Western Galapagos in Luxury 10 days
JOIN 'THE URBAN BIRDER' David Lindo IN ANTARCTICA!
JOIN 'THE URBAN BIRDER' David Lindo IN ANTARCTICA!
Western Galapagos in Luxury 10 days aboard Silver Galapagos
Sailing on board the luxurious Silver Galapagos, this 10 day itinerary to the western islands also includes two nights in the fascinating capital city of Quito and flights to and from the islands. Get up close to all the fascinating wildlife and enjoy the stunning scenery in comfort, whilst relaxing or being as active as you choose.
Note: Flight package rates for 2018 are not released at time of writing - please ask for inclusive rates for 2018.
- See pelicans and penguins along the rocky shores and watch for the unique species of Flightless Cormorant
- Swim with green sea turtles, sea lions and manta rays
- Hike through fragrant forests of palo santo “Incense” trees
- Encounter the largest colony of marine iguanas
- Visit one of the most volcanically active places on Earth and walk across spectacular lava fields
- See wild flamingos (in season) and nesting sea turtles and observe giant tortoises and sea lion colonies
- Photograph iconic Pinnacle Rock
- Flights between Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands
- Pre cruise hotel in Quito
- National Park fees
- Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship
- In-suite dining and room service from 06:00 to 23:00
- Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
- Free wifi
- Onboard gratuities
ITINERARY9 Nights 10 Days
- Day 1 | Quito
- Day 2 | San Cristobel
- Day 3 | Bartoleme & Santiago Islands
- Day 4 | Isabela & Fernandina Islands
- Day 5 | Isabela Island
- Day 6 | Floreana
- Day 7 | Santa Cruz
- Day 8 | Santa Cruz
- Day 9 | Baltra, Guayaquil
Arrive in Quito at any time and transfer to hotel. Overnight accommodation included. Take time to explore this fascinating city with its Unesco World Heritage Old Town.
Early morning flight to San Cristobel Island. Transfer to ship.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galapagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbour, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s. In the afternoon,we circumnavigate Kicker Rock, one of the most iconic features of the Galapagos Islands. The small landform is formed by two tall towers of lava rock and when viewed from the south, resembles a sleeping lion. This phenomenon is reflected in the Spanish name “Leon Dormido” or literally, Sleeping Lion. As the ship steers around the islands, your Expedition Team will point out seabirds, such as swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies and frigatebirds.
Bartoleme & Santiago Islands
At Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay, we ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos hawks, and blue-footed boobies. Also, one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance.
Playa Espumilla is located on the northwestern side of Santiago Island and is home to a variety of wildlife including nesting green sea turtles, and plentiful birds such as flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, yellow warblers, Galapagos hawks, whimbrels, and American oystercatchers.
Isabela & Fernandina Islands
We anchor in deep water right up against the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca on the northwest side of Isabela Island, which support endemic flightless cormorants, Galapagos fur seals, blue-footed boobies, and marine iguanas. The waters below hold scores of green sea turtles swimming all around the Zodiacs. Snorkelers may have an opportunity to swim with eagle rays, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and schools of small tuna in the.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and flightless cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.
Tagus Cove is a sheltered area southwest of Volcán Darwin on Isabela Island. The protected waters of this cove are home to sea turtles, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins. Here you can choose to kayak, snorkel or head ashore to discover centuries-old names of vessels that were painted or carved onto the rock near the landing site. After landing, we can walk through the forest of Palo Santo trees to access the upper reaches of a volcanic cone. Watch for several species of Darwin finches and mockingbirds as you ascend.
The tranquil inlets of Elizabeth Bay are the perfect spot for a Zodiac cruise. First pass the “Las Marielas” islets, which are home to blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Then journey on into the bay flanked by the massive volcanoes of Sierra Negra and Alcedo and continue past fresh and desolate lava fields heading towards tall green mangrove trees growing out of black lava shores.
Post Office Bay is steeped in history and received its name thanks to a post box that was placed ashore before 1813. Ships that were visiting the Galapagos on multi-year voyages would leave letters here to be collected and delivered by vessels on their way home. Visitors today can keep the tradition alive by leaving their own postcards in the post box (now a barrel) and looking for any they can deliver by hand back at home. Activities at Post Office Bay can include exploring a cave created by lava that runs underground towards the ocean. The bay itself offers kayaking along the shore and into Mystery Bay, snorkelling, swimming and relaxing on the beach.
Isla Champion is a small islet off Floreana Island’s northeast coast. A superb place for snorkelling in clear waters to see reef sharks, turtles and other marine life.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant in the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line.
Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation programme headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas.
On the northern shore of Santa Cruz stretch the Las Bachas beaches. The two beaches together span a full kilometre. A short track leads visitors inland towards a shallow pond with the opportunity to spot flamingos, migratory birds in season, and scavenging shorebirds. On our visit to Las Bachas there will be the chance to swim from one of the two sandy beaches and to look for sea turtles that use Las Bachas as one of their major nesting sites in the islands.
Los Gemelos are twin sinkholes, one on either side of the road running from Puerto Ayora to the north side of the island. The vertical walls of the sinkholes fall deep into the ground covered in a veil of greenery hiding the bottom of the pit. Walk along the craters’ edges before stopping at Rancho El Manzanillo to see giant Santa Cruz tortoises in the wild. On the ranch swap walking shoes for knee-high rubber boots and wade out in to the green fields to come close to majestic giant tortoises and search for the coveted woodpecker finch.
Later, we anchor at Puerto Ayora, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés. .
Fly from Baltra to Guayaquil
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What Our Customers
• Although we thoroughly enjoyed the Galapagos it was mainland Ecuador which really took us by surprise with such a diversity of landscape and wildlife and incredible hospitality everywhere we went. Our local guides were so knowledgeable and helpful and our driver Manuel had a terrific sense of humour. We had some fantastic birding at both Mashpi, Le Selva and of course our day trip to Paz de Las Aves Reserve where we were lucky enough to see both the ‘Cock of the Rock’ and the giant antipitta. The devil nose train journey was as thrilling as we hoped and we even got lucky with Cotopaxi and got some lovely clear photos so all in all couldn't ask for more.
• This was an excellent trip from start to finish. Bellavista Lodge was a particular favourite of ours, so tranquil and a superb base to watch birds and wildlife while experiencing real Ecuadorian hospitality. Our guide, really knew his stuff and was so passionate about his job ,in fact all the local guides were excellent. I have to say a special word about Juan, our driver, who was so charming and funny, he really added to the overall enjoyment of the trip. The number and variety of birds we saw was amazing and I would have no hesitation in recommending Ecuador to other keen bird watchers.
Fantastic holiday with more wildlife than I was expecting. The Napo Wildlife Centre was wonderful, we were looked after with such care and attention and our guides’ knowledge of the areas’ and flora and fauna was outstanding, what they didn’t know probably wasn’t worth knowing. The food was so varied and they coped amazingly with my food intolerances, better than most European restaurants!!! Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys will always live with me as will seeing my first Kinkajou, something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Thank you for an amazing two weeks.
We had an amazing time in the Galapagos, thank you.We really enjoyed ourselves and will certainly come back to you next year.
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