The Cachalote Fernandina itinerary consists of an 8-day/7-night cruise touring Galapagos' central and western islands - Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, Fernandina and Santiago. This fantastic itinerary will bring you to the hotspots of the Galapagos for up-close encounters with the unique flora and fauna. You can expect to see red, white and black mangroves, yellow cordia, salt bush, flamingos, penguins, flightless cormorants, Galapagos hawk, sea turtles, eels, rays and a variety of colorful fish.
2013 - 8 Day/7 Night Cruise
Rates are per person based on double occupancy
May 1-June 15, Sep 1-Oct 31, first week of Dec
Advance reservations recommended: Cruises sell out 6-12 months in advance.
$1495 per person includes 3 nights hotel, transfers, city tour, internal flights, park fees and taxes. View details
Santa Cruz Highlands
Punta Vicente Roca
The Fernandia itinerary can be combined with the Tower itinerary to make an all-encompassing 15-day/14-night cruise. The Fernandina details are listed below, or click the following links to view the other Cachalote itinerary options.
Galapagos Isabela 6 days/5 nights
Galapagos Hood 6 days/5 nights
Galapagos Tower 8 days/7 nights
Cachalote Galapagos Cruise Main Page
Day 1 - WED - Baltra to Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Research Station
This morning, depart on a three-hour flight to the island of Baltra in the Galapagos. Meet your Expedition Leader and transfer to the ship. Begin your cruise at Baltra's coast and travel across Santa Cruz into the mist-covered forests. As you walk through the forest, listen carefully for the sound of the tortoises as they make their way through the brush to enjoy a meal. Tracking tortoises is not the only exciting activity to be had in the Santa Cruz Highlands. You will also spend time exploring plenty of lava tubes, sinkholes and craters on a fascinating hike into the belly of the island to view its volcanic makeup, and visit the Charles Darwin Station.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
lunch and dinner
Day 2 - THR - Chinese Hat & Rabida
Sombrero Chino is a tiny island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. Its name (Chinese Hat) describes the island's shape. Though centrally located, it is one of the least visited sites in the area. Begin today's adventure by landing on a beautiful crescent-shaped white-sand beach. Follow the trail to explore Sombrero Chino's volcanic origin. 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 provide spectacular views of the waves crashing below. Spend time snorkeling in the nearby waters for sightings of white-tipped sharks and playful Galapagos penguins and sea lions.
Our afternoon excursion begins with a wet landing on the deep maroon-colored northern beach of Rabida Island. Marine iguanas and sea lions are often seen resting in the shade of the caves nearby. Behind the beach is the salt brush home where the brown pelicans make their nests. Rabida may hold the only opportunity to see pelicans nesting up close. Following a path, arrive at a small saltwater lagoon where pink flamingos, Bahama pintail ducks and common stilts are frequently seen feeding. Continuing up the rocky red cliffs a short 15-20 minute walk leads to a cliff overhang with a fantastic view of the cove with the ocean, lagoon and scarlet cliffs. Returning back to the beach have another opportunity for some fantastic snorkeling where manta rays are commonly seen.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3 - FRI - Puerto Villamil & Sierra Negra
Begin the day with a morning tour to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. The largest of the Galapagos islands, Isabela is composed of six shield volcanoes merged into a single land mass. Here a colony of white-tip sharks can often be seen resting in a lava canal. Have the chance to snorkel or swim in the unique habitat of these animals. On the nearby sandy beaches, sea lions play and relax in the sun. This is one of Isabela's most beautiful visitor sites.
Explore Los Humedales and The Wall of Tears. The area has a number of trails where you can see all four species of mangroves found in the Galapagos. Following the various paths, discover secluded beaches, natural pools, lava tunnels and the cemetery for the island’s first inhabitants. In recent years the national park has released young giant tortoises from the Isabela Breeding Center in this area, and by following the trail it’s possible to encounter small 5-yea- old and 25-year-old giant tortoises in the wild.
In the afternoon head to Volcan Sierra Negra. Located in the southern part of Isabela between the volcanoes Alcedo and Cerro Azul. The journey up to the crater begins at Puerto Villamil. From the town of Villamil, follow the road to the small town of Santo Tomas. The scenic trip takes 3-5 hours. The landscape along the way is quite lovely. Once on top there are a series of fumaroles inside small craters. The view during the "rainy season" is quiet spectacular.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4 - SAT - Punta Moreno & Elizabeth Bay, Isabela
Punta Moreno is a place where the forces of the Galapagos have joined to create a work of art. The tour starts with a panga ride along the beautiful rocky shores where Galapagos penguins and shore birds are frequently seen. After a dry landing the path traverses through jagged black lava rock to an outcropping of lava pools. Brown pelican can be seen nesting in the green leaves of the surrounding mangroves. You can walk to the edge of the lava to look straight down on these pools including the occasional green sea turtle, white-tipped shark and puffer fish.
Located on the west coast of Isabela, at the Perry Isthmus, Elizabeth Bay is a marine visitor site (no landings are permitted). As you visit Elizabeth Bay by panga, Galapagos hawks soar overhead and schools of pompanos and dorados can be seen swimming underneath you. Your panga brings you to Las Marielas the small islets just outside the bay and home to the largest concentration of Galapagos penguins living in the islands. This is one of the island's breeding sites for penguins. The ride continues into a red mangrove cove. The panga passes through the red root and green leaf breeding ground for fish and sea turtles. Brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays and sea lions are often seen.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - SUN - Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove
Your morning visit begins with a wet landing on the white-sand beach of Isabela Island's Urbina Bay - one of the best and the most recent example of geological uplift in the Galapagos. Following a trail varying in difficulty depending on season, cross the uplifted region while learning about this geological wonder until reaching a sandy area that was once the beach. Choose to return to the landing point on the same path, or continue past the coral heads and new beach. Highlights of this site include marine iguanas and some of the largest land iguanas in the islands, and Galapagos cotton, an endemic plant historians believe the Incas brought to the islands; naturalist theorize it floated across from Peru.
This afternoon visit Tagus Cove (also on Isabela Island). Arriving here the boat will sail through the Bolivar Channel. These are the coldest, most-productive waters in the Galapagos, where dolphins and whales are frequently seen. The coves' quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, pelicans and noddy terns make their nests, and flightless cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges. From the shore, a wooden stairway rises to the dusty trail passing through the palo santo forests to reach the perfectly round saltwater crater, Darwin Lake. Continue on the trail around the lake through a dry vegetation zone, and then climb inland to a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views back towards the anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin Volcano and Wolf Volcano farther north.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - MON - Punta Espinosa & Punta Vicente Roca
Begin today's adventure with a dry landing on the northeast part of Fernandina Island. Once on shore there are two paths to choose from: From the left of the landing site the trail leads into the lava fields. The lava itself is very fragile and full of fissures, which can cause for tenuous walking conditions. Plants are nearly devoid in this area; lava cactus seems to be one of the few plants able to survive. This Land's End trail takes you to a baron patch of land with a few mangroves and rich wildlife. Or you can follow the trail near the tip of the point to view a colony of sea lions up close. Male sea lions are extremely territorial and their barks warning off would-be-intruders are heard over the sound of the crashing surf. Flightless cormorants nest in along this rocky area near the high water line, and recently Galapagos penguins have been spotted nesting in the area.
This afternoon, visit the wonderful snorkeling site of Vicente Roca, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. After snorkeling, go on a panga ride, which 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: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - TUE - Puerto Egas & Bartolome
Your visit to Puerto Egas (Santiago/James Island) begins with a wet landing on the dark sand beaches of James Bay. Kick-start with a walk along the rocky coast for the opportunity to view some of the Galapagos Islands' best tide pools. This excursion begins just a short distance beyond the tide pools that is a fur seal grotto. Fur seals and sea lions can be seen swimming in the rocky lava-ringed pools. This may be the only opportunity to see and swim with fur seals. The crystal-clear water, volcanic bridges, fur seals and sea lions make this a magnificent place for swimming and snorkeling.
This afternoon, enjoy a 30-40 minute tour of Bartolome Island. This walk begins on a rock and concrete pathway and continues through volcanic sand, which can be slow to cross. Once through the sand the steep ascent continues up a wooden stairway. Arriving at the top you are treated to one of the great panoramic views in the Galapagos. The turquoise waters and white shores add to the incredible scene. The eroded pinnacle rock stands at the end of the island poising for pictures. It's easy to see why this is one of the most popular photographic spots in all the islands.Accommodations: CachaloteIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - WED - North Seymour, Return to Baltra
Spend your last morning exploring North Seymour Island's rocky coast. Following a trail, you will pass colonies of blue-footed boobies and the magnificent frigatebird. Upon returning to the coast, Daphne Major and Minor can be spotted off in the distance and body-surfing sea lions play closer to shore. Along the shoreline marine iguanas, white coral and black lava rocks complete the visit to North Seymour. After your exciting day exploring, you will be met and taken to the airport for the flight back to Quito.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.
Extend Your Trip:
This trip combines well with our Peru, Machu Picchu 6 Day Explorer
. Call AdventureSmith Explorations about the possibilities of combining trips to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos.
Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itinerary 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 Galapagos 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.