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Tip Top III Yacht - 7 Nights Itinerary A

On board the Tip Top III Motor Yacht, which accommodates up to 16 passengers on its first-class tours, this 8-day Galapagos Islands tour will take you to the central and western islands of the archipelago. On your Galapagos vacation, you will find these islands to be truly unique due to the diverse inhabitants of flora and fauna, as the archipelago is alive with birds and animals that have evolved away from their continental kin to become perfectly adapted to these volcanic-formed islands.

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 III Yacht: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Bartolome (Pinnacle Rock), Genovesa, Isabela, Fernandina & Santa Cruz (Highlands Reserve).

Tip Top III Yacht: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach
Day 2: Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock
Day 3: Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip’s Steps – Darwin Bay
Day 4: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach/James Bay – Buccaneer Cove
Day 5: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point
Day 6: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove – Elizabeth Bay
Day 7: Isabela Island: Sierra Negra Volcano – Wetlands – Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 8: Santa Cruz Island: Twin Craters // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Tip Top III Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach

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 arrive on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy 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
Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay // Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock

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.

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 3 - Sunday
Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip’s Steps – Darwin Bay

AM: Our destination for today is Genovesa Island, considered to be one of the wildest and most pristine islands in Galapagos National Park. Known as “Bird Island,” Genovesa is the only place where you can see Red-footed boobies. This morning 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.

PM: After a wet landing in Genovesa Island’s Darwin Bay, we will walk along a short path that leads through 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.  

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach/James Bay – Buccaneer Cove

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.

We will make a wet landing onto Puerto Egas’s beach of black volcanic sand, 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 Lightfoot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are another highlight.

PM: After lunch, we will go to Buccaneer Cove, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a shelter for pirates, whalers and sailors. The bay is surrounded by high tuff cliffs where many seabirds nest. In the cliffs, you can try to find two rock formations that look like a monkey and an elephant.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Tuesday
Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point

AM: 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 Punta Vicente Roca a great area for deep-water snorkeling.

PM: Fernandina Island 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).

Later, 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 6 - Wednesday
Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove – Elizabeth Bay

AM: After breakfast, 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: Following lunch, we will head to 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 7 - Thursday
Isabela Island: Sierra Negra Volcano – Wetlands – Tortoise Breeding Center

AM: In the morning we will take a short boat trip across the harbor of Isabela Island. We will drive to the highlands of Isabela Island and start hiking up to the edge of the Sierra Negra Volcano’s crater. The volcano — reaching a height of around 1,500 meters and having an outer diameter of approximately nine kilometers (over 5 miles) — is the second largest caldera in the world. We will hike along the cone to a resting place in the northeast.  From the Sierra Negra Volcano, you will be able to see the "Volcan Chico," a volcano that is about 90 minutes away on foot and known for its moon-like lava landscape.

PM: Following lunch, after passing sea lions and pelicans that bathe in the sun on the fishing boats there, we will reach the small island of Tintoreras, where we will take an easy walk through the bizarre lava landscape with its huge colonies of marine iguanas. A colony of sea lions is also located here, and it’s common to see Whitetip reef sharks resting in the water near the shore. These sharks are called “tintoreras” in Spanish, giving the island its name.

From there, we will hike through the wetlands of the island to a breeding station for giant tortoises, the Centro de Crianza. On the way, we will pass brackish water lagoons where flamingos can sometimes be seen. At the breeding station, you can get up “close and personal” to some of the giant tortoise species from Isabela Island.

 

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Friday
Santa Cruz Island: Twin Craters // Baltra Island: Airport

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.

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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