Your day-by-day itinerary
Overnight in Quito
Your Galapagos experience starts in Quito, where you’ll meet your guide and fellow shipmates for the next few days. You’ll be staying in a comfortable, well-located hotel, and in the early evening there’ll be a welcome meeting to run through some admin details, and to answer any questions you might have. The rest of the day is free to explore Quito’s Old Town or pick up any last-minute supplies you might need.
To the Galapagos! Isla Baltra & Isla Santa Cruz
It’s an early start today, as you catch the morning flight to Isla Baltra – the journey usually takes around 3.5hrs in total, touching down in Guayaquil on the way. On arrival you’ll travel straight to the forested highlands of neighbouring Isla Santa Cruz, where you’ll take a guided nature walk to spot some of the endemic birds or even giant tortoises who live here. You’ll have lunch in the highlands before heading to board the Daphne at Puerto Ayora.
Le Grande Daphne has everything you need for the next few days, with comfy air-conditioned cabins, en-suite bathrooms, a communal lounge and a top-level sundeck where you can watch the world go by. All your meals are freshly prepared by the on-board chef, and your crew and naturalist guide will be on hand throughout. Settle into your cabin, before enjoying a drink at the bar and getting to know your shipmates a little better.
*You’ll need to pay some local taxes today – US$20 at Quito Airport and US$100 when you arrive in the Galapagos – so make sure you’ve got some cash!
Today you’ll explore Floreana, starting at Post Office Bay where you’ll have your first chance to glimpse the underwater world. Later on, you’ll head to the olive-coloured beach at Punta Cormorant – a popular hangout for sea lions and a nesting site for turtles. Later on, you’ll have the chance to snorkel again at the famous Devil’s Crown. This volcanic cone is home to pelicans, frigates and boobies, whilst underwater you may find rays, turtles, sea lions and small sharks.
Espanola is one of the archipelago’s most famous islands, with a huge variety of wildlife to see. First up, you’ll hike 3km along rocky trails to a clifftop where you’ll have a spectacular view of your surroundings. Boobies and frigates line the shore, whilst huge albatross perform elaborate mating dances or launch into flight from the cliff edge. You’ll continue to Bahia Gardener – a stunning beach where sea lions and mockingbirds commune, and offshore you can snorkel amongst turtles, reef sharks and a huge variety of colourful tropical fish.
Isla San Cristobal, and back to the mainland
Having sailed overnight, you’ll take an early morning trip to Leon Dormido. These crater remains in the middle of the sea are home to an abundance of species – tropicbirds soar above the boat, whilst marina iguanas and sea lions paddle along the surface as you cruise through. This is one of the most impressive places to snorkel too, with turtles, rays, parrotfish, Galapagos sharks and even the occasional hammerhead residing around the iconic 150m ‘Kicker Rock’.
Sadly, it’s time to return to the mainland as you catch your flight back to Quito mid-morning. You’ll return to your starting hotel, where you can enjoy a final evening sharing stories with your shipmates.
Departure from Quito
After breakfast it’ll be time to head home, or on to the next stop on your South American journey. We can book extra nights for you to explore Quito of course, and there’s plenty to see and experience in Ecuador or elsewhere on the continent.
Combine this trip with...
Where to next? This trip goes together perfectly with these: