Galapagos - Santa Cruz II – 5 day Cruise

  • days: 5
  • from: $6,155

Description

Visit the most remote of the Galapagos Islands onboard this luxurious yacht. The Santa Cruz II boasts five spacious decks, with modern interiors. Created with the ethos of stylish simplicity at its heart, you'll enjoy the magnificent vistas of these enchanted islands in sumptuous surroundings. While aboard the new Santa Cruz II, guests can relax in the beautifully designed communal areas and viewing platforms, including indoor and outdoor dining options, two lounge bars, a well-stocked library, two indulgent ocean view hot tubs and a state-of-the art gym. This modern luxury yacht will ensure your journey through the Galapagos Islands will truly be an unforgettable experience.

Itinerary Northern Galapagos - Monday departure

2019 Departures:

07 and 21 January, 04 and 18 February, 01 April, 13 and 27 May, 10 and 24 June, 08 and 22 July, 05 and 19 August, 02, 16 and 30 September, 14 October, 25 November, 09 December

Day 1 Santa Cruz Island

We land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz, where we receive a welcome introductory briefing and lunch. After lunch we visit Las Bachas. This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner. [L,D]

Day 2 Santiago Island

After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area's distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the "Elephant Rock", "The Bishop" and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkelling or a panga ride. After lunch we will visit Puerto Egas. Once we disembark at the beach, we can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows.  At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions.  Non-snorkelers can enjoy a longer walk. [B,L,D]

Day 3 Rabida Island - Bartolome Island

After breakfast, we land on Rábida Island's red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat or a panga ride. During navigation to our next island, dolphins are often spotted! After lunch we land at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! Following our walk, we take to the pangas and the glass bottom boat for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, and then land at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing (possibly with Galápagos penguins in attendance). [B,L,D]

Day 4 Genovesa Island

The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, we can snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting lots of fish, including hammerhead sharks. In the afternoon, we land at the beautiful beach at Darwin Bay to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling.  Following our dip, we take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There's an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else we can return to the beach or enjoy a panga ride. [B,L,D]

Day 5 Santa Cruz Island

After breakfast, depart to see the breeding programme of giant tortoises at the Tortoise Reserve. Here, we learn about this endangered species and its promising recovery. Following the visit, we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. [B]

Itinerary Western Galapagos - Thursday departure

2019 Departures:

31 January, 28 February, 14 and 28 March, 11 April, 06 June, 04 July, 01 and 15 August, 12 September, 10 October, 07 and 21 November, 05 and 19 December

Day 1 Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island

We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch. The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). The first part of our walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and American flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas. [L,D] 

Day 2 Isabela Island - Fernandina Island

After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, boobies, etc. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola). The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants. [B,L,D] 

Day 3 Santa Cruz Island 

In the morning, we disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem. We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II. [B,L,D] 

Day 4 Floreana Island 

After breakfast, panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. We follow this visit by continuing to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. We land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkelling off the beach. We then head back on board for lunch. Following lunch and a siesta, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May). [B,L,D] 

Day 5 Baltra Island 

After breakfast, we leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. [B] 

Inclusions

  • Accommodation based on twin-share cabin with private facilities
  • All meals on board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • A program of included shore excursions and sightseeing

Exclusions

  • Airfares to the Galapagos Islands (approximately $820pp AU)
  • Galapagos Islands National Park entrance fee ($100pp US)
  • INGALA Galapagos Visitor Card Fee ($20pp US)

The Small Print: Prices are per person based on twin share. Single Supplement on request. Seasonal surcharges apply. Cabin upgrades and itinerary length variations may be available. Please contact our office for details.