Map of Galapagos In Focus (Grand Queen Bea) including Ecuador

Explore a wild world as you sail the central eastern islands of the Galapagos

Set sail on an eight-day adventure through one of the most diverse, untouched and fascinating places on earth. The central eastern islands of the Galapagos play host to an unbelievable array of wildlife, both above and below the surface, which you’ll discover during incredible guided walks and snorkelling excursions. As you cruise, walk and snorkel, look out for giant Galapagos tortoises, blue-footed boobies, iguanas, sea lions, fur seals and sea turtles (to name just a few!). From the sandy beaches of Espumilla to the volcanic craters of Isla Santiago, the landscapes are as mesmerising as the wildlife. Hop aboard for an adventure that surprises at every turn.


Start
Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
Finish
Isla Baltra, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Comfort
Theme
Adventure Cruising, Wildlife
Code
GMQP
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get a true taste of the Galapagos, sailing through its central and eastern islands, discovering untouched wilderness and unique wildlife.

  • Enjoy a room with a new view each day, getting to each island in the comfort of the mighty M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz.

  • Encounter giant Galapagos tortoises, blue-footed and masked boobies, pelicans and frigate birds, as well as land and marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals and perhaps dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

  • Live on island time, with the opportunity to explore coves, craters and inlets off the beaten track – one of the many benefits of a small group sail.

  • Experience the contrasting landscapes of a selection of islands. From the sandy Espumilla beach to the volcanic formation of Pinnacle Rock, you’ll see the diversity of the Galapagos.

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 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

Grand Queen Beatriz boat

Grand Queen Beatriz

Experience the ‘Enchanted Islands’ in our new custom-built yacht, the Grand Queen Beatriz.

Itinerary

Welcome to San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands! You will be met at 11am in the arrival hall of the San Cristobal airport by the National Park Guide and transferred to your boat, the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz – a first-class boat with all of the creature comforts you’ll need. Once on board you will meet your tour leader who will be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

This afternoon you will travel into the interior of Isla San Cristobal to visit the highlands site of ‘Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado’ (Red Hill) where the national park has established a breeding program and information centre for native tortoises. Here, we will be able to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat and learn all about their origin, evolution and their threatened future.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla San Cristobal (Puerto Baquerizo) to Isla Bartolome: 8 hours (70 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Highlands Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note this trip starts at 11am in the arrivals hall of San Cristobal Airport. Please ensure you book a flight to arrive before 11am.
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. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as credit cards are not accepted.
Your first activity on the islands will not commence until after lunch. Please keep in mind that the Galapagos has strict quarantine regulations in regard to bringing food onto the islands with many fruits and vegetables being on the restricted list. There will be time after check-in to buy snacks.
Having cruised overnight, arrive at Bartolome – one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the Galapagos, full of parasitic cones, lava flows, and home to Galapagos penguins and lava lizards.

Bartolome is a relatively new island in the archipelago and traces of its volcanic past can be seen everywhere, as seen by the amazing lunar-like landscape. The Pinnacle Rock is one of the most photographed sites in the Galapagos – a rock structure protruding from the earth like a tooth, providing a focal point for two nearby bays.

Head to nearby Isla Santiago, where you can hike to the top of a once-active volcano (360 wooden steps) and enjoy superb views across to Sullivan Bay. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glance of the Galapagos Hawk. You also have the opportunity to go snorkelling with plenty of tropical fish, starfish, white-tipped reef sharks, rays and (hopefully) penguins.

On Santiago's eastern coast sits James Island. Here, take a walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava, from an eruption that occurred in 1897, and witness the regrowth of unique plant species since the last eruption. Look out for marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins. On a walk, your guide will explain the interesting geological history of the islands.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bartolome to Isla Santiago (Sullivan Bay): 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Isla Santiago (Sullivan Bay) to Espumilla Beach: 3 hours (25 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Bartolome - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Bartolome - Snorkelling (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Bartolome - Panga ride (30 mins)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Start the morning at Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago in James Bay – one of the most idyllic locations in the Galapagos. With large waves, it is often a favourite among travellers who are beach lovers, and is also an important nesting site for marine turtles.

Look around and see Galapagos hawks, ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish) and brown pelicans up close. Espumilla is also well known for its forest of palo santo trees and some extraordinary lava formations.

You will also visit Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove), a natural monument of rocks caused by sea erosion. This cove was used by pirates to careen their ships. It is a place of local legends and stories, including where Charles Darwin camped for nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are favourable, you can enjoy some further snorkelling.

Next stop, Puerto Egas: a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago. South of the beach is Sugarloaf Volcano, which has deposits of volcanic tuff. This site is named Puerto Egas, after Hector Egas who last attempted to mine salt here. On the walk along the beach, you’ll encounter hundreds of marine iguanas and Galapagos sea lions. You will also see amazing tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. Snorkelling with the seals always offers the possibility of thrilling encounters.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Espumilla Beach to Buccaneer Cove: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Buccaneer Cove to Puerto Egas: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Puerto Egas to Puerto Ayora: 7 hours (60 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Walk (1.45 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will visit Isla Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos.

The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You will also see baby tortoises and land iguanas.

Afterwards, head up into the highlands for a total change of scenery. Beginning at the coast you'll travel across Santa Cruz through the agricultural region and into the misty forests – the journey taking about 45 minutes. This is a lush humid zone containing miconia bushes, scalesia and inactive volcanic cones. Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any of the other islands. Plus, you are likely to see Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat, and perhaps even the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher!

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to the Highlands: 45 mins by bus
Puerto Ayora to Santa Fe: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today there may be some passengers leaving the tour and some new passengers joining.
Take a morning excursion to North Seymour, which is one of the most visited islands in the Galapagos. The trail on North Seymour crosses inland through the island and then explores the rocky coast. Along the way, the trail passes colonies of blue footed boobies and frigate birds.

The magnificent frigate bird, a large black bird with a long wingspan and a hooked beak, is extremely fast and has excellent vision. Frigate birds are known for the large red pouch on their necks. During mating season, the males throw back their heads, inflate the pouch (sometimes to the size of a soccer ball), and shake – trying to capture the attention of female frigates. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship. Sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour, blue-footed boobies nest on the ground making their nests from the twigs of the palo santos trees, while the frigate birds nest just above them in the saltbushes.

Your walk is followed by snorkelling where you will discover a colourful variety of fish and, possibly, some white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions.

After lunch, visit the small sandy island of Mosquera: a relaxing stop situated between Baltra and North Seymour. Along the rocks and in the tide pool, Sally Lightfoot crabs (red lava crabs) scamper back and forth, skipping across small pools of water in search of food. These crabs with their bright red shell tops and blue under shells are stunning against the black lava. The island also has a very large colony of sea lions as well as a sizeable resident brown pelican population. Depending on the tides and visibility, you may have a chance to go snorkelling here.

Estimated travel time/distance:
North Seymour to Baltra: 4 hours (35 nautical miles)
Baltra to Caleta Tortuga: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
  • Isla Mosquera - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Mosquera - Beach Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will take a panga (Zodiac boat) to Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) – a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. Paddle among the cove’s peaceful waters, for your first taste of the underwater riches of this region – it’s a wonderful place to see green turtle and is a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. There is also abundant birdlife, such as the yellow warblers and lava herons. This is also a breeding area for turtles, so it is not uncommon to see them mating.

In the afternoon, cruise over for a walk on Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) this afternoon - one of the best places to see land iguanas in the islands. From our dry landing we walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation makes for an ideal location for birdwatching with Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers all regulars here. The path can be challenging but it will be worth it with a spectacular view of the bay!

Estimated travel time/distance:
Caleta Tortuga Negra to Cerro Dragon: 2 hours (12 nautical miles)
Cerro Dragon to Sombrero Chino (Chinese hat): 1.5 hours (9 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Snorkelling or swimming (1 hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Sombrero Chino is a small islet located near the south-east coast of Santiago. It's shaped like a Chinese hat (Sombrero Chino) when seen from afar, and is geologically fascinating, with many lava tubes leading from the cone to the coast. We approach Sombrero Chino via a beautiful crescent-shaped, sandy beach that is home to sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a look out for Galapagos penguins on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, opposite Sombrero Chino. Follow a trail that circles the cove and passes through colonies of sea lions marine iguanas. The cove also offers some great snorkelling opportunities, hopefully with sightings of some penguins and sharks.

On to Isla Rabida, also known as Jervis Island, which is a tiny island sitting roughly five kilometres south of Santiago, having one of the most striking of the archipelago. Introduced species were eradicated in 1971, meaning that the native wildlife has now been returned to a state of isolation. Additionally, volcanic activity here has produced a vivid spectrum of colours, not least the red sand beaches and scarlet cliffs.

From the shore, the trail leads 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, spot pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions. There is an opportunity for snorkelling in a cove full of sea stars, damsels, gobies and surgeon fish.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Sombrero Chino to Isla Rabida: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Isla Rabida to Bachas Beach: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santiago - Sombrero Chino - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Sombrero Chino - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will take an early morning excursion to Las Bachas, which was so named after the barges abandoned by the American Navy here in the 1940s. The sand beaches of Las Bachas on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and marine iguanas are also commonly seen. The sand here is particularly white and soft, as it is made of decomposed coral. The rocks provide great snorkelling and are the perfect habitat for the Sally Lightfoot crabs, which are plentiful on the island. A saltwater lagoon near the beach is home to flamingo, whimbrel and great blue herons. This is your final excursion before you return to the airport in Baltra, where your Galapagos adventure will come to an end.
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
This trip finishes at the Airport on Baltra Island at approximately 9.30am. The includes excursion today will start early morning to maximise the time you have on the Islands before being transferred back to the airport.

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.

Meals

7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Boat, Zodiac

Accommodation

Overnight boat (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla San Cristobal - Highlands Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Bartolome - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Bartolome - Snorkelling (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Bartolome - Panga ride (30 mins)
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Walk (1.45 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
  • Isla Mosquera - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Mosquera - Beach Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Snorkelling or swimming (1 hour)
  • Isla Santiago - Sombrero Chino - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Sombrero Chino - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Galapagos In Focus (Grand Queen Bea) trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Ecuador has implemented COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to the country, including special conditions for Galapagos. Please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.

FELLOW TRAVELLERS:
This trip is a package tour and is therefore made up of a combination of shorter trips. This may mean you will travel with a different guide and passengers on each section.

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLANDS PORT FEES:
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. If your voyage visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$10 fee to be paid on arrival at the island.

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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