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Cormorant Catamaran - 7 Nights Itinerary B

Sleek, fast and stable, the first-class Cormorant catamaran is perfect for taking a Galapagos tour in style. The 16-passenger yacht offers 8 generous and comfortable accommodations that each preserve the relaxed exclusivity of a smaller vessel cruising the Galapagos Islands. What’s more, the ship’s delicious menus of Ecuadorian and international cuisine, the friendly well-trained 11-member crew, and the ship’s pure comfort combine to make the Cormorant a great choice for the ultimate island vacation. During this 8-day/7-night Galapagos cruise, you can swim and snorkel among some of the richest marine life on Earth and on land, and become transfixed by the wealth of birdlife that populates the stunning forests. Sailing on board the 16-passenger first-class Cormorant catamaran, tiny Galapagos penguins, Blue-footed boobies, prehistoric-looking iguanas and playful seals are just some of the fascinating wildlife that you will be treated to during this superb Galapagos Islands tour.

Testimonials

“The trip was excellent from beginning to end. The Isabella II was a fine ship and the crew and guides were all of the highest quality. I would recommend them to others. For us, the ship was the perfect size – not too small and not too large.”Walter Squire

Cormorant Catamaran: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Isabela, Fernandina, Genovesa, North Seymour & Santa Cruz (Tortoise Reserve).

Cormorant Catamaran: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Arrival at Airport // Santa Cruz Island: The Highlands – The Twins
Day 2: Isabela Island: Las Tintoreras – Sierra Negra Volcano - Tortoise Breeding Station – Wetlands
Day 3: Isabela Island: Moreno Point – Elizabeth Bay
Day 4: Fernandina Island: Punta Mangle // Isabela Island: Urbina Bay
Day 5: Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca
Day 6: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas – Buccaneer Cove - Espumilla Beach
Day 7: Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip's Steps – Darwin Bay
Day 8: North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Cormorant Catamaran: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday
Baltra Island: Arrival at Airport // Santa Cruz Island: The Highlands – The Twins

AM: In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to Baltra Island, in the heart of Galapagos archipelago and the main point of entrance to this natural paradise. Upon your arrival at the airport, you will need to pay the national park entry fee, which goes to protecting both the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve.  A member of the Surtrek team will then welcome you and accompany you on a quick ferry ride over to Santa Cruz Island and a drive through that island’s highlands before boarding your ship. In the highlands, we will cross through different vegetation zones – from the dry lower region full of cactuses to the scalesia woods in the Highlands.  There are two small agricultural communities here which grow the famous organic Galapagos coffee. While in the Highlands you will have the option of visiting one of two tortoise breeding centers: El Chato or Rancho Las Primicias. Approaching these enormous and slow-moving reptiles at either site is always an inspiring adventure. The El Chato tortoise reserve was founded in 1964 to observe the island’s huge Galapagos turtles and White herons in their natural habitat. You will also be able to walk through nearby underground lava tunnels formed during volcanic eruptions. As the outside of the lava hardened, the inside continued to flow to the ocean, creating this tunnel. Alternatively, Rancho Primicias is a great place to see about ten to fifteen Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. In addition to being able to see the ocean from this location in the Highlands, you will be able to walk through a lava cave that was formed by a volcanic eruption.  

PM: After boarding and settling in on the M/C Cormorant, we will disembark for another excursion in the Santa Cruz Highlands, this time to see "The Twin” (twin craters), which will be explained by your naturalist guide. These craters are surrounded by scalesia forest, where also live Ruby tyrants and small and large Tree finches.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Sunday
Isabela Island: Las Tintoreras – Sierra Negra Volcano - Tortoise Breeding Station – Wetlands

AM: This morning will take us to the largest landmass in the Galapagos archipelago: Isabela Island. With a surface of 1,770 sq. miles (4,588 sq. km.), the island constitutes more than the half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago – which is why it has the most visitor points in the islands. Five volcanoes are found on Isabela, including the archipelago’s highest: Wolf Volcano, reaching 1,707 m (5,600 ft.). In addition, Isabela is the only island in the Galapagos that is actually crossed by the equator. In the morning we will take a short boat trip across the harbor of Isabela Island. After passing sea lions and pelicans that bathe in the sun on the fishing boats there, we will reach the small island of Tintoreras, where we will take an easy walk through the bizarre lava landscape with its huge colonies of marine iguanas. A colony of sea lions is also located here and it’s common to see Whitetip reef sharks resting in the water near the shore. These sharks are called “tintoreras” in Spanish, giving the island its name. After we will drive to the highlands of Isabela Island and start hiking up to the edge of the Sierra Negra Volcano’s crater. The volcano — reaching a height of around 1,500 meters and having an outer diameter of approximately nine kilometers (over 5 miles) — is the second largest caldera in the world. We will hike along the cone to a resting place in the northeast.  From the Sierra Negra Volcano, you will be able to see the Chico Volcano, which is about 90 minutes away on foot and known for its moon-like volcanic lava landscape.

PM: After lunch, we will hike through the wetlands of the island to a breeding station for giant tortoises. On the way, we will pass brackish water lakes where you can sometimes see flamingos. At the breeding station, you can get up close and personal to some of the giant tortoise species from Isabela Island. Afterwards, we will visit the wetlands of Isabela Island. With some luck, you will be able to see pink flamingos in the lagoons. We will also enter lava tunnels, which are quite popular among the marine iguanas here.    

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Monday
Isabela Island: Moreno Point – Elizabeth Bay

AM: In the afternoon we will visit Moreno Point, a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons. You will be able to see flamingos, Bahama ducks and other birds here.

PM: Later we will head to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay and visit the small islands offshore. You can see dwarf penguins as well as schools of manta rays, turtles and other giants of the ocean – possibly even surfacing whale sharks. The mangrove woods are also home to various species of seabirds and herons.     

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Tuesday
Fernandina Island: Punta Mangle // Isabela Island: Urbina Bay

AM: Fernandina Island is not only the westernmost island but is also the youngest and most pristine island in the Galapagos. The 2005 eruption of La Cumbre Volcano created huge fields of lava. This eruption was followed on April 11, 2009, when the volcano flared up again, forming a cloud of ash and steam as hot lava flowed down the slopes of the volcano into the ocean. Nonetheless, an abundance of wildlife calls this island home, including the famous Flightless cormorants as well as penguins, pelicans, marine iguanas and sea lions. You can also find mangroves here on Fernandina Island, in addition to a great diversity of wildlife – including orcas and whale sharks (which can sometimes be seen while snorkeling and when they surface). This morning we will head for Punta Mangle, located on the southeastern coast of Fernandina Island and constituting one of the best snorkeling spots in the islands. While snorkeling here, you will be sure to meet sea lions and tiny Galapagos penguins.

PM: This afternoon we will make a wet landing from Urbina Bay.  Coral reefs are visible here as a result of an especially violent eruption of the Alcedo Volcano in 1954, when large sections of Isabela Island’s coast were suddenly raised about four meters. These reefs are covered with poison apple and muyuyo trees. You can also observe land iguanas and the rare mangrove finch up close. From January to June, land turtles occasionally visit the bay from their higher mountain living environments. After a short walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish.     

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Wednesday
Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca

AM: Today we will make a dry landing on Espinoza Point, one of Fernandina Island’s visitor points. It is filled with fascinating scenery, such as lava cactuses and mangroves growing on the surface of the lava. One gets a sense of how life fought to begin when seeing these plants emerging from crevices in this barren landscape. Within this unique scenery, you will encounter numerous animals; the highlights being sea lions, Galapagos penguins, Flightless cormorants (especially in the spring and summer), and one of the largest iguana colonies in the Galapagos Islands.  On this small strip of land that constitutes Espinoza Point, you can find literally thousands of marine iguanas, which gather in large groups.

PM: Located at the “mouth” of the head of the seahorse which forms the northern part of Isabela Island is Punta Vicente Roca, an interesting rock formation. Here, the remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves with a bay that’s well-protected from the ocean swells. With a bit of luck, you can see Galapagos penguins, while Masked- and Blue-footed boobies, as well as pelicans, sit perched along the point and its sheer cliffs, while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of currents of cool water in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, which makes Punta Vicente Roca a great area for deep-water snorkeling.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Thursday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas – Buccaneer Cove - Espumilla Beach

AM: In the morning we will land on the fourth largest island in the Galapagos: Santiago Island, also known as “James Island” or “San Salvador Island.” The old rusted machines and run-down buildings of former salt mine workers are still apparent on the island, though the last attempts to populate Santiago Island were given up on forty years ago. We will make a wet landing onto Puerto Egas’ beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835 and maintaining an abundance of marine iguanas. After a short walk of about 2 km along the coast, we will reach the rugged lava coastline of James Bay. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned night heron and an astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are also a highlight. 

PM: From Puerto Egas, we will go to Buccaneer Cove, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a shelter for pirates, whalers, and sailors. The bay is surrounded by high tuff cliffs where many seabirds nest. In the cliffs, you can try to find two rock formations that look like a monkey and an elephant.  Then we will visit Santiago Island’s Espumilla Beach, where marine iguanas relax and sea turtles nest. While snorkeling, you might come upon octopuses, morays and many types of tropical fish. There is also a Palo Santo forest close to this beach.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Friday
Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip's Steps – Darwin Bay

AM: Our destination for today is Genovesa Island, considered one of the wildest and most pristine islands in Galapagos National Park. Known as “Bird Island,” Genovesa is the only place where you can see Red-footed boobies. We will make a wet landing in Genovesa Island’s Darwin Bay, where we will then walk along a short path that leads through the nesting sites of booby and frigatebird colonies. On the beach, you can observe the interesting spectacle of how frigate birds try to rob the prey of the different species of boobies.   

PM: This afternoon we are off to the El Barranco cliffs. Located on Genovesa Island, along the southern part of Darwin Bay, a one-mile (1.5 km) trail stretches out over volcanic rock that leads to this cliff (this hike takes about two hours to cover). The second half of the trail is very delicate, so please stay on the path. It can get very hot so make sure to bring water. Because of the natural erosion, this is the ideal place for the nesting of Storm petrels. Two other species of petrels that can be seen here are the Galapagos petrel and the Wooden petrel. Red-footed boobies and Nazca boobies can be seen here as well as fur seals and several species of seabirds.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Saturday
North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport

AM: After a dry landing on North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along the coast. You will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, and Cliff crabs. This part of North Seymour Island is also known for being a major nesting site for Blue-footed boobies and one of the largest colonies of Magnificent frigatebirds, a species different from the Great frigatebird. We can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas. You will enjoy this relaxing hike around the nesting sites.

Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, you will be transferred from North Seymour to the Baltra Island airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy the last look back at the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with inspiring natural wonders.

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Breakfast

Cormorant Catamaran: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomStateroomSuite
8 DaysUS$ 6,880US$ 7,475
Included in the price:
  • accommodations onboard the Cormorant in double accommodations
  • land excursions
  • all meals during the cruise
  • soft drinks and juices
  • Welcome courtesy and reception
  • services of a certified Galapagos National Park guide
  • use of snorkeling gear
  • wetsuits and kayaks.
Not included in the price:
  • Flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($ 100 USD per adult)
  • Transit Control Card for the Galapagos ($20)
  • tips and gratuities
  • bottled soft drinks in plastic containers.
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