This 6 days itinerary on board Sea Star Journey (former Yacht Grand Odyssey) completes a loop of the western Galapagos Islands. This journey will give travelers a great overview of the islands. It has many trails and hikes ideal for those interested in discovering the unique and distinctive nature that every island contained. Also enjoying the views of many lookouts with magnificent sights as well as extraordinary lava fields, zodiac rides and endemic wildlife.
ITINERARY IN BRIEF:
Day 1: Baltra - Santa Cruz Island
Day 2: White Tipped Reef Shark & Sierra Negra Volcano
Day 3: Punta Moreno & Elizabeth Bay
Day 4: Isabela & Fernandina Islands
Day 5: Espumilla Beach & Egas Port
Day 6: Lobos Island - San Cristobal Airport
NOTE: Long itineraries are the combination of short ones; please let us know if you would like to book a long cruise
Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island
AM: Baltra Airport
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A representative of our M/Y Galápagos Sea Star Journey will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a bus ride to the Itabaca Channel and then transfer to Puerto Ayora.
PM: Charles Darwin Station
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, they also learn how people is working to protect and conserve the islands. In fact, the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. (L. D.) (Private Transfer) (Shared Guide)
AM: Punta Morenos
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugated or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons, its main attraction are several species of birds which can be found around this lakes and mangroves.
PM: Elizabeth Bay
This is a marine visitor site, so, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac and so there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets because there is the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs. It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequently visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano as well as Dorado fish swim below. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
Fernandina Island - Isabela Island
AM: Punta Espinoza
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and it has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza located at the northeastern tip of the island. However, just across Tagus Cove, you can see some of the unique species of Galapagos. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and some time block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Cormorant. A bird that due to the lack of predators had to adjust their way of survival and improve their skills of finding food in the ocean. Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. In fact, to see these birds, is to witness evolution happening right in front of you. Stay within 2m of the cormorants and penguins.
PM: Tagus Cove
Tagus Cove, a tour along the cliffs in a zodiac will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant as well as other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff. Here you can see Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove, it has been written by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
Isabela Island - Fernandina Island
AM: Espinoza Point (Fernandina)
Fernandina, located right above the Galapagos hotspot in the farthest west of the archipelago, is still under construction. It is estimated that between 60.000 and
400.000 years ago the top of this underwater shield volcano rose above sea level, which makes it the youngest of the main islands. Fernandina harbours one of the world’s most virgin, untouched ecosystems, and is therefore very well-protected. This exclusive and fascinating island will make you an eyewitness of evolution, which is happening right before your eyes!
Espinoza Point is Fernandina’s only terrestrial visitor’s site, and one of the few locations where you will find some bizarre outgrowths of natural selection. The figurehead is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of the Galapagos, and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. Thanks to the fact that this island has been spared from the introduction of invading species and because it is even uninhabitable for most land mammals, the cormorant needn’t fear terrestrial enemies. This miraculous bird lets you approach it very closely. The next generations gradually lost their flying capabilities to become excellent divers, but still stuck with the typical habit of drying and showing their unfolded ‘wings’ to you. Together with its neighbour, the Galapagos penguin, these are two of the rarest and most vulnerable bird species in the world, with less than 2000 individuals each.
Besides the endemic wildlife, you will also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcán La Cumbre (‘the summit’ in Spanish) as a spectacular backdrop. The narrow headland that you walk along is the end of a lava tongue that has reached the coast and solidified from contact with the cold seawater. The black rocks are not yet covered by more vegetation then lava cacti and mangroves, but are teeming with hundreds of dragon-like marine iguanas that breed and conglomerate in larger groups than on any other island.
PM: Tagus Cove (Isabela)
Right on the eastern shores of the Bolivar Channel are two tuff cones containing ultra-saline crater lakes: Tagus Cove and Beagle Crater. Both present spectacular layered cliffs at their sea faces, providing numerous nesting places for sea and coastal birds. From the inflatable dinghy you can observe marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins and storm petrels. It’s impressive to see flocks of blue-footed boobies and brown pelicans plunge diving from considerable altitudes.
Explosive eruptions have blown out a part of the outer rims of both tuff cones, creating their characteristic horseshoe shapes. On one of these events the sea entered the caldera of the northern cone and formed Tagus Cove. The inner crater rim has remained intact and spared the region from an even more violent detonation when the seawater would have mixed up with the boiling volcanic materials. Nowadays it contains emerald Darwin Lake (though Darwin visited the neighbouring Crater Lake). On the ground you can find small lapilli-balls, which rained down when ash particles solidified in the air.
Traditionally sailors started to write the names of their vessels on the eastern cliffs of Tagus cove and inside caves. The oldest graffiti dates back from 1836, a year after Darwin’s visit. The crew of HMS Beagle didn’t find the necessary fresh water, but nevertheless the young naturalist became very impressed with this spot.
Less thirsty than the HMS crew, you will also begin the somewhat strenuous and sometimes hot hike, following the inner ridge around Darwin Lake. On the inland side of the crater you can continue the last stretch to a great viewpoint on the outer caldera rim, with views to the nearby and outstretched lava slopes of Darwin Volcano (1280m / 4200ft.). On clear days you can even distinguish the Ecuador and Wolf volcanoes, the highest point of the Galapagos (1707m/ 5600ft, located exactly on the equator).
The arid zone of the inlands is overgrown with characteristic tropical dry forest vegetation such as a special variety of palo santo, Galapagos cotton and yellow cordia (muyuyu). Depending on the months of your visit these trees and bushes will be leafless; or abundant and green in the wet season (first half of the year). During the hike you can spot different Darwin’s finches, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
AM: Espumilla Beach
Espumilla beach is located in northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence the El Niño phenomenon, one of the two lagoons in this site, underwent a process of sedimentation. Thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attractions are the Palo Santo forest and the marvelous landscape. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.
PM: Puerto Egas
Its black beach is located at the west side of the island and is the main attraction of the island. Their volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of company of Hector Egas, to start the exploitation of salt, which failed because the price of salt in the continent was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. Although, they abandoned the project and left the infrastructure. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
San Cristobal Island - Depart San Cristobal Airport
AM: Lobos Islet (San Cristóbal)
This little island is reach at approx 1 hour by panga from Port Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Island. The trail will lead across a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks and sandy areas. There is a small population of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, which nest in this site. At the beach you will see a large colony of sea lions. It is common to see shorebirds.
AM: Transfer to San Cristóbal airport
Check-in and flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.
Assisted by the guide and some crew-members the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where we board a private bus to the airport. Your guide will accompany you to the check-in counter in the departure hall for your flight to Guayaquil or Quito. (B.) (Shared Guide)
- Class: Boutique Yacht (Superior first class)
- Capacity: 16 Passengers
- Cabins: 8
- Length overall: 42 m
- Beam: 9 m
- Year of construction: 2011 in Guayaquil
- Hull: Monohull of marine steel
- Speed: 12 knots
- Ship registry: Guayaquil – Ecuador
- Deadweight: 450 tons
- Gross Tonnage: 480 tons
- Operated by: Latin Trails
- Fuel Capacity: 6.000 gallons
- Port Registry: GuayaquilMachinery (Engines): 2 Caterpillar 340 HP
- Generators: Perkins 114 cabe A
- Watermaker: 2000 gallons per day
- Water: 10000 gallons capacity
- Communication System: Satellite phone
- Tender: 2 Zodiacs CARIBE C-16
- Radar: 1 Radar Furuno 38.4 Km, 1 Radar Furuno 57.6 Km
- Life Rafts: 2 Zodiacs for 10 and 25 people
- Radio: Several consoles HF-VHF-UHF, Nactex, Distrex and handheld units.
- Navigation Equipment: 1 Satellite compass, 2 magnetic Compasses, Tracking equipment.
- Security equipment: Smoke detectors, sprinklers throughout the vessel, automatic CO2 tank for kitchen and engine room
Galapagos Suite – Upper Deck
Approx. 25sq m, panoramic windows, access to the suite is by outside hallway, 2 single beds or 1 queen size bed, private bathroom with hot/cold water, air conditioning with independent controls and mini fridge.
Galapagos Suite – Main Deck Balcony
Approx. 25sq m, panoramic windows and balcony, 2 single beds or 1 queen bed, private bathroom with hot/cold water, air conditioning with independent controls and mini fridge.
Sea Star – Suite
Approx. 35sq m, located on upper deck, panoramic windows, access to the suite is by outside hallway, king size bed, separate lounge area with a large sitting area and desk, sofa lounge, private bathroom with hot/cold water, air conditioning with independent controls and mini fridge.
- On-board accommodation
- All meals during the voyage
- Activities/shore excursions as specified
- Bilingual naturalist guides
- Use of snorkelling and kayaking equipment
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- International and internal airfares
- Arrival/departure taxes or reciprocity fees, visa fees where applicable
- Travel insurance
- Galapagos National Park fee US$100
- Transit control card US$20
- Any items not mentioned as included
NOTE: Long itineraries are the combination of short ones; please let us know if you would like to book a long cruise