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Santa Cruz II Vessel - 4 Nights Itinerary A

Description: For five relaxing yet activity-packed days, you can cruise the spectacular islands of the Galapagos archipelago. On board the Santa Cruz II expedition vessel — which accommodates up to 90 passengers — this Galapagos travel itinerary will take you through the central and western islands of the archipelago. Our itinerary begins at the airport on Baltra Island, where you will be shuttled to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II and sail to Dragon Hill, on Santa Cruz Island. This will make for a fascinating hike through Palo Santo forests full of the famed dragon-like land iguanas of the Galapagos Islands. During the night, we will sail around seahorse-shaped Isabela Island to make our way to two great visitor sites: Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island, with its fascinating geology of a collapsed volcano, and then to the wild and unspoiled Punta Espinoza, on Fernandina Island, one of the most pristine islands in the world. On this second site, you will discover one of the archipelagos’ densest colonies of marine iguanas, as well as have a chance to see flightless cormorants. On Day 3, after sailing back around to Santa Cruz Island, we will visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, where scientists are involved in research and conservation efforts; the most well-known of these activities involves a captive breeding program for giant tortoises. This afternoon, you can enjoy your choice of a range of active options. The following day finds us on Floreana Island, exploring its human history and the stunning wildlife at both Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant. The next day we say goodbye to the islands after this amazing 5-day/4-night journey! The entire crew aboard the Santa Cruz will do its utmost to ensure that your Galapagos experience is truly, deeply moving and memorable.

Testimonials

“I was very happy in every way with your booking and Cuyabeno Lodge. It surpassed my expectations in every way. No hitches with flights and transportation. The lodge was beautiful. The staff was professional and friendly.”Tim Matheson

Santa Cruz II Vessel: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island // Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 2: Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) // Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island)
Day 3: Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island) // Optional Activities on Santa Cruz Island
Day 4: Baroness Lookout Point – Post Office Bay – Champion Islet – Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)
Day 5: Baltra Island Departure
Galapagos Map

Santa Cruz II Vessel: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Thursday
Baltra Island // Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz 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: In the afternoon we will explore the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island to visit Dragon Hill, which is an excellent spot for observing lava lizards, Darwin finches and wading birds. On the way to Dragon Hill, we will rest at a small lagoon that’s a popular feeding place for colorful birds and flamingos.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Friday
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) // Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island)

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. Located at the “mouth” of the head of the seahorse that 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 Vicente Roca Point a great area for deep-water snorkeling.

PM: 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 cactuses growing on the surface of 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.  In fact, on this small strip of land that constitutes Espinoza Point, you can find literally thousands of marine iguanas, which gather in large groups.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Saturday
Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island) // Optional Activities on Santa Cruz Island

AM: Today we will stop through the charming port town of Puerto Ayora, which – with more than 20,000 inhabitants – is the most populous human settlement in the Galapagos Islands. It also has the best-developed infrastructure in the archipelago – with schools, hotels, restaurants, stores and clubs – and is the best place to communicate with the outside world via a number of Internet cafés and telephone offices. The town has sports shops for diving equipment, mountain biking, and birdwatching, as well as day tours that include its nearby white-sand beaches. This morning we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Also on Santa Cruz Island, we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of town. 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: This afternoon, you will have several options available, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. 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 4 - Sunday
Baroness Lookout Point – Post Office Bay – Champion Islet – Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)

AM: This morning, we will visit the Baroness Lookout Point where the controversial “Baroness” Eloisa de Wagner, one of the first human inhabitants in the Galapagos Islands, would spend several hours daily observing whales and dolphins. From there, we will head to Post Office Bay, where the legendary post barrel that whalers historically used to put their mail in is still kept. After a wet landing, you can walk just off the beach to leave a letter here in hopes that it will make to its destination via another tourist …so don’t forget to bring postcards along. Snorkelers can take a dip on the main beach among the playful sea lions and green sea turtles.

PM: The next spot is Champion Islet. Though the island itself is off limits to visitors, the waters around this small landmass are great places to snorkel with sea lions and to see colorful tropical fish.  Occasionally, dolphins are sighted as boats approach the shore, and the cool currents here make Champion an excellent site for spotting schools of stingrays. Later this afternoon, our excursion is to the Cormorant Point visitor site. After a wet landing on the beach, we will go down a 100-meter-long path to a mangrove lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks, black herons, oystercatchers and plovers.  With a little bit of luck, you might also see flamingos. Another path leads to a small beach that is an important nesting site for sea turtles. In the shallow water there, one can often find stingrays and Whitetip reef sharks.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Monday
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 with 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 Cabin Panorama Deck Darwin Suite Panorama Deck Explorer Cabin
5 DaysUS$ 3,936US$ 3,784US$ 3,556US$ 4,364US$ 4,592US$ 4,052
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, and 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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