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2021 Galapagos Voyage: Remote Northern & Central Islands

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2021 Galapagos Voyage: Remote Northern & Central Islands

During our intimate Galapagos Islands cruise, you’ll find yourself just inches away from giant tortoises, comical blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, iguanas and many other animals, and you’ll gain an appreciation for how remarkable life on Earth can be. Voyage the famed waters of Galapagos amid the spectacular landscapes and distinct endemic wildlife that so intrigued Charles Darwin. From the spouting whales crossing the Bolivar Channel to the waved albatrosses nesting along the cliffs of Espanola, you'll experience the undeniable wonder of Darwin's Enchanted Isles.

Skip the Crowds on our Galapagos Islands Cruise

The Galapagos Islands 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. Plus, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and world-class service to discover the Galapagos. Each day during this Galapagos Islands tour, you “come home” to a comfortable, intimate expedition ship. The Evolution is the perfect haven for relaxing between daily hiking and snorkeling excursions, or for joining fellow travelers for a briefing by our knowledgeable naturalists.

Explore More with IE

IE’s in-depth Galapagos Islands tour offers more than a typical "tourist" overview – we expose you to the greatest variety of wildlife. Our Galapagos Islands cruise pass dormant volcanoes; lets you snorkel with sea lions; and even includes watching the giant tortoises graze. These are the moments of wonder you expect on this small-ship cruise.

The Highest Rated Galapagos Islands Travel Guides

Our highly qualified naturalist Galapagos Islands travel 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 — Level 3 — by Galapagos National Park.

Testimonials

  • “I love the Galapagos Islands and think they are a very endearing and precious place, worthy of making every effort to protect. I hope to return someday. The adventure your team provided encouraged me to feel this way.” 

  • “My experience was exceptional. The staff was courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Everything...thoroughly organized, friendly staff who demonstrated their desire to satisfy the customer, knowledgeable guides, and remarkable destination. IE’s naturalist guides are exceptional! They are so knowledgeable and friendly which is a major differentiating factor in hindsight in choosing IE over another travel company.”

  • “This was an amazing journey that exceeded our very high expectations. Boli and Christina were fantastic representatives of IE. The crew of the Evolution also were remarkable, kind, joyous and their interactions with the kids were above and beyond — and genuine!” 

  • “We cannot say enough good things about the crew of theEvolution, who went out of their way to make sure that everything was perfect for us. The variety and quality of food on the ship was second to none. It far exceeded our expectations. We have very high praise for the crew of the Evolution, who were very professional and always helpful." 

Daily Itinerary

2021 Galapagos Voyage: Remote Northern & Central Islands

  • Day
    1

    Arrive Guayaquil

    Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to the Hotel Oro Verde for dinner and overnight. (D)

  • Day
    2

    Guayaquil / San Cristobal: Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock 

    Fly to the islands and board the Evolution. Take a walk on the beach with your naturalist, spotting sea lions, marine iguanas, and various shore birds. This beach is also a sea turtle nesting site. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    3

    South Plaza Island

    At only 426 feet wide, South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Look for yellow land iguanas on a walk to a grove of prickly-pear cactus.  Non-hikers can enjoy a Zodiac ride, watching for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds and blue-footed boobies. Since there is no true trail on Mosquera Islands, you are able to stroll at your leisure. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    4

    Sombrero Chino Island / Santiago Island: Puerto Egas

    The tiny uplifted island of Sombrero Chino – or Chinese Hat – features a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble and lava tubes. The “land” is made of a few adjacent craters and old, fragile pahoehoe lava flows. Vegetation is just starting to take hold, including colorful carpetweed plants. Enjoy a Zodiac ride and swim before lunch. This afternoon, search the tide pools of Puerto Egas for sea life. During low tide, we may see marine iguanas feeding on algae. Our naturalists will point out the birdlife, including great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    5

    Genovesa Island

    Genovesa is often referred to as “Bird Island” for the vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest. And while Genovesa harbors one of the Galapagos’ largest and most diverse bird populations, there are no land reptiles — with the exception of some very small marine iguanas. This is due to the direction of the ocean currents, which couldn’t carry the terrestrial animals here. Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to an area with colonies of red-footed boobies. Watch for short-eared owls which feed on the petrals that fly about. Explore Darwin Bay, home to the rare lava gull. While anchored at Genovesa, enjoy an opportunity to swim, kayak and snorkel in the calm caldera of this partially eroded volcano. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    6

    North Seymour Island / Santa Fe Island

    North Seymour is the nesting site for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds and the only place where we can always find males showing their red pouches to attract females. Plus, we are sure to see blue-footed boobies perform their comical courtship dance in the open areas. Hike to a scenic lagoon, where we may observe Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds and a variety of Darwin’s finches. You may kayak and snorkel from the beach. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    7

    Floreana Island 

    Hike to Post Office Bay, once used by navigators to send mail with homebound messengers. Swim and kayak in the bay before a walk along the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant. After hiking to a flamingo lagoon, spot fish and sea turtles during a relaxing stroll along the beach. Enjoy superb snorkeling at Devil’s Crown, where sea water has filled the sunken cone of an extinct volcano. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    8

    Santa Cruz Island 

    Begin our day in the forested highlands, with ample opportunity to see and photograph giant tortoises in the wild. Stop at a family run farm before learning about the work being done to study and preserve wildlife at Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center at the Darwin Research Center. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    9

    Galapagos / Guayaquil 

    Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, drifting silently through this area of mangroves. Fly to Guayaquil, and connect with your homeward flight. (B,L Aloft)

Optional Post-Trip Extensions

Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension

A visit to Machu Picchu, the grandest of all the Inca sites, must stand out as a highlight of anyone’s travels. It has the most dramatic of settings, atop an Andean mountain surrounded by other peaks. For all its extent — Machu Picchu has some 200 structures, along with brilliant stone masonry — it was almost forgotten until its rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. But there is a great deal more to see, and this Machu Picchu tour includes a variety of experiences in the great city of Cusco and in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day
9

Guayaquil / Lima

Late this afternoon, we fly from Guayaquil to Lima, and overnight at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel. (B,L)

Machu Picchu
Day
10

Lima / Cusco / Urubamba Valley

Fly to Cusco — the heart of the Inca Empire. Drive into the historic Urubamba Valley, stopping in Chinchero to browse and shop for Andean handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Visit the Urubamba Market and spend tonight at the Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day
11

Machu Picchu

Board the train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the afternoon exploring the ruins with our guide. Our home for the next two nights is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day
12

Machu Picchu

Today is yours to explore Machu Picchu or simply relax! Wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate or enjoy some early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel, home to 16 species of hummingbirds. (B,L,D)

Day
13

Ollantaytambo / Sacsayhuamán / Cusco

Catch the morning train back to the Sacred Valley. Explore the mighty archaeological wonder of Ollantaytambo, where ancient temples and fortresses were built to protect the Sacred Valley. After a Paso Fino horse show at Wayra Ranch, continue across the valley toward Cusco. We stop at Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. Spend tonight at the Palacio del Inka. (B,L,D)

Day
14

Cusco

Stroll the streets of Cusco, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own before a farewell dinner featuring Andean fare. Return to the Palacio del Inka for the night. (B,L,D)

Day
15

Cusco / Lima / En Route

Fly back across the Andes to Lima, and transfer to the airport this evening for flights home. (B,L)

Day
16

Arrive Home

Connect with your flight home. (Meals Aloft)

Things to Know

What's included in the cost of this expedition?

  • Accommodations on group dates
  • Excursions, activities, and meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Services of experienced English-speaking guides
  • Arrival and departure transfers between the ship and airport
  • Selected beverages included with lunch and dinner
  • Potable water
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Accommodations

Evolution

Evolution

The classic lines of your Galapagos expedition ship, the 204-foot Evolution, capture the romance and spirit of an earlier era. While the Evolution may carry just 32 guests, she is far from a small ship. In fact, there’s a great deal of space, both public and private. The ship’s interior is fully air-conditioned, and cabins on all three decks offer plenty of space. Your cabin is the perfect haven for an afternoon siesta between our frequent land and water excursions. (Snorkeling equipment, kayaks and wetsuits are available free of charge.) Before dinner, enjoy nightly briefings by our naturalists on the islands’ natural and human history in our comfortable lounge. You may also spend time with a snack and your fellow passengers at the canopied bar, a superb place for whale watching or to enjoy sunset over the Pacific. From relaxing on the sun deck to reading in the lounge, you’re sure to relish the wonderful friendly ambiance. And the food is something to rave about — each meal is an event to look forward to, featuring both international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, from fresh fruit and desserts to lobster and sumptuous soups

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Field Leaders

galapagos islands guides boli

Bolivar Sanchez

Expedition Leader

Expedition Leader Bolivar Sanchez is not only an expert in Earth science, earning degrees in Biology, Geology and Conservation, but he is also an IE favorite! Boli developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a child and has been learning as much as possible ever since. For the past two decades, he has worked as a certified naturalist and guide in Galapagos National Park, as well as leading expeditions in Cuba, Iceland and beyond. His great personality and wonderful sense of humor make him an incredible travel companion. Boli's other interests include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.

Galapagos guide Cristina Rivadeneira

Cristina Rivadeneira

Naturalist

At age 11, Quito, Ecuador-native Cristina Rivadeneira took her first Galapagos Islands tour, and realized that this was where she wanted to be! After high school, she studied business and applied languages. Because of her fluency in English, German and French, Cristina worked for a travel agency as a translator, allowing her to visit all of Ecuador's national parks. Cristina began studying to be a Galapagos naturalist in 1996. When not working as a Galapagos Islands travel guide, she enjoys scuba diving, bird watching, hiking, sea kayaking and reading.

galapagos islands guides alex

Alex Cox

Expedition Leader

Level 3-certified guide Alex Cox developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a small boy on the island of San Cristóbal before studying at the Central University of Ecuador, where he honed his passion for Earth science. Alex has spent the past 20 years as a Galapagos naturalist guide in the islands. When not leading our Galapagos Islands tour, look for Alex swimming, hiking or spending time with his two children.

From: $7,490 per person
Duration
9 Days, 8 Nights
Guest Capacity
32 Guests
Trip Type
Sea

Trip Highlights

  • Snorkel, kayak, hike & even enjoy an intimate picnic in the highlands with giant tortoises
  • Spend seven nights aboard the Evolution, featuring the most public space & largest cabins of any yacht in her class
  • Visit a family-run coffee & sugar cane farm
  • Enjoy the archipelago's best guest-to-guide ratio on small-group departures of just 26-32 guests
  • Learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station