trip
Off the Beaten Path in PeruAlpamayo Circuit TrekView Trip Details

8 Days$5780USD

Activities
  • 8 days adventure cruising
Accommodation
  • 7 nights boat
Meals
  • 7 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts
1
Discovery and Cruising

Traveller Rating

 

 
 

Trip highlights


  • Cruise the incredible Galapagos archipelago on the Cachalote Explorer
  • View animals you will find nowhere else on earth and enjoy unique wildlife
  • Enrich your experience with an expert naturalist guide on board the cruise
  • Enjoy great walks, many are very gentle, in a pristine environment
  • Snorkel and swim with wildlife

Accompanied by a naturalist guide, this eight day cruise explores this isolated volcanic archipelago in search of seals, tortoises, unusual bird life iguanas and lizards. Cachalote Explorer is a charismatic 88 foot standard first-class motor vessel and features eight cabins each with a private bathroom. Air-conditioned throughout, passengers can relax on multiple large deck areas while sailing or anchored in secluded bays. This extension can ideally be combined with any of our South American journeys.

Trip Code: CEG

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You can commence your itinerary in the city of Quito*, located in the highlands of Ecuador just south of the equator or alternatively you may chose to commence from Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador located on the banks of the Guayas River. From your starting city you fly to the Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands. You will then be met upon arrival and transferred to your boat to commence your cruise. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to giant tortoises. The highlands offer the lush humid zone with its vegetation of Miconia bushed, Scalesia and inactive volcanic comes. Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any other island in the Galapagos. We have an afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin research station is located in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island; a ten minute walk from the centre of town. At The Charles Darwin Research Station you'll learn first hand of the conservation and research efforts in the Galapagos islands. See the tortoise hatchlings and breeding programs which are saving several races of tortoises from extinction. Tour the Van Straelen Exhibit Hall. For most, this will be your only opportunity to see the giant Galapagos tortoises. NOTE: Itineraries are flexible and are subject to change according to weather, local conditions and circumstances beyond our control. Please note the itineraries should be used as a guide only. *For anyone travelling to the Galapagos Islands we recommend you arrive in Quito or Guayaquil at least one day before your scheduled cruise in case there are flight delays or cancellations. We strongly recommend that you do not book flights out of Quito or Guayaquil for the same day your cruise finishes.

Meals:  L,D

NOTE: Itineraries are flexible and are subject to change according to weather, local conditions and circumstances beyond our control. You will follow one of two itineraries however please note they should be used as a guide only. These are offered on alternate weeks, your consultant will advise which itinerary is scheduled to operate on your desired date. Today we hike along the coastline and discover colorful flora and fauna. The well-known land iguanas here can grow over five feet long. The Santa Fe species of iguana are more bright yellow and have uncommonly large spikes on their spine. In true Galapagos style the Opuntia cactus, a favorite food of the land iguana, has responded by growing tall and woody - up to 33 feet high and are the largest of their kind in Galapagos. Manta rays and sea turtles flit by as dark shadows against the sandy bottom of Santa Fe's beautiful anchorage. After a long hike, relax with a swim in the calm waters of the beautiful bay, or snorkel along in the company of sea lions at the base of the rocks. We spend the afternoon at South Plaza Island. The Plazas Islands are twin islands located off the east coast of Santa Cruz. North Plaza is closed due to scientific research and South Plaza is the visitor site. Both islands were formed by geological uplift. The islands tilt to the north. The island's southern portion has a greater degree of uplift contain cliffs with spectacular views. Visiting South Plaza begins with a dry landing. The rocky trail circumnavigates the island displaying the combination of dry and coastal vegetation zone. The island is home to enormous prickly pear cactus and the endemic succulent sesuvian. These succulents with almond-shaped leaves are green during the rainy season December-May. Then become red during the dry season giving the island an unusual appearance. South Plaza has one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the Galapagos. The iguanas seem to be everywhere once you land. These larger than average yellow-brown land iguanas feed on the fruit and pads of the prickly pear cactus. South Plaza is also home to marine iguanas living along the coast and a hybrid iguana whose fathers are marine iguanas and mothers are land iguanas. As the walk continues along the sea cliffs Swallow-tailed gulls, Frigate birds, Audubon shearwaters, Red-billed tropicbirds, Brown pelicans, Blue-footed and Masked boobies are frequently seen. Beneath along the shore a colony of bachelor sea lions can be seen. Snorkeling in these waters can provide some excellent views of the marine life including sea turtles, sharks, yellow mullets, and other fish.

Meals:  B,L,D

San Cristobal or Chatham the eastern most Island of Galapagos is also one of the oldest. Eroded volcanic peaks in the northern part of the island and rich vegetation in the southern portion characterize the island. This morning we explore Witch Hill; located on the northern coast, this eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with its white powdery sand and the abundance of animals. Wildlife includes sea turtles, rays, and various types of Booby Birds. The clear water provides an excellent opportunity for enjoying swimming and snorkeling. This afternoon we enjoy El Junco. The Junco lagoon, located about 700m above sea level, is one of the few permanent freshwater bodies in Galapagos. Frigate birds are often seen here washing the salt from their feathers as well as white-cheeked pintails and common gallinules. Its name comes from a type of plant that is common in this area called “junco”.

Meals:  B,L,D

Gardner Bay is located on the northeastern portion of the island offers a magnificent long, white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate. The beach considered an open area where you are free to explore. Snorkeling at Gardner Bay is fantastic. This is often your first chance to swim with the Sea Lions and this is an opportunity not to be missed. Further out towards Tortuga Rock and Gardner Island schools of large colorful tropical fish including yellow tailed surgeon fish, king angelfish and bump-head parrot fish swim along with an occasional manta ray gliding by and white-tipped sharks napping on the bottom. Islote Garnder and Islote Osborn islets are snorkeling sites where you will see an abundance of tropical fish, reef sharks, and turtles. We visit also Punta Suarez, found on the western tip of Española, it offers great wildlife such as sea lions, sea birds and the largest marine iguanas of Galapagos. This is one of the best sites in the Galapagos. The highlights are the Waved albatross (April-Dec) that are only found on Hood, Galapagos Hawks, blue-footed boobies, Ñasca boobies, and Española lava lizards. Along the beach there are many sea lions and large, colorful lava lizards and marine iguanas. As you follow the trail to the cliff's edge masked boobies can be found nesting among the rock formations. After a short walk down to a beach and back up the other side blue-footed boobies are seen nesting just off the trail. The Galapagos Dove and very friendly Hood Mockingbird are commonly found in this area. The nearby bushes are frequently home to the large-cactus finch, warbler finch, small-ground finch and large-billed flycatcher. Continuing down the trail you come to the only place where waved albatross nest in the islands. Some 12,000 pairs nest on Española each year. The feeling is very dramatic and it seems like a desolate wilderness as the waves crash on the jagged cliffs below and the blowhole shoots water 50-70 feet/15-30 meters into the air. The sky above is full of sea birds including red-billed tropicbirds, American Oystercatchers, swallow-tailed gulls, and Audubon's Shearwaters.

Meals:  B,L,D

Located west of Española and equal distance south of Santa Cruz, this island has long been a favorite site of visitors including pirates, whalers and early settlers, and is best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and early colonists. Point Cormorant has two contrasting beaches and a large inland lagoon where pink flamingoes can be seen. We will also visit Post Office Bay, one of the few sites visited for its human history. You may leave letters like whalers did in the 18th century in a wooden barrel mailbox and visit remains of the Norwegian fishing village. Today we'll also go snorkeling at Devil's Crown, a submerged volcanic cone that has eroded to create the appearance of a jagged crown. Located just off Punta Cormorant this is the best snorkeling in the Galapagos! To see the crown you need to go underwater, an almost completely submerged volcano, which erosion has transformed the cone into a series of jagged peaks creating the "Devil's Crown". The remains of the volcano create a haven for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropical birds can be seen nesting in the crevices. The highlight of the visit is snorkeling in the centre of the crater. You will play with sea lions, while swimming with schools of colorful king angel fish, balloon fish, hawk fish, scrawled filefish, yellowtail grunts, tiger snake eels, white-tipped sharks, eagle rays, amberjacks, wrasses, hammerhead sharks, and sea turtles.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we'll visit Santa Cruz (Dragon Hill). A wet landing. We will walk to a saltwater small lagoon which is occasionally visited by pink flamingos. Then visitors will hike up to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay. This area is a nesting site for numerous reintroduced land iguanas. There is also a peculiar Scalesia tree forest. Later we'll make our way to James Island (Santiago); James Island is located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. This Island offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. Sullivan Bay: This site is of great geological interest. Highlights: 100 hundred year old lava flow field, pahoehoe formations, and lava bubbles. The Sullivan Bay lava is known a panoehoe (Hawaiian for rope). This thin-skinned lava's molten material cools down after an eruption causing the surface materials to buckle creating a rope like appearance. Panoehoe lava is rare to the rest of the world, but is common to the volcanoes of Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands. The walk takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half. Returning to the shoreline black and white oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools.

Meals:  B,L,D

Tower is an eroded flat volcanic island, with a natural harbor, which is actually the submerged caldera of this volcanic island. El Barranco (Prince Phillips Steps) - Located on the eastern side of Darwin's Bay visiting Prince Phillips Steps begins with a scenic panga ride along the rocky cliff ledges. There is a good possibility of seeing the unique “Short eared owl” at this site. During the dinghy rides along the cliffs fur seals and several species of seabirds can be spotted. The climb up the stairs is fairly easy for those with good balance, and a handrail helps make the journey more manageable. At the top of the steps the trail becomes relatively flat and bird life abounds. Masked boobies and blue-footed boobies nest in the rocks and on the ground while great Frigate birds, magnificent Frigate birds and red-footed boobies nest in the trees and bushes. Depending on the time of year it is possible to see thousands of birds nesting on Tower. Galapagos Doves and the Tower species of the Galapagos Mockingbird are frequently seen. Four types of Darwin's finches visible from this site including the sharp-beaked ground finch, large cactus finch and the warbler finch and the Tower version of the large ground finch with its heavy bill. At the end of forest the trail reaches a lava field at the west end of the island. Here buzzing over the lava are thousands of small storm petrels looking for the crevice they make their home. Short-eared owls fly over the lava hunting their favorite meal, storm petrel eggs. At the end of trail near the cliffs visitors are treated to even more birds. Red-billed tropicbirds, blue-footed boobies, Audubon's shearwaters, Noddy terns, red-footed boobies, Frigate birds and masked boobies fill the air. Darwin Bay - Wet landing. The steep cliffs of this area dominate the island. This area is home to thousands of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Noddy terns, lava gulls, tropicbirds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin’s finches. It's easy to see why Darwin Bay is a favorite of birders. Beyond the beach a series of tide pools carved out of black volcanic rock offer wandering tattlers, lava gulls and turnstones a place to fish. Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons and White and yellow warblers have also been seen in the area. The trail follows the coast through the salt bush and mangrove nesting area of the great Frigate birds and red-footed boobies. Unlike the masked and blue-footed boobies who nest on the ground, the Red-Footed Boobies can be seen nesting in trees between September and July. Boobies and frigates share an adversarial relationship. They nest in the same areas. Boobies frequently destroy the Frigate bird nests, while Frigate birds feed on booby eggs. Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing red-foots nesting in the mangrove trees below. Bird watching from the trail includes sightings of sharp-beaked finch, large cactus finches, large ground finches, Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff's edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.

Meals:  B,L,D

Daphne Mayor is a small tuff cone island where many species of birds nest. Famous for a 20 year study of Darwin’s Finches conducted by Peter and Rosemary Grant. During the circumnavigation you will see blue-footed boobies, Nasca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and other sealife. This is a peaceful place that will leave you feeling that way. On your final day your cruise concludes and we head back to the airport at Baltra for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland. Upon arrival on the mainland your trip concludes.

Meals:  B

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You can commence your itinerary in the city of Quito, located in the highlands of Ecuador just south of the equator or alternatively you may chose to commence from Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador located on the banks of the Guayas River. From your starting city you fly to the Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands. You will then be met upon arrival and transferred to your boat to commence your cruise. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to giant tortoises. The highlands offer the lush humid zone with its vegetation of Miconia bushed, Scalesia and inactive volcanic comes. Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any other island in the Galapagos. We have an afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin research station is located in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island; a ten minute walk from the centre of town. At The Charles Darwin Research Station you'll learn first hand of the conservation and research efforts in the Galapagos islands. See the tortoise hatchlings and breeding programs which are saving several races of tortoises from extinction. Tour the Van Straelen Exhibit Hall. For most, this will be your only opportunity to see the giant Galapagos tortoises.

Meals:  L,D

NOTE: Itineraries are flexible and are subject to change according to weather, local conditions and circumstances beyond our control. You will follow one of two itineraries however please note they should be used as a guide only. These are offered on alternate weeks, your consultant will advise which itinerary is scheduled to operate on your desired date. The itinerary (shown here) is the Fernandina itinerary. Today we visit Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat), so named for its shape, situated off the southeast tip of Santiago. We will then journey to Rabida (Jervis) where the dark red coral beach is home to a sea lion bachelor colony. Chinese hat is a tiny Island just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island is less than a quarter of 1 sq km in size. It is a fairly recent volcanic cone, which accounts for its descriptive name, it has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat. Wet Landing - there is a small sea lion cove on the north shore, where boats anchor and land at the visitor site. A 400 meter trail goes around the cove and through a sea lion colony - marine iguanas cover the landscape. The volcanic scenery is attractive, and there are good views of the cone. There are snorkeling and swimming opportunities in the cove. Opposite Sombrero Chino, on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen. Rabida Island (Jervis) is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkeling site. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes. It is a small island with a dark red coral sand beach. Highlights include the lagoon with flamingoes, pelican nesting site, sea lion bachelor colony, and a snorkeling site at the end of the beach.

Meals:  B,L,D

Isabela Island (Albemarle), the largest of the Galapagos Islands formed by five volcanoes fused together. Planned landings include Puerto Villamilo and its Tortoise breeding centre, Sierra Negra, home to a caldera with a 10km diameter and the islet Las Tintoreras, located south of Puerto Villamil. It has a small bay of completely calm waters inhabited by sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and rays. Located in the southern part of Isabela between the volcanoes Alcedo and Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra's caldera at 6 miles x 5 miles is the largest in the Galapagos and the second largest in the world. The journey up to the crater begins at Puerto Villamil. From the town of Villamil you follow the road to the small town of Santo Tomas. The trip takes between 3 - 5 hours. The landscape along the way is quite lovely. Once on top there are a series of fumaroles inside small craters. The view during the "rainy season" is quiet spectacular. This afternoon we visit Puerto Villamil. This port is home to many native Galapagenians and home to many important visitor sites. The port is surrounded by extensive, white sandy beaches with lagoons and wetlands on its borders. A great place to absorb history and culture, the town also provides shopping opportunities. Visit to the Breeding Centre. Today's highlights are: beautiful white sandy beach, marine iguanas, giant mangroves, small land tortoises, Shore Birds, Blue-footed Boobies, Tintoreras and giant tortoise.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we enjoy Isabela Island, and the spectacular volcano views from Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay which is only accessible by dinghy. It is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay, the end of which is long and narrow surrounded by three species of mangroves. The waters here are home to Galapagos Sea Turtles and rays which we hope to see. Punta Moreno is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted. The main attractions are Blackish water lagoons, Flamingos and White cheeked pintail ducks. This afternoon we visit Elizabeth Bay, which is located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we explore Urbina Bay and this afternoon we spend at Tagus Cove. Lying at the foot of Alcedo Volcano, south of Tagus Cove, is Urbina Bay - one of the best and the most recent example of geological uplift in the Galapagos. Here you can see Penguins, Noddy terns, Marine Iguanas and Historic grafffiti. Lying directly east of Fernandina on the west coast approximately 2/3's of the way up Isabela is the narrow channel of Tagus Cove. The coves quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where blue-fitted boobies, brown noddies, pelicans and noddy terns make their nests, and flightless cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges.

Meals:  B,L,D

The youngest of the Galapagos Islands, Fernandina is approximately 700,000 years old. It's location to the west and on the far side of Isabela makes it one of the least visited islands. This morning we are at Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island). Flightless Cormorant, Pelicans, Sea Lions, Sally Light Foot Crabs and an abundance of Marine Iguanas can be seen along the shores of one of world´s most active volcanoes. This afternoon we spend at Punta Vicente Roca. Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. After the snorkeling you will go on a panga ride, which will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos' spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area.

Meals:  B,L,D

Also known as James and San Salvador, the central location and numerous landing sites make Santiago a part of almost every Galapagos itinerary. Thjs morning at Puerto Ega (James Island) you will see Galapagos Fur Seals in pools cut into lava cliffs and there is a good chance of spotting the Galapagos Hawk, the Galapagos Dove and Vermilion Flycatcher. Tucked behind Espumilla Beach are salt water lagoons where Flamingos and White Cheeked Pintail Ducks may be seen. This afternoon at Bartolome Island, it begins with a rock and concrete pathway. The walk continues through volcanic sand, which can be slow to cross. Once through the sand the steep ascent continues up a wooden stairway. From landing to top the walk takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Nowhere else is the geological history of the Islands better portrayed than here. The most impressive volcanic scenery.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today starts with an early visit to North Seymour Island before breakfast. This small islet, which emerged from an uplifting event thousands of years ago, features endemic Palo Santo trees and is home to colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and magnificent frigate birds. Once we've explored the island, we'll make our way back to Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland, which marks the end of your trip.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Twin share berth, cost based on cabin 3-7 (cost is different for other cabin classes)
  • Internal flights valued at approx US$530
  • Professional naturalist guide and support staff
  • Ingala control card and Galapagos Park fee to the value of US$120. (Please note if arriving to the Galapagos Islands prior to the cruise these fees can't be prepaid - contact your consultant for further details).
  • Use of snorkelling equipment and kayaks (your guide will discuss appropriate timing for use during the trip)
  • Wet suit rental included
  • Group medical kit

  • Airport transfers on the mainland
  • International flights and airport taxes
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical treatment

Cabins


Departure dates

Departs Weekly on Wednesdays

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
High season surcharge applies during Christmas and New Year departures from 18 Dec to 1 Jan, included in published prices.
IT1
Tower itinerary
IT2
Fernandina itinerary

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Priceper person from

$5780USD

Your trip price includes:

  • Internal flight valued at USD$530
  • Park Fees valued at USD$130
Options & Supplements*
  • Discount for Cachalote Explorer Cabin 8USD$-400
  • Cachalote Explorer Supplement Cabin 1-2USD$300
  • Cachalote Explorer Single Supplement Cabin 3-7USD$2300
  • Cachalote Explorer Single Supplement Cabin 1-2USD$2450
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Galapagos Islands on Cachalote Explorer trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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