Explore the fascinating wildlife and diverse terrain of the southern Galapagos Islands.

Cruise the Galapagos and discover its unique native wildlife on a 7-day sailing adventure around the southern end of the archipelago. Meet giant tortoises that inhabit Isla San Cristobal, watch blue-footed boobies dance the booby two-step and wander the unfamiliar environment that characterises these far-flung islands. Every day wake up to a different view out your window from the comforts of the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz. Sail past the volcanic Punta Pitt, swim with sea lions at Bahia Gardner, and hike past prickly pear cacti on Isla Santa Fe. Prepare to head on the adventure of a lifetime and become a Galapagos explorer.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Keep an eye out for your next glimpse of Galapagos penguins, sea lions or albatross. In the air, on land and underwater – there’s always something to see.

  • Cruise in small-scale style on the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz, following in the footsteps of past explorers and passing the best of the southern islands.

  • Roam Isla Plaza Sur, a small island packed full of wildlife – get close to sea lions, walk trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations and visit the rugged southern cliffs that are home to a gathering of old and young male sea lions known as the 'Gentlemen’s Club’!

  • Go exotic bird watching off the coast of Isla Espanola, where you may see the unique waved albatrosses, blue-footed boobies, and masked boobies.

  • Understand the geography and history of the Galapagos at the San Cristobal Interpretation Center, where you’ll learn more about past explorers and expeditions and how your journey shapes up to theirs.

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

Grand Queen Beatriz

On this itinerary, you'll be travelling aboard the Grand Queen Beatriz

Itinerary

On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure. A welcome meeting will be held in the evening at either 5 pm or 6 pm when you will meet others travelling with you on your cruise around the Galapagos Islands. As today is an arrival day, you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting.

Quito sits at high altitude under the towering Pichincha volcano. It is a beautiful city, arguably one of the most beautiful in South America. The city stretches along the valley and is surrounded by the Andes. The Old Town of Quito is awash with history, with more than 30 churches to explore, and a number of fascinating museums. La Compania de Jesus is considered to be the most beautiful and ornate churches in the Americas. The city's oldest street, Calle La Ronda, is also well worth exploring.

As this trip spends very little time in Quito, we recommend you spend a few extra days before or after your trip to experience all the city has to offer. You may even wish to explore further beyond the city and visit Otavalo, Cotopaxi, the Cloud Forest or the Equatorial Monument.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Le Parc, 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. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.

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.
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Please note the pick-up time can be as early as 4:30 am (a boxed breakfast will be provided), as the airport is a 1-hour drive away and you must allow for delays and check-in times. (Your tour leader will confirm this time with you at the welcome meeting).

The flight to the Galapagos will make one stop in Guayaquil to pick up other passengers. (Total flight time is about 3.5 hours).

On arrival in the Galapagos, you will be met in the arrival hall of the airport by a transfer guide to take you to the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz, anchored on the other side of Isla Santa Cruz. Our transfer guide will accompany you on an airport public bus to then take a short journey on a ferry across the Itabaca Channel. Once you reach Santa Cruz, take a private vehicle for a 45-minute drive to Puerto Ayora, the main port of the island. Here, you and your fellow travellers will be transported to the boat. Once on board, cabins will be assigned and there will be a welcome briefing and safety drill. You will then get to meet our crew members and get to know your naturalist guide while enjoying a delicious lunch.

Your first stop in the afternoon is 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 offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You will also see baby tortoises and land iguanas.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to Isla 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
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.

Today is predominately a long travel day with an early morning start. Your first activity on the islands will not commence until after lunch. The airline we use to and from the Galapagos islands will provide a small snack but because it is such a long travel day we recommend that you carry your own snacks as well. The snacks they do provide are not gluten free, so if you require a gluten free diet, please ensure you carry your own. Please also 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 and before departure to buy snacks.
Santa Fe is home to many sea lions and these ones are happy to share the sea and shore with you! It’s a lovely place to take a dip and is a fantastic place to see many of the stars of the Galapagos in one relatively small area. Expect to see Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, sea lions, marine turtles, frigate birds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island with small coves and jade-green waters ideal for snorkelling. Hiking towards the cliffs on Santa Fe will lead you to a forest of prickly pear cactus. A member of the cactus family, their name comes from the pear-shaped fruit the plant produces. The island is also home to a unique sub-species of land iguana.

On to Isla Plaza Sur: a small island packed full of wildlife, where you will get close to sea lions and walk on trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, who rest among cacti and bright red and green volcanic landscapes. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are an excellent place to spot tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as the 'Gentlemen’s Club’ – a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be beachmasters!

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Santa Fe to Isla Plaza Sur: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Isla Plaza Sur to Isla Espanola (Punta Suarez): 7 hours (60 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Plaza Sur - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Panga ride (45 mins)
  • Isla Santa Fe - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After an overnight night sail, you will wake up at Isla Espanola – the southernmost island of the Galapagos. Because of its remote location, this island has a large population of endemic fauna. It is the breeding site for nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses and also home to colonies of blue-footed and masked boobies.

Trails from the golden beaches, where sea lions and marine iguanas bathe, will lead you right through clusters of boobies, Galapagos doves and mockingbirds.

Head to the cliffs of Punta Suarez, home to large and varied wildlife population – a walk along its trails will take you to a viewpoint, where you'll gain a magical panorama of the clifftop and crashing waves. Boobies line the rocky shoreline beneath you, while frigate birds may be seen overhead; nearby enormous male sea lions can be seen lounging and albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, helping become airborne by the southeast winds that blow across this part of the island. If you’re lucky, you might see an albatross performing their elaborate courtship rituals before the female chooses her lifelong mate!

Stop at Bahia Gardner (Gardner Bay), which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands – full of sea lions and hood mockingbirds. The rocks off the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities to see reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish, including surgeon and angelfish. The small white-tipped reef sharks are also often spotted resting under the rocks.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Suarez to Bahia Gardner: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Bahia Gardner to Punta Pitt (Isla San Cristobal): 7 hours (50 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Espanola - Punta Suarez - Walk (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning visit Punta Pitt on the eastern end of Isla San Cristobal. Walk to the top of the volcanic hill for views of the sparsely vegetated area. A variety of seabirds nest here, including blue-footed boobies and frigates.

On a panga (Zodiac boat) ride, you can observe the three varieties of boobies nesting in the Galapagos and later, enjoy a snorkel from the beach. Close by, pass through Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock): the magnificent basalt remains of a crater in the middle of the sea, resembling a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 metres above the surface and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. Cruise through the channel with nesting seabirds on either side of the boat, tropic birds overhead, marine iguanas in the water and many sea lions present including many resting on the rocks. Snorkelling gives us the opportunity to see Galapagos sharks, possibly a hammerhead shark among sea turtles, and a collection of invertebrates on the rock wall.

You will also visit Isla Lobos, a tiny island almost touching San Cristobal. This is the perfect time to witness the always friendly sea lions as they play in the calm shallow waters here. You may also see blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and marine iguanas.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Pitt to Leon Dormido: 2.5 hours (27 nautical miles)
Leon Dormido to Isla Lobos: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Isla Lobos to Isla San Cristobal (Puerto Baquerizo): 1 hour (5 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Punta Pitt - Walk (2 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Isla Lobos - Walk (1 hour) - Dry Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Kicker Rock - Snorkelling (45 minutes)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, it is an early start to your last morning on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, your time spent on this final excursion could be limited.

Visit San Cristobal Interpretation Center in the morning. This centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos, and the reality of the problems the islands face today.

You will then head to the airport for a flight back to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito Airport you will be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Le Parc, Quito (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing
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.

Today is predominately a long travel day with an early morning start. There will be a short morning activity before our mid-morning flight back to the mainland. The flight back to Quito is not due to arrive until late afternoon.
After breakfast, there are no activities planned for the final day, so you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito, so if you would like to spend more time here, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
All travel times/distances and activity durations are approximate only and subject to change.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Minibus, Boat, Plane, Zodiac

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Plaza Sur - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Panga ride (45 mins)
  • Isla Santa Fe - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Punta Suarez - Walk (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Punta Pitt - Walk (2 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Isla Lobos - Walk (1 hour) - Dry Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Kicker Rock - Snorkelling (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing

Dates & availability

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Important notes

FELLOW TRAVELLERS:
This trip is run by our sister company, Peregrine Adventures. Your group will be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from Peregrine.

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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