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Evolution Vessel - 7 Nights Itinerary B

The ship’s 16 elegantly designed suites and staterooms accommodate 32 guests, offering them excellent service while making a minimal impact on the archipelago’s fragile natural environment. This 8-day/7-night “In the Steps of Pirates & Darwin” luxury cruise will take you through this cluster of legendary islands some 600 miles off the Pacific Coast. Made famous by Charles Darwin for having inspired his theories of evolution, you too will have the chance to walk over stunning volcanic formations and hike through rich forests teeming with indigenous birdlife. During your Galapagos Island cruise on board the 32-passenger luxury Evolution Motor Vessel, you will sail to the principal northeastern, central and southeastern islands of the archipelago, where you can walk alongside iguanas in the morning, swim with curious sea lions in the afternoon, and watch Blue-footed boobies fly overhead as you enjoy your alfresco dinner in the evening – experiences never to be forgotten.

Testimonials

“We loved every moment of our trip and could not have done it without Ligia and Surtrek. I highly recommend them!”Irene Alcock

Evolution Vessel: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Isabela, Fernandina, Bartolome (Pinnacle Rock) and Española Islands & Charles Darwin Station

Evolution Vessel: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Island: Airport // Daphne
Day 2: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point
Day 3: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove
Day 4: Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock // Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach / Rabida Island
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands
Day 7: Española Island: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay
Day 8: San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center – Airport
Galapagos Map
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Evolution Vessel: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday
Baltra Island: Airport // Daphne

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 Baltra Island 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 Evolution.

 PM: We will circumnavigate Daphne Major – which is bigger than its sister island, Daphne Minor – to observe tropical birds.   Despite its lack of trees, this island contains a crater that is home to many nesting birds.  Because of this, Daphne has been the site of a major scientific research project, with researchers having captured and banded each of the island's finches. These scientists continue to monitor the birds in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of their lives.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Sunday
Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca // Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point

AM: Located at the “mouth” of the head of the sea horse 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: This afternoon we will visit Fernandina Island, which 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 call 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).

On Fernandina, 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, more 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 3 - Monday
Isabela Island: Urbina Bay – Tagus Cove

AM: This morning 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: 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.   

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4 - Tuesday
Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock // 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 visit Sullivan Bay, located on the eastern coast of the 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 5 - Wednesday
Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach / Rabida Island

AM: This morning 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 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.

PM: In the afternoon we will take a trip to the dark-rust-colored beach of the small, volcanic Rábida Island. A short path leads to a small lagoon that is popular among flamingos. This beach is one of the most beautiful snorkeling places in the Galapagos Islands and it has a great abundance of tropical fish and sea lions. Rábida Island is also the only site where Batfish live.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Thursday
Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station – The Highlands

AM: 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.

PM: We will then visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where 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.  

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Friday
Española Island: Suarez Point – Gardner Bay

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.

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, Suárez 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. 

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Saturday
San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center – Airport

AM: Today our Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before you bid farewell to the Evolution and her crew, we will pay a visit to the Galapagos National Park Interpretation Center on San Cristobal Island. This center presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. Your naturalist will use the exhibits to provide an illustrated overview of life on the islands. A short trail will take you to Las Tijeretas, where both “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” can be seen in the same colony.

Next, 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

Evolution Vessel: Prices

2018 - Price per person
Price per person
SeasonDeluxe Staterooms: D1-D4Master Suite: A1Premium Stateroom: C4Premium Staterooms: C1-C3 & C5-C9Suites: A2 & A3
Regular SeasonUS$5,950US$7,650US$5,950US$6,350US$7,250
Included in the price:
  • All transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  • an 8-day cruise on board the EVOLUTION in double accommodations with access to all facilities
  • bilingual (English-Spanish) naturalist guide
  • and free purified drinking water
  • Use of snorkeling equipment & wetsuits
Not included in the price:
  • Flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Quito–Galapagos–Quito flights cost approx. $569 per person)
  • entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 per person)
  • immigration control card ($20 per person)
  • beverages, tips, personal items, travel insurance.
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