Explore the Galapagos Western and Northern Islands up close and in style aboard the 20-passenger sister yachts Eric, Letty and Flamingo. This route explores San Cristobal, Genovesa, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago and the Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island before returning back to San Cristobal.
The Eric, Letty and Flamingo each offers talented naturalist guides, easy nature hikes and snorkeling. Each naturalist takes a group of no more than 10 passengers on all shore excursions and shares extensive insights into the Islands' diverse wildlife and natural history. Small wooden boats locally called "pangas" ferry passengers to shore for Island visits. Families appreciate select Galapagos family cruises geared towards active travelers with children. Observe and photograph tortoise, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, volcanic landscapes and vivid sunsets.
View the Western Route Cruise details below or click on the following link to view the alternate itinerary.
Galapagos Islands Southern/Central Route
Galapagos Eric, Letty, Flamingo Main Page
Day 1 - SUN - La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado
Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, the crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to your anchored yacht. After the welcome briefing, buffet lunch and safety drill, travel by bus into the interior of San Cristobal to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises that you will encounter living in their natural habitat. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals at the information center for visitors. Along the trail, find the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Join your fellow yacht mates this evening for your first briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
lunch and dinner
Day 2 - MON - Darwin Bay & Prince Phillip's Steps
Spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa) Island, considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in Galapagos for bird species. This morning, make a wet-landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest. The trail leads through a rich inter tidal zone with a wide diversity of wildlife.
This afternoon, make a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees and Nazca boobies nest near the trail. In an open lava field, find storm petrels in large numbers. If you are lucky, you may see the elusive short-eared owl. After the walk, kayaks are available to paddle and zodiacs to ride along the shoreline. Look for the beautiful red-billed tropic bird usually found in the crevices. You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters, or for those with experience, you can snorkel in deeper water. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner before crossing the equator.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - TUE - Las Bachas, Black Turtle Cove & Cerro Dragon
This morning visit Las Bachas, which is the Spanish translation for “barges.” There is a long stretch of a soft-white sand beach and interior lagoons where the greater flamingo feeds and mates. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel here from the beach. At Black Turtle Cove take a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you can view pairs of mating sea turtles (September to February), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays.
Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon, which means Dragon Hill in Spanish. Along the trail, find Darwin finches, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers, audubon shearwaters and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs, that were once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. Find pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds; stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the second time.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - WED - Punta Espinoza, Urbina Bay & Punta Vicente Roca
This morning, take a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine island in Galapagos with no introduced mammals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless cormorants build their nest on the point and Galapagos hawks fly overhead. There is a chance to snorkel here with sea turtles. Return to the yacht, where you'll have to option to eat picnic style lunch served on deck. Those who choose to have a picnic-style lunch will have more time to swim, snorkel or kayak from the yacht after lunch allowing more free active time.
Set sail, crossing the Bolivar Channel where whales and dolphins are often spotted riding the bow wave. Disembark in the afternoon at Urbina Bay to find four miles of coastal seabed with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas and occasionally giant tortoises and Darwin finches. Brown pelicans and flightless cormorants also nest here. Giant marine iguanas are seen along the coast, and you may encounter penguins while snorkeling. At Punta Vicente Roca, a zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls. Enter the wave-sculpted cave and find sea turtles. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - THR - Elizabeth Bay & Tagus Cove
Start the day with a zodiac ride at Isabela Island's Elizabeth Bay. Begin with a visit to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Here, turtles, rays and shore birds can be seen. Motor to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas,” where a colony of nesting penguins, flightless cormorants and giant marine iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos.
In the afternoon, make a dry landing at Tagus Cove, also located Isabela and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Graffiti dating back to the 1800s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the coves by zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling opportunity is offered from the zodiac or take out a kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons you to go out on deck and observe the galaxy while crossing the equator for the third and last time.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - FRI - Puerto Egas & Rabida
This morning, make a wet landing at Puerto Egas, Santiago (James) Island. Stroll along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos' deep pools of clear water; encounter the fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a snorkeling opportunity. After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here.
This afternoon, disembark on Rabida Island (Jervis), located off James Island. Rabida sports the most diversified volcanic rocks of all the islands and is considered the geographic center of Galapagos. The dark red-sand beach originated from the erosion of volcanic stones. Follow a trail that leads to a salt water lagoon, and observe greater flamingos as they feed. Brown pelicans nest in the mangroves at the far side of the lagoon. After the walk, there is a not-to-miss snorkeling option with a large colony of sea lions. Return to the yacht for the Captain’s farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - SAT - Highlands, Darwin Station & Puerto Ayora
Travel by bus to the Highlands of Santa Cruz to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The scenery gradually changes as you wind your way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, visit the tortoise reserve at Las Primicias, one of the private farms in the highlands where you can encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Stop at "the tunnels," the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. Look out for the bright-red male vermilion flycatcher. After lunch, have a final briefing and visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena, or the Charles Darwin Research Station. See all three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. Stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits and a presentation. Visitors can see the tortoise and land iguana corrals. Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for a buffet dinner or remain in town on your own account. Those who return to the yacht will be provided zodiacs to return to town to shop for souviners, watch a soccer game or stop at a pub or internet café. Zodiacs will be provided for your return to the yacht.Accommodations: Eric, Letty or FlamingoIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - SUN - Interpretation Center & Return to Mainland
Retrun to San Cristobal Island to visit the Interpretation Center opened in 1999. Here, gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland departing before noon.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.
Passengers can disembark on Friday in Baltra for a shorter 7-day cruise on non-holiday departures (2013 holiday departures: Mar 31-Apr 7, Dec 22-29, Dec 29-Jan 5). The 7-day rate is a 10% discount off the 8-day cruise rate and cannot be combined with any other promotional or child discounts. For those passengers departing early and requiring an airport transfer, there is an additional charge of $90 total when there are 3 or less passengers to provide a transfer to Baltra. The return flight from Baltra is subject to availability and confirmation is requested at the time of booking.
Extend Your Trip:
Book two consecutive Eric, Letty, Flamingo 8-day cruises back to back for a 15-day cruise, and take a 5% discount on both weeks, applicable on any week excluding holiday departures. 2013 holiday departures: Mar 31-Apr 7, Dec 22-29, Dec 29-Jan 5.
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. Passengers will be assigned to any of the three identical sister yachts Eric, Flamingo or Letty at the boat operator’s discretion.
Cruises include accommodation, all meals and snacks, non alcoholic beverages, purified water, Captain's welcome and farewell cocktail, local Ecuadorian beer and house wine with dinner, guide services, shore excursions, use of wet suits, snorkeling equipment and sea kayaks, transfer in the Islands between the airport and dock.
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 ($43.90 from Quito, $28.27 from Guayaquil); gratuities for guides, crew, drivers or local staff; alcoholic beverages except beer/wine with dinner; other personal expenses; medical services or insurance of any kind. For special occassions, you may order a bottle of Chilean wine ($30) or a birthday cake ($20) to be served at dinner time. A fruit basket ($10) can be placed in your cabin.
Single cabins are limited and assigned to the best cabin available at the time of sailing. Travelers willing to share are available on a limited basis on the Iguana deck only. Shares that remain unmatched 60 days prior to departure are subject to pay the difference for a single rate. Only if the share is matched is the share rate applied. Triple cabins are available on the Iguana deck only in cabins I9 and I10.
Families & Children:
Children age 11 years and younger at the time of sailing are entitled to a 25% discount off the cruise rate and a 50% discount off the airfare and park tax (when booking the inclusive package) with a photocopy of the child's passport showing date of birth. Children ages 12-17 are entitled to a 15% discount off the cruise rate only. Children under age 7 are not accepted unless the parents or legal guardians sign a hold harmless release. Children age 11 and younger are only permitted on a designated family departure. Special family departures are designated during school breaks. Children under the age of 5 are only permitted on exclusive charter basis. Only one child discount is given per every adult fare paid with a limit of two per family. The total number of child discounts on any one departure may be limited. Children under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Child discounts are applied to cabins on the Iguana deck unless not otherwise available. No child discounts are given on cruises that fall over the specified holiday weeks (2013: Mar 31-Apr 7, Dec 22-29, Dec 29-Jan 5).
Designated family departures are geared towards families who prefer to travel with other families with similar age children. These family departures feature age-apropriate activities and kid-friendly meals. Kids can visit the bridge and learn about astronomy, navigational charts and tie nautical knots with the captain. Special game nights and events like drawing contests and talent shows are planned.
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 ($1000 for singles) 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. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days - $250 service charge
89 to 60 days - full deposit forfeited
59 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost
A special cancellation policy applies to Galapagos Eric, Letty and Flamingo Holiday cruises (2013: Mar 31-Apr 7, Dec 22-29, Dec 29-Jan 5). Holiday cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 180 days - $250 service charge
179 to 120 days - $500 service charge
119 to 90 days - full deposit forfeited
89 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. Snorkel, mask and fins are provided on board for all passengers, to use. Full 3mm wetsuits are available aboard the vessel for passengers to use at no additional charge. For those passengers who wish to reserve a wetsuit in advance at a cost of $25, we need to know your preferred sizes. Men: SX, S, M, ML, L, XL, XXL, XXXL Women: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 (based on US Sizes) Children: 10 (S), 12(M), 14(L)
This trip 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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