The 8-day Athala II Espanola itinerary cruises the Southern Galapagos Islands, visiting Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana and Espanola Islands, in addition to top sites like Rabida, Post Office Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The 16-passenger Athala II provides a intimate small yacht atmosphere, comfortable accommodations, personalized service, a dedicated cruise director and fabulous cuisine.
This Espanola itinerary is one of two unique 8-day/7-night Galapagos Athala II itineraries. When combined consecutively the two 8-day cruises equal a 15-day/14-night all-encompassing Galapagos cruise with no repeated landing sites. There is also the option of excluding the last two cruise days of the Genovesa or Espanola itineraries to create 6-day/5-night shorter excursions ending with the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Espanola cruise itinerary details are listed below. Click on the following links to view the alternative itineraries or to go back to the main page. Please contact our Galapagos Cruise experts if you have any questions.
Athala II Genovesa 8 day/7 night
Athala II Northwest 6 day/5 night
Athala II Southwest 6 day/5 night
Athala II Main Page
Day 1 - SAT - Baltra to Sombrero Chino
Upon arrival to the Baltra airport, transfer to the dock and check in to your cabin. After an introductory briefing and safety drill, enjoy lunch aboard. This afternoon take a panga ride to Sombrero Chino, a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means Chinese hat, no doubt derived from its unique shape. There are various interesting geological formations that make this island a great visit for scenic photos. It is also home to various marine species such as very colorful Aally lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Keep an eye out for different species of Darwin’s finches as well. After touring the islet, return to the ship for a welcome cocktail and delicious dinner.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
lunch and dinner
Day 2 - SUN - Cerro Dragon & Rabida (Santa Cruz)
Wake up and enjoy breakfast before heading to Cerro Dragon. The name (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming from the beach after the walk.
Spend the afternoon at Rabida, a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red-sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or on a panga ride.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - MON - Port Villamil & Wall of Tears (Isabela)
After breakfast, make a dry landing at Port Villamil on Isabela Island, the archipelago's largest island. This quaint, friendly port town is your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound. Various activity choices including excursion to the wetlands, snorkeling, kayaking, visit to the tortoise rearing center and “Wall of Tears” and relaxing
at the beach. Lunch is served between activities, midday, on board the ship.
Excursion details: The Tortoise Breeding Center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys, as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise and all Galapagos species. The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The Wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules and other shore birds. The Wetlands can easily be reached on foot or bicycle via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps. The Wall of Tears is a site where a penal colony existed between 1945 and 1959. Prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet took the lives of thousands during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of the past.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - TUE - Post Office Bay & Cormorant Point (Floreana)
This morning's excursion will be on Floreana Island, one of the Galapagos most famous, or shall we say, “infamous” of islands due to many strange stories regarding past settlers. There are many wonderful and diverse sites to visit including Post Office Bay and the Baroness’s Viewing Point. Marine life also abounds in Floreana’s coastal regions making it a fantastic site for snorkeling or kayaking, which you'll have time to do before lunch. Flamingos populate the island and may be seen during your visit. The Baroness’s Viewing Point is the perfect place to take in the special environment that defines Floreana, and a great spot to talk and ponder regarding the intriguing history of the Baroness and her three lovers! The next visit is to famed Post Office Bay. In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box; the tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.
After lunch, visit Cormorant Point and Champion Islet with snorkeling and a panga ride. A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where everything from Flamingos to stilts and pintail ducks can be observed. The beach nearby is also quite special and known as the “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - WED - Cerro Brujo & Isla Lobos (San Cristobal)
Located on the north coast of San Cristobal Island, this eroding tough cone offers a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming, snorkeling and panga ride experiences. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is also home to many sea lions and it’s also the first coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on the archipelago! This afternoon head for Isla Lobos, named after its large colony of sea lions (also called “lobos,” or wolves in Spanish), passing by Kicker Rock Islet en route. Usually visitors may have close encounters with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling, at Isla Lobos. However, this small islet offers much more including blue footed boobies, frigates and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: the fur sea lion.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - THR - Charles Darwin Station & Highlands (Santa Cruz)
Land at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake. After the visit drive by bus to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - FRI - Punta Suárez & Gardner Bay (Espanola)
Punta Suárez is one of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos. Due to its isolation from other islands, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. A few steps inland from the landing site, groups of Española marine iguanas bask in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail, Galapagos doves peck around unaware of visitors and finches go about their day to day business. The trail continues toward a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air like a geyser. The cracks in the cliffs are home to swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find waved albatrosses nesting. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. They perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.
After lunch, Gardner Bay offers the chance to enjoy a wonderful white sandy beach. It is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions, and it is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Throughout the morning there are opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - SAT - Daphne Major & Disembark Baltra
This early morning enjoy a circumnavigation of Daphne Major, located between Santa Cruz and Santiago Islands. A select handful of scientists have long studied bird life on these islands, especially Darwin’s finches. Your guide will point out the bird-life as well as explain some of the important research carried out on the islands from the vantage point of the yacht’s deck, as visitors are not allowed to walk on these islands due to their very fragile nature. Disembark on Baltra and transfer to the airport for return flights to mainland Ecuador.Accommodations:
breakfastGALAPAGOS CRUISE INCLUSIVE PACKAGE:
For your convenience we offer an Inclusive Package with three nights hotel accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil, 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. Contact 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 aboard the Athala II, all shore excursions with English speaking guides, soft drinks and juices on board, VIP lounge at Baltra airport on outbound flight from Galapagos, VIP lounge at Quito or Guayaquil airport on flights to Galapagos, use of snorkel equipment, use of 3mm "shorty" wet suits, complimentary one time fully stocked mini bar, shared transfers between Baltra airport and the Galapagos dock upon arrival and departure on Saturday.
Fuel Surcharge $200 per passenger ($400pp for 14-night); $20 Puerto Villamil tax, 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); gratuities for guides, crew, drivers or local staff; alcoholic beverages; other personal expenses; medical services or insurance of any kind. Peak/holiday departures have a $400 per person surcharge. Peak season 2013: March 23-30, Dec 21-28 and Dec 28-Jan 4. If booking a 14-night cruise and one part is high season and the other is low season, then high-season rates will apply. For 6-day cruise: Private transfer from Puerto Ayora to the Baltra airport on Thursday - 1 pax $140, 2-3 pax $80, 4-7 pax $50, 8-14 pax $30 per person.
Travelers can book a double room at 1.5X the double rate for Staterooms aboard Athala II. There are no triple cabins available.
Families & Children:
Minimum child age is 7 years old. Children under 12 receive a discount of 25% (not available on holiday departures) if sharing a cabin with an adult. Families traveling with children under 12 can be accommodated in select cabins. These cabins have a sofa that can be converted into a comfortable bed. Children booked in double cabin for single use pay the adult rate.
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:
Cruise prices, fuel surcharge, National Park fee and TCT are subject to change without prior notice. 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. 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 121 days - deposit will be refunded, minus $200 service charge
120 to 61 days - all deposits non-refundable
60 days or less - 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, kayak and snorkel; no previous experience required. 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), kayaks and shortie wet suits are provided on the Athala II. According to National Park regulations, kayaking is only permitted at certain sites with a maximum number of 8 passengers in 4 double kayaks.
Guests aboard Athala II Galapagos small ship cruises should be in good physical health in order to be able to make the most of their Galapagos cruise. Visiting the different islands involves the use of small motorized dinghies, or pangas as they are locally known, and there are some landings on wet and slippery lava rocks. The daily nature treks may include walking on irregular and elevated terrain and getting in and out of the pangas occasionally requires some physical effort. If a passenger suffers from any medical condition, we advise consulting a physician prior to booking the cruise.
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