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Ecuador - Galapagos First Class - Tip Top IV Motor Yacht
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Tip Top IV Yacht - 7 Nights Itinerary A

This “8-day A” Galapagos Islands tour will allow you to snorkel with sea lions, bask in the sun alongside dragon-like iguanas, or simply wonder at the natural beauty that surrounds you. Sailing on board the Tip Top IV Motor Yacht (a 16-passenger first-class motor vessel), you will follow this “Western & Central Islands Route” to one of the world's last “Edens” – a place where animals have no fear of humans and continue to live just like they have for millennia. It’s a Galapagos Islands luxury cruise vacation that you’ll never forget.

Testimonials

“The trip was excellent from beginning to end. The Isabella II was a fine ship and the crew and guides were all of the highest quality. I would recommend them to others. For us, the ship was the perfect size – not too small and not too large.”Walter Squire

Tip Top IV Yacht: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, North Seymour, Genovesa, Isabela, Fernandina & Santa Cruz Islands (Highlands Reserve).

Tip Top IV Yacht: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // North Seymour Island
Day 2: Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip’s Steps
Day 3: Santiago Island: James Bay – Buccaneer Cove
Day 4: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point
Day 5: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove – Elizabeth Bay
Day 6: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Punta Moreno
Day 7: Floreana Island: Cormorant Point – Champion Islet – Baroness' Point – Post Office Bay
Day 8: Santa Cruz Island: The Twin “Los Gemelos” Craters – Highlands // Baltra Island: Baltra Airport
Galapagos Map

Tip Top IV Yacht: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Baltra Island: Airport // North Seymour 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 IV M/V.

PM: 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.   

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay – Prince Phillip’s Steps

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. In the morning, 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.  

PM: This 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
Santiago Island: 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. 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: 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 4 - Monday
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).

Today 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 5 - Tuesday
Isabela Island: Tagus Cove – Elizabeth Bay

AM: After 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.

PM: Today 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 6 - Wednesday
Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Punta Moreno

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: In the afternoon we will explore Moreno Point, a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons. You will be able to see flamingos, Bahama ducks and other birds here.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Thursday
Floreana Island: Cormorant Point – Champion Islet – Baroness' Point – Post Office Bay

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’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.

The next spot is Champion Islet. Though the island itself is off limits to visitors, the waters around this small landmass are great places to snorkel with sea lions and to see colorful tropical fish.  Occasionally, dolphins are sighted as boats approach the shore, and the cool currents here make Champion an excellent site for spotting schools of stingrays. 

PM: Later we will visit 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. From there 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.    

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Friday
Santa Cruz Island: The Twin “Los Gemelos” Craters – Highlands // Baltra Island: Baltra Airport

AM: This 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. While in the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, you will observe how the lush landscape is a welcome contrast to the arid scenery of the smaller, lower islands. On the way, we will cross through different vegetation zones – from the dry lower region full of cactuses to the scalesia woods in the Highlands.  There one can find two small agricultural communities that grow the famous organic Galapagos coffee. Also while in the Highlands you will have the option of visiting one of two tortoise breeding centers: El Chato or Rancho Las Primicias. At either site, approaching these enormous and slow-moving reptiles is always an inspiring adventure. The El Chato tortoise reserve was founded in 1964 to allow visitors to observe the island’s huge Galapagos turtles and White herons in their natural habitat. You will also be able to walk through nearby underground lava tunnels formed during volcanic eruptions. As the outside of the lava hardened, the inside continued to flow to the ocean, creating these tunnels. Alternatively, Rancho Primicias is a great place to see about ten to fifteen Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. In addition to being able to view the ocean from this location in the Highlands, you can walk through a lava cave that was formed by a volcanic eruption.  

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 IV Yacht: Prices

2018 - Price per person
Days
LOWER DECK / CABINS 1 - 6UPPER DECK / CABINS 7 - 10
DoubleDouble
8US$ 5,105US$ 5,750
Included in the price:
  • A cruise on board the Motor Yacht Tip Top IV
  • 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)
  • 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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