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See playful Galapagos sea lions up close

Galapagos Islands Voyage

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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: May 11; May 25; July 6; October 12; October 26; November 9; December 21
  • Remote Northern & Central Isles: June 15; July 27; August 10; November 30

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

Expedition Leader Bolivar Sanchez is not only an expert in Earth science, 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 IE programs in Cuba and beyond. His great personality and wonderful sense of humor make him an incredible travel companion. Boli's other interests include swimming, snorkelling, 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.

Jack Grove Zegrahm Expeditions

Jack Grove Master Leader

Marine Biologist

Galapagos Darwin's Enchanted Isle - May 10, 2019

A marine biologist and professional naturalist, Jack has spent much of the past two decades traveling on, and lecturing about the world's oceans. Co-founder of IE sister company Zegrahm Expeditions and research associate in the Section of Fishes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Jack is a leading authority on the fishes and marine environments of the eastern tropical Pacific. For seven years he lived in the Galápagos, where he carried out extensive marine biological studies. In 1997, Stanford University Press published his comprehensive volume The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands, and he received his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University.

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

The Sally Lightfoot crab is one of the world’s most beautiful crabs. Wow, how often does one hear the two words “beautiful” and “crab” in the same sentence? Well, this is certainly deserved as this hand-sized crab is ornately colored with red, orange, purple and blue coloration. These gorgeous creatures abound throughout the Galapagos Islands, and their typical niche is right at the tide’s edge on lava rocks. It does not matter if it is high tide, low tide, daylight or dark these crabs are at work feeding on algae.

Galapagos: Nesting waved albatrosses

Waved Albatross

Not many people go to the Galapagos Islands for a show, but that is exactly what they may get if they run into an albatross pair along the craggy cliffs of Española (Hood) Island. Between April and December, the critically endangered birds nest on this island, the only place in the world where they nest, providing visitors who stop off during Galapagos Island cruises with plenty of entertainment. Although they sharing plumage with the common seagull, these birds are hard to mistake as common. Their white heads and chestnut brown to gray bodies measure nearly three feet long, and their wingspan is more than eight feet, making the waved albatrosses the islands’ largest bird.

Galápagos Land Iguana

Commonly spotted on Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour and Baltra islands, these ancient-looking iguanas are among the most colorful of all Galapagos Island animals. Growing 3-5 feet long and weighing up to 25 pounds, they come in colors ranging from vivid yellow and rusty orange to red. Land iguana populations were nearly decimated by invasive species during the 20th century, but breeding efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the 1990s led to a successful reintroduction campaign. Nearly 10,000 iguanas roam the islands today, living 50-60 years and feeding primarily on prickly-pear cactus.

Galápagos Penguin

Found mainly on Fernandina and Isabela, where there are fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs left, this equatorial Penguin measures around 19 inches long and weighs just five pounds. They’ve genetically adapted to the heat (which ranges from 59º-82ºF), thermoregulating by stretching out their flippers, avoiding the sun, panting and swimming in the islands’ cooler waters.

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
  • Two amazing itineraries