Darwin's Enchanted Isles

Uncover the wonder of Galapagos on a comprehensive itinerary encompassing seven distinct islands.

Day 1

Arrive Guayaquil

Fly independently to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and transfer to the Hotel Oro Verde. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2

Guayaquil / Baltra / Santa Cruz: Whaler Bay & Eden Islet

Fly to Galapagos, landing on Baltra, and board the Evolution. During World War II, Baltra was used as an United States Air Force base. After a safety briefing, hike along Whaler Bay, site of one of the islands’ oldest whaling camps. Just off the coast, discover tiny Eden Islet, where we may spot Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and large schools of mustard rays while on a peaceful Zodiac ride. (B,L,D)

Day 3

Isabela Island / Fernandina Island

Zodiacs take you on a dramatic ride into the heart of a sunken volcano at Punta Vicente Roca. Take to the water, where we swim and snorkel among sea turtles, penguins and possibly even sea horses. Explore the lava fields of Punta Espinosa, located on Fernandina, the youngest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. Here we spot flightless cormorants and marine iguanas. Whale watch from the Evolution’s open-air decks as we cross the Bolivar Channel. (B,L,D)

Day 4

Isabela Island

Hike along the uplifted section of sea floor in Urvina Bay at the base of the Alcedo Volcano. Our naturalists point out the tortoises, colorful land iguanas and other wildlife that feed on the vegetation. Board our Zodiacs for an excursion to Tagus Cove, where we look for penguins, flightless cormorants, pelicans along the cliffs before a chance to snorkel and swim. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Bartolomé / Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

Visit Bartolomé Island, hiking to the top of a dormant volcano for a dramatic panorama, including famed Pinnacle Rock. The island is dotted with craters, cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones and broken lava tunnels which run down from the summit. Our Zodiac drivers will take “non-hikers” for a ride around the cliffs, observing a stunning volcanic landscape and Galapagos penguins. Swim and snorkel with sea lions and maybe even speedy penguins. This afternoon, hike across the panoehoe lava of Sullivan Bay, seeing some of the hearty flora colonizing the landscapes. Stroll along the coralline beach spotting black and white oystercatchers. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach & Dragon Hill

Walk along the white sands of Bachas Beach looking for Sally Lightfoot crabs, black necked stilts and whimbrels. Snorkel in the calm waters where sea turtles nest. Named for the area’s large land iguanas, Dragon Hill is an important nesting site for iguanas reintroduced by the Charles Darwin Research Center. Walk to a lagoon where we often find flamingos, common stilts and pintail ducks. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Santa Cruz Island

Begin at the Charles Darwin Research Station, famous for its tortoise breeding programs. See baby tortoises and learn about vital work being done to study and preserve Galapagos wildlife. Head into the forested highlands, with ample opportunity to see and photograph giant tortoises in their verdant natural habitat. (B,L,D)

Day 8

Española Island

As the southernmost island in the archipelago, Española’s relative isolation has resulted in not only an abundance of unusual wildlife, but species and subspecies that are endemic to the island, such as Española (Hood) mockingbird, Española (Hood) racer snake, Española (Hood) lava lizard, waved albatross and brightly colored marine iguanas. Enjoy a Zodiac ride before wading ashore to Punta Suarez through a sea lion colony. Walk along the cliffs looking for waved albatrosses, Galapagos hawks, Hood mockingbirds and the red-colored race of marine iguana en route to Española’s blowhole, where waves spout 90 feet into the air. After a relaxing lunch, swim, snorkel and kayak in the waters off Gardner Bay, or simply bring along your book or a camera and relax on the white sands. (B,L,D)

Day 9

San Cristóbal Island / Guayaquil

End your Galapagos Islands cruise by returning to San Cristóbal to visit the Interpretation Center, opened by the park in 1998. Fly to Guayaquil, with time to relax at the Hotel Oro Verde. (B,L Aloft)

Day 10

Depart Guayaquil

Board independent flights home. (B, Meals Aloft)

Please Note: Itineraries may vary due to changes in air schedules, weather, Galapagos National Park regulations or other local conditions. December 19, 2014 Galapagos Islands cruise operates an alternate itinerary visiting Tower (Genovesa) Island.