Galapagos Islands on Beluga
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Cruise the magical Galapagos Islands aboard the deluxe Beluga
The Galapagos archipelago represents a spectacular and striking world of volcanic landscapes and fearless animals including Giant Tortoises, Fur Seals, Sea Lions, Land and Sea Iguanas and many species of birds. A cruise to this impressive wildlife sanctuary will be a memorable experience for those who appreciate close encounters with nature. Accompanied by a naturalist guide, this eight day cruise aboard the Beluga provides ample opportunity to explore the volcanic and wildlife rich islands. The Beluga is a deluxe 110 foot, steel-hulled motor vessel, fully air-conditioned and accommodates 16 passengers in double staterooms, each with private bathroom and shower. This trip can ideally be combined with any of our South American journeys.
- Cruising the Galapagos archipelago
- Unique wildlife experience viewing animals that are nowhere else on earth
- Expert naturalist guide on board cruise
- All inclusive price with all meals
- Snorkeling and swimming with wildlife
- Pristine environment
- Great walks, many are very gentle
Day 1 Fly to Galapagos from Quito/Guayaquil, commence cruise
You can commence your itinerary in the city of Quito, located in the highlands of Ecuador just south of the equator or alternatively you may chose to commence from Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador located on the banks of the Guayas River. From your starting city you fly to the Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands. You will then be met upon arrival and transferred to your boat to commence your cruise.
Days 2-7 Cruising Galapagos Islands
This volcanic archipelago consists of 13 major and 6 minor islands plus 42 islets, which all possess an untamed beauty and enchantment giving the impression that you are on another planet. Rising from the floor of the Pacific Ocean up to 1,700 metres, the islands are a naturalist's paradise, with more than 875 species or varieties of plants and a fish population of 289 species from 88 families, many of them unique to the area. You are able to enjoy swimming with Galapagos fur seals, and revel in the sights of breeding colonies of sea lions, land and marine iguanas, lava lizards, penguins (the most northerly in the world), pelicans and flamingos. There are just 8 different land mammals but due to the isolation of the islands and the lack of hunting and predatory animals these few are unafraid of man. Birdwatchers get a special treat in being able to see at remarkably close range up to 89 species of birds. We also see Swallow tailed gulls, blue & red footed boobies, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, warblers, mockingbirds, flycatchers and the strange flightless cormorant. Every day we are woken early for breakfast on board before taking the dinghy to walk along the beaches or onto the well marked trails on the islands. We are accompanied at all times by our onboard naturalist guides who also give us comprehensive lectures and debriefings after each day’s cruise and island visits. Distances between the islands vary greatly. Some days we could be motoring for no more than 2 hours whereas on other days we will cover greater distances and 5 or 6 hours of cruising (sometimes at night - depending on sea conditions). The itineraries are designed to make maximum use of the generally smaller vessels we use and therefore the advantage of a shallow draught and the greater accessibility this allows to some of the smaller islands and coves. Itineraries are flexible and are subject to change according to weather, local conditions and circumstances beyond our control. You will follow one of two itineraries however please note they should be used as a guide only. These are offered on alternate weeks, your consultant will advise which itinerary is scheduled to operate on your desired date. FERNANDINA ITINERARY: Day 1 - Baltra airport. Afternoon visit the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to giant tortoises. Day 2 - Floreana Island (Charles), known for its colourful history of buccaneers, convicts and early colonists. Here we plan to visit Punta Cormorant, with its contrasting beaches and inland lagoon, home to pink flamingoes & Post Office Bay, one of the few sites visited for is human history. Day 3 - Isabela Island (Albemarle), the largest of the Galapagos Islands formed by five volcanoes fused together. Planned landings include Puerto Villamilo and its Tortoise breeding centre, Sierra Negra, home to a caldera with a 10km diameter and the islet Las Tintoreras, located south of Puerto Villamil. It has a small bay of completely calm waters inhabited by sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and rays. Day 4 - Isabela Island, enjoy the spectacular volcano views from Punta Moreno & Elizabeth Bay which is only accessible by dinghy. It is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay, the end of which is long and narrow surrounded by three species of mangroves. The waters here are home to Galapagos Sea Turtles and rays which we hope to see. Day 5 - Isabela Island, explore Urbina Bay at the foothills of the Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes, where colourful land iguanas and Galapagos Giant tortoises reside & the natural harbour at Tagus Cove, where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship's names etched or painted on the rocks. A walk uphill (optional) to Darwin's Crater salt-water lake will provide an excellent view of the surrounds. Day 6 - Fernandina Island (Narborough), the youngest of the volcanic islands, where we aim to visit Punta Espinoza, renowned for its large colonies of marine iguanas and as the habitat of unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk and Galapagos snake along with many others. We'll then venture back towards Isabela and Punta Vicente Roca, best viewed by dinghy to see the Nasca boobies, Blue-footed boobies and flightless comorants that inhabit the shoreline. Day 7 - Santiago Island (James), located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. We will visit Puerto Egas home to some of the best tide pools in the Galapagos and Bartolome where we can walk to the highest point for breathtaking views. Day 8 - Morning (breakfast only), North Seymour, with its endemic Palo Santo trees. TOWER ITINERARY: Day 1 - Baltra airport. Afternoon visit Dragon Hill on the northwestern side of Santa Cruz island. Day 2 - San Fe Island (Barrington) and South Plazas, a nesting site for red-billed tropic birds and home to land and marine iguanas as well as a bachelor sea lion colony. Day 3 - San Cristobal Island (Chatham), the easternmost island of the Galapagos and one of the oldest. We intend to explore Punta Pitt on the north of the island, the only area where all three boobie species can be seen together, before cruising to Isla Lobos which is across a small channel off the coast of San Cristobal. Isla Lobos boasts a large colony of sea lions and is a nesting place for blue-footed boobies. Day 4 - Espanola Island (Hood), the southernmost of the islands in the archipelago, a unique range of endemic species have evolved here due to its’ remote location. Our intended landing sites here are Gardner Bay, with its long white sandy beach where sea lions reside & Punta Suarez where a blowhole forces seawater about 20m into the air. The highlights are the Waved albatross (April-Dec) that are only found on Hood, Galapagos Hawks, blue-footed boobies, Nasca boobies and Espanola lava lizards. Day 5 - Santa Cruz Island (Indefatigable), explore the Charles Darwin Station and stroll through Puerto Ayora before visiting the Highlands, home to Galapagos Giant tortoises. Day 6 - Santiango Island (James), located between Isabela and Santa Cruz islands, where a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals can be found. Our planned landing sites are Espumilla Beach, an important site for nesting marine turtles & Sullivan Bay, which is of great geological interest. Day 7 - Genovesa Island (Tower), whose natural harbour is actually the submerged caldera of this volcanic island. The steep cliffs of Darwin Bay dominate the area and play host to thousands of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Noddy terns, lava gulls, tropicbirds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin's finches. A dinghy voyage to El Barranco offers a good chance to see the unique short eared owl and fur seals along the cliffs. Day 8 - Morning (breakfast only), Caleta Toruga (Turtle Cove), a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz, where the mangroves have altered the marine environment to create a rich and unique habitat.
Day 8 Cruise concludes, fly to Quito/Guayquil
On your final day we head back to the airport at Baltra for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland. Upon arrival on the mainland your trip concludes.
- 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
- Twin share berth
- Internal flights valued at approx US$475
- Professional naturalist guide and support staff
- Transport to and from cruise
- Group medical kit
- Ingala control card and Galapagos Park fee to the value of US$110. (Please note if arriving to the Galapagos prior to the cruise these fees can't be prepaid - contact your consultant for further details).
- 8 day trip
- 7 nights boat
Trip Main Activities
- Wildlife Viewing
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Specialist gear required includes walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry personal items you might need during day (i.e. a rainjacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc).