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Trip Advisor 2019

Tip Top III Yacht 7-Night 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.

Reviews

“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

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 // Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 2: Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip´s Steps (Genovesa Island)
Day 3: South Plazas Island // Santa Fe Island
Day 4: Tortoise Breeding Center – Interpretation Center – Kicker Rock – Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)
Day 5: Post Office Bay – Baroness’ Lookout Point – Devil´s Crown – Cormorant Point – La Picona Beach (Floreana Island)
Day 6: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet – Gardner Islet (Española Island)
Day 7: Twin Craters – Charles Darwin Research Station/Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 8: Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island) // Baltra Airport (Baltra Island)
Galapagos Map

Tip Top III Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Bachas Beach (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 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 reach the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy Las Bachas Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches for sea turtles. Here you can also find flamingos, Black-winged stilts, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, and — with a little bit of luck — tiny Galapagos penguins. In addition, this beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but they then spend 3 to 5 years without breeding. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago; these were once the property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. In fact, the beach got its name because the English word “barges” was hard to pronounce for the local people – hence “Bachas” Beach. You will also have the opportunity to swim on this soft white sand beach or explore the fascinating underwater by snorkeling.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip´s Steps (Genovesa Island)

AM: Our destination for today is Genovesa Island, considered one of the wildest and most pristine islands in Galapagos National Park. Known as “Bird Island,” Genovesa is the one of the few places in the islands where you can see Red-footed boobies. After a wet landing in Genovesa Island’s Darwin Bay, we will walk along a short path that leads to the nesting sites of booby and frigatebird colonies. On the beach, you can observe the interesting spectacle of how frigate birds try to rob the prey of different species of boobies.

PM: In the afternoon, we will go ashore at a crater wall where Prince Phillip’s Steps are located. These stairs were carved in the stone wall and lead up to a wide plateau where you will find nesting places of Great frigatebirds, Red-billed tropic birds, Bahama ducks, Lava seagulls and Fork-tailed seagulls. During this easy stroll, we will cut through a small scalesia forest where you might observe short-eared owls.  With a little bit of luck, you will also be able to observe the unique courtship rituals carried out by the various booby species (Red- and Blue-footed as well as Masked boobies). It truly is a show.

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

AM: Today we will first 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.   

PM: This afternoon 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Tortoise Breeding Center – Interpretation Center – Kicker Rock – Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)

AM: Today we will reach San Cristobal Island, where one of the main attractions is the Tortoise Breeding Center, with its 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.  

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 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. Following this, 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 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 5 - Tuesday
Post Office Bay – Baroness’ Lookout Point – Devil´s Crown – Cormorant Point – La Picona Beach (Floreana Island)

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. Next, 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.

 

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.  To end the day, we will go to La Picona Beach to see marine turtles and their spawning grounds,

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Wednesday
Suarez Point – Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet – Gardner Islet (Española Island)

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. On Espanola Island, after breakfast we will go on an excursion to 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: 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 and Gardner islets. Osborn Islet, 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 Islet, 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. 

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Twin Craters – Charles Darwin Research Station/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: 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 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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Day 8 - Friday
Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island) // Baltra Airport (Baltra Island)

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: 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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Tip Top III Yacht: Prices

2019 - Price per person
Days
LOWER DECK / CABINS 1 - 2LOWER DECK / CABINS 3 - 6UPPER DECK / CABINS 7 & 8UPPER DECK / CABINS 9 & 10
SingleDoubleSingleDoubleSingleSingleDouble
8US$ 7,360US$ 4,900US$ 7,632US$ 5,070US$ 7,690US$ 8,721US$ 5,750
Price per person based upon double occupancy.
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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