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Cormorant Catamaran 7-Night Itinerary B

Sleek, fast and stable, the luxury-class Cormorant catamaran is perfect for taking a Galapagos tour in style. The 16-passenger yacht offers 8 generous and comfortable accommodations that each preserve the relaxed exclusivity of a smaller vessel cruising the Galapagos Islands. What’s more, the ship’s delicious menus of Ecuadorian and international cuisine, the friendly well-trained 11-member crew, and the ship’s pure comfort combine to make the Cormorant a great choice for the ultimate island vacation. During this 8-day/7-night Galapagos cruise, you can swim and snorkel among some of the richest marine life on Earth and on land, and become transfixed by the wealth of birdlife that populates the stunning forests. Sailing on board the 16-passenger luxury-class Cormorant catamaran, tiny Galapagos penguins, Blue-footed boobies, prehistoric-looking iguanas and playful seals are just some of the fascinating wildlife that you will be treated to during this superb Galapagos Islands tour.

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

Highlights

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

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Arrival at Airport – Boarding the Cormorant // Santa Cruz Island: Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 2: Isabela Island: Las Tintoreras – Sierra Negra Volcano – Wetlands – Tortoise Breeding Station
Day 3: Isabela Island: Moreno Point – Elizabeth Bay
Day 4: Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca
Day 5: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – Buccaneer Cove
Day 6: Bartolome Island // Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay
Day 7: Chinese Hat Island // Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill
Day 8: North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport
Galapagos Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday
Baltra Island: Arrival at Airport – Boarding the Cormorant // Santa Cruz Island: Tortoise Breeding Center

AM: In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Baltra Island airport, in the heart of 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 M/C Cormorant.

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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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Sunday
Isabela Island: Las Tintoreras – Sierra Negra Volcano – Wetlands – Tortoise Breeding Station

AM: This morning will take us to the largest landmass in the Galapagos archipelago: Isabela Island. With a surface of 1,770 sq. miles (4,588 sq. km.), the island constitutes more than the half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago – which is why it has the most visitor points in the islands. Five volcanoes are found on Isabela, including the archipelago’s highest: Wolf Volcano, reaching 1,707 m (5,600 ft.). In addition, Isabela is the only island in the Galapagos that is actually crossed by the equator. In the morning we will take a short boat trip across the harbor of Isabela Island. 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.

Afterwards, 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 Chico Volcano, which is about 90 minutes away on foot and known for its moon-like volcanic lava landscape.

PM: After lunch, we will visit the Los Humedales wetlands of Isabela Island. With some luck, you will be able to see pink flamingos in the lagoons. We will also enter lava tunnels, which are quite popular among the marine iguanas here.     

Afterwards, we will we will hike through the wetlands of the island to a giant tortoise breeding station, the Centro de Crianza. On the way, we will pass brackish water lakes where you can sometimes see even more flamingos. 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 3 - Monday
Isabela Island: Moreno Point – Elizabeth Bay

AM: In the afternoon, on Isabela Island, we will visit 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.

PM: Later we will head to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay and visit the small islands offshore. You can 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 4 - Tuesday
Fernandina Island: Espinosa Point // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca

AM: 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 lava cactuses and mangroves growing on the surface of the 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.  On this small strip of land that constitutes Espinoza Point, you can find literally thousands of marine iguanas, which gather in large groups.

PM: Located at the “mouth” of the head of the seahorse which 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5 - Wednesday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas Beach – Espumilla Beach – 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’ beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835 and 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 lobster, 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 also a highlight. 

PM: From Puerto Egas, we will visit Santiago Island’s Espumilla Beach, where marine iguanas relax and sea turtles nest. While snorkeling, you might come upon octopuses, morays and many types of tropical fish. There is also a Palo Santo forest close to this beach.

From there, 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 6 - Thursday
Bartolome Island // Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

AM: 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.

PM: 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. On Santiago, we will head 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Friday
Chinese Hat Island // Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill

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 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 8 - Saturday
North Seymour Island // Baltra Island: Airport

AM: After a dry landing on North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along the coast. You will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, and Cliff crabs. This part of North 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. We can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas. You will enjoy this relaxing hike around the nesting sites.

Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, you will be transferred from North Seymour to the Baltra Island airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy the last look back at the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with inspiring natural wonders.

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Breakfast

Prices

2019 - Price per person
RoomStandardSuite
8 DaysUS$ 6,880 PPUS$ 7,475 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary
  • All excursions
  • Transfers in the islands
  • Bilingual National Park guide
  • Use of snorkeling equipment/wetsuit
  • Use of underwater camera
Not included in the price:
  • Flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Quito–Galapagos–Quito)
  • Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 per person)
  • Galapagos Immigration Control Card ($20 per person)
  • Alcoholic and bottled drinks
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel/medical insurance (highly recommended)
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