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2018

5 Days / 4 Nights Western Islands Galapagos, Thursday to Monday

santa western sea lion

Western Islands Galapagos Itinerary

 

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. From there, we sail back round to Santa Cruz to visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station where scientists are involved with research and conservation efforts, the most well-known of which involves a captive breeding program for giant tortoises, and then spend the afternoon enjoying a range of active options. The following day finds us on Floreana Island, exploring its human history and stunning wildlife at both Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant. The next day we say goodbye to the islands after an amazing journey! The entire crew aboard the Santa Cruz will do our utmost to ensure that your Galapagos experience is truly, deeply moving and memorable.

Western Galapagos Island

  • Baltra
  • Isabela
  • Fernandina
  • Santa Cruz
  • Floreana

Highlight Sites

  • Post Office Bay
  • Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Punta Espinoza

Iconic Species

  • Blue-Footed Boobies (BIG15)
  • Nazca Boobies (BIG15)
  • Flightless Cormorant (BIG15)
  • American Flamingos (BIG15)
  • Great & Magnificent Frigatebirds (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Hawks (BIG15)
  • Land Iguanas (BIG15)
  • Marine Iguanas (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Penguins (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Sea Lion (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Fur Seal (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoises (BIG15)
  • Galapagos Doves
  • Darwin Finches
  • Brown Pelicans
  • Swallow-tailed Gulls
  • Lava Gulls
  • Lava (striated) Herons
  • Galapagos Mockingbirds
  • Floreana Mockingbirds

Western Galapagos tour 5 days map

Western Galapagos tour 5 days with Big15

Western Galapagos tour map with Big15

Itinerary Highlights

tortoise

aquatic activites galapagos islands

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Thursday
Baltra Island
We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.
Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). The first part of our walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and American flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.

Day 1 Santa Cruz ii

Day 2: Friday
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, boobies, etc. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.

Day 2 Santa Cruz ii

Day 3: Saturday
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
Santa Cruz Island
We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

Day 3 Santa Cruz ii

Day 4: Sunday
Baroness Tower – Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)
After breakfast, panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. We follow this visit by continuing to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. We land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkelling off the beach. We then head back on board for lunch.
Champion Islet – Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)
Following lunch and a siesta, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Day 4 santa cruz ii

Day 5: Monday
Baltra Island
We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
santa cruz departure dates 2018

Prices 2018 per person

Cabin 2018
Horizon Deck Explorer Family (Triple) (2) $ 3,556
Horizon Deck Explorer (Twin/Double) (23) $ 3,784
Horizon Deck Voyager (Single) (2) * $ 4,364
Expedition Deck Explorer (Twin/Double) (17) $ 3,936
Panorama Deck Explorer (Twin/Double) (3) $ 4,052
Panorama Deck Darwin Suite (Twin/Double) (3) $ 4,592

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* Only 5 cabins are available for single use

Important Notes:
1) During Peak Season dates, Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to prioritise reservations taking into account factors such as payment and confirmation dates.
2) Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to limit the number of twin/double cabins for single use dependent on availability.
3) Twin / Double Cabins for single use have a surcharge of 15%.
4) Triple cabins (2) for twin/double use incur a 50% surcharge per person.
5) Regardless the number of cabins occupied, the ship’s authorized maximum operating capacity cannot exceed 90 guests.
* () number of cabins per category

 

Validity: January 01 thru December 31, 2018 (except Peak Season)
All rates are subject to change. In case of increase in fuel, prices fuel surcharge will apply.

Packing List

  • 1 small backpack
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sneakers with rubber soles
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long and short sleeved shirts
  • Wind breaker
  • Bathing suit or a wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months
  • Hat or cap
  • Sunblock and repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera & video recorder
  • Any medicine you may be taking
  • Book/Notebook

Our itineraries include:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Island sightseeing
  • Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish (guiding in other languages – French, Italian – is available upon request for groups larger than 10 guests and for German groups is a minimum of 4 guests)
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Luggage handling
  • Medical care on board (not including the cost of medication)
  • Taxes
  • Transfers in the islands
  • Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton, Unipark) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.

Not included:

  • Wet Suits: Available for rent, NET rate US$ 15 + VAT per guest for 5- or 6-day expeditions
  • Air transportation to / from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Migration Control Card (US$ 20 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Alcoholic ***- and non alcoholic beverage
  • Internet / Wi-Fi ****
  • Gratuities
  • Gifts and additional items
  • Travel insurance

Special Notes

**At your request, we can include the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$ 100 and Migration Control Card Fee of US$ 20 (subject to change). However, please note that, due to administrative and operational reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operation departure date. This service does not apply for guests who travel before a departure date (even if the departure is with us).

*** Please note, we charge guests who wish to bring bottles of wine and/or spirits aboard our vessels a corkage fee of US$ 25+taxes.

**** Internet connections onboard consist in computer stations and wifi in the vessel’s social areas; due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.

Important Notes

  • Our company guarantees air space space for all Galapagos products
  • Galapagos itineraries are subject to change due to weather, logistical, Galapagos Park regulations or operational reasons
  • All rates are subject to change. If fuel prices increase, additional charges may apply
  • During peak season dates, our company reserves the right to prioritise reservations taking into account factors such as payment and confirmation dates
  • Our company reserves the right to limit the number of Explorer and Voyager cabins (twin/double) for single use dependent on availability
  • Explorer and Voyager cabins (twin/double) for single use incur a 15% surcharge. Only 7 cabins are available for single use
  • Regardless the number of cabins occupied, the ship’s authorized maximum operating capacity cannot exceed 90 guests
  • There’s no laundry service on-board but there are two domestic dryers for your use

 

Baggage important notes:

  • Airlines are strict with baggage limitations. The current limits are 23 kg (50.6 pounds) for checked items, 8 kg (17 pounds) for hand luggage and 1 personal item (handbag, camera bag, laptop, etc.)
  • All baggage must be securely packed, properly and clearly labeled. Liquid, fragile, perishable and other articles not suitably packed are transported at guests’ own risk.
  • Our company is not responsible for loss or damage to baggage or any other personal item during air travel. Baggage and personal belongings will be taken off the ship upon guest disembarkation. Under no circumstances will baggage be stored on board without the owner of such baggage being on the vessel.
  • Our company is not responsible for baggage stored in shoreside facilities.
  • Under no circumstances may dangerous items (including but not limited to: explosives, firearms, combustible or illegal substances) be taken aboard the ship. We recommend that you hand-carry travel documents (passport, visa, cruise tickets), medications and valuables. These items are the full responsibility of the guest at all times. Our company shall not be responsible for the loss of, or damage to, such personal items.
  • Our company reserves the right to charge for the return of personal items left on board or lost and subsequently found.

 

Restricted Baggage in the Galapagos

Local authorities manage the quarantine system of the Galapagos National Park in order to reduce the possibility of foreign species invading the archipelago. All cargo and luggage that arrives to Galapagos National Park or that is transferred from one island to another must be inspected. All aircrafts are disinfected with Permethrin before landing. To preserve the human health and the native species of the Galapagos Islands, the following products may not be transferred to Galapagos: fresh vegetables and fruits, animal products and or their derivatives, dairy products. Other live animals, pathological samples, dry coffee beans, genetically modified organisms, forest species or their disseminative parts, grass and its disseminative parts, fresh flowers, medicinal plants and their disseminative parts, banana tree leaves, micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria, etc.) soil and sand, and animal vaccines.

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