Galapagos Islands on Beluga

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Cruise the magical Galapagos Islands aboard the deluxe Beluga

Details

Duration: 8 Days
Starts in: Ecuador
Group Size: 1-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Fly to Galapagos from Quito/Guayaquil, Charles Darwin Station and commence cruise

You can commence your itinerary in the city of Quito*, located in the highlands of Ecuador just south of the equator or alternatively you may chose to commence from Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador located on the banks of the Guayas River. From your starting city you fly to the Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands. You will then be met upon arrival and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station which is the working Galapagos based branch of the international non-profit Charles Darwin Foundation. Visitors learn about natural history, issues concerning the islands, and see the tortoise breeding and rearing project at work. Transfer to your boat to commence your cruise. *For anyone travelling to the Galapagos Islands we recommend you arrive in Quito or Guayaquil at least one day before your scheduled cruise in case there are flight delays or cancelations. We strongly recommend that you do not book flights out of Quito or Guayaquil for the same day your cruise finishes.

Floreana: Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay

NOTE: Itineraries are flexible and are subject to change according to weather, local conditions and circumstances beyond our control. You will follow one of two itineraries however please note they should be used as a guide only. These are offered on alternate weeks, your consultant will advise which itinerary is scheduled to operate on your desired date. The first itinerary (shown here) is the Fernandina itinerary. Located approximately 4 to 5 hours west of Española and equal distance south of Santa Cruz, Floreana has long been a favorite site of visitors including pirates, whalers and early settlers. We visit a Flamingo Lagoon where other species of shore birds may also be seen. It is a wet landing and highlights are: flamingo lagoon, Darwin Finch and Flour Beach. Note: please take caution not to disturb sea turtle nests. Swimming is not permitted at Flour Beach due to sting rays that frequent the area. We have a wet landing at Post Office Bay, where you may leave letters like whalers did in the 18th century in a wooden barrel mailbox. Notes: make sure to bring post cards to send to friends and family postage free. Next we go snorkeling at Devil's Crown, a submerged volcanic cone. Located just off Punta Cormorant this is the best snorkeling in the Galapagos! To see the crown you need to go underwater, an almost completely submerged volcano, which erosion has transformed the cone into a series of jagged peaks creating the "Devil's Crown". The remains of the volcano create a haven for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropical birds can be seen nesting in the crevices. The highlight of the visit is snorkeling in the center of the crater. You will play with sea lions, while swimming with schools of colorful king angel fish, balloon fish, hawk fish, scrawled filefish, yellowtail grunts, tiger snake eels, white-tipped sharks, eagle rays, amberjacks, wrasses, hammerhead sharks, and sea turtles. No landings are permitted here, this is a snorkel and dive site only. Highlights are: snorkeling inside cone with a variety of colorful fish; currents may be strong and large sharks may be present.

ISABELA: Sierra Negra and Puerto Villamil

Morning: VOLCAN SIERRA NEGRA Located in the southern part of Isabela between the volcanoes Alcedo and Cerro Azul. Sierra Negra's caldera at 6 miles x 5 miles is the largest in the Galapagos and the second largest in the world. The journey up to the crater begins at Puerto Villamil. From the town of Villamil you follow the road to the small town of Santo Tomas. The trip takes between 3 - 5 hours. The landscape along the way is quite lovely. Once on top there are a series of fumaroles inside small craters. The view during the "rainy season" is quiet spectacular. Afternoon: PUERTO VILLAMIL This port is home to many native Galapagenians and home to many important visitor sites. The port is surrounded by extensive, white sandy beaches with lagoons and wetlands on its borders. A great place to absorb history and culture, the town also provides shopping opportunities. Highlights are: Beautiful white sandy beach, marine iguanas, giant mangroves, small land tortoises, Shore Birds, Blue-footed Boobies, Tintoreras, giant tortoise. Activities include snorkeling and hiking.

ISABELA: Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay

Morning: PUNTA MORENO It is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted. The main attractions areL Blackish water lagoons, Flamingos and White cheeked pintail ducks. Highlights include: Flamingoes, gallinules, Pintail ducks, turtles, white tipped reef sharks. Afternoon: ELIZABETH BAY Elizabeth Bay is located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks. Highlights are: mangrove forest (unique in Galapagos), sea turtles, penguins, rays, herons and sea lions. Activity: Two-hour dinghy ride.

ISABELA: Urbina Bay - Tagus Cove

Morning: URBINA BAY Lying at the foot of Alcedo Volcano, south of Tagus Cove, is Urbina Bay (Urbina Bay) one of the best and the most recent example of geological uplift in the Galapagos. Here you can see Penguins, Noddy terns, Marine Iguanas and Historic graffiti. Afternoon: TAGUS COVE Lying directly east of Fernandina on the west coast approximately 2/3's of the way up Isabela is the narrow channel of Tagus Cove. The coves quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where blue-fitted boobies, brown noddies, pelicans and noddy terns make their nests, and flightless cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges.

FERNANDINA: Punta Espinoza & ISABELA: Punta Vicente Roca

The youngest of the Galapagos Islands, Fernandina is approximately 700,000 years old. It's location to the west and on the far side of Isabela makes it one of the least visited islands. Morning: PUNTA ESPINOZA (FERNANDINA ISLAND). Flightless Cormorant, Pelicans, Sea Lions, Sally Light Foot Crabs and an abundance of Marine Iguanas can be seen along the shores of one of world´s most active volcanoes. This is the youngest of the islands with the most active volcano there is plenty of lava and few plants. Note: this is the only island to never have introduced animals. Visitors should be careful to remain on the trail at all times and not to introduce any new species. Afternoon: PUNTA VICENTE ROCA Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. After the snorkeling you will go on a panga ride, which will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos' spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area.

JAMES ISLAND: Puerto Egas and BARTOLOME

Also known as James and San Salvador, the central location and numerous landing sites make Santiago a part of almost every Galapagos itinerary. This morning we are at Puerto Egas. Here you will see Galapagos Fur Seals in pools cut into lava cliffs and there is a good chance of spotting the Galapagos Hawk, the Galapagos Dove and Vermilion Flycatcher. Tucked behind Espumilla Beach are salt water lagoons where Flamingos and White Cheeked Pintail Ducks may be seen. This afternoon we enjoy Bartolome Island, which begins with a rock and concrete pathway. The walk continues through volcanic sand, which can be slow to cross. Once through the sand the steep ascent continues up a wooden stairway. From landing to top the walk takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Nowhere else is the geological history of the Islands better portrayed than here. The most impressive volcanic scenery. It is a dry landing and highlights include: view of Pinnacle Rock and panoramic view of other islands, excellent photographic opportunity. It is a steep trail with wooden steps. Note: bring water, good hiking shoes and a windbreaker. Take your time going up the steps. The view is well worth the walk!

Cruise concludes, fly to Quito/Guayquil

On your final day we make our way from North Seymour to Baltra. The largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds is found here, as well as nesting Blue footed Boobies and Swallow Tailed Gulls. We head back to the airport at Baltra for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland. Upon arrival on the mainland your trip concludes.

Additional Information

The Galapagos archipelago represents a spectacular and striking world of volcanic landscapes and fearless animals including Giant Tortoises, Fur Seals, Sea Lions, Land and Sea Iguanas and many species of birds. A cruise to this impressive wildlife sanctuary will be a memorable experience for those who appreciate close encounters with nature. Accompanied by a naturalist guide, this eight day cruise aboard the Beluga provides ample opportunity to explore the volcanic and wildlife rich islands. The Beluga is a deluxe 110 foot, steel-hulled motor vessel, fully air-conditioned and accommodates 16 passengers in double staterooms, each with private bathroom and shower. This trip can ideally be combined with any of our South American journeys.

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