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Cruising the Galapagos M/C Archipel I

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,015

Explore the biodiverse Galapagos Islands on an 8-day itinerary aboard the M/C Archipel I. Enjoy the first-class accommodations of this 4-star vessel as you venture through the world’s greatest natural playground and spot blue-footed boobies, Galapagos Penguins, and Giant Tortoises.


The M/C Archipel I offers a comprehensive 8-day Galapagos Islands cruise, which takes you to a variety of islands showcasing the amazing wildlife and volcanic landscapes that have made this archipelago famous. Explore the world’s greatest natural playground aboard the M/C Archipel I.

Departing from Baltra Island, this itinerary offers excellent service and maximum comfort while aboard the 4-star vessel. The itinerary is as follows:

8-Day Itinerary

Santa Cruz – Isabela – San Cristobal – Fernandina – North Seymour – Genovesa – Bartolome – Santiago

Get your passes for Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz and explore the highlands. Venture through the waters of Las Tintoreras off Isabela, spotting white-tip reef sharks and marine iguanas before connecting to Isabela, the largest and most volcanically-active island. Visit the flamingo lagoon to see the volcanic landscape transformed pink. Head to Colorado Hill on San Cristobal to spend some time alongside the Giant Tortoises that have made the islands so famous. Hike through the mangrove forests of Punta Moreno and spot the graceful green turtles of Elizabeth Bay. Hike along the volcanic crater lake of Darwin Lake at Tagus Cove before heading to Fernandina to see flightless cormorants of Punta Espinoza. Back on Santa Cruz, enjoy the soft coral beaches of Turtle Cove. Connect to North Seymour to see blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, with their magnificent red pouches meant to attract mates. On Genovesa, experience a birding paradise of storm petrels, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, and rare red-footed boobies. You’ll also spot some sea lions during your journey. On Bartolome, enjoy the view of Pinnacle Rock and get your first glimpse of Galapagos Penguins before exploring the moon-like landscape of Santiago. Close out your cruise back on Santa Cruz, where you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is committed to preserving the evolutionary-unique ecosystems of the islands. It’s also home to Giant Galapagos Tortoises.


 

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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,015

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrival at Baltra Airport and Highlands

Upon arrival at San Cristóbal Airport, a check-up is carried out first, to ensure that no foreign plant or animal species are introduced on the islands.

Furthermore, your TCC (Transit Control Card) is stamped; this must be kept safe during your trip, as it has to be presented again on your return flight. In addition, entrance to the Galapagos National Park is due for entry, if this has not yet been paid. Your guide will meet you at the airport, assist you with the luggage and accompany you on the short bus ride to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Here you will climb aboard the catamaran Archipel I. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch on-board.

Because wild Galapagos giant tortoises don't stop at official National Park boundaries, dozens of them also roam on the adjacent woodlands in the populated agricultural zone of Santa Cruz.
Thanks to their concentrations around their favorite muddy pools, these semi-open pastures and moist scalesia-woodlands are the best place for a quick visit.

After this excursion you will have some time to visit the surroundings.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration7 Nights
Accommodation

M/C Archipel I

More Info

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    M/C Archipel I


    The Archipel I offers space and comfort; the stability and speed make this catamaran a perfect partner for the adventure of discovering the Galapagos Islands. The Archipel I also has a comfortable dining room, TV, DVD, stereo, library, an indoor bar, a bar on the ...

    The Archipel I offers space and comfort; the stability and speed make this catamaran a perfect partner for the adventure of discovering the Galapagos Islands. The Archipel I also has a comfortable dining room, TV, DVD, stereo, library, an indoor bar, a bar on the upper deck and a spacious tanning deck with reclining chairs. In addition, all cabins are located on the main deck with an outside view. The boat also has a complete crew including a naturalist guide level III, who has been trained and licensed by the Galapagos National Park at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Indoor bar
    • Library

    More Details

Day 2

Las Tintoreras and Tortoise Breeding Center and Wetlands

AM: Las Tintoreras (Isabela)

Just outside the harbor of Puerto Villamil a group of islets protrude just above the ocean. The jagged black formations, dotted with mangrove and candelabra cactus, are the remnants of a lava stream that has ended up in the ocean.

Marine life gets trapped, including spectacular white-tip reef sharks (called "tintoreras" in Spanish, as is the site's official name). This species of shark is fairly common in the archipelago, and generally spotted on the seabed when snorkeling, while they rest from their nocturnal hunts. At this unique location you can observe them comfortably from the bank in the crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Sometimes turtles and elegant white-spotted eagle rays or golden rays glide back and forth through this calm channel, as well as smaller fish and Galapagos sea lions. Also, this is where the largest species of marine iguanas reproduce. The rocky shoreline with its intertidal life also attracts sally lightfoot crabs, lava herons and Galapagos penguins, which reside on the other (western) side of Isabela.

PM: Tortoise Breeding Centre & Wetlands

Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in the Galapagos with approximately 3000 habitants.

First, we will visit the Flamingos Lagoon; the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the main reproductive sites for the greater flamingos. On your visit to Colorado Hill, you will get to discover the amazing and emblematic giant Galapagos tortoises in the Tortoise breeding center, and maybe even get to see one hatch (seasonally)!

In addition, you will get to see how much hard work is put into saving the last local giants of San Cristobal.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay

AM: Punta Moreno (Isabela)

Punta Moreno is located between the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul, on the north coast of Isabela Island. The trail leads along the lava river Pahoehoe to a complex of several coastal lagoons. The main attraction are various bird species which can be found in lakes and mangrove forests.

PM: Elizabeth Bay

The inflatable dinghy will turn landwards, leaving the surf behind and entering the calm estuary of Elizabeth Bay through a narrow entrance.

Graceful Pacific green turtles swim gracefully around you, sometimes popping up their heads to take a breath. You might also see spotted eagle rays or sharks. Brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies show diverging plunge-diving techniques, while lava herons and great blue herons prefer to wait patiently for what comes along. You can also compare the huge red mangroves with black, white and button mangroves.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Tagus Cove and Punta Espinosa

AM: Tagus Cove (Isabela)

In the morning, we will enter the Bolivar Channel to Tagus Cove (navigation time: 3h). Meanwhile you can enjoy the delicious lunch buffet before snorkeling and visiting Tagus Cove.
Explosive eruptions have blown out a part of the outer rims of both tuff cones, and created their characteristic horseshoe shapes and Tagus Cove. The inner crater rim contains Darwin Lake. Traditionally, sailors started to write the names of their vessels on the eastern cliffs of Tagus cove.

During the hike along the inner crater ridge of Darwin Lake you can continue to a great viewpoint on the outer caldera rim, with views to the outstretched lava slopes of Darwin Volcano. This arid inland zone is overgrown with characteristic tropical dry forest vegetation including a special variety of palo santo, Galapagos cotton and yellow cordia (muyuyu).
During the hike you can spot different Darwin's finches, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks.

PM: Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Espinoza Point is Fernandina's only terrestrial visitors site, and one of the few locations where you will find some bizarre outgrowths of natural selection. The figurehead is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos, and could be considered as the 'holy grail of evolution'.

You will also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcan La Cumbre as a spectacular backdrop. The narrow headland that you walk along is the end of a lava tongue that has reached the coast and solidified upon contact with the cold seawater.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Las Bachas and North Seymour

AM: Las Bachas (Santa Cruz)

These two small beaches are located in the west of the Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz. Their sand consists of decomposed corals, which makes it white and soft. This makes it the favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there are small water lagoons, where flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilt birds and rainbows, can occasionally be spotted. On the second beach, which is the wider one, you can explore the remains of two abandoned warships. In the Second World War these were left by the US, as the island of Baltra was used as a strategic point for the protection of the Panama Canal. After this excursion, you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

PM: North Seymour

The tabletop islet of North Seymour is an uplifted part of the seabed. Between the dry shrubs you might perceive a Galapagos land iguana. You can spot lots of seabirds, such as brown pelicans, red-billed tropic birds, endemic swallow-tailed gulls and seasonally even Nazca boobies. But the main attraction are the archipelago's most extensive breeding colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. At the start of the breeding season adult frigate bird-males blow up their vivid red pouches to impressive football-sized balloons.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Prince Philip's Steps and Darwin Bay

AM: Prince Philip's Steps (Genovesa)

At breakfast time we will sail to nearby Prince Philip's Steps, close to the entrance of the broken caldera. Sometimes a Galapagos fur seal might be resting on one of the shaded ledges. Here you can snorkel once again, and then follow the guided trail through clifftop seabird colonies. At the seaside of the rim, the bushes open up and you can enjoy wide views and the strong sea breeze. Following the exposed rim you will first pass a colony of Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places, where if you are lucky you can see how the well-camouflaged short-eared owl hunts for them on foot!

PM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)

Inside the submerged caldera of Genovesa lies Darwin Bay. The small-scaled area will surprise you as find yourself walking along a coral sand beach, crossing barren lava formations and creeks, passing tidal pools, shrubs and further ahead following the top of some cliffs. Every single species has occupied its own ecological niche. Whimbrels and wandering tattlers forage actively along the surf, next to resting Galapagos sea lions. Impressive frigate birds and red-footed boobies nest in the mangroves, where you can also see vocalists such as the yellow warbler, Darwin's finches and the Galapagos mockingbird. Uniquely, two subpopulations of the same species of large cactus finch differ in their singing.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Bartolome and Sullivan Bay

AM: Bartolome

The island of Bartolome rises 114m above Sullivan Bay. Climb the steps of the Bartolome Peak Trail and you will be rewarded with panoramic views over volcanic peaks, lunar craters and lava fields. Afterwards you can refresh yourself at the foot of the famous "Pinnacle Rock" and explore the underwater world in the shallow water while snorkeling. Although there is little vegetation on this island, it has two breathtaking beaches, where sea turtles live. At the foot of the mountain you can also discover a small colony of Galapagos penguins.

PM: Sullivan Bay (Santiago)

The arrival in Sullivan Bay is like a moon landing. The desolate, sprawling fields seem to be mostly lifeless, but this island, which is particularly popular among photographers, still offers a lot to see. There is even some life! Green sea turtles burrow in the small white sand beach, where you can also find crabs, blue herons and oyster catchers.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Charles Darwin Station and Transfer to San Cristobal

AM: Charles Darwin Station (Santa Cruz)

Our dinghies will bring you to the touristic pier of Puerto Ayora, from where you will be brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is where biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are carried out. The complex houses interpretation and information centers about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The most memorable part of your visit will probably be the successful breeding center and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises.

PM: Transfer to San Cristobal Airport

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES: 

2019: Aug 22; Oct 31

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 7 nights' on-board accommodation
  • Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos
  • Park fee and tourist ticket
  • All meals
  • Regular soft drinks and juices 
  • Island sightseeing
  • Galapagos National Park bilingual Guide 
  • Use of wet suits and snorkeling gear
  • Kayaks

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Round the Horn Cruise

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

OTHER INFORMATION:

Itineraries: Due to government regulations designed to control and protect the impact of tourism, each vessel, based on length of cruise has its own distinct itinerary.  The itineraries are designed to allow visitors to visit all regions of the islands and we suggest you request the advice of Goway's Latin specialists as to which itinerary would suit you best.

TB ANDEANTQUI0319CR: A5B4
31 Oct 2019
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