Join Cruising World's Galapagos Expedition June 28, 2013

There’s no more intimate an experience with nature than a Galapagos Islands expedition cruise aboard the 32-guest Evolution. Accompanied by only the highest-rated native naturalist guides, you experience the unrivaled access and adventure offered by our small-ship Galapagos Islands expedition. Cruise to the greatest array of islands, where you enjoy a spectacular look at the islands’ diverse terrain — desert landscapes, lush highland forests, volcanic soils and nutrient-rich waters.

Click here to read the article in Cruising World, "A Journey Through Time."

Small Group Expeditions

The Galapagos are a treasure meant to be experienced with a small group of true nature enthusiasts – not 100 “tourists.” Our small group size of just 32 aboard the Evolution ensures you enjoy ample time and attention as you explore. Each day during your Galapagos cruise you “come home” to a comfortable, intimate expedition ship.

Explore More with Cruising World

This in-depth exploration offers more than a typical “tourist” overview – we expose you to the greatest variety of wildlife. Our Galapagos Islands expedition cruises past dormant volcanoes; lets you snorkel with sea lions; and even includes watching the giant tortoises graze.

The Highest Rated Naturalist Guides

Our highly qualified naturalist Galapagos expedition guides are authorities on the wildlife, history, geography and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. You’ll learn from an expedition leader and local naturalist who are passionate about the islands and licensed at the highest level by Galapagos National Park.

Refer to code CRUISING-13 when booking your cabin.

Friday, June 28 — U.S. / Guayaquil

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

Saturday, June 29 — Guayaquil / Baltra / Santa Cruz: Whaler Bay & Eden Islet

Fly to Galapagos and board the Evolution. 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)

lava hike


Sunday, June 30 — 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)

Monday, July 1 — 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)

evolution cruise ship guests


Tuesday, July 2 — Bartolomé / Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

Visit Bartolomé Island, hiking to the top of a dormant volcano for a dramatic panorama, including famed Pinnacle Rock. 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)

galapagos islands tour snorkeling 

next to a sea lion


Wednesday, July 3 — 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)

Thursday, July 4 — 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)

lava hike


Friday, July 5 — Española Island

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)

galapagos islands travel starfish


Saturday, July 6 — San Cristóbal Island / Guayaquil

Return to San Cristóbal and visit the Interpretation Center. Fly to Guayaquil, with time to relax at the Hotel Oro Verde. (B,L Aloft)

Sunday, July 7 — Guayaquil / U.S.

Sunday we fly to the U.S. and connect with flights home. (B, Meals Aloft)

All itineraries are subject to approval by the Galapagos National Park and may vary according to changes in park regulations.


See 360° Views of The Evolution

Dining Room »Cabin A1
Bar Area »
galapagos ship
Cabin C6 »Cabin C9 »Cabin C9 Bathroom »
C Deck Corridor »Boutique »Top Deck »
Lounge »Reception »Top Deck View »

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View photo gallery of The Evolution's renovation »galapagos cruise ship photos

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Ship Features

For our Galapagos Islands cruise ship we have selected the M/V Evolution, accommodating just 32 guests. This intimate ship features a great deal of public space, including an observation deck and a canopied bar on the roof deck, perfect for enjoying a snack and drink on the canopied roof deck while whale watching or chatting with fellow passengers. Two-person kayaks also are available and a doctor is aboard on every voyage and even accompanies your small group off-ship.

Because there is an "open bridge" policy aboard the M/V Evolution, you are welcome to visit the captain and crew and learn all about the ship’s operation and navigation. Each day our naturalist guides will give talks and briefings on the day’s events and about the natural and human history of the Galapagos. They will help you understand the context of what you’ve seen and help prepare you for the next day’s activities. A convenient boarding platform makes it easy and safe to board our excursion boats.


Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.


Your air-conditioned cabin is the perfect haven between excursions, featuring private facilities and ample storage space. During every excursion, cabin stewards will service your spacious cabin.

 Cabin Number  Size
 A1 Queen  263 sq. ft.
 A2 Twin   194 sq. ft.
 A3 Queen  202 sq. ft.
 C1 Queen  194 sq. ft.
 C2 Twin  183 sq. ft.
 C3 Twin  188 sq. ft.
 C4 Queen  140 sq. ft.
 C5 Double  145 sq. ft.
 C6 Twin  166 sq. ft.
 C7 Twin  188 sq. ft.
 C8 Twin  161 sq. ft.
 C9 Queen  198 sq. ft.
 D1 Twin  172 sq. ft.
 D2 Double    172 sq. ft.
 D3 Double  200 sq. ft.
 D4 Twin  166 sq. ft.


"Exploring the Galapagos" is just a glimpse at the fun on International Expeditions' Galapagos tour, led by native Ecuadorian naturalists. Shot by photographer John Christie, during a recent Galapagos Islands cruise, the film showcases the rugged beauty and unique ecological heritage of the archipelago. In discussing his experience, John said, "We spent an amazing week in the Galapagos Islands aboard the M/V Evolution. It's an unbelievable destination!"


Galapagos Travel Video Transcript

"Untouched by man until the late 1600s, the Galapagos have a unique ecological heritage. From Charles Darwin to modern day, scientists and adventurers have long been drawn to the rugged beauty and rich biodiversity of these volcanic islands. Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers during International Expeditions’ Galapagos Islands cruise aboard the M/V Evolution.

All visitors to the islands travel with Ecuadorian naturalists, and International Expeditions has some of the best.

The M/V Evolution is large enough to be comfortable yet small enough to be intimate. It offers a range of cabin sizes to make you feel at home — and the cuisine is fabulous, International with an Ecuadorian influence.

The first trip ashore offers an encounter with Galapagos sea lions. The adults seem indifferent to visitors, but the juveniles welcome the opportunity to play. Afternoon excursions can last until dusk — so there's often a glorious sunset to enjoy on the zodiac ride back to the ship. During IE’s Galapagos cruise, the ship travels mostly at night, so you wake up at a new destination every morning, ready for the day’s adventure.

Even the smallest islands are home to a large variety of wildlife. Land iguanas feast on prickly pear cactus. Tropicbirds with their long exotic tail feathers nest on rocky ledges. And swallow tail gulls guard their chicks from curious sea lion pups.

At sunset, walk along a small sandbar with sea lions, frigatebirds and marine iguanas, and enjoy a swim before another great dinner on the ship.

Exploring in small groups by zodiac is an ideal way to view wildlife. The dark volcanic shoreline is dotted with bright Sally Lightfoot crabs. There are also great snorkeling opportunities in the Galapagos. You might come across a Galapagos penguin flying through the water or swim along side a marine iguana. No where else in the world will you see sights like these. As always, young sea lions are eager to play.

Charles Darwin wasn’t a fan of marine iguanas, calling them “disgusting clumsy lizards,” but they are unique to the Galapagos. Originally land creatures, they've evolved to rid their bodies of excess sea salt by sneezing.

Snorkeling in an old volcanic crater is often rewarded with a hammerhead shark sighting and of course, sea lions. On shore, frigates and boobies nest in every available tree and bush while yellow-crowned night herons prefer rock outcroppings.

A steep trail reveals a windswept bluff covered with nesting sea birds and well camouflaged short eared owls. With a watchful eye on the horizon you might see a passing humpback whale.

Everyday brings something unique. Like male frigatebirds who inflate red throat pouches to catch the eye of passing females. Later, you might kayak in a crystal clear bay and watch the sea lions and occasional pelican. There’s a surprise on every island waiting to be discovered.

A full day of your Galapagos adventure is spent on Santa Cruz, starting with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Center. Most of the islands’ giant tortoises are raised here from eggs before being released back to their home islands. This was also the home of Lonesome George, the last tortoise in his sub-species who died in June of 2012. If it wasn’t for the work of this Research Center, other species might be lost as well.

A scenic bus ride will take you to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz — to a small family run farm — where coffee, bananas and sugar cane are grown. Donkeys usually power the machine that extracts syrup from the cane, but people power works too. What do they do with the sugar cane syrup? Galapagos moonshine.

But the highlight of Santa Cruz is a trip to a reserve, where wild Galapagos tortoises are free to roam, to eat and — occasionally — to check out their reflection in a camera lens. This 500 pound animal is thought to be 120 years old.

On the way back to the ship, explore the town of Santa Cruz. Check out the pelicans at the fish market, and maybe you’ll see a sea lion looking for scraps.

On the last night aboard the Evolution, a wonderful group of musicians and dancers entertain guests with traditional and contemporary Ecuadorian music. A memorable way to end an amazing adventure.

International Expeditions has been leading Galapagos Islands cruises since 1981. Their experience and knowledge is evident throughout the adventure, from the time you book with their travel specialists, to the moment you return home. Visit to learn more about the Galapagos or any of the other amazing small-group journeys that International Expeditions is famous for."