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Tip Top II Catamaran - 7 Nights Itinerary B

This 8-day/7-night Galapagos cruise will take you through this cluster of legendary islands some 600 miles off the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. Made famous by Charles Darwin for having inspired his theories of evolution, you too will have the chance to walk over stunning volcanic formations and hike through rich forests teeming with indigenous birdlife. The 90-foot steel-hulled Tip Top II offers the highest level of comfort and the best experience in the Islands. Fully refurbished, it accommodates 16 passengers in eight (8) double cabins – each with its own bathroom. During your Galapagos Island cruise on board the Tip Top II motor catamaran, you will sail to the principal central and eastern islands of the archipelago – including Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plazas, Chinese Hat, Rabida, Floreana, Española, San Cristobal and North Seymour islands – where you can walk alongside iguanas in the morning, swim with curious sea lions in the afternoon, and watch Blue-footed boobies fly overhead as you enjoy your alfresco dinner in the evening – experiences that will never be forgotten.

Testimonials

“I had a great trip with the liveabord at Agressor II, everything was just perfect, the boat, the trip, the team and the dives. I would like to thank for all the support from Surtrek team.”Alex

Tip Top II Catamaran: Highlights

Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plazas, Chinese Hat, Rabida, Floreana, Española, San Cristobal, North Seymour

Tip Top II Catamaran: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Darwin Research Station
Day 2: Santa Fe Island // South Plazas Island
Day 3: Chinese Hat Islet // Rabida Island
Day 4: Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove – Dragon Hill
Day 5: Floreana Island: Post Office Bay – Devil’s Crown – Cormorant Point
Day 6: Española Island: Punta Suarez – Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet – Gardner Islet
Day 7: San Cristobal Island: Jacinto Gordillo Turtle Breeding Center – Kicker Rock – Cerro Brujo
Day 8: North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Tip Top II Catamaran: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Darwin Research Station

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 Tip Top II.

PM: This afternoon 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   

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Santa Fe Island // South Plazas Island

AM: Today we will 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: This afternoon 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 Tropic birds 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 3 - Sunday
Chinese Hat Islet // Rabida Island

AM: We will make a wet landing on Chinese Hat Island, located southeast of Santiago Island. Its name describes the shape of the island, which you will be able to discern from a distance.  This island’s landscapes are dominated by volcanic formations and fragile lava tubes.  Because of this, it’s very important to stay on the paths. You will encounter a small colony of sea lions and then proceed to hike through this dark, unyielding island of solid rock.

PM: In the afternoon we will take a trip to the dark-rust-colored beach of the small, volcanic Rábida Island. A short path leads to a small lagoon that is popular among flamingos. This beach is one of the most beautiful snorkeling places in the Galapagos Islands and it has a great abundance of tropical fish and sea lions. Rábida Island is also the only site where Batfish live.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove – Dragon Hill

AM: Today we will visit Santa Cruz Island, the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and located in the center of the archipelago. Located there is Black Turtle Cove, a nesting site for sea turtles, which peak their heads above the surface of the water while fish and other forms of marine life circle below.  With luck, the calm water will allow you to see different types of sharks (like the Whitetip reef shark) and schools of golden-colored Mustard rays. There are a number of mangrove forests here as well.

PM: In the afternoon we will explore the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island to visit Cerro Dragón (“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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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Tuesday
Floreana Island: Post Office Bay – Devil’s Crown – Cormorant Point

AM: Today we will visit Floreana Island, considered to be one of the most exotic in the Galapagos archipelago.  Countless legends are part of the history of this island, as pirates and buccaneers were drawn to here in search of for food and water. Later the island was colonized by Norwegians, Brits, Germans and others who were in search of ways to make money from what they hoped to discover here. The name Floreana is in honor of Juan José Flores, Ecuador’s first president. 

Later we will visit 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: After lunch, you will be able to take advantage of the great snorkeling opportunities at “Devil’s Crown” (Corona del Diablo), a broken volcanic cone that is one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The underwater world here includes reef sharks, starfish, sea turtles, sea lions and a host of tropical fish species.     

A later 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 6 - Wednesday
Española Island: Punta Suarez – Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet – Gardner Islet

AM: Española 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 Suárez 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, Suárez 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: 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.

Small Gardner Island, situated across from Espanola Island’s Gardner Bay, is lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders.  While snorkeling, you are likely to encounter the smallest of the Galapagos garden eels, Snake eels, as well as Black-spotted morays, Galapagos puffer fish, Scorpion fish, Trumpet fish, cornetfish and Red-lipped batfish. You will be able to see plenty sea lions lying lazily on the beach.  On the north end of the island are twisting tunnels, and to the south are caves, which all make for a remarkable excursion. The area has an abundance of fish including schools of snappers, Creole fish, King angelfish, large Puffer fish, and a variety of sea urchins and sea stars.

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, Surgeon fish, Sea urchins and starfish.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
San Cristobal Island: Jacinto Gordillo Turtle Breeding Center – Kicker Rock – Cerro Brujo

AM: In the morning we will make a dry landing on San Cristobal port, after a short drive we arrive at Jacinto Gordillo Turtle Breeding Center where we learn about its reproductive process and the programs to maintain the species. We take the bus back to the port  to visit the Interpretation Center of Human History of the Islands.

PM: This afternoon we will follow the route that Charles Darwin once took and sail around the massive tuff-rock called “Kicker Rock,” which is a nesting site for hosts of sea birds. Here, you will be able to find Blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and frigate birds.  This is a great site for scuba diving, and hammerhead sharks can be seen in the area. Later, we will make a wet landing on San Cristobal Island to visit Cerro Brujo (“Wizard Hill”), a fascinating lava hill located on the northeastern coast of San Cristóbal Island. Here you will find exceptional views of Kicker Rock, as well as the southern part of San Cristobal and the adjacent coast. On this site’s rocks, you can observe Blue-footed boobies, sea gulls, Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, other sandpiper species, White-cheeked pintails and some pelicans. The protected bay is also popular among young sea turtles and rays, which makes swimming and snorkeling here particularly exciting.

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

AM: After a dry landing onto 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.

PM: 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

Tip Top II Catamaran: Prices

2018 - Price per person
Days
MAIN DECK / CABINS 3 - 6UPPER DECK / CABINS 7 & 8
DoubleDouble
8US$ 5,320US$ 5,920
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Tip Top II
  • accommodations in a double cabin with private facilities
  • all meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • all transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  • services of an English/Spanish-speaking naturalist guide on daily excursions and during briefings
  • use of snorkeling equipment
  • free purified drinking water.
Not included in the price:
  • entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($100 USD per adult)
  • Flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • transit control card ($20 USD per person)
  • bottled soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • single cabin supplements
  • tips and gratuities
  • personal items
  • travel/medical insurance.
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