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Galapagos Islands Cruise: 8-Day Cruise Aboard the 'Archipel I' - with unbiased reviews

Galapagos Islands Cruise: 8-Day Cruise Aboard the 'Archipel I'

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Overview
Experience a journey aboard the catamaran ‘Archipel I’, a comfortable motor yacht, as you sail around the UNESCO-listed Galapagos Islands on this 8-day cruise.  Accommodating no more than 16 passengers, this tour takes you to encounter land iguanas, giant tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches on nature walks, and listen to nightly briefings from a naturalist guide on-board. Sleep comfortably in your twin cabin equipped with sea-view windows. You will visit a variety of places from Santa Fe to Las Tintoreras, Elizabeth Bay to Punta Suarez and The Highlands to Tagus Cove. You will return home with stunning pictures and unforgettable memories that will last forever!
Important Information
Duration
8 days
Inclusions
  • Lodging on-board in a cabin with private facilities.
  • Tea, coffee & water throughout the cruise.
  • Full board meals: Breakfast, buffet lunch & dinner (starts with lunch on day 1 and finishes with breakfast on the last day)
  • Afternoon snack after excursion.
  • Snorkelling gear (masks, flippers and snorkel) and use of kayaks at designated sites.
  • All excursions as mentioned in the itinerary (itinerary subject to change)
  • Certified English-speaking naturalist Galapagos guide.
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Landing and facility fees
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee and/or Tea
Exclusions
  • Roundtrip flight to the Galapagos Islands.
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD 100 pp, subject to change); Transit Control Card (USD 20 pp, subject to change)
  • Airport transfers in Galapagos.
  • Soft & alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance and other items of personal nature.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (in mainland Ecuador)
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Additional Info
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the yacht, which will be waiting for you in the harbour.
  • After lunch, your first stop is Cerro Colorado, where the Tortoises Protection and Growing Centre is located. This centre was built to improve the status of the population of the island tortoises. The centre includes a large corral, a Visitors Centre, breeding centre and an interpretative trail. Along this trail it is possible to see different species of native and endemic plants as well as birds including the San Cristobal Mockingbird, Yellow Warblers, many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.
  • After breakfast you will take an unforgettable guided walk on South Plaza, the best place to encounter endemic Galapagos land iguanas. Arriving at the upper rim, about 20m/75ft downwards, impressively droning waves splash against the foot of massive cliffs. Clouds of petrels, storm petrels, shearwaters and brown noddies make spectacular flights and sometimes appear to walk on the waves. Take your binoculars and don’t miss the red-billed tropicbird with its graceful long tail and spectacular mating fights. These cliffs are also a nesting place for the endemic swallow-tailed gull.
  • Before lunch we will sail to Santa Fe, escorted by bottlenose dolphins if we’re lucky. After lunch you will land right in the middle of a Galapagos sea lion colony on the beach, where you will have time for a refreshing swim snorkel between tropical reef fish in the crystal clear azure waters of Barrington Bay. At the end of the morning we have a wet landing at the beach of Santa Fe from where we will take a guided nature walk.
  • Bottlenose dolphins frequently escort the passage to Champion Islet. Underwater, Galapagos sea lions are playful acrobats that become the number one attraction. There are also lots of reef fish, and the occasional green Pacific turtle. An inflatable dinghy ride along the shoreline of this islet offers sightings of lots of seabirds that are endemic to the archipelago, including Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls and lava herons.
  • The Asylum of Peace Island is of historical interest for guests. This hike goes past a mesmerising cave and visits a fascinating freshwater spring. On the other hand, La Loberia beach gets its name from the huge amount of sea lions that populate the island and rest on the sand. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy the ocean, go snorkelling and observe the cute sea lions that habit there.
  • For the last stop, our dinghies will bring you to the touristic pier of Puerto Ayora; from where you will be brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are carried out. The complex houses interpretation and information centres about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve around.
  • After lunch, your first stop will be Highlands in Santa Cruz. Here you will see wild Galapagos giant tortoises roaming on the woodlands in the populated agricultural zone of the island.
  • After the first breakfast, you will have the opportunity to spot White Tipped Reef Sharks in Las Tintoreras. These groups of islets are remnants of a lava stream that has ended up in the ocean, in which marine life got trapped. Here you can also observe rays, turtles and other types of smaller fish.
  • First, we will visit the Flamingos Lagoon, one of the main reproductive sites for the greater Flamingos. Also, you will get to discover the amazing and emblematic Giant Galapagos Tortoises in the Tortoise breeding centre, and maybe even get to see one hatch!
  • Punta Moreno is located between the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul, on the north coast of Isabela Island. The trail leads along the lava river Pahoehoe to a complex of several coastal lagoons. The main attraction are various bird species which can be found in lakes and mangrove forests.
  • After lunch, the inflatable dinghy will turn landwards, leaving the surf behind and entering the calm estuary of Elizabeth Bay through a narrow entrance. Graceful Pacific green turtles usually swim around, and you can might also see spotted eagle rays or sharks, besides brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies.
  • In the morning we will enter Bolivar Channel to Tagus Cove, meanwhile you can enjoy the delicious lunch buffet before snorkelling and visiting the island. During the hike along the inner crater ridge of Darwin Lake you can continue to a great viewpoint on the outer caldera rim, with views to the outstretched lava slopes of Darwin Volcano. During the hike you can spot different Darwin’s finches, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks.
  • On Isla Isabela, you will find the most particular natural selection. The figurehead is the emblematic
  • that lives exclusively in the remote west of the Galapagos, and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. You will also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcán La Cumbre as a spectacular backdrop.
  • After breakfast, your last stop will be Las Bachas. Behind one of the beaches there are small water lagoons, where one can occasionally observe flamingos and other coastal birds; on the second beach you can explore the remains of two abandoned warships from the Second World War.
  • After the last visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.
  • Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the yacht, which will be waiting for you in the harbour.
  • The tabletop islet of North Seymour is an uplifted part of the seabed. Between the dry shrubs you might sight a Galapagos land iguana. You can spot lots of seabirds, such as brown pelicans, red-billed tropicbirds, endemic swallow-tailed gulls and even Nazca boobies (seasonally). The main attraction is the archipelago’s most extensive breeding colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. At the beginning of the breeding season adult frigatebird-males blow up their vivid red pouches to impressive football-sized balloons.
  • At breakfast time we will sail to the nearby Prince Philip’s Steps, close to the entrance of the broken caldera. Sometimes a Galapagos fur seal will be resting on one of the shaded ledges. Here you can snorkel once again, and then follow the guided walk through clifftop seabird colonies. Following the exposed rim you will first pass a colony of Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places.
  • After lunch it is time to visit Darwin Bay. The small-scale area will surprise you as you find yourself walking along a coral sand beach, crossing barren lava formations and creeks, passing tidal pools, shrubs and further ahead following clifftops. Every single species has occupied its own ecological niche. Whimbrels and wandering tattlers forage actively along the surf, next to resting Galapagos sea lions. Impressive frigatebirds and red-footed boobies nest in the mangroves, where you can also hear the sounds of vocalists such as the yellow warbler, Darwin’s finches and the Galapagos mockingbird. What’s unique is that two subpopulations of the same species large cactus finch differ in their singing.
  • After breakfast, we will visit the island of Bartolomé. Climb the steps of the Bartolomé Peak Trail and you will be rewarded with panoramic views over volcanic peaks, lunar craters and lava fields. Afterwards you can refresh yourself at the foot of the famous "Pinnacle Rock" and explore the underwater world with a snorkel. At the foot of the mountain you can also discover a small colony of Galapagos penguins.
  • The arrival in Sullivan Bay is like a moon landing. The desolate, sprawling fields seem to be mostly lifeless, but this island, which is particularly popular among photographers, still offers a lot to see. There is even some life! Green sea turtles burrow at the small white sand beach, where you can also catch crabs, sight blue herons and oystercatchers.
  • the fourth morning our dinghies will bring you to the touristic pier of Puerto Ayora, from where you will be brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are being carried out. The complex houses interpretation and information centres about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve around.
  • After lunch, your first stop will be Highlands in Santa Cruz. Here you will see wild Galapagos giant tortoises roaming on the woodlands in the populated agricultural zone of the island.
  • After your first breakfast aboard the yacht, you will visit Cormorant Point. At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion-colony. The sand is green on this beach because it contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals, which have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones.
  • While having lunch we will navigate back to Post Office Bay. Post your holiday greetings in the historical barrel, one of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s north coast! Besides Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden cownose rays you might also spot Galapagos penguins.
  • On the north-eastern coast of the island of Española, the Gardner Bay offers a wonderful place to relax in the turquoise sea and to admire the large number of colourful reef fish. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel with alongside green sea turtles, or to enjoy the proximity of the playful Galapagos Sea Lion. In the crystal-clear ocean, sometimes whales can be sighted!
  • After lunch, we will visit another part of Isla Española. This rocky area is home to the most impressive and diverse seabirds of the archipelago. Here you will have the chance to meet the endangered Galapagos albatross, Blue-fronted and nazcat oil pipes, black-tailed gulls and also red-billed tropic birds, which are native to this island.
  • Two wind sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point constitute the extreme eastern end of San Cristobal. On the green sand beach, you will be welcomed by a cacophony of barking Galapagos sea lions. From the saltbush and spiny shrubs behind the beach, a trail leads up to an area of tropical dry forest vegetation. After the pretty steep climb through a gully to the clifftop, you can wander around the only colony on the Galapagos that is home to all species of booby.
  • After lunch, we will be directed to "Witch Hill". The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach, which hosts the remains of a tuff cone. It was one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has an impressive landscape; at times the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt may be found in the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine.
  • Our last stop will be Isla Lobos. The name of the island comes from the amount of sea lions that rest on the seaside. Though at first sight the barren rocks are overgrown by palo santo, this low islet houses male blue footed boobies and great frigate birds that try to impress the females with clumsy dances heaving their striking blue feet or blowing up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. You can also find a lot of life in the intertidal zone, including striking bright orange sally lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas on the boulders. On the horizon you can distinguish the contours of Kicker Rock. That impressive rock islet has become one of the landmarks of Galapagos.
  • After Isla Lobos, you will be transferred to San Cristobal Airport for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travellers
Cancellation Policy
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.

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Key Details
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Mobile Ticket Accepted
  • Languages Offered: English, Spanish
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Frequently Asked Questions about Galapagos Islands Cruise: 8-Day Cruise Aboard the 'Archipel I'