Galapagos - Remote Northern and Central Islands

  • Platinum
8 days
from
$6,450 USD
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Small Ship Cruises
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
WAVA
Ways to Travel:
Small Ship Cruises, Platinum, Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
26–32
Min age:
16

Experience the undeniable wonder of these enchanted isles

The Galapagos Islands are a treasure meant to be experienced with a group of true nature enthusiasts. The Evolution is the perfect haven for relaxing between daily hiking and snorkelling excursions, or for joining fellow travellers for a briefing by our knowledgeable naturalists. During our intimate Galapagos Islands cruise, find yourself just inches away from giant tortoises, comical Blue-footed boobies, Sea lions, penguins, iguanas and many other animals, and gain an appreciation for how remarkable life on Earth can be. Voyage the famed waters of Galapagos amid the spectacular landscapes and distinct endemic wildlife that so intrigued Charles Darwin. From the spouting whales crossing the Bolivar Channel to the Waved albatrosses nesting along the cliffs of Espanola, you'll experience the undeniable wonder of these enchanted isles.

Highlights

  • Snorkel, kayak, hike and even enjoy an intimate picnic in the highlands with Giant tortoises
  • Sail on the Evolution, featuring the most public space and largest cabins of any yacht in her class
  • Visit a family-run coffee and sugar cane farm
  • Enjoy the archipelago's best guest-to-guide ratio
  • Learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station

Key information

  • 7 nights in twin or double cabins on board the Evolution
  • Islands visited: San Cristóbal, South Plaza, Sombrero Chino, Santiago, Genovesa, North Seymour, Santa Fe, Floreana, Santa Cruz
  • Group normally 26-32 passengers plus crew. 
  • Countries visited: Ecuador

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Accommodation while at sail; option to book pre/post-voyage hotel package in Guayaquil
  • Daily shore excursions, interpretive walks, swimming, snorkeling, hiking and panga rides
  • Snorkeling gear and wetsuits
  • Kayaks
  • Full educational program, including lectures on history, ecology, marine life and field interpretation

What's not included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Galapagos Park Tax fee: $120 USD (or equivalent in booking currency), paid upon booking
  • Mandatory internal flights from Guayaquil to Baltra Island return: $665 USD (or equivalent in booking currency), paid upon booking
Call for general departures:
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Single-use plastics have been eliminated from this trip. Plastic straws, single-use disposable soaps and single-serving food packages have been removed from all voyages, keeping your plastic waste to a minimum.

Itinerary

Guayaquil
to
Guayaquil
  • Day 1

    Fly Guayaquil to San Cristobal on the Galapagos & Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock

    Fly to the islands and board the Evolution. Stroll along the beach at Playa Ochoa, where a nearby tidal lagoon plays host to flamingos, finches and Chatham mockingbirds. At sunset, we cruise around Kicker Rock.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 2

    South Plaza Island

    At only 426 feet wide, South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Look for Yellow land iguanas on a walk to a grove of prickly-pear cactus.  Non-hikers can enjoy a Zodiac ride, watching for Swallow-tailed gulls, Red-billed tropicbirds and Blue-footed boobies. Since there is no true trail on Mosquera Islands, you are able to stroll at your leisure.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Sombrero Chino Island & Santiago Island

    Morning Sombrero Chino Island: The tiny uplifted island of Sombrero Chino – or Chinese Hat – features a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble and lava tubes. The “land” is made of a few adjacent craters and old, fragile pahoehoe lava flows. Vegetation is just starting to take hold, including colourful carpetweed plants. Enjoy a Zodiac ride and swim before lunch.

    Afternoon Puerto Egas, Santiago Island: This afternoon, search the tide pools of Puerto Egas for sea life. During low tide, we may see Marine iguanas feeding on algae. Our naturalists will point out the birdlife, including Great blue herons, Lava herons, oystercatchers and Yellow-crowned night herons.

    AccommodationThe Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Genovesa Island

    Genovesa is often referred to as “Bird Island” for the vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest. And while Genovesa harbours one of the Galapagos’ largest and most diverse bird populations, there are no land reptiles — with the exception of some very small Marine iguanas. This is due to the direction of the ocean currents, which couldn’t carry the terrestrial animals here. Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to an area with colonies of Red-footed boobies. Watch for Short-eared owls which feed on the petrals that fly about. Explore Darwin Bay, home to the rare Lava gull. While anchored at Genovesa, enjoy an opportunity to swim, kayak and snorkel in the calm caldera of this partially eroded volcano.

    AccommodationThe Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    North Seymour Island & Santa Fe Island

    Morning North Seymour: North Seymour is the nesting site for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds and the only place where we can always find males showing their red pouches to attract females. Plus, we are sure to see Blue-footed boobies perform their comical courtship dance in the open areas.

    Afternoon Santa Fe Island: Hike to a scenic lagoon, where we may observe Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds and a variety of Darwin’s finches. You may kayak and snorkel from the beach.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Floreana Island 

    Hike to Post Office Bay, once used by navigators to send mail with homebound messengers. Swim and kayak in the bay before a walk along the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant. After hiking to a flamingo lagoon, spot fish and sea turtles during a relaxing stroll along the beach. Enjoy superb snorkelling at Devil’s Crown, where sea water has filled the sunken cone of an extinct volcano.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Santa Cruz Island

    Begin our day in the forested highlands, with ample opportunity to see and photograph Giant tortoises in the wild. Stop at a family-run farm before learning about the work being done to study and preserve wildlife at Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Centre at the Darwin Research Centre.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Black Turtle Cove & fly to Guayaquil

    Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, drifting silently through this area of mangroves. Fly to Guayaquil, trip ends upon arrival at airport in Guayaquil.

    Ask us about adding our optional Guayaquil package which includes your transfers, breakfasts, and pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodations.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Ecuador you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Eating and Drinking

7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.

Weather

It is possible to visit the Galapagos at any time of year, but seasonal variations do affect what you see and there are climatic changes to be aware of. The weather is controlled by the two main ocean currents of the region, the Humboldt, bringing cold water from the Antarctic, and El Nino, which brings tropical water from the Gulf of Panama. How close to Galapagos they converge (which varies from year to year) is the key to the weather.

'Dry season'

Generally speaking, late May to early December is the cooler 'dry' season. In this period it is not necessarily dry, as there is a persistent light mist (garua) and often light drizzle, and the higher mountain slopes are covered in cloud and fog or rain. At this time the winds are in the southeast and are higher than at other times, so seas can sometimes be choppy and anyone worried about seasickness might be better advised to avoid it. Daytime maximum temperatures lie between 27ºC and 31ºC, the cooler months being July to November. In July and August the fairly strong winds introduce a chill factor, and it can feel quite cold at nights, though throughout the year the official night temperatures vary between 19ºC and 24ºC.

'Wet season'

Depending on how close the convergence of the two currents comes to Galapagos, there may or may not be a wet season from January to April or May. Approximately every seven years the El Nino current actually hits the islands and there will be heavy rains in these months. In other years rain usually falls sporadically from otherwise clear skies. The ocean temperatures are higher, with generally calm seas and strong sunshine: pleasant, but potentially very hot. Apart from an El Nino year, the weather is usually better from December/January to April/May than at other times even if there is some rain, and most people would regard these months as the best time to go.

There are plenty of wildlife highlights throughout the year:

January: Nesting land birds; Green sea turtles arrive to lay eggs on the islands beaches; land iguana’s start breeding on Isabela.
February: Nesting Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz; Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana. 
March: The bright red throat pouches of frigatebirds are inflated during mating season on Genovesa and San Cristobal. 
April: Huge numbers of Waved albatross on Española displaying courtship rituals; eggs of Green sea turtles begin to hatch; land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela. 
May: Courtship of Blue-footed boobies begins on North Seymour; Waved albatross on Española start laying eggs. 
June: Giant tortoises migrate to the lowlands and start nesting; migrating birds stop in the Galapagos to rest; migrating Humpback whales can often be seen around the western islands. 
July: Dolphins and whales are more likely to be seen around the western islands; Blue-footed boobies on Española start breeding. 
August: Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa Island; Sea lions start giving birth to pups. 
September: Penguins seen in the water when snorkelling around Bartolome. 
October: Galapagos Fur seals start mating; Blue-footed boobies start raising chicks. 
November: Curious Sea lion pups found in the water amongst snorkelers. 
December: Mating Green sea turtles; Waved albatross chicks fledge.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 5.

This trip is great for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history or geology. Though you do not need to be particularly fit, you should note that due to the volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands there will be some walking on rough ground and sharp volcanic rocks. The ability to withstand high temperatures and to swim will maximize your enjoyment. Due to local regulations in the Galapagos we have specific time slots for making our landings and site visits. There is usually very little disruption to the schedule, but this can mean little room for deviation in the event of poor weather or other circumstances.

In the Galapagos, each day will feature a mixture of walking, snorkelling and exploring the islands by boat. To get closer to the designated landing sites on each of the islands we disembark into small pangas (motorised dinghys). Landings on the islands are divided into two types - wet and dry. For dry landings, the panga will take you right up to a landing stage or rocky outcrop where you can disembark without getting wet. However, in some places where there is no landing stage the panga will stop close to a beach and you will be expected to walk through shallow water (generally no more than ankle-deep) to the shore. The leader will always advise conditions prior to leaving and it is possible to skip any particular excursion if you would rather relax on board the boat.

There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling in the Galapagos and this is one of the best ways to experience the marine life. A mask and snorkel will reveal an exciting underwater world with Sea lions, rays, turtles, Marine iguanas and a colourful array of fish. On most days of the itinerary there will be one or two snorkelling sessions.  Snorkelling in the Galapagos does not require any special skills, however, at times you will be snorkelling in open water where there are fairly strong currents. Before going into the water, the guide will evaluate the strength of the currents and the general condition of the sea to make sure they are right for this to be a safe and enjoyable activity. The dinghy will remain very close at all times; if you get tired or feel like coming out of the water you only have to raise your arm and they will come to pick you up so you can rest for a while before going back in or stay in the dinghy until it is time to return to the boat. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, fins and masks) is provided, however, is advisable to wear a wetsuit which not only protects you from the cold but also makes floating much easier without as much effort.

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company International Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, International Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award-winning customer service that you would expect. International Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Islands Visited on this Itinerary:

San Cristóbal: The easternmost island of the archipelago and the first landing point for Charles Darwin in 1835. The Galapagos Islands' provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is on San Cristóbal, and the town is home to the excellent Galapagos Interpretation Centre. Popular sites for visitors to the island include El Junco Lake (one of the archipelago's few freshwater lagoons), Frigatebird Hill (unsurprisingly named for the large colonies of magnificent and great frigatebirds), and Kicker Rock, a towering split rock that rises over 100m from the ocean. The highland cloud forests provide a natural habitat for giant tortoises. Huge numbers of Sea lions are also present on San Cristóbal and nearby Isla Lobos, reachable by boat, is a big nesting site for Blue-footed boobies.

South Plaza: A tiny island formed of lava and carpeted with cacti and plants that give it a luxurious red surface. There is abundant bird life on South Plaza (including Tropic birds and Swallow-tailed gulls), as well as a large number of land and Marine iguanas that feed on the cacti.

Santiago: Home of the Galapagos Fur seal, which likes the rocky shoreline and shady spots of Santiago. Around 30,000 to 40,000 Fur seals live on the islands, and the majority can be found close to Puerto Egas, either on the rocks or on its black beaches. The island is a good place to see Galapagos hawks and Darwin finches, and there’s a popular snorkelling site called Chinese Hat where penguins, rays, turtles and playful Sea lion pups reside.

Genovesa: Renowned for the sheer number of birds living on its volcanic cliffs, Genovesa is a true paradise for birdwatchers. There are large populations of Red-footed boobies, Storm petrels, frigatebirds, Tropic birds and nocturnal Swallow-tailed gulls. Prince Philip's Steps lead to a plateau where the visitor is almost totally surrounded by different species of bird. It's not just the land that provides a great natural habitat – the nutrient-rich waters make for great snorkelling too.

North Seymour: A tiny island with a huge Sea lion colony and a very large colony of frigatebirds – it's one of the best places to see the males displaying their bright red pouches during mating season. You may also get to see one of these relatively aggressive birds performing some aerial tricks as they steal food from boobies or gulls.

Santa Fe: The dense vegetation of Santa Fe is made up of some of the largest species of cactus, including a forest of prickly pear. Large numbers of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana reside here – one of the largest land iguanas found on the islands.

Floreana: One of the first islands to be inhabited, the human history of Floreana is as interesting as its natural history. At Post Office Bay, 18th-century sailors (and now tourists) left mail in a wooden barrel so it could be picked up by other ships and delivered to its final destination. It's still common practice for visitors to see if there are postcards or letters from their home town and deliver them on their return from the Galapagos. Notable wildlife on the island includes large flamingo colonies, the Galapagos petrel and, between December and May, nesting Green turtles. Just off Floreana's coast is the Devil's Crown, an underwater coral-filled crater that offers some of the best snorkelling on the islands.

Santa Cruz: The second-largest island in the archipelago, Santa Cruz is home to Puerto Ayora – where most Galapagos ships are docked for embarkation – and the Charles Darwin Research Station, which conducts tortoise research programmes and is heavily involved in the management and conservation of the islands along with the national park authorities. The Santa Cruz highlands are much greener than the dry lowlands of the other islands and are home to freely-roaming groups of tortoises. In common with the rest of the group, Santa Cruz has many interesting volcanic features such as pit craters and lava tunnels, and there is also a noted flamingo lagoon at Cerro Dragón.

Galapagos Conservation Trust

We are delighted to offer our client’s travelling to Galapagos and Ecuador a six month free membership with Galapagos Conservation Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated solely to protecting the Galapagos Islands. With your membership, you will receive a responsible travel guide, their biannual magazine, invitations to exclusive events and information on GCT’s conservation work and appeals. To redeem your membership, please email [email protected] and quote the code EXO-GCT.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

The Evolution

The classically styled Evolution's interior is fully air-conditioned, and cabins on all three decks offer ample storage space, a writing desk, bedside tables and private facilities. The Evolution's spacious cabins are the largest on average in the Galapagos and act as the perfect haven for an afternoon siesta between your excursions. 

While the Evolution may carry a group of just 32 guests, she is generous in size with a host of amenities. From relaxing on the sun deck to reading in the lounge, you're sure to relish the friendly ambiance. Enjoy briefings by your naturalists in the comfortable lounge or spend time with a snack and your fellow passengers at the canopied bar - a superb place for watching the sun set over the Pacific. After excursions, relax in the hot tub or find a cushy deck chair while enjoying more outside space than any other yacht in its class.

Because there is an "open bridge" policy aboard the Evolution, you are welcome to visit the captain and crew and learn all about the ship’s operation and navigation. A convenient boarding platform makes it easy and safe to board our excursion boats.

Cabins

All cabins feature private bathrooms with hair dryers and toiletries, climate controls, writing desk and safe-boxes, plus ample storage space. During every excursion, stewards will service your spacious cabin.

Call for general departures:
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on +82-(0)02-6320-4111