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Galapagos Islands Voyage

See playful Galapagos sea lions up close

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Galapagos Islands Voyage

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.

Two Amazing Itineraries

  • Darwins Enchanted Isles
  • Remote Northern and Central Isles

Daily Itinerary

Darwin's Enchanted Isles Cruise Itinerary

  • Day
    1

    Arrive Guayaquil

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

  • Day
    2

    Guayaquil / Baltra / Daphne Minor

    Fly to Galapagos and board the Evolution. After a safety briefing, enjoy a circumnavigation of Daphne Major, a paradise for sea birds such as magnificent frigatebird. (B,L,D)

    Boarding our Zodiacs
  • 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)

    Volcanic landscape on Bartolome
  • Day
    6

    Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach / Rabida Island

    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. Our afternoon is spent along the distinct red-sand beaches and cliffs of Rabida Island. While exploring this uninhabited island at the archipelago’s geologic center, watch for up to nine species of Darwin’s finches, doves, yellow warblers and mockingbirds. A small saltwater lagoon is home to white-cheeked pintail ducks and black-necked stilts. Snorkelers may take to the water with sea lions, sea turtles and reef fish such as damsels and pufferfish. During a guided kayaking excursion, watch for brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies while savoring views of the island’s sloping volcanic peak. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    7

    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
    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)

    Albatross in flight
  • 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)

Remote Northern and Central Isles Itinerary

Evolution
  • Day
    1

    Arrive Guayaquil

    Arrive Guayaquil

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

  • Day
    2

    Guayaquil / San Cristobal: Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock 

    Guayaquil / San Cristobal: Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock

    Fly to the islands and board the Evolution. Stroll along the beach at Playa Ochoa, where a nearby tidal lagoon plays host to flamingos, finches and Chatham mockingbirds. At sunset, we cruise around Kicker Rock. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    3

    South Plaza Island

    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

    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 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)

    Island Excursion
  • Day
    6

    North Seymour Island / Santa Fe Island

    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 

    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 

    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)

    Boli with guests.
  • Day
    9

    Galapagos / Guayaquil 

    Galapagos / Guayaquil

    Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, drifting silently through this area of mangroves. Fly to Guayaquil, with time to relax at the Hotel Oro Verde. (B,L Aloft)

  • Day
    10

    Depart Guayaquil 

    Depart Guayaquil

    Board flights home. (B, Meals Aloft)

Optional Pre-Trip Extensions

Guayaquil Extension

Optional Post-Trip Extensions

Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension

Quito & Andean Highlands Extension

Ecuador Amazon Extension

Galapagos Islands

Things to Know

What kind of visas are required for travel to Ecuador?

Bring a valid passport that will not expire until at least six months after your departure date before you travel to Ecuador. Visas are not required for US or Canadian citizens.

What vaccinations are required for Galapagos Islands travel?

No inoculations are required to enter Ecuador or to return to the US. The CDC recommends malaria pills and the yellow fever shot if you are visiting the Ecuadorian rainforest (not part of our Galapagos islands travel package); however, you should consult with your personal physician.

How long are the flights to the Galapagos Islands?

Atlanta to Guayaquil: 6 hours and 13 minutes (typically stopover in Quito) 
Miami to Guayaquil: 4 hours and 8 minutes
Guayaquil to Galapagos Islands: 1 hour and 45 minutes              
Quito to Galapagos Islands: 2 hours and 45 minutes (stopover in Guayaquil)  

What's included in the price of IE’s Galapagos Island travel packages?

  • Daily shore excursions, interpretive walks, swimming, snorkeling, hiking & panga rides
  • Seven nights on the Evolution
  • Hotel accommodations pre- and post-voyage
  • 23 meals (and lots of snacks)
  • Two Level 3 naturalists; Three naturalist guides for groups of 26-32
  • Snorkeling gear & shorty wetsuits
  • Kayaks
  • All bottled water
  • Onboard doctor
  • Full educational program, including lectures on history, ecology & marine life and field interpretation
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Tips to porters & to waiters for included meals

Accommodations

Evolution in Tagus Cove, Galapagos Islands

M/V Evolution

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

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

Cabins

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.

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Field Leaders

galapagos islands guides boli

Bolivar Sanchez

Expedition Leader

A true native Galapagos Naturalist, guide Bolivar Sanchez is an expert in Earth science. He developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a small boy, and has been learning as much as possible ever since. For the past 18 years he has worked as a certified naturalist and Galapagos travel guide in Galapagos National Park, sharing his knowledge of the flora and fauna with guests of his beautiful homeland. His great personality and wonderful sense of humor make him a joy to travel with. Boli's other interests include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.

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.

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.

A Note About Field Staff

This is just a selection of the Expedition Leaders and Naturalists who may lead your ecotour.  A particular departure may be escorted by any one of them.  If you would like to find out which leaders are scheduled to lead each departure, please contact our office.

Wildlife

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Galapagos: Nesting waved albatrosses

Waved Albatross

Galápagos Land Iguana

Galápagos Penguin

From: $6,198 per person
Duration
10 Days, 9 Nights
Guest Capacity
32 Guests
Trip Type

Special Offers

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
  • Climb Bartolome for a famous view of Pinnacle Rock
  • See waved albatross in the world's only nesting site, Espanola Island (seasonal)
  • Learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Two amazing itineraries