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Tip Top II Catamaran - 7 Nights Itinerary A

On this 8-day/7-night Galapagos cruise of the archipelago’s western and central islands, the 8-member crew of the Tip Top II motor catamaran will be on hand to see to your every need as you visit Santa Cruz, Santiago, Bartolome, Fernandina, Genovesa, Baltra and Isabela islands. The 90-foot steel-hulled Tip Top II motor catamaran, which was built in 2008 and redesigned in 2015-2016, 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, locker, drawers, safety deposit box, and air conditioning. The six cabins on the lower deck have two single lower berths, while on the upper deck are two cabins with two single lower berths and one cabin with one double lower berth. On board the luxury Tip Top II motor catamaran, you will experience this isolated haven of biodiversity that remains nature’s greatest science laboratory, home to a dazzling array of birds, reptiles, fish and mammals that you won’t find anywhere else.

Testimonials

“My husband, daughter and I want to thank you again for making our trip to the Galapagos extremely awesome!”Herlena and Richard Orellana

Tip Top II Catamaran: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz (Bachas Beach), Santiago, Bartolome, Genovesa, Isabela, Fernandina

Tip Top II Catamaran: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // Mosquera Islet
Day 2: Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island) // Rabida Island
Day 3: Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island) // Elizabeth Bay (Isabela Island)
Day 4: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Day 5: Puerto Egas Beach (Santiago Island) // Bartolome Island
Day 6: Chinese Hat // Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 7: Twin Craters – Charles Darwin Research Center/Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 8: North Seymour Island // Baltra Airport (Baltra Island)
Galapagos Map

Tip Top II Catamaran: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Mosquera Islet

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 your ship's crew will then welcome you and accompany you to your vessel: the Tip Top III M/V.

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
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island) // Rabida Island

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. On Santiago Island, we will stop at Sullivan Bay, located on the eastern coast of Santiago Island. Its lava field, covered with lava cactuses, has a variety of interesting patterns of important geologic interest, as you will be able to observe the contrasting lava landscapes from an older eruption and a newer one formed during the last quarter of the 19th century.  After exploring these lava flows, you can swim or snorkel with playful sea lions.

PM: In the afternoon, we will take a trip to the dark-rust-colored beach of the small, volcanic Rabida 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. Rabida Island is also the only site where Batfish live.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3 - Sunday
Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island) // Elizabeth Bay (Isabela Island)

AM: Our destination for today is Fernandina Island, which is not only the westernmost island but also the youngest and most pristine island in the Galapagos. Huge fields of lava were created here by the La Cumbre Volcano’s 2005 eruption, which 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, penguins, pelicans, marine iguanas and sea lions. You can also find mangroves on Fernandina Island, in addition to a great diversity of wildlife – such as orcas and whale sharks (which can sometimes be seen while snorkeling and when they surface). On Fernandina Island, this morning 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.

PM: Heading to Isabela Island,  we will visit the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay and visit the small islands offshore. You are likely to 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 - Monday
Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
AM: In the morning we will make a wet landing in 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 now covered with poison apple and muyuyo trees. You can also observe land iguanas and the rare Mangrove finch up close here. From January to June, land turtles occasionally visit the bay, descending from their higher mountain living environments. After a short walk inland, we will have some time for snorkeling, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish.   

PM: After lunch, following a dry landing, we will visit Isabela Island’s notorious Tagus Cove, which was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers.  Still exiting here is some graffiti that is believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates …a curious reminder of an intriguing past. Perched on the ledges of the cliffs around this deep blue bay, you can observe a large number of Blue-footed boobies, as well as marine iguanas, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, swallow-tailed gulls and tiny Galapagos penguins (members of the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator). A steep trail also passes through an area of dry vegetation and volcanic landscapes with scalesia woods and cactuses.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Tuesday
Puerto Egas Beach (Santiago Island) // Bartolome Island
AM: This morning, we will make a wet landing on Santiago’s Puerto Egas Beach. Its black volcanic sand was visited by Darwin in 1835 and still 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 lobsters, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are another highlight. 

PM: Upon arriving on Bartolome Island, you will discover a fascinating moonscape formed by various volcanic formations — including lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — as we hike to the island’s summit for striking views of the surrounding islands, Sullivan Bay and the towering Pinnacle Rock. As the beaches at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock boast some of the finest snorkeling in the islands, you can discover a marvelous underwater world here and have a good chance of finding sea turtles gliding gently alongside you. On the rocks beneath Pinnacle Rock, it’s quite possible to spot some of the quick-as-an-arrow Galapagos penguins; at around 25 centimeters tall, these are members of the second smallest species of penguin in the world.  Likewise, you’re likely to see harmless Whitetip reef sharks sunning in these waters. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences, as the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Wednesday
Chinese Hat // Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
AM: This morning, 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 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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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Twin Craters – Charles Darwin Research Center/Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
AM: In the morning, we will go to the Santa Cruz Highlands and see the twin “Los Gemelos” 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. PM: Following lunch, 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.
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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Friday
North Seymour Island // Baltra Airport (Baltra Island)
AM: In the morning we will make 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.

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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