footed booby, and of course the blue footed booby and Nazca booby, as well as numerous other species such as tropicbirds and frigate birds.
Walking the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps get us into the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds overhead and nesting among the cliffs. On the island's rocky plains we look out for storm petrels. Genovesa is the only place in the world where they can be seen flying during the day. Afterwards, cool off with a snorkel!
Darwin Beach is another superb site with large breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons, swallow-tailed gulls, mockingbirds and, hopefully, vampire finches. During the walk we will pass by tide pools with playful sea lions and diamond stingrays. The island's magnificent marine life also makes for spectacular snorkeling and with the chance of encountering manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels along with many types of fishes.
Sullivan - Santa Cruz
On Santiago Island's eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan. Take a walk along pahoehoe lava (approximately 1 hour), which was created by an eruption that occurred here in 1897. With some luck you might see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins. During your walk, as always, your naturalist guide will take you through the geological history of the island.
Travel to Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill): one of the best places to see land iguanas in the islands. From our dry landing, walk to a brackish lagoon spotting lagoon birds such as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation makes for an ideal place to see Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers. The path can be challenging but it will be worth it for a spectacular view of the bay.
You may spot
- Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
- Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Snorkelling (45 mins)
- Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
- Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Snorkelling or swimming (1 hour)
- Dragon Hill 3/5
- Carrion Point 2/5
Santa Cruz Island / Baltra Island / Guayaquil / Quito
Brave an early start to explore Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) on a Zodiac ride. This red mangrove wetland is located on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. A breeding area for green turtles, this is a good place to catch sight of them mating. There is also abundant bird life, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron. It is also a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. This is your final excursion before you head to the airport in Isla Baltra for your flight back to Quito.
The flight will stop over in Guayaquil en route, arriving at Quito Airport at approximately 4 pm. Enjoy a transfer back to your hotel. Your local Intrepid representative may stop by at your hotel this evening to get your feedback on your Galapagos experience.
As you will be leaving the boat this morning, please remember that if you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip is considered appropriate. For logistical and cultural reasons, we treat this as an optional expense and do not incorporate it into your trip price.
As a guideline we recommend each passenger considers USD 15 per day for the crew (collectively) and USD 10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin before you disembark.
Please note that the snack provided during your flight may not meet specialty dietary requirements.