Our Western Galapagos cruise itinerary begins in Baltra, where we will board the ship and sail towards Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island for an interesting hike through palo santo forests that are full of the Galapagos’ famed land iguanas. Overnight, we sail around the seahorse-shaped Isabela Island to two great visitor sites: Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island (with the fascinating geology of the 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 archipelago’s biggest colony of marine iguanas and opportunities to see flightless cormorants). From there, we sail back around to Santa Cruz Island to visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, where scientists are involved in research and conservation efforts, the most well-known of which involves a captive breeding program for Galapagos giant tortoises. After that, we’ll spend the afternoon enjoying a range of activities. The following day finds us on Floreana Island, exploring its human history and stunning wildlife at both Post Office Bay and Cormorant Point. The next day we say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands after an amazing journey!
Western Galapagos Highlights
Western Galapagos Wildlife
Western Galapagos Itinerary Map
Day by Day
Day 1 - Baltra & Santa Cruz Islands
You will arrive at Baltra Island via 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 partake in an emergency boat drill, after which you will be assigned to your cabin and then be invited to lunch.
Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) [Santa Cruz Island]
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The first part of the walk here passes by a brackish-water lagoon that’s frequented by shorebirds, ducks and American flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the Galapagos, as well as a chance to check out some land iguanas.
Day 2 - Isabela & Fernandina Islands
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, we will get to explore the coast by dinghy, all while your naturalist guides explain the dramatic geology of the surrounding area. This site is also a nesting place for numerous Galapagos iconic species, such as: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, and boobies. Weather permitting, you will get the chance to snorkel alongside the cliffs of this area that are rich in marine life, oftentimes visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring Fernandina, the youngest island in the Galapagos Islands. The complete absence of introduced animals is one its biggest draws, as Fernandina boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas. Other Galapagos iconic species found here include sea lions, Sally lightfoot crabs, hawks, penguins and flightless cormorants.
Day 3 - Santa Cruz Island
Puerto Ayora & the Charles Darwin Research Station
In the morning, we 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 and conservation efforts, as well as the Galapagos 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 will be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, guests will return to Puerto Ayora and hop back aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise.
Day 4 - Floreana Island
Baroness Tower + Post Office Bay
After breakfast, a dinghy ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. Afterwards, you will get to experience Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana Island. Later on, we will land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the Galapagos Islands for over two centuries. It is here that you will be invited to leave your very own postcard and/or take postcards that have been left by other visitors (for you to hand-deliver to their addressee)! Snorkeling activities are offered right off the beach. Afterwards, we will head back aboard for lunch.
Champion Islet + Cormorant Point
Following lunch and a break, you will be invited to hop aboard the dinghies (for snorkeling) or the glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet – an extinct shield volcano that’s regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos Islands. From there, it’s onwards to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on an olivine-crystal beach for a leisurely walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species – such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and other birds – tend to gather. After this, we will 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 5 - Baltra Island
You will disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland.
Thursday to Monday*
Thursday to Monday*
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 Thursday. If a Thursday does not appear in our list of sailing dates, it is either because we are fully booked for that Thursday departure period or simply because we do not operate this specific itinerary on that Thursday 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, 2018 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.