Hop aboard and bask in the Galapagos’s central and southern islands.

Set sail on a 10-day expedition around the central and southern islands of the Galapagos, observing the unique wildlife of these remote Pacific islands. Be charmed by the native bird species, be amazed by an underwater ecosystem of colourful marine life and be delighted by its distinct environment. Hike across lava flows, sail through mangroves, and snorkel in natural aquariums abundant with fish, sea lions and turtles. This sail features an itinerary of some of the Galapagos’s most picturesque islands, so sit back and relax, because it’s all smooth sailing from here.

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Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience the benefits of small group travel aboard your vessel, M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz, sailing through the natural beauty of the Galapagos, day and night.

  • Explore the islands on deck, on foot and in the water, waking to a new view each morning, and keeping an eye out for the next bird sighting or sea turtle passing by.

  • See the contrasting Galapagos landscapes between islands, from the unique formation of Sombrero Chino to the colourful sands of Isla Rabida.

  • Learn a thing or two about 18th century whalers at Post Office Bay, and participate by posting a letter at the remote mail drop.

  • Encounter the unique Galapagos wildlife in their natural habitat, from giant blue-footed and masked boobies, pelicans and frigate birds to iguanas, sea lions, tortoises and fur seals.

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 boat

Grand Queen Beatriz

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

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 26 Feb 2019 to 23 Jan 2020.
View the 2020 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 meet others travelling with you on your sail around the Galapagos Islands. As today is an arrival day, you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until the welcome 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 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.

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 and will head to your vessel – M/Y Queen Beatriz, anchored on the other side of Isla Santa Cruz. Our guide will accompany you on an airport bus to where you board a public ferry for a short journey across the Itabaca Channel. Once you reach Santa Cruz Island, board a private vehicle for a 45-minute drive to Puerto Ayora, the main port of the island. Here, there will be two dinghies to transport you and your fellow travellers to the boat. Once on board, cabins will be assigned and you get to meet our crew members and get to know your naturalist guide while enjoying a delicious lunch.

The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. You’ll take a visit after lunch on board the boat. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers an opportunity to see giant tortoises. You will also be able to observe baby tortoises and land iguanas.
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.

Please note that 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 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.
Today, take a morning excursion to North Seymour: one of the most visited islands in the Galapagos. The hiking 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 nests just above them in the saltbushes.

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

After lunch, visit the small sandy Isla Mosquera: a picturesque island located 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 in its surrounding turquoise waters.

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
Take a panga (Zodiac boat) to Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) – a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. You will 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 turtles, and is a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. There is also abundant birdlife, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron. 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): one of the best places to see land iguanas in the islands. From our dry landing, walk to a brackish lagoon spotting lagoon birds such as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and 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 place to see Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers. The path can be challenging but it will be worth it for 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
Head towards Sombrero Chino: a small islet located near the south-east coast of Santiago. The island is 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. You’ll approach Sombrero Chino via a beautiful crescent-shaped, sandy beach that is home to sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Opposite Sombrero Chino, on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, you might see some Galapagos penguins. Follow a trail that circles the cove and passes through colonies of sea lions and marine iguanas. The cove also offers some great snorkelling opportunities, hopefully with penguins and sharks.

Next stop, the striking Isla Rabida – a tiny island sitting roughly 5 kilometres south of Santiago. 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 vivid 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 flamingo spotting. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans, 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, 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 sandy beaches of Las Bachas on the north shore of Santa Cruz are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and home to marine iguanas. 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 to the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel and great blue herons, so keep a look out.

In the afternoon, visit Punta Carrion, located in north-eastern Santa Cruz. This is a shallow and protected cove, ideal for snorkelling. Wildlife is plentiful, so look around for blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons and great blue herons, and underwater, swim among rays and white-tipped reef sharks.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bachas to Baltra: 1 hour (nautical miles)
Baltra to Punta Carrion: 1.5 hours (10 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At some point today, you may travel to Baltra where you will say good bye to some passengers and welcome new passengers on board the vessel.
Wake up on the south Coast of Isla Isabela, the largest island of the Galapagos archipelago. Isabela was formed by five giant volcanic craters, all of which are still considered active. The island is located in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having been formed less than 1 million years ago.

This southern coast of Isabela’s turquoise blue waters has the largest area of beaches in the Galapagos. You will visit Las Tintoreras, where from the viewing walkway you can look down into this narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping, and the occasional playful sea lion among them! Blue-footed boobies and penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here.

Enjoy a long walk on a gravel path through aa (‘ah-ah’) lava flow and see plenty of marine iguanas. Locally, the white sharks are known as 'tintoreras', hence the name of this spectacular site.

In the afternoon, take a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon, where you might see some flamingos. This mangrove-lined path leads to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center (Arnoldo Tupiza) where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. Here you can see the five sub species of tortoises from Isabela, some of which are bred in captivity.

You will then have the choice of optional swimming at the beach or heading out for some shopping in Puerto Villamil.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Isabela (Puerto Villamil) to Post Office Bay: 6 hours (40 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Arnolda Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center including Flamingo Lagoon (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Concha y Perla beach visit or snorkelling (1.5 hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that there's a USD 10 fee to be paid upon landing on Isla Isabela.
Isla Floreana is a highlight of any Galapagos cruise, rich in natural wonders and wildlife. Enjoy a panga ride around the bay to saee marine iguanas, sea lions and crabs before taking a leisurely walk to Post Office Bay, where 18th century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. This custom continues to this day with visitors to the Galapagos – post one of your own, or see if there are any you could deliver back home! You will also have the chance to go snorkelling with sea turtles.

Today is also one of your finest opportunities to see pink flamingos and other water birds wading in the lagoons, including pintails and stilts. Just offshore, the Devil’s Crown is an old eroded volcanic cone and a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropicbirds can also be seen nesting in the rocky crevices. The centre of the cone is an outstanding snorkelling spot, perhaps the most remarkable in the entire archipelago, full of sea lions and colourful fish.

You will also go ashore at Punta Cormorant, where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystals (a glassy volcanic mineral), giving the beach an olive-green colour. It is a great place to see Galapagos sea lions.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Post Office Bay to Punta Cormorant: 0.5 hours (3 nautical miles)
Punta Cormorant to Puerto Ayora: 4 hours (32 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, it is an early start on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be limited.

Pay a visit to the Santa Cruz highlands. You’ll travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where you can see the unique scalesia cloud forest, get up close to the dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild, spot different species of Darwin finches, woodpeckers, warbler finches and even vermillion flycatchers.

This is your final excursion before you return to the airport in Baltra for your 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 Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - 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 getting back to the hotel in time for an optional group dinner.
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, including an Urban Adventures tour that may take your fancy. Explore Ecuadorian food culture and taste traditional ingredients on the Quito Market Discovery Tour, where you’ll visit an authentic market and ride a cable car to the top of Pichincha to view the expansive city (see urbanadventures.com/destination/Quito-tours). If you wish to stay in Quito, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability), or otherwise can assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.
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

Minibus, Boat, Plane, Zodiac

Accommodation

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

Included activities

  • 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 - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Arnolda Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center including Flamingo Lagoon (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Concha y Perla beach visit or snorkelling (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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.

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 Peregrine 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

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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