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Silver Galapagos Vessel - 7 Nights Itinerary A

This 8 day/7 night Galapagos cruise will take you to through the archipelago’s Western Islands, which are home to the islands’ only active volcanoes and are known for their spectacular landscapes and chances for penguin spotting (keep in mind that more than 95% of the Galapagos Penguins inhabit these islands). This area is also the only place where you can see endemic Flightless Cormorants. Some of the key sites that you will visit on this tour include the Charles Darwin Research Center (with its breeding center of Giant Galapagos tortoises), legendary Post Office Bay, and Champion Islet, with some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago. The highlights of this more than a week-long expedition include sightings of pelicans and penguins along the rocky shores; swimming with green sea turtles, sea lions, and manta rays; hiking through fragrant forests of “Incense” trees; discovering the largest colony of marine iguanas, and photographing the iconic Pinnacle Rock.  Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be missed.

Testimonials

“The Samba cruise anyway was great, good boat, good food, amazing guide and friendly staff.”Federica Novellini

Silver Galapagos Vessel: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Genovesa, North Seymour, San Cristóbal (Pitt Point), Española & Charles Darwin Station.

Silver Galapagos Vessel: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival – Boarding of the Silver Galapagos (San Cristobal Island)
Day 2: Bartolome Island – Playa Espumilla (Santiago Island)
Day 3: Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) & Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island)
Day 4: Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay (Isabela Island)
Day 5: Post Office Bay and Cormorant Point or Champion Islet (Floreana Island)
Day 6: Dragon Hill and Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 7: The Twin Craters – Puerto Ayora – Charles Darwin Research Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Day 8: Departure (Baltra Island)
Galapagos Map
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Silver Galapagos Vessel: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday
Arrival – Boarding of the Silver Galapagos (San Cristobal Island)

AM: In the morning, you will fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Galapagos Islands. At the airport on San Cristobal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the Surtrek team will welcome you and accompany you to your ship.

PM: Today you will embark on the Silver Galapagos and depart on your exciting Silver Sea voyage through the western islands of the Galapagos archipelago. After settling in, attending a mandatory safety drill and setting sail, you will be introduced to your expedition team and enjoy the first of many memorable meals onboard.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2 - Sunday
Bartolome Island – Playa Espumilla (Santiago Island)

AM: Today we will reach Bartolome Island, where 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 rustic 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 abandoned 40 years ago.

While on Santiago Island, we will visit 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.

At times of year when conditions aren’t ideal at Espumilla Beach, you’ll enjoy a visit to Buccaneer’s 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 3 - Monday
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) & Espinoza Point (Fernandina Island)

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. 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 Vicente Roca Point a great area for deep-water snorkeling.

PM: After lunch on board the Silver Galapagos, we will land on 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 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 this afternoon, we will make a dry landing at 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 4 - Tuesday
Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay (Isabela Island)

AM: This morning’s Isabela Island adventure will begin with a dry landing on the 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: In the afternoon, we will head to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay, also on Isabela Island, 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 5 - Wednesday
Post Office Bay and Cormorant Point or Champion Islet (Floreana Island)

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. 

AM: On Floreana, we will first 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.

PM: The next excursion will be 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.

As an alternative to Cormorant Point (depending on the weather and/or park restrictions), we have 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6 - Thursday
Dragon Hill and Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)

AM: In the morning, 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.

PM: This afternoon we will arrive on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy Las 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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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7 - Friday
The Twin Craters – Puerto Ayora – Charles Darwin Research Center (Santa Cruz Island)

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.

Next, we will visit the charming port town of Puerto Ayora, which – with more than 20,000 inhabitants – is the most populous human settlement in the Galapagos Islands. It also has the best-developed infrastructure in the archipelago – with schools, hotels, restaurants, stores, and clubs – and is the best place to communicate with the outside world via a number of Internet cafés and telephone offices. Most travelers used to just pass through here on their way to see “Lonesome George,” the 150-year old tortoise who lived at Charles Darwin Research Center; but those who linger here for a moment longer will discover that Puerto Ayora has more to offer. The town has sports shops for diving equipment, mountain biking, and birdwatching, as well as day tours that include its nearby white-sand beaches.

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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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8 - Saturday
Departure (Baltra Island)

AM: 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

Silver Galapagos Vessel: Prices

2018 - Price per person
RoomDeluxe VerandaExplorer SuiteSilver SuiteTerrace SuiteVeranda Suite
8 DaysUS$ 11,430US$ 9,150US$ 14,050US$ 10,950US$ 11,150
Included in the price:
  • a cruise on board the Silver Galapagos
  • 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:
  • flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • 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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