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Santa Cruz II Vessel - 6 Nights Itinerary

On board the 90-passenger Santa Cruz II expedition vessel, you can sail the central and eastern islands of the Galapagos Islands on this 7-day/6-night voyage that will remain etched in your mind forever. Starting on Baltra Island, we will quickly make our way to Mosquera Islet, where you can check out the sea lions before we sail to San Cristobal Island. A stop at the San Cristobal Tortoise Breeding Center will open your eyes to the beauty of the Galapagos giant tortoise and to the important scientific work that continues to be performed in the islands. In the afternoon of Day 2, we travel to the most eastern tip of the archipelago, Punta Pitt, the only stop on this journey where you can witness Red-footed boobies. From here, it’s on to the central islands, starting with Santa Fe Island, with its beautiful tranquil bay, before continuing to the wild cliffs of South Plaza Island, with its lofty cacti, land iguanas and stunning marine birds. The following day we visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, on Santa Cruz Island, before heading on to Española Island, voted the #1 island by guides and expedition leaders. Awaiting for you there is the remarkable visitor site of Punta Suarez, home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sea lions, marine birds, and even albatross (between April and December) – a truly stunning site! In the afternoon of Day 5, you can enjoy the swimming and snorkeling in Gardner Bay. The following morning we will wake up at Eden Islet, and finish the day on North Seymour Island, famous for its land iguanas and sea lions, as well as for colonies of Blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, and Nazca boobies. On Day 7, you will return to the airport on Baltra Island, concluding this moving and memorable experience.

Testimonials

“Thank you again for making our holidays in Ecuador unforgettable. Both of us will definitely recommend Surtrek as well as Cuyabeno Lodge.”Dijana Mitic

Santa Cruz II Vessel: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival – Baltra Island Airport // Mosquera Island
Day 2: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Tortoise Breeding Center – Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island)
Day 3: Santa Fe Island // South Plaza Island
Day 4: Charles Darwin Research Station – Optional Activities (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 5: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay – Osborn Island (Española Island)
Day 6: Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island) // North Seymour Island
Day 7: Baltra Island – Departure
Galapagos Map

Santa Cruz II Vessel: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Arrival – Baltra Island Airport // Mosquera Island

AM: In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to Baltra Island, in the heart of the 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 to your ship, the Santa Cruz II.

PM: This afternoon, we will anchor off Mosquera Island, which is located near Itabaca Channel and in between the Baltra and Seymour islands. The island consists of a long narrow stretch of white sand, rocks, and small lagoons with large populations of sea lions (in fact, this is one of the best places to take photos of these aquatic mammals). After a wet landing, a stroll down the beach will also permit views of Brown pelicans and Blue-footed boobies.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Tortoise Breeding Center – Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island)

AM: On San Cristobal Island, today we will visit Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, which is the second most populated island in the archipelago. The island has been inhabited for more than 100 years mainly because it has many sources of fresh water, while today’s inhabitants of the town live off fishing and sustainable tourism. At this port, you will have a chance to explore its shops and the local tortoise breeding center. One of the main attractions of San Cristobal Island is the Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado Tortoise Breeding Center, where you will see enormous Galapagos tortoises, as well as iguanas. As the natural population of tortoises from San Cristobal Island is seriously threatened by animals introduced onto the island by humans – mainly wild goats, cats and rats – the center is attempting to increase the number of tortoises as well as eradicate threatening species. Close to the center is an easy trail that covers a distance of 900 meters; along this trail, you will see different species of native and endemic plants of the Galapagos, like cat’s claw, manzanillo, romerillo, and acacia. Be careful not to touch or eat the manzanillo fruits as these are toxic. San Cristobal Island is also one of the few islands where you can see the plant calandrinia galapagosa, which is in danger of extinction. 

PM: In the afternoon, we will visit Punta Pitt, on the eastern side of San Cristobal Island. After a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain along a 1.4 km-long path and several magnificent lookout points, we will make our way through colonies of Frigatebirds and Fork-tailed seagulls. What’s more, this is probably the only site in the world where you can see all three species of boobies – Masked, Red- and Blue-footed ones. In addition to its great range of seabirds, Punta Pitt is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Sunday
Santa Fe Island // South Plaza Island

AM: Today we will first visit Santa Fe Island, a tiny rocky island covered in small Palo Santo trees and six-meter-high opuntia cactuses. The island is inhabited mainly by large yellow land iguanas, Galapagos buzzards, Blue-footed boobies and pelicans. While snorkeling in the wonderful blue-green bay in which the ship anchors, you can observe the many inhabitants of this underwater world, including countless tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and playful sea lions.

PM: After lunch, we will explore South Plaza Island, located just east of Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing on the northern part of this life-filled islet, you will encounter colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. While on the steep banks, you can see numbers of birds – like nesting Tropicbirds and Fork-tailed seagulls – but most of all, you will enjoy the beautiful views from either atop the steep banks or while strolling along the base of the cliff. Opuntia cactuses grow on this island and the vegetation changes color throughout the year.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Charles Darwin Research Station – Optional Activities (Santa Cruz Island)

AM: This morning we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, the highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150- 200 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not; and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time.

PM: After lunch, you will have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Tuesday
Suarez Point – Gardner Bay – Osborn Island (Española Island)

AM: Española Island is the southernmost, oldest and one of the most bio-diverse islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Its English name is “Hood Island,” in honor of the British admiral Samuel Hood.  Because of its isolated position, there is much endemic wildlife to be explored here – in addition to great snorkeling from Española’s remarkably beautiful beaches. After breakfast, we will go on an excursion to Española Island’s Suarez Point. One of the archipelago’s most outstanding wildlife areas, this site boasts a long list of species along its cliffs and its sand and pebble beaches. In addition to five species of nesting seabirds, the curious and bold Española Island mockingbirds are found here, as are other birding favorites that include Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks, Swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of Waved albatross – an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Several types of reptiles are unique to this island, including the marine iguana and the oversized lava lizard. In fact, this is also the only site where you will be able to see “red” sea iguanas. In addition, when heavy swells are running, Suarez Point is the site of a spectacular blowhole whose thundering spray shoots 30 yards up into the air. The trek here is on a stony path about a mile long, though the duration of this excursion is about 3 hours.

PM: Located on Española Island’s eastern shore, Gardner Bay is noted for its turquoise-colored waters and its magnificent beach, which we will visit in the afternoon. Around the bay’s small nearby islets, snorkelers will find an abundance of fish, as well as the occasional sea turtle and benign sharks. The bay is also frequented by a transient colony of Galapagos sea lions who love to swim with people. Birds, like the endemic Española mockingbird and different species of Darwin finches, are omnipresent. We will also ride around Osborn Islet, located close to Española Island. It is made of volcanic rock and is a popular fishing site among local small-scale fishers. On this Galapagos islet, you will have a chance to go snorkeling and see schools of tropical fish, Manta rays, Green turtles, Surgeonfish, Sea urchins and starfish.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Wednesday
Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island) // North Seymour Island

AM: After breakfast, a panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, a small islet located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where we can observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel and, if weather condition permits, ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayak.

PM: After a dry landing on North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along its coast, where you will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions and Cliff crabs. This part of 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). As you enjoy this relaxing hike around various nesting sites, you can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Baltra Island – Departure

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

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Breakfast

Santa Cruz II Vessel: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomExpedition Deck Explorer CabinHorizon Deck Explorer CabinHorizon Deck Explorer Family CabinHorizon Deck Voyager CabinPanorama Deck Darwin SuitePanorama Deck Explorer Cabin
7 DaysUS$ 5,904US$ 5,676US$ 5,334US$ 6,546US$ 6,888US$ 6,078
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations
  • All meals
  • Island sightseeing
  • Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish (guiding in other languages – French, Italian – is available upon request for groups larger than 10 guests and for German groups is a minimum of 4 guests)
  • Use of snorkeling gear
  • Luggage handling
  • Medical care on board (not including the cost of medication)
  • Taxes
  • Transfers in the islands
  • Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Sheraton, Unipark) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers, we must have guests’ hotel contact information.
Not included in the price:
  • Wet Suits: Available for rent, NET rate US$ 15 + VAT per guest for 5- or 6-day expeditions
  • Air transportation to / from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Migration Control Card (US$ 20 subject to change without previous notice)**
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Alcoholic-*** and non-alcoholic beverage
  • Internet / Wi-Fi ****
  • Gratuities
  • Gifts and additional items
  • Travel insurance
  • Special Notes
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