Hike, snorkel and explore the inimitable Galapagos Islands

Discover the rich marine life, abundant bird colonies and stunning landscapes of the Galapagos Islands on this action-packed, 10-day tour. Board your comfortable motor yacht and set off in search of adventure and wildlife. Hike over pahoehoe lava on Bahia Sullivan, snorkel off the coast of Isla Espanola, discover the archipelago’s history on Isla San Cristobal and be mesmerised by flourishing cactus forest on Isla Rabida. This journey will immerse you in the rugged, unique, inimitable Galapagos Islands.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Original
Theme
Sailing, Wildlife
Code
GMDA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Snorkelling in the Devil’s Crown is like nothing else. This submerged crater – full of sea lions, turtles and rays – boasts some of the best underwater views in the archipelago.

  • This trip is one for the bird-lovers. Witness the albatross colonies of Isla Espanola and seek out the rare red-footed booby on Isla Genovesa.

  • Plant your feet on 100-year-old pahoehoe lava as you walk across Bahia Sullivan, perhaps spotting a colourful marine iguana or twelve along the way.

  • Discover the otherworldly landscapes and creatures the islands are famous for, going deeper with a knowledgeable local naturalist who will accompany you on all your excursions.

  • Sea lions, marine iguanas, and more fish than you can shake a snorkel at – this trip is packed with guaranteed wildlife encounters.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The Galapagos Islands are a largely untouched natural paradise. In order to experience the splendour of the diverse landscapes and waters, the included activities on this trip often require a moderate level of fitness. We ask that you read the trip notes and itinerary carefully to ensure that you will be able to participate fully.

  • Our small ships make cruising from island to island a breeze, so you can spend more time exploring the gorgeous surrounds than stuck onboard. Compact size means that the steps between the decks are steep, and as they are designed to maximise living area space, sleeping quarters are cosy.

  • For getting to small islets, coves and prime snorkelling spots, it is sometimes necessary to use a Zodiac boat (panga). You will need to be comfortable climbing in and out of one during wet and dry landings.

  • The waters of the Galapagos are generally calm and serene. However, there is always the possibility of choppy water at sea. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) will be needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

  • Things are never set in stone when you’re travelling on island time. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens. While the crew will do their best to follow the itinerary, variations may occur due to weather or under direction from local authorities.

Boats

Daphne boat

Daphne

Daphne has spacious sundeck, and below deck a bar, dining room, library and cabins with private bathrooms and air conditioning

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2017 to 29 Jun 2020.
View the 2020 itinerary
The adventure gets under way in Quito, Ecuador’s sprawling but refined capital city. A welcome meeting will be held this evening at either 5 pm or 6 pm where you’ll get the chance to meet your fellow travellers, but aside from that you are free to check out the city on your own today. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps head to Quito’s Old Town and pick one (or more) of the 30 churches to explore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel La Cartuja, Quito (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

As this trip spends very little time in Quito, we recommend you spend a few extra days before your trip if you want to experience all the city has to offer.

We recommend not partaking in any strenuous activity until you have time to gauge your reaction to the city’s high altitude, as some people experience mild symptoms of attitude sickness such as dizziness, shortness of breath and sleeplessness.

Please keep in mind that this may be your last chance to buy items like sunscreen and toiletries. You may not be able to find them in the remote areas we visit on this tour.
Rise and shine! An early start is necessary this morning to make it to the Galapagos with time to play today. This could mean leaving as early as 4.30 am, and an Intrepid representative will confirm the exact departure time during the welcome meeting on Day 1. Transfer to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (AKA Quito Airport), enjoying a boxed breakfast en route.

Fly to the Galapagos (approximately 3.5 hours). On arrival, collect your luggage and meet your naturalist guide in the arrival hall. Follow your guide on a public bus for a short distance (approximately 5 minutes), then board the public ferry and head across the Itabaca Channel (approximately 7 minutes). All public transport fees are included in your trip price. Once you reach Isla Santa Cruz, board a private bus to the highlands.

After a short journey (approximately 10 minutes), arrive at Los Gemelos – twin sinkholes created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. They are surrounded by the unique scalesia cloud forest, so be on the lookout for the abundant bird life including different species of Darwin finches, woodpeckers, warbler finches and vermillion flycatchers. Continue further into the highlands (approximately 30 minutes) and explore a rancho farm, where you will take a walk and enjoy lunch. An approximately 2-kilometre walk around the area will likely reveal giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

After lunch, travel to Puerto Ayora (approximately 45 minutes) where Le Grande Daphne and her crew will be waiting for you. Once on board, you’ll be assigned a cabin and have a chance to settle in for your first night on the islands before a safety briefing.
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
A USD 20 per-person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a USD 100 per-person national park entry fee is payable on arrival on the islands. Credit cards are not accepted so you will need to have cash on hand.

Please note snacks provided by the airline on the flight to the Galapagos Islands may not meet specialty dietary requirements. You will have time to purchase food for the flight after check-in and before departure to consume on the flight, though keep in mind the Galapagos has strict quarantine regulations on many fruits and vegetables.

Your flight to the Galapagos Islands will make a stop in Guayaquil to refuel and pick up other passengers.

We recommend that you wear comfortable closed-in shoes as the trails in the rancho can be muddy. You can also opt to swap into rubber boots at the farm. From January to April, it can rain heavily in the highlands, so a rain jacket is also recommended.
Discover the quirky maritime history of Post Office Bay, home of the oldest postal system in the Americas. There’s a post box here that was first built by 18th-century whalers and is still in use today. Perhaps leave a letter to be collected by another traveller or look for one you can deliver. Snorkelling and a Zodiac ride are also included in this outing. Afterwards, head ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystal, a glassy volcanic mineral that gives the beach an olive-green colour. Take a 1-kilometre walk in search of sea lions, as well as flamingos, pintails and stilts. Finish at a sandy beach where Eastern Pacific green turtles nest.

Just offshore, the famous Devil’s Crown waits for those who want a special snorkelling experience. The partially-submerged remains of a volcanic cone, Devil’s Crown is now a unique swimming hole and home to rays, sharks, sea lions and turtles.

Sail overnight.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to Isla Floreana: 4 hours (32 nautical miles)
Punta Comorant to Punta Suarez: 6.5 hours (52 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up and take a hike on Isla Espanola, the southernmost island of the Galapagos. It is the breeding site for almost all of the estimated 24,000 waved albatrosses on earth. If you’re lucky (and the timing is right), you might spot the elaborate courtship rituals performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate during your walk. Hike through booby colonies to the rocky trails of beautiful Punta Suarez. This 3-km hike culminates at a clifftop viewpoint. Gaze out over views of rugged cliffs framed by swooping frigate birds, watching while albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, getting airborne on the southeast winds.

Next, head to Bahia Gardner for a walk along the beach. Dodge lounging sea lions on this 1-kilometre walk, then cool off with a spot of snorkelling. The rocks off the coast are rich with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish (such as surgeon and angelfish). Small white-tipped reef sharks can also be spotted resting under the rocks.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Suarez to Bahia Gardener: 45 minutes (5 nautical miles)
Bahia Gardener to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock): 5 hours (8 nautical miles)

Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Punta Suarez - Walk (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that the Albatross are not seen here between the months of January and April.
Shake off any early morning doziness with a trip to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). This basalt crater rises 150 metres above the water and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. Cruise through the channel as nesting seabirds flank the boat, tropicbirds soar overhead, marine iguanas swim about and sea lions lounge on the water. Snorkelling here gives you the chance to see Galapagos sharks, sea turtles and an incredible biodiversity of invertebrates living in the rock.

Later, sail to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristobal. Some passengers will be leaving and others joining the group today, so you have some free time to explore the town of San Cristobal. In the afternoon you will visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre, which brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. If there’s time, your guide may be able to organise an optional visit to the highlands of San Cristobal, for a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild. The price of this optional activity depends on the number of passengers attending. Relaxing on the beach is a great option for those who don’t wish to partake in this excursion.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) to Isla San Cristobal: 1 hour (8 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Kicker Rock - Snorkelling (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Sea lions, iguanas and hawks – oh my! Isla Santa Fe is home to all three, plus Galapagos mockingbirds, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. This stunning island boasts one of the most attractive coves in the whole archipelago. Take a hike along the coast into the opuntia forest (approximately 1.5 hours). The trail is rocky, so mind your step.

Afterwards, continue to Plaza Sur (South Plaza), a small, picturesque island. Take another walk (approximately 1.5 hours), getting close to sea lions and passing one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations. The southern cliffs are great for spotting tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the Gentlemen’s Club’ – a gathering of male sea lions. Today there may be an extra stop along the way to Plaza Sur to restock the provisions for the boat.

Later tonight, set sail for Isla Genovesa.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla San Cristobal to Isla Santa Fe: 3.5 hours (26 nautical miles)
Isla Santa Fe to Plazas Sur: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Plazas Sur to Bahia Darwin (Isla Genovesa): 7.5 hours (59 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Plaza Sur - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Panga ride (45 mins)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Explore Isla Genovesa, the archipelago's north-eastern outpost. The island’s varied landscapes are a twitcher's paradise, with all three kinds of boobies, including the rare red-footed booby, nesting here. Next, Bahia Darwin (Darwin Beach) is another superb birding site with large breeding colonies of seabirds, frigates, lava herons, swallow-tailed gulls, mockingbirds, and vampire finches.

Enjoy a moderate walk (approximately 2.5 hours) that passes tide pools, sea lions and diamond stingrays. This walk involves sand and some rocky sections. The steep Prince Philip's Steps lead you to the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds swirling overhead and nesting among the cliffs. Look out for storm petrels on the island’s rocky plains -- Genovesa is the only place in the world where these birds can be seen flying during the day. Afterwards, perhaps cool off with a snorkel, during which you could encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels, plus many species of fish.

Later tonight, depart Isla Genovesa for Isla Santiago.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Prince Philip's Steps to Bahia Sullivan (Isla Santiago): 8 hours (48 miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Genovesa - Bahia Darwin - Walk (2 hours) Wet Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - La Barranco - Walk - Dry Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - Snorkelling (45 min)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
On Santiago Island's eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan. Take a walk along pahoehoe lava (approximately 1 hour), which was created by an eruption that occurred here in 1897. With some luck you might see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins. During your walk, as always, your naturalist guide will take you through the geological history of the island.

Travel to Isla Rabida, known for its gorgeous red-sand beach (coloured that way due to rusting iron). This is one of the most striking islands of the archipelago. Starting at the shore, follow a walking trail (approximately 45 minutes) through to what is one of the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. Elsewhere, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions are present. Here you will find opuntia cactus forest, which suggests previous existence of land iguanas and possibly flamingos, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves, finches and lava lizards. You’ll have the chance to snorkel among sea stars, damsels, gobies and surgeon fish, and take a panga ride in search of wildlife.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bahia Sullivan to Isla Rabida: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Isla Rabida to Black Turtle Cove (Isla Santa Cruz) 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Snorkelling (45 mins)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Brave an early start to explore Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) on a Zodiac ride. This red mangrove wetland is located on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. A breeding area for green turtles, this is a good place to catch sight of them mating. There is also abundant bird life, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron. It is also a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. This is your final excursion before you head to the airport in Isla Baltra for your flight back to Quito.

The flight will stop over in Guayaquil en route, arriving at Quito Airport at approximately 4 pm. Enjoy a transfer back to your hotel. Your local Intrepid representative may stop by at your hotel this evening to get your feedback on your Galapagos experience.

Estimated travel times/distance:
Daphne to Isla Baltra: 15 mins
Flight time Isla Baltra to Quito: approx 3.5 hours (including transit in Guayaquil)
Transfer Quito Airport to Hotel: 1 hour (depending on traffic)
Accommodation
  • Hotel La Cartuja, Quito (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As you will be leaving the boat this morning, please remember that if you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip is considered appropriate. For logistical and cultural reasons, we treat this as an optional expense and do not incorporate it into your trip price.

As a guideline we recommend each passenger considers USD 15 per day for the crew (collectively) and USD 10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin before you disembark.

Please note that the snack provided during your flight may not meet specialty dietary requirements.
There are no activities scheduled after breakfast this morning. Planning to stay in Quito? We don’t blame you! This gorgeous city deserves more time than we were able to give it on this trip, so if you have the time why not explore on an Urban Adventure. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/Quito-tours.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
All travel times/distances and activity durations are approximate only and subject to change.

Meals

9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Boat, Plane, Bus, Zodiac (Panga)

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Punta Suarez - Walk (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Kicker Rock - Snorkelling (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Plaza Sur - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Panga ride (45 mins)
  • Isla Genovesa - Bahia Darwin - Walk (2 hours) Wet Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - La Barranco - Walk - Dry Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - Snorkelling (45 min)
  • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD:
Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.

PASSPORT DETAILS:
When booking, please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform us or your agent of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

MINIMUM AGE:
The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS:
Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to our internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

Essential trip information

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