This 6-day Athala II itinerary cruises the northwest Galapagos Islands, visiting Santiago, Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz and Bartolome, in addition to top sites like Puerto Egas, Urbina Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The 16-passenger Athala II provides an intimate small yacht atmosphere, comfortable accommodations, personalized service, a dedicated cruise director and fabulous cuisine.
This Northwest itinerary is a short version of the 8-day Athala II Genovesa Cruise. Athala II features two 8-day itineraries, which can be combined into a 15-day all encompassing cruise with no repeated landing sites, or shortened to 6-day itineraries. The Northwest cruise itinerary details are listed below. Click on the following links to view the alternative Athala II 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 Espanola 8 day/7 night
Athala II Southwest 6 day/5 night
Athala II Main Page
Day 1 - SAT - Baltra to Mosquera Islet
Arrive at the airport in Baltra and transfer to the dock for check-in. An introductory briefing & safety drill take place before lunch. This afternoon enjoy a panga ride to Mosquera Islet. This tiny islet is actually home to a huge population of sea lions and is also home to many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Once back on board enjoy a welcome cocktail and a delicious dinner.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
lunch and dinner
Day 2 - SUN - Sullivan Bay (Santiago) & Bartolome
Spend the morning at Sullivan Bay which is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows and unique geological scenery. Due to Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful, so pay particular interest to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo” as well as the lava cactus.
After lunch head to Bartolome, a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Usual fauna and flora includes sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays and colorful reef fish.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - MON - Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove (Isabela)
After breakfast explore Urbina Bay, located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. This is the spot where the Galapagos National Park began its successful eradication of goats on Isabela Island. After a wet landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Also, be on the lookout for Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.
Next navigate to Tagus Cove, which was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake. The activity is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, dolphins and whales are sometimes encountered so be on the lookout!Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - TUE - Punta Espinoza (Fernandina) & Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela)
Begin today at Fernandina Island, one of the most pristine ecosystems in the entire world and also one of the most dynamic. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009 and dominates the landscape, with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk. Snorkel here or just take in the sights and sounds of the wildlife.
This afternoon spend time at Isabela Island's Punta Vicente Roca. This is a wonderful deep-water snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride 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.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - WED - Puerto Egas & Espumilla Beach (Santiago)
Begin this morning with a landing on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background to enjoy hiking around Puerto Egas on the northwest side Santiago Island. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen. After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks.
Later tour the Espumilla Beach visitor site on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. This is a wet landing. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, the beach and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.Accommodations: Athala IIIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - THR - Charles Darwin Station
After breakfast, disembark on Santa Cruz Island and transfer to the Charles Darwin Research Station where you will gain insight into the great efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake. After this quick and informative visit, take an escorted transfer to Baltra airport for departure flights back 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); 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 8 years old (7 years old in 2013). 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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