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Treasure of Galapagos 4-Night Itinerary A

Giant Galapagos tortoises, tiny endemic penguins, Blue-footed boobies, and playful seals are just some of the fascinating wildlife that you will be treated to on this wonderful 4-night Galapagos cruise through central, eastern, western and southern islands of the archipelago. Sailing on board the 16-passenger Treasure of the Galapagos catamaran, your adventure will take you to explore the very best on land and in the water, as experienced guides and knowledgeable naturalists will keep you informed every step of the way. Visiting points as diverse as tortoise breeding centers, Post Office Bay and Tortuga Beach, your appreciation of the wonders of the world will be transformed on this amazing Galapagos Islands tour.

Reviews

“I found Surtrek online as it proved to be an excellent, efficient company. Our 4 days in the Galapagos were expertly planned and we were never left without a guide - we were even walked to dinner each night and assisted with ordering!”Marian Lowenfish

Highlights

Charles Darwin Research Station, Sullivan Bay, North Seymour Island, South Plazas Island, Cerro Brujo

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Airport Arrival – Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 2: Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island) // Bartolome Island
Day 3: North Seymour Island // Mosquera Islet
Day 4: South Plazas Island // Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)
Day 5: Interpretation Center – Airport Departure (San Cristobal Island)
Galapagos Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Airport Arrival – Charles Darwin Research Station (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 the Surtrek team will then welcome you and accompany you to your ship, the Treasure of the Galapagos.

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- 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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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Saturday
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island) // Bartolome Island

AM: In the afternoon 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 then proceed to 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: Upon arriving on Bartolomé 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
North Seymour Island // Mosquera Islet

AM: After a dry landing onto 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.

PM: In the 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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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Monday
South Plazas Island // Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)

AM: 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 Tropicbirds 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 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 Cristóbal 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
Interpretation Center – Airport Departure (San Cristobal Island)

AM: At the port of Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, we will visit San Cristóbal Island’s Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the nature 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: From the dock on San Cristobal Island, we will take a short bus ride to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Enjoy the last view of the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with fascinating natural highlights.    

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Breakfast

Prices

Price per person based upon double occupancy.
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations, as indicated
  • All mentioned meals, filtered water, tea and coffee
  • All guided excursions & activities as mentioned in the itinerary by a National Park certified naturalist guide
  • Beach towels & snorkeling gear (snorkel, mask, flippers / optional wetsuits for rent)
Not included in the price:
  • Round trip flight to the Galapagos Islands
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee & Transit Control Card (currently $120, subject to change)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, extras and tipping.
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