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Tip Top III Yacht - 7 Nights Itinerary B

On this 8-day Galapagos Islands tour, you will be able to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin by observing colorful, bizarre and beautiful creatures while living a dream that is completely out of this world. You will truly discover the incredible Galapagos Islands as you visit as many as 10 of the archipelago’s central and eastern islands and islets (including Chinese Hat Island, Santa Cruz, Rabida, Española and Santiago islands). You will be inspired by the richness of the unique and fascinating wildlife that was the catalyst for Darwin’s spectacular breakthrough in human understanding of biology; in fact, this Galapagos Islands cruise on board the 16-passenger Tip Top III Motor Yacht will likely have an equally powerful impact on your own life.

Testimonials

“We loved the time at the lodge in Cuyabeno. It was so genuine and natural there and the crew was so knowledgable and helpful. Thank you so much for the recommendation of the real Amazonia-experience.”Elena

Tip Top III Yacht: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Floreana (Devil's Crown), Española, San Cristobal, North Seymour & Charles Darwin Station.

Tip Top III Yacht: Itinerary at a Glance

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

Tip Top III Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Charles 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 your ship's crew will then welcome you and accompany you to your vessel: the Tip Top III M/V.

PM: 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 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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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: Today 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 Island // 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, 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 4 - Monday
Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove – Puerto Ayora – 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.

Later in the morning, we will visit 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. Most travelers used to just pass through here on their way to see “Lonesome George,” the 150-year old tortoise who lived at Charles Darwin Research Center; but those who linger here for a moment longer will discover that Puerto Ayora has more to offer. The town has sports shops for diving equipment, mountain biking, and birdwatching, as well as day tours that include its nearby white-sand beaches.

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 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 Jose Flores, Ecuador’s first president.

This morning 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, 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.

Late afternoon’s 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: Suarez Point – Osborn Island – Gardner Bay

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.

We will also ride around Osborn and Gardner islets. Osborn, located close to Española Island, 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. 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, Scorpionfish, Trumpetfish, cornetfish and Red-lipped batfish. You will be able to see plenty of 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 Pufferfish, and a variety of sea urchins and sea stars.

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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
San Cristobal Island: Tortoise Breeding Center – Interpretation Center – Kicker Rock – Cerro Brujo

AM: In the morning we will visit one of the main attractions of San Cristobal Island: The 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. 

At the port of Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, we will visit San Cristobal Island’s Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the natural and settlement history of the archipelago. Here you will discover displays that provide information about the volcanic origins of the islands, the ocean’s currents, the archipelago’s climate, and facts concerning the arrival of different species. The islands’ human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and settlements of the Galapagos.

PM: In the 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 seabirds. 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 this afternoon we will make a wet landing on San Cristobal Island to visit Cerro Brujo, a fascinating lava hill located on the northeastern coast of San Cristobal 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, seagulls, 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 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 III Yacht: Prices

2018 - Price per person
Days
LOWER DECK / CABINS 1 - 2LOWER DECK / CABINS 3 - 6UPPER DECK / CABINS 9 & 10
DoubleDoubleDouble
8US$ 4,900US$ 5,070US$ 5,750
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Tip Top III
  • 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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