The Beluga Galapagos Tower cruise itinerary consists of an 8-day/7-night cruise touring the Galapagos islands of Santa Cruz, Espanola (Hood), Santa Fe, Santiago (James), Genovesa (Tower) and San Cristobal Islands.
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While exploring these wonderful islands you can expect to discover fascinating flora including Scalesia forest, mangroves, orchids and the unique lava cactus. Also expect to get up close and personal with the land and marine iguana, friendly sea lions, blue-footed boobies, golden mustard rays, Galapagos penguin and if you are lucky you may spot one of the rare short-eared owls.
Dragon Hill, Santa Fe and Plazas are some of the most diverse sites in the Galapagos with countless birds, colorful marine and land iguanas and a rich marine environment with sharks, rays and sea turtles. Visit Kicker Rock, white-sand beaches and a museum in the "capital" of Galapagos, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. Snorkel with sea lions, view a blow hole and the waved albatross on Hood Island.
The Beluga Tower Itinerary is the Hood and James cruise itineraries combined. The Tower itinerary combined with the Fernandina itinerary to make an all encompassing 15-day/14-night cruise, or broken down into the Hood or James itineraries for shorter cruise options. The Tower details are listed below, or click the following links to view the other Beluga itinerary options.
Galapagos James 4 days/3 nights
Galapagos Hood 5 days/4 nights
Galapagos Fernandina 8 days/7 nights
Beluga Galapagos Cruise Main Page
Day 1 - FRI - Baltra to Dragon Hill
Upon arrival in Baltra meet your Expedition Leader and transfer to the Beluga. Cruise to the north shore of Santa Cruz Island and Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). A dinghy ride in shallow turquoise colored water gives the chance to see marine turtles, rays and sharks. Make a dry landing for a walk up to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site of a large number of land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
lunch and dinner
Day 2 - SAT - Santa Fe & Plazas, Santa Cruz
Santa Fe has one of the most beautiful coves of all the visitor sites in the Galapagos, a turquoise lagoon protected by a peninsula of rocks and small islands that extends from the shore. The Santa Fe species of iguana are a brighter yellow color and have uncommonly large spikes on their spine. The opuntia cactus, a favorite food of the land iguana, grows unusually tall here, up to 33 feet high and are the largest of their kind in Galapagos. Manta rays and sea turtles may be seen against the sandy bottom of Santa Fe's beautiful anchorage.
The Plaza Islands are situated off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island and has one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the archipelago and can be observed feeding on the prickly pear cactus. There are also iguanas that are a cross between the marine and land varieties. Along the sea cliffs frigate birds, shear waters, brown pelicans and masked boobies may be seen. You may snorkel from the beach where turtles, sharks and other fish are found.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - SUN - Witch Hill, Kicker Rock & Puerto Moreno, San Cristobal
Begin today at Witch Hill located on the northern coast of San Cristobal. This eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with its white powdery sand and the abundance of animals. The clear water provides an excellent opportunity for enjoying swimming and snorkeling.
Next cruise to Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido) also known as the Sleeping Lion because of its resemblance. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Islands natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many Tropicbirds, Frigates and boobies that fill the surrounding air. Beneath the sea the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.
After lunch tour Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - the Capital City of the Galapagos Islands. Visit the natural history museum as well as the cathedral with painted murals depicting Galapagos themes. The Natural History Museum is full of birds, iguanas, sea lions and dolphins as well as whalebones, tortoise shells, corals and crabs. The only living species in the museum is a tortoise called Pepe, who lives in an enclosure behind the main building.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - MON - Gardner Bay & Punta Suarez, Hood
Begin the day with a morning tour to Gardner Bay (Hood Island). Disembark at a white coral beach to take a short walk and watch the sea lions, mockingbirds and finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area if you wish to partake.
At Punta Suarez, take a walk along the lava terrain to visit its sea bird colonies, including the waved albatross (May - December), masked and blue footed boobies. Waves crash onto jagged cliffs and the famous blowhole shoots water up to 30 meters in the air.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - TUE - Highlands & Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz
Begin the morning with an enjoyable bus ride up to the Santa Cruz Highlands for exciting exploration of this unique region. Whether it's the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher or one of Darwin's Finch almost every bird present in the islands can be found here. Tracking tortoises is not the only exciting activity to be found in the highlands. There are also plenty of lava tubes, sinkholes and craters to explore.
After lunch, take a ten minute walk from the Center of town to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here, visitors learn about natural history, issues concerning the islands, and see the tortoise breeding and rearing project at work. The Darwin Station primarily a scientific operation, conducts research and assists other researches within the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Darwin Station has developed the curriculum for Galapagos Guides including the study of the Island's natural history, conservation and preservation of the islands.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - WED - Sombrero Chino & Sullivan Bay, James
Today's adventure begins at Sombrero Chino, a tiny island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. Its name (Chinese Hat) describes the island's shape. Make a wet landing on a beautiful crescent-shaped white sand beach, home to sea lions and sally lightfoot crabs. While the path does not lead up the striking red rust sides of the Sombrero to the caldera, it does venture high enough on the island to offer some spectacular views of the waves crashing below. Snorkeling in the waters near Sombrero Chino can create a stir; white-tipped sharks frequent the area, as do the playful Galapagos Penguins and sea lions.
After lunch explore Sullivan Bay. Here, the lava is known a Panoehoe (Hawaiian for Rope). This thin-skinned lava's molten material cools down after an eruption causing the surface materials to buckle creating a rope like appearance. Enjoy a hike about the lava fields that takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half. After exploring the lava flow, there is swimming and snorkeling with playful sea lions off two small coralline beaches.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - THR - Darwin Bay & Prince Phillips Steps, Tower
This morning we head to Darwin Bay. Make a wet landing on the white coral beach in the middle of the bay. Follow a trail around the coast through the Salt Bush and Mangrove nesting area of the Great Frigatebirds and Red-Footed Boobies. Climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching from the trail includes sightings of Sharp-Beaked Finches, Large Cactus Finches, Large Ground Finches, Galapagos Doves and Swallow-Tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff's edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.
This afternoon will be spent at the south tip of Genovesa Isaland (a haven for birds). Hike to Prince Phillip's Steps which consists of the remaining edges of a large crater that is now almost completely submerged, which is accessible through a gap from the foot of the volcano. The island attracts large numbers of ocean birds that come to nest and reproduce, including: great frigate birds, blue footed boobies, gulls and petrels.Accommodations: BelugaIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - FRI - Turtle Cove & Return to Baltra
Spend the morning at Black Turtle Cove, a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz which is a nursery for many sharks and rays. It is also a great location to observe mating sea turtles, after all the site takes its name for the black sea turtles that mate in these calm waters. There are large groups of resting white-tip reef sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays, and a few juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks and black-tip sharks. The water is nearly mirror-calm, and you often use paddles instead of the loud panga engines to move around the area. After an exciting morning at the cove, transfer to the Baltra airport for returning flights to the Mainland.Accommodations:
breakfastGALAPAGOS CRUISE INCLUSIVE PACKAGE:
For your convenience we offer an Inclusive Package with three nights hotel accommodations in Quito, all airport/hotel transfers, Galapagos flights, Galapagos National Park entrance fees and taxes, Galapagos migration card and your Galapagos cruise. View details of our Galapagos Cruise Inclusive Package
Travelers not interested in our inclusive package must purchase Galapagos flights in conjunction with their Galapagos cruise.
GALAPAGOS CRUISE CUSTOM PACKAGE:
If you are booking a cruise-only program our experts can assist with hotels, transfers, flights and tours. Call AdventureSmith Explorations about customizing your tour or the possibilities of combining this trip with our Mainland Ecuador
and Peru: Machu Picchu
extensions. We are Galapagos cruise and Ecuador travel experts and our staff can help you customize the perfect Galapagos cruise or Ecuador tour package.
Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.
Double accommodation in cabins, all meals, excursions and guides.
International airfare; Airfare from mainland Ecuador; Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee (US $100 per adult, $50 for children under 12 years old. This can be paid directly by passengers [cash only] or it is included in our INCLUSIVE PACKAGE TOURS); Galapagos National Institute Migration Control Card (US $10 per person); departure tax ($40.80); gratuities for guides, crew, drivers or local staff; bottled beverages on board; other personal expenses, medical services or insurance of any kind. Snorkel gear and wetsuits are available for rent. For 2013 Christmas and New Years weeks, a $130 holiday surcharge applies per person.
There is a 50% surcharge for single occupancy. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, a Roommate Share Program will guarantee double occupancy rates for boat cabins even if we are unable to match you with a roommate.
Families & Children:
Children under 12 years old receive a 40% discount when traveling with 1 adult. One child per adult at discounted rate. Not applicable over Christmas and New Years departures. There is no minimum age for children.
Arrival & Departure:
Most flights to the Galapagos will depart Quito or Guayaquil between 7:00am-9:00am on day 1 and return between 2:00pm-5:00pm on the final day. We highly recommend travelers arrive Ecuador 2 days prior to their Galapagos cruise.
Payment & Cancellation:
A cruise deposit of $700 per person is required at the time of booking. For land packages a deposit of $300 per person is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form
, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 61 days - 10% of total trip cost
60 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost
Terms & Conditions:
This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions
. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.
We highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance. Please note that you must purchase your travel insurance policy within 14 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Click the link below for a selection of policies from our partners at Travelex.
There are numerous opportunities to swim and snorkel. The underwater experience is an integral part of any Galapagos cruise. We encourage all travelers to try snorkeling. Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins, floating vest and net bag) and wet suits are available to rent for a fee. Wet suits are recommended from June to December.
Daily excursions from the boat to the islands will be made in pangas (dinghies). Trip members will hike from the landing point to specific areas for wildlife observation. Hiking time for most landings will be a couple of hours round-trip with lots of time to stop to study, photograph and enjoy the flora and fauna. Some landings are dry but many are "wet," requiring cautious footing on slippery rocks. The boat staff will be on hand to assist.
This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health and leads an active life.
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