Our Eastern Galapagos cruise itinerary begins from Baltra Island, after which a short journey aboard the Santa Cruz II 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 Center will open our eyes to the beauty of the Galapagos giant tortoise and to the important scientific work that continues to be done 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 (potentially) see red-footed boobies. From here, it’s on to the central islands, starting with Santa Fe, with its beautiful tranquil bay, before continuing to the wild cliffs of South Plaza Island with its alluring cacti, land iguanas and stunning marine birds. The following day we visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. Then, Española Island, voted the #1 island by guides and expedition leaders, awaits with its remarkable visitor site of Punta Suarez, home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sea lions, marine birds, and even albatross (present between April and December) – making this a truly stunning site! In the afternoon, we enjoy the water at Gardner Bay. The following morning we will wake up at Eden Islet and finish the day at North Seymour, famous for its land iguanas and sea lions as well as bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, and Nazca boobies. We finish at Baltra after a moving and memorable experience of the Eastern Galapagos Islands.
Eastern Galapagos Highlights
Eastern Galapagos Wildlife
Eastern Galapagos Itinerary Map
Day by Day
Day 1 - Baltra and Mosquera Islet
You will land in Baltra Island by plane in the morning and then transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise. After an introductory briefing onboard, we will all partake in an emergency boat drill, be assigned to your cabin and then be invited to lunch.
After lunch, the Santa Cruz II will sail and relocate just four nautical miles away from Baltra Island, right beside Mosquera Islet– a small piece of volcanic uplift that sits between the larger islands of Baltra and North Seymour. Mosquera Island is a long and narrow sand bank that’s surrounded by lava reefs. The excursion group will approach the island from its western shore, which consists of a long shallow reef and acts as the perfect nook for young sea lions. After a wet landing, naturalist guides will lead you past the sea lion colonies, where you will get the chance to learn more about the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos Islands. The walk is easy here, as it only involves walking across a few hundred meters of flat and sandy dunes.
Day 2 - San Cristobal Island
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
After breakfast, we will disembark (dry landing) at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the Galapagos Islands’ capital, and take a 40-minute drive over to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, you’ll get to visit the Breeding Center for highly endangered Galapagos giant tortoises that amble around under the cover of a fantastic deciduous forest. This forest also happens to be home to dozens of bird species (including the San Cristobal mockingbird) and the San Cristobal lava lizard – both of which happen to be endemic species on this island!
In the afternoon, we will disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, which consists of an eroded tuff cone and a trail that provides spectacular views of the coastline. This is the only site in the Galapagos Islands where the three species of boobies can (most likely) be found together! You are more than welcome to enjoy the walk or a dinghy ride along the coast. Snorkeling, swimming and kayaking activities are also available here.
Day 3 - Santa Fe & South Plaza Islands
Santa Fe Island
After breakfast, you hop aboard and ride a dinghy to disembark (wet landing) over at this idyllic white sand beach that’s home to plenty of sea lions. The endemic land iguana, which is exclusive to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk, typically sitting among the giant prickly pear cactus. Snorkeling and swimming from the dinghy rounds out this supremely rewarding experience. Alternatively, you can also opt to hop aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise’s glass-bottom boat. Kayaking is also offered here.
South Plaza Island
Following lunch and a break, we will disembark (dry landing) along the channel here, where turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Nearby, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent-green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for their prickly-pears to drop. Along the coastline, we will have the chance to spot sea lion colonies, all while frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide around, playing with the currents.
Day 4 - Santa Cruz Island
Puerto Ayora & the Charles Darwin Research Station
In the morning, we will disembark (dry landing) at Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Station consists of a giant tortoise Breeding Center and an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest that is home to many land birds. The Station also serves as the headquarters for scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following this visit, we will board a private transport to head up and enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, which is an entirely different ecosystem.
You will have several options to choose from in the afternoon, these of which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, guests will return to Puerto Ayora and hop aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise.
Day 5 - Española Island
An exciting walk awaits at this site, where you can be sure to enjoy the unique variety of sea bird colonies present. Galapagos albatross (present between April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls are all present here. Guests will also get to experience the Galapagos’ famous “blowhole” geological phenomenon. Red-green-black marine iguanas are also present here. Afterward, guests will head back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay & Osborn Islet
In the afternoon, the postcard-worthy coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby Osborn Islet provide a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches as you take your time to simply relax or take a dip in the water for some excellent snorkeling. Kayaking activities are available here too.
Day 6 - Santa Cruz & North Seymour Islands
Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island)
After breakfast, a panga ride takes us over to Eden Islet – a small islet located off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. It is here that you will have the chance to observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks swimming around and frigatebirds flapping about. There’s a chance to snorkel and, weather permitting, take a ride aboard the glass-bottom boat or do some kayaking.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour is the result of oceanic uplift that resulted from a volcanic event long ago. Its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing site (dry landing). These trees are typically leafless, remain dormant for half of the year and spend most of their time waiting for the rains as their cue to burst into bloom. This is a great site to watch as bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls all fly around. You will also get the chance to experience sea lions and marine iguanas.
Day 7 - Baltra Island
On the last day, you will disembark at Baltra Island, take the transfer to the airport and hop on your flight back to the continent.
Friday to Thursday*
Friday to Thursday*
Prices (per person) & Conditions
- All meals
- Bilingual naturalist guides
- Conferences and lectures
- Visits to the islands mentioned in the itinerary
- Transportation to/from the airport in Galapagos on cruise arrival and departure dates
- Snorkeling equipment
- Glass-bottom boat
- Onboard Medical Assistance
- Luggage handling
- Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Wyndham, Sheraton) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.
- Airline tickets to/from Galapagos*
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$100 per person)**
- Transit Control Card for Galapagos (US$20 per person)**
- Wetsuits (available for rent)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages*** (you can also ask your destination expert to include a drinks package in your quote. Ask us about all the available options we have for you!)
- Gifts and additional items
- Fuel surcharge
- Wi-Fi internet (Intermittent and low-bandwidth. Available for an additional fee)
*Upon request, airline tickets can be included. Metropolitan Touring guarantees availability of these flights. Airfare is subject to change.
**Upon request, we can include the Galapagos National Park and INGALA Transit Control Card fees (US$100 and US$20 respectively and subject to change without prior notice). However, due to logistical reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operational departure date and not before.
***Guests may bring their own wine or spirits; however, there is a corkage fee of $25 USD + tax.
*This itinerary departs every second Friday. If a Friday does not appear in our list of sailing dates above, it is either because we are fully booked for that Friday departure period or simply because we do not operate this specific itinerary on that Friday departure period due to our 15-day sailing cycle (to cover each separate region of the archipelago).
1) During peak season dates, Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to prioritize reservations taking into account factors such as payment and confirmation dates. A peak season supplement also applies.
2) Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to limit the number of twin/double cabins for single use dependent on availability.
3) Explorer Cabins for single use incur a surcharge of 15% of the price per person. Only 5 cabins are available for single use. Please check availability first.
4) If more cabins are needed for single use, twin/double cabins incur a 100% surcharge when used as singles. Please check availability first.
5) Explorer Family Cabins (2) for twin/double use incur a 50% surcharge per person.
6) Explorer Family Cabins accommodate 2 adults and 1 child under 12 years old, only in exceptional cases will 3 adults be allowed. Please check with your Destination Expert regarding limitations and requirements, prior to confirming.
7) Regardless of the number of cabins occupied, the ship’s authorized maximum operating capacity cannot exceed 90 guests.
(#) = number of cabins per category
Validity: January 01, 2019 thru December 31, 2019 (except Peak Season)
All rates are subject to change. In the event of an increase in fuel price, a fuel surcharge will apply.