Discover for yourself the volcanic islands that have captivated explorers ever since Charles Darwin first dropped anchor there from La Pinta Luxury Vessel. Cruise the Galapagos like ..
Luxury Class Galapagos Cruise | La Pinta Luxury Vessel
- 4 nights accommodation in onboard as per itinerary
- 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner
- Naturalist bilingual (English-Spanish) permanent guide on boat for excursions all transfers to/from Galapagos airport and to/from yacht
- Snacks after visits
- Water, tea, coffee on the boat
- Snorkeling gear and kayaks
- INGALA Transit Card (USD 20)
- Soft- and alcoholic drinks
- Galapagos National Park fee (USD 100 per person)
- Travel and medical insurance
Optional (Available upon request)
- Flights starting from USD 520
- Single Cabin Supplement: 80% on top of normal rate
- Extension: Island Hopping program
- Extension: accommodation in hotel at Puerto Ayora & San Cristobal
Baltra Island: Airport | North Seymour Island
In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to Baltra Island, in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago and the main point of entrance to this natural paradise. Upon your arrival at the airport, you will need to pay the national park entry fee, which goes to protecting both the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve. A member of your ship's crew will then welcome you and accompany you to your vessel: the M/V Pinta. After a dry landing onto North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along its coast, where you will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, and Cliff crabs. This part of Seymour Island is also known for being a major nesting site for Blue-footed boobies and one of the largest colonies of Magnificent frigatebirds (a species different from the Great frigatebird). As you enjoy this relaxing hike around various nesting sites, you can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas.
Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca | Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point
This morning will take us to the largest landmass in the Galapagos archipelago: Isabela Island. With a surface of 1,770 sq. miles (4,588 sq. km.), the island constitutes more than half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago – which is why it has the most visitor points in the islands. Five volcanoes are found on Isabela, including the archipelago’s highest: Wolf Volcano, reaching 1,707 m (5,600 ft.). In addition, Isabela is the only island in the Galapagos that is actually crossed by the Equator. Located at the “mouth” of the head of the sea horse that forms the northern part of Isabela Island is Vicente Roca Point, an interesting rock formation. Here, the remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves, with a bay that’s well-protected from the ocean swells. With a bit of luck, you can see Galapagos penguins, while Masked- and Blue-footed boobies, as well as pelicans, sit perched along with the point and its sheer cliffs, while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of currents of cool water in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, which makes Vicente Roca Point a great area for deep-water snorkeling. Fernandina Island is not only the westernmost island but also the youngest and most pristine island in the Galapagos. Huge fields of lava were created here by the La Cumbre Volcano’s 2005 eruption, which was followed on April 11, 2009, when the volcano flared up again, forming a cloud of ash and steam as hot lava flowed down the slopes of the volcano into the ocean. Nonetheless, an abundance of wildlife calls this island home, including the famous Flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, marine iguanas and sea lions. You can also find mangroves on Fernandina Island, in addition to a great diversity of wildlife – such as orcas and whale sharks (which can sometimes be seen while snorkeling and when they surface). This afternoon we will make a dry landing on Espinoza Point, one of Fernandina Island’s visitor points. It is filled with fascinating scenery, such as cactuses growing on the surface of lava. One gets a sense of how life ought to begin when seeing these plants emerging from crevices in this barren landscape. Within this unique scenery, you will encounter numerous animals – the highlights being sea lions, Galapagos penguins, Flightless cormorants (especially in the spring and summer), and one of the largest iguana colonies in the Galapagos Islands. In fact, on this small strip of land that constitutes Espinoza Point, you can find literally thousands of marine iguanas, which gather in large groups.
Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove
After breakfast, we will make a wet landing in Urbina Bay, on Isabela Island. Coral reefs are visible here as a result of an especially violent eruption of the Alcedo Volcano in 1954 when large sections of Isabela Island’s coast were suddenly raised about four meters. These reefs are now covered with poison apple and muyuyo trees. You can also observe land iguanas and the rare Mangrove finch up close here. From January to June, land turtles occasionally visit the bay, descending from their higher mountain living environments. After a short walk inland, we will have some time for snorkeling, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. After a dry landing, we will visit Isabela Island’s notorious Tagus Cove, which was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers, and whalers. Still exiting here is some graffiti that is believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates …a curious reminder of an intriguing past. Perched on the ledges of the cliffs around this deep blue bay, you can observe a large number of Blue-footed boobies, as well as marine iguanas, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, swallow-tailed gulls and tiny Galapagos penguins (members of the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator). A steep trail also passes through an area of dry vegetation and volcanic landscapes with scalesia woods and cactuses.
Rabida Island | Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill
Today we will visit the red beach located on the east coast of Rabida Island. Dark rust-colored sand covers this unique beach, creating an incredible landscape. This reddish color is due to the very porous volcanic materials, which – with the help of environmental factors like rain, salt water, and sea breezes – have acted as oxidizing agents. Other attractions are the vegetation in this arid zone and the presence of native and endemic species of wildlife. The beach area is open, but don’t get too close when the pelicans are nesting, and try not to disturb the sea lions. Hidden behind bushes close to the beach is a salt-water lagoon where flamingoes can often be seen. It’s best to keep quiet and avoid any sudden or rapid movements since these flamingoes can be frightened off easily. In the afternoon we will explore the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island to visit Dragon Hill, which is an excellent spot for observing lava lizards, Darwin finches, and wading birds. On the way to Dragon Hill, we will rest at a small lagoon that’s a popular feeding place for colorful birds and flamingos.
Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station – The Twins
This morning we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, the highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not, and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time. In the afternoon we will go to the Santa Cruz Highlands and see "The Twins" (twin craters), which will be explained by your naturalist guide. These craters are surrounded by scalesia forest, where also live Ruby tyrants and small and large Tree finches.
Floreana Island: Post Office Bay – Cormorant Point – Champion Islet
Floreana Island: Post Office Bay – Cormorant Point – Champion Islet Today we will visit Floreana Island, considered to be one of the most exotic in the Galapagos archipelago. Countless legends are part of the history of this island, as pirates and Buccaneers were drawn to here in search of for food and water. Later the island was colonized by Norwegians, Brits, Germans and others who were in search of ways to make money from what they hoped to discover here. The name Floreana is in honor of Juan José Flores, Ecuador’s first president. The first excursion on Floreana will be to Post Office Bay, where the legendary post barrel that whalers historically used to put their mail in is still kept. After a wet landing, you can walk just off the beach to leave a letter here in hopes that it will make to its destination via another tourist…so don’t forget to bring postcards along. Snorkelers can take a dip on the main beach among the playful sea lions and green sea turtles. This afternoon’s excursion on Floreana is to the Cormorant Point visitor site. After a wet landing on the beach, we will go down a 100-meter-long path to a mangrove lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks, black herons, oystercatchers, and plovers. With a little bit of luck, you might also see flamingos. Another path leads to a small beach that is an important nesting site for sea turtles. In the shallow water there, one can often find stingrays and Whitetip reef sharks. The next spot is Champion Islet. Though the island itself is off limits to visitors, the waters around this small landmass are great places to snorkel with sea lions and to see colorful tropical fish. Occasionally, dolphins are sighted as boats approach the shore, and the cool currents here make Champion an excellent site for spotting schools of stingrays.
Santa Fe Island | South Plaza Island
Today we will visit Santa Fe Island, a tiny rocky island covered in small Palo Santo trees and six-meter-high opuntia cactuses. The island is inhabited mainly by large yellow land iguanas, Galapagos buzzards, Blue-footed boobies, and pelicans. While snorkeling in the wonderful blue-green bay in which the ship anchors, you can observe the many inhabitants of this underwater world, including countless tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and playful sea lions. After lunch, we will explore South Plaza Island, located just east of Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing on the northern part of this life-filled islet, you will encounter colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. While on the steep banks, you can see numbers of birds – like nesting Tropicbirds and Fork-tailed seagulls – but most of all, you will enjoy the beautiful views from either atop the steep banks or while strolling along the base of the cliff. Opuntia cactuses grow on this island and the vegetation changes color throughout the year.
San Cristobal: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Airport
On San Cristobal Island, today we will visit Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, which is the second most populated island in the archipelago. The island has been inhabited for more than 100 years mainly because it has many sources of fresh water, while today’s inhabitants of the town live off of fishing and sustainable tourism. At this port, you will have a chance to explore its shops and the local tortoise breeding center. From the dock on San Cristobal Island, we will take a short bus ride to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Enjoy the last view of the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with fascinating natural highlights.