Marisa V. – November 17, 2015
I loved every minute of the cruise. The Santa Cruz II staff are excellent — very knowledgeable as well as patient with the passengers!
5 Days – Monday to Friday – Northern Galapagos
Our itinerary together begins at Baltra airport, from where we’ll sail to the glorious white beach of Las Bachas with a pair of brackish water lagoons only a few steps from the sea. These lagoons serve as feeding grounds for various wading birds, including stilts, pintail ducks and flamingos. As we continue our voyage, we explore two fascinating visitor sites on Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove, home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms, and Puerto Egas, with its great walk-along pools full of life and good snorkelling and swimming possibilities.
In 5 days, you can see 11 of the BIG15.
Price from: $ 3,556 pp.
7 days / 6 nights Eastern Islands Galapagos, Friday to Thursday – Eastern Galapagos
From Baltra, a quick jump by ship brings us to Mosquera Islet where we check out the sea lions before sailing towards San Cristobal. A stop at the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Breeding Centre will open our eyes to the beauty of the Galapagos giant tortoise and to the important scientific work that continues to be performed on the islands. In the afternoon, we travel to the most eastern tip of the archipelago, Punta Pitt, the only stop on this journey where we can see red-footed boobies.
Visible: 13 of the BIG15.
Price from: $ 5,334 pp
5 Days – Thursday to Monday – Western Galapagos
Our itinerary together begins at Baltra where we will board the ship and sail towards Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island for an interesting hike through palo santo forests full of Galapagos’ famed land iguanas. Overnight, we sail round the seahorse-shaped Isabela Island to two great visitor sites: Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island with the fascinating geology of collapsed Ecuador volcano, and then wild and pure Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, one of the most pristine islands in the world, with one of the islands’ densest colonies of marine iguanas and opportunities to see flightless cormorants.
Prepare to tick-off 12 of the Big15.
Price from: $ 3,556 pp
The Galapagos Islands. You’ve dreamt of it for a lifetime, a place where history has been made. For centuries, home to pirates and whalers, but mostly to highly unusual fauna, inspiration for Darwin’s theory as presented in On the Origin of Species. And one of the few places on Earth where the wildlife shows no fear of humans.
If you’re looking for wildlife, the Galapagos Archipelago is a one-of-a-kind destination. Here, visitors travel back in time as they experience life before man, walking alongside hulking giant tortoises, ever-curious sea lion pups and dynamic volcanic landscapes. Tourists are drawn to this secluded utopia by the enormous variety of life that the islands hold. However, the islands also cover an immense distance, in fact over 138,000 Km2 (53,300 mi2), astounding visitors from every part of the World.
The Galapagos Islands rank among the world’s most extraordinary wildlife destinations. Although everywhere in the world is ‘unique’, the islands are that much more unique than other places due to the archipelago’s isolation over millennia. Here, species have evolved amid the stark volcanic landscapes into new and apparently strange forms that exist nowhere else on the planet. Not only that, the creatures one encounters are fearless of humans. It’s a truly magical place. The Islands were named after the giant Galapagos tortoises that looked similar to the galapago Spanish saddle to the first explorers in the 16th century. The archipelago began to emerge above a volcanic hotspot in the Pacific Ocean six million years ago.
This alluring ecosystem is located 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador and boasts a world record of titles and management categories: the islands are Ecuador’s first National Park; a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site; its Galapagos Marine Reserve is the second largest in the world; a Biosphere Reserve and a Whale Sanctuary.
In 1835, the young English naturalist Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos. His experiences and collections in this “living laboratory” later inspired his writings on natural selection and ground-breaking theory of evolution. In large part, the Islands remain as Darwin would have seen them nearly 180 years ago.
Many people dream about going on a cruise. For some this may not have been a plan at all, but when considering a journey to one of the world´s most beautiful places, doing it the right way may lead you to analyse what a cruise is all about.
Cruising on our Santa Cruz II Galapagos small ship is a fantastic opportunity to experience this but with a long list of relevant advantages. As a company, we have decades of experience in providing expedition cruises in this extraordinary National Park. We know the best sites on the best islands, and the best combination of these. We know where the best wildlife is, the best views and how to get planned for the best way to visit these.
Our Galapagos tours give you a unique opportunity to visit these islands, the Galapagos Islands emerged only a few million years ago from the bowels of the submarine plates. Born of fire, these young islands received only very few species- those who could endure a lengthy trip across over a thousand kilometres of open sea. Some flew, some swam and many where washed off by pure chance on floating vegetation rafts. In the young archipelago, genetic isolation produced new species. Galapagos has among the highest degrees of endemism in the world- species not found anywhere else in the planet. The absence of large terrestrial predators has contributed to one of the most astonishing features of Galapagos behaviour: the absence of fear.
You don´t have to be a nature enthusiast to enjoy fully a Galapagos experience. Jaw dropping volcanic landscapes, turquoise blue calm waters, lush highlands and beaches that range from jet black, green, golden, crimson red to pristine white sand. No island resembles to previous, nor are its inhabitants the same. Galapagos is the right destination for couples, families, single travellers of all ages. Families can enjoy special activities and kid friendly meals at kid friendly times upon request.
Santa Cruz II has five spacious decks, but cabins start at the horizon deck, two decks above engines, generators or props. This way no cabin is immediately above or next to these noise producing elements of the vessel. Guests board/disembark at sea level, in a safe but swift procedure. The expedition leader divides into small groups, based on language, interest, desire to be more active or take things at a more relaxed pace. While most vessels operate with a single guide for 16 guests, Santa Cruz II has an average of 11 guests per guide. Not only are our groups smaller and divided by affinity, but we share the national park visiting sites with no other vessel. On shore, when visiting more demanding trails, our expedition leader provides, if necessary, shorter hikes. For those who don´t feel like snorkelling, we are one of the very few ships that offer glass bottom boat rides. You are not deprived from experiencing the amazing under-water unique Galapagos wildlife.
Back on board, the Santa Cruz II ensures great service with a Passenger/staff ratio of 1.5; for every 3 guests, we have two crew members. The ship counts with experienced international accredited marine officers, in addition of a hotel manager, a purser, an expedition leader, adding to 60 crew members. We also have a permanent medical doctor on board. Our guests perceive her as a living insurance policy: should a medical emergency arise, remember Galapagos is a remote archipelago with remote islands. Some sites may be up to 150 nautical miles away from the nearest hospital or airport.
Choose from one of the two four-night itineraries, or the longer 5 night itinerary with two full days in the western realm of young volcanoes and the richest waters of Galapagos. If you are considering Galapagos because the unique wildlife, look at the BIG15 list of species and choose the best itinerary. If you are really keen on this list, take the eastern and western itineraries so you can complete a full 15 of the BIG 15 top species.
You can make it a romantic trip, a family trip or go with a group of friends. Whoever you travel with, you will be sure to have a memorable trip with lots of fantastic memories to take away with you.