The 5-day Galapagos Explorer II Northern Cruise Itinerary focuses on the central and northern islands of Santa Cruz, Santiago, Genovesa and San Cristobal. Begin the adventure by visiting Santa Cruz and Genovesa, with stops at Dragon Hill, El Barranco and Darwin Bay. A 2-hour hike around El Barranco on Genovesa Island provides great opportunities for sighting the great frigate bird, swallow tailed gull, barn owls, Galapagos fur seals and nazca boobies. Wrap up the excitement with an educational tour of the Galapagos Interpretation Center on San Cristobal.
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The small ship Galapagos Explorer II operates three itineraries: one 8-day/6-night, one 5-day/4-night and one 4-day/5-night, with no repeated landing sites. The Western Islands Itinerary details are listed below. Click the following links to view the other itinerary options. Contact AdventureSmith about combining cruises aboard the Explorer II for the most comprehensive visit to the Galapagos Islands. The Northern Islands Itinerary details are listed below. Click the following links to view the other itinerary options.
Galapagos Western Islands 8 day/7 night
Galapagos Eastern Islands 4 day/3 night
Explorer II Main Page
Day 1 - SAT - Baltra to Dragon Hill
Fly to the Galapagos to begin your cruise, arriving on Baltra Island, a small island located in the central part of the Galapagos Archipelago and transfer to the Galapagos Explorer II. This evening, your first island visit is to Santa Cruz Island's Dragon Hill. Hike along a path that takes you through three different environments in just 1600 meters for stunning views of the bay and an introduction to the famed Galapagos marine iguanas. Dragon Hill is so named because in 1975 it was one of the only places on Santa Cruz where land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus) were in a healthy state. That same year, the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Foundation initiated a program of land iguana conservation. Enjoy your first dinner on board as you set sail north toward Genovesa Island.Accommodations: Explorer IIIncluded Meals:
Day 2 - SUN - Darwin Bay & El Barranco
Known as the bird island, Genovesa is a small island, just 14 square kilometers located northeast of the Galapagos Archipelago. It has a single volcano that emerged only 76 m above the sea surface. The crater located in the center of the island contains a lagoon. Some of the birds to see are: frigates, masked boobies, gulls, hawks, red-footed boobies and the exceptional herons and gulls of the lava. The visit to Barranco includes a walk along a beautiful white coral beach and a mangrove forest, a nesting site for red-footed boobies and frigates. In the afternoon take a bay trip in a panga and go up the stairs of Prince Philip, named in honor of Prince Philip who visited Genovesa Island during the 1960s. Frigate birds are abundant. It is the best place to watch swallows, finches, red-footed and masked boobies, tropical birds and Galapagos gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world. Marine fauna around this island include sea lions and the smallest marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.Accommodations: Explorer IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - MON - North Seymour, Punta Carrion & El Chato
North Seymour Island is a spectacular place to hike, swim, enjoy snorkeling and diving. There is a circular path or trail that crosses the interior of the island and takes you to explore the rocky coast and through some of the largest colonies of seabirds. It was formed by the removal of underwater volcanic lavas. In 1932 and 1933, about 72 land iguanas from Baltra to North Seymour were brought by Captain Alan Hancock and his crew, with the intention that these animals could survive in better condition than in Baltra, where goats were introduced. The vegetation is shrub and hosts the largest nesting colony of the true Galapagos frigate. One of the best experiences is to look at frigate birds with their huge red gular sac hanging from their necks. They inflate these sacs when trying to attract or draw the attention of a female couple.
In the afternoon, visit the top of Santa Cruz Island, where giant tortoises can be seen roaming freely around the El Chato lagoon. They share the habitat with ducks and gallinules and sometimes with frigates bathing in the lagoon. Today's tour includes a visit to the lava tubes that were the product of a lava flow when the lava cooled outside while the inside was still flowing. They are really impressive in size and length, and give the feeling of being inside a volcano. You can hike and visit the farm to see the lava tunnels and submerged craters. The main part of the tunnel is lit. The largest tunnel is 1380 feet in length and the smallest is 165 feet. The road to the reserve is one of the best places to watch land birds. Tree and ground finches, vermilion flycatchers, cattle egrets and herons inhabit the area.Accommodations: Explorer IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - TUE - Punta Pitt & El Junco
Today marks the start of exploration on San Cristóbal Island, the only island with a fresh water lagoon, inside the Junco Volcano. Punta Pitt is located at the east end of San Cristóbal Island. The trail includes an olivine beach approximately 90 meters and a trail that ascends to the top of a volcanic tuff hill passing several natural viewpoints. Look for blue footed boobies nesting in the interior (rare in the cliffs), red-footed boobies nesting on bushes and masked boobies nesting in the cliffs. Another added attraction here is the presence of sea lion.
In the afternoon, visit El Junco Lagoon, which has an area of 60,000 m2 and a volume of 360,000 m3, equivalent to 9 million gallons of water. The lagoon is located 19 kilometers from port inside a small crater, which in turn lies within the caldera of a large volcano, now extinct and hard to distinguish without geological knowledge. The name of the lake comes from a type of plant that is common in the surrounding area, known as "junco." A stunning vista here affords views of most of the island, including the 3,000-foot peak of Cerro San Joaquin and the Punta Pitt cliffs to the northeast.Accommodations: Explorer IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - WED - Interpretation Center
This morning will be spent at the Interpretation Center. It was opened by the Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbón, in August 1998 who also enjoyed a cruise aboard the M/V Galapagos Explorer II. The tour offered by the facility takes you through the history of the islands, in their natural, human and conservation contexts. The Hall of Natural History explains a series of natural circumstances such as the origin of these volcanic islands, their remoteness from the continent, its currents, its special climate, the arrival of different species and their establishment, among others. Learn about the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the Galapagos, and the reality of today's Galapagos: the problem and the struggle of several institutions and individuals to conserve Galapagos. After this visit, enjoy free time to stroll along the seaside in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, shopping in small stores, enjoying the local cuisine or simply relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. Then head to the San Cristobal airport for flights returning home.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.
Accommodations, all meals, island sightseeing and guided visits to the islands. 2013 Mandatory Surcharge for Add-Ons Includes: Cruise's fuel surcharge, Galapagos National Park fee, Transit Control Card, tips for guides and crew, selected wines, spirits, cocktails, beers, coffees, tea, as well as bottled water, juices and soft drinks are complimentary in all bars and lounges (not included: premium champagne, wine and spirit selection, whiskies, cognacs, brandies and beers of selected brands, and caviar).
Elite Program in Renaissance Balcony & Majestic Balcony Suites Includes: Butler service (24-hour assistance), bottle of champagne in suite upon arrival, assistance for unpacking your luggage (upon request), luxurious bathrobes, linens and towels, room service (available all day up to 22:00), soft beverages from the mini bar, afternoon canapés served at your suite, exotic amenities for the bathroom, fresh fruit and local handmade chocolates in suite, selections of a variety of pillows, environmentally friendly beach bag, cloth drying and shoe shine service through the cruise, personalized stationery at your suite, exclusive cruise documents and online check-in process. Each suite is equipped with a 32" flat TV, blue Ray disc player with a special selection of movies, new elegant linens and special towel selection, Bose Sound Dock Series II digital music system.
Transfers from the Hotel to the Airport to take the flight to the Galapagos Islands. Roundtrip airfare from Guayaquil or Quito to the Galapagos Islands and ticketing fee. Government taxes. Consumption from the frigobar located in the suites are payable by the guest and at the rate indicated on the menu. (Elite program include soft beverages from minibar).
The supplement for single occupancy is 80% over the double rate. There is no single share program aboard the Galapagos Explorer II. Single and triple occupancy rates in Renaissance, Majestic, De Luxe or Classic Suites are available upon request. A discount of 20% is applied to the third person in a triple cabin.
Families & Children:
Children under 12 years old at the time of sailing receive 50% off when accompanied by an adult. Minimum child age is 7 years old. Holiday cruises children under the age of 12 pay 75% of the rate accompanied by an adult in the same cabin. One discount applies per cabin. Dedicated Galapagos Family Cruises are available, call for details.
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:
90 days or more - no penalty
89 to 60 days - $200 per passenger service charge
59 to 26 days - 50% of the total cruise rate
25 to 0 days - 100% of the cruise rate
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 is included for the duration of the cruise. Shortie wet suits are also available for rent and are recommended from June to December.
The Explorer II Northern Islands cruise will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health and leads an active life. 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.
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