Exploring the Enchanted Galápagos Isles

Location Galápagos Islands, Ecuador Adventure Level Easier Minimum age 8 From $4000
Call toll-free 1 (800) 346-6277

Explore the stunning Galápagos—the Enchanted Islands of Ecuador—in comfort and style aboard a 110-foot yacht as you experience the unparalleled natural beauty, wildlife, and culture of this volcanic wonderland.

Set sail on a deluxe Galápagos Islands tour aboard the charming Beluga yacht, as an experienced and friendly staff ensures the experience of a lifetime. As you navigate through this volcanic archipelago in elegance and comfort, each day promises new encounters with unique species—giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and playful sea lions—led by a knowledgeable and passionate naturalist guide.

In addition to exploring all the natural wonders the Enchanted Isles have to offer, this small-group Galápagos tour with just 16 passengers, provides plenty of opportunity to kick back, relax, and socialize with your fellow travelers in an unrivaled setting. You’ll enjoy chef-prepared meals, a full-service bar, and a large sundeck perfect for wildlife viewing and sunbathing. Whether you’re snorkeling alongside vibrant marine life, enjoying a sunset cocktail on the deck, or exploring a remote island, every moment is crafted to ensure a seamless and memorable experience. 

Exploring the Enchanted Isles aboard the Beluga is more than just a vacation, it’s an unforgettable odyssey into a world unlike any other and offers an immersive glimpse into one of the planet’s most extraordinary ecosystems. Perfect for friends looking for adventure, couples looking to get away, and families who want a fun and educational experience, your time spent island hopping around the Galápagos will leave you with a renewed sense of wonder and memories that you’ll carry with you forever.

Trip Highlights
  • Intimate Galápagos tour aboard a 110-foot deluxe yacht with onboard chef
  • Visit the famed Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island
  • Enjoy hiking, snorkeling & swimming excursions
  • View giant tortoises, lava lizards, sea lions, flamingos & blue-footed boobies
  • Explore geological wonders & pristine landscapes on volcanic islands

What to Expect

Itinerary & Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Galápagos tour aboard the Beluga is different and some activities may be subject to change depending on other groups in the area, the weather, and participants’ abilities. Additionally, daily distances and activities within the park are governed by our permit which allows us to visit these protected sites. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:

Our Eastern Galápagos itinerary visits the islands of Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, Santiago, and Genovesa.

Day 1 | Arrival in Baltra and Santa Cruz Island

Your journey begins on Day 1 with a flight from Quito to the Baltra Airport in the Galápagos Islands. After you clear the Galápagos entry point, you’ll collect your baggage and exit the terminal. Your guide will be waiting for you in the arrivals area and your journey to Santa Cruz, the second-largest island in the Galápagos, will begin.

Your first stop will be at a Galápagos tortoise reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz. You’ll have the remarkable experience of walking among some of the oldest animals in the world. The island is home to giant tortoises that can grow up to 500 pounds and live for 175 years or more. Follow your guide along a scenic trail to the tortoises’ natural habitat in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

After lunch, you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Center and National Park Information Center. Here you’ll learn all about the incredible species that call the islands home, including the giant tortoise as well as Darwin’s favorite finch. You will also be able to visit the tortoise and land iguana breeding program. 

After the visit to the Charles Darwin Center, you will have some time to walk around the lively town of Puerto Ayora, where you can also pick up some souvenirs. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred to the yacht. Once you have had a chance to settle into your accommodations, we’ll reunite for dinner. (L, D)

Day 2 | South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

South Plaza Island

Formed by a geological uplift, separated by a channel, both Plazas exhibit towering cliffs on their southern sides and low-lying shores along their northern coasts. While North Plaza remains closed to visitors, South Plaza stands out as an excellent visitor site in the Galápagos, boasting a remarkable diversity of species within its compact area. 

This morning, you’ll enjoy a wildlife walk at South Plazas, which is renowned for its bustling colony of sea lions, abundant land and marine iguanas, and a plethora of seabird species.

Inland, a mosaic of scrubby vegetation and towering Opuntia cactus forests sustains the island’s iguanas. Following the circular hiking trail leads you to the cliff summit, where you’ll find yourself awarded with a view of the open ocean, and surrounded by myriad nesting seabirds, such as the red-billed tropic bird and gulls. Further along the cliff, you will find a sea lion bachelor colony. 

Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe Island, nestled in the center part of the Galápagos, is believed to be one of its oldest volcanic formations, with underwater rocks dating back nearly four million years. Once home to its own species of giant tortoise, sadly extinct since the 1800s due to hunting, it now hosts two unique species: the Santa Fe land iguana and the Santa Fe rice rat.

Your afternoon wildlife walk begins with a wet landing on the small beach at Barrington Bay on the island’s northeast coast, where abundant sea lions are often spotted sunbathing on the beach. The first walking trail offers an intimate encounter with the towering Santa Fe Opuntia cactus, which blankets the island and the Santa Fe land iguanas thrive on. For a more elevated perspective of the island’s interior, the second trail ascends a steep cliff, granting panoramic views. Other notable inhabitants of this part of the island include Galápagos hawks, Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, and a pelican nesting site. With an abundance of marine life, this is also a great site to go snorkeling. Here, one can see sea lions swimming, sharks, schools of rays, and tropical fish. Your guide will discuss options with you, as this site also permits kayaking and panga rides. (B, L, D)

Day 3 (Day 1 of the 6-day itinerary*) | San Cristóbal Island

San Cristóbal, situated as the easternmost island in the Galápagos archipelago, emerged from the convergence of several now-extinct volcanoes. Eroded volcanic peaks in the northern part of the island and rich vegetation in the southern portion characterize the island, which is home to the only permanent freshwater lake in the Galápagos, El Junco. 

Your morning begins with a beach walk at Cerro Brujo, located on the northeast coast of San Cristóbal, characterized by its pristine white sand beach and breathtaking coastal scenery. Translating to “Witch Hill” in English, Cerro Brujo offers panoramic views of the surrounding turquoise waters and rugged volcanic landscapes. Visitors can witness diverse wildlife, including playful sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, pelicans, and waders. Cerro Brujo also offers opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. Your guide will discuss options with you. 

Later in the morning, you’ll set sail around Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), which stands as an iconic geological marvel of the Enchanted Isles, captivating visitors with its striking beauty and providing one of the most sought-after photo opportunities on any Galápagos tour. This impressive formation is the remnant of a volcanic tuff cone, formed by the explosive interaction of hot magma and cold seawater. Erosion over millennia has carved a narrow channel through the rock. Nearing Kicker Rock, visitors are awarded with breathtaking views of this towering monolith, which reaches a height of 490 feet. Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and frigatebirds can be seen soaring above. 

In the afternoon, you’ll visit El Junco Lagoon, which offers great views from its altitude of nearly 2,300 feet in the highlands of San Cristóbal. Formed within the crater of an extinct volcano, this freshwater lagoon is the largest of its kind in the archipelago. Visitors can embark on a scenic hike to reach the lagoon’s rim and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Birdwatchers will delight in observing how frigates dive down to the surface of the volcanic crater lake, dipping their wings into the water before flying back up to wash the salt off their wings. This is also one of the best places to see the San Cristóbal mockingbird

After your visit to El Junco Lagoon, you’ll head to La Galapaguera. Inaugurated by the National Park in 2003, the Galapaguera serves as a conservation facility and visitor center dedicated to the preservation of giant tortoises. Here, visitors have the opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in a semi-natural environment while also gaining insights into their evolutionary history, origins, and the challenges they face due to introduced species. (B, L, D)

* The 6-day Eastern Itinerary begins with a flight to San Cristóbal to join the Beluga. Depending on the arrival time, you may meet the group for the Galapaguera & El Junco excursion and have lunch aboard the Beluga; breakfast is not included.

Day 4 | Española Island

Española Island, one of the oldest islands in the Galápagos, is situated in the southeastern part of the archipelago. This remote island is known for its rugged terrain of volcanic cliffs, sandy beaches, and dramatic rock formations. Because of its location, a unique range of endemic species evolved here. 

You’ll start your day with a morning beach walk at Gardner Bay. Nestled on the northeast coast of Española Island, Gardner Bay boasts a long and beautiful white sand beach graced with sea lion colonies. Visitors are invited to stroll along the pristine coastline, where sea lions play in the surf. This idyllic spot is also perfect for swimming. 

This morning also offers the opportunity for snorkeling at Islote Gardner and Islote Osborn. These islets are snorkeling sites where visitors can see an abundance of tropical fish, reef sharks, and turtles.

In the afternoon, you’ll head to Punta Suárez, located on the western tip of Española Island, renowned for its extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscapes. The area is a haven for bird enthusiasts, as it hosts one of the largest colonies of waved albatrosses in the world (nesting here from April – December), along with nesting sites for Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Hiking along the rocky trails, visitors can observe these fascinating birds up close, as well as encounter colorful marine iguanas, Galápagos hawks, and endemic plants such as the vibrant red Sesuvium. Along the cliff, visitors can enjoy the blowhole where seawater is forced about 65 feet into the air. (B, L, D)

Day 5 | Floreana Island

Floreana is best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and early colonists. It is one of the oldest islands in the Galápagos. Floreana’s volcano has long been extinct and is in the advanced stages of erosion that gives the island the nutrients and soils to sustain plant life. 

Your morning will begin with a wildlife walk at Punta Cormorant. Punta Cormorant is characterized by two contrasting beaches, the “Green Beach,” aptly named for its green hue derived from a high concentration of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach,” comprised of pristine white coral. The large inland lagoon is home to flamingos, common stilts, and white-cheeked pintails. 

After your wildlife walk, you head to the renowned snorkeling site Devil’s Crown, teeming with marine life, just off the coast from Punta Cormorant. The site is a completely submerged volcano that has eroded to create the appearance of a jagged crown. Snorkelers will encounter a kaleidoscope of colorful fish, including parrotfish, surgeonfish, and angelfish darting among the intricate coral structures. Keep an eye out for larger marine inhabitants such as sea turtles, rays, and even the occasional hammerhead shark.  

Your day continues with an afternoon visit to Post Office Bay, one of the few sites visited for its human history. Whaling Captain James Colnett established the wooden post barrel in early 1793. At the time, whaling was a big industry, and the Galápagos Islands were a frequent stop for these ships. Outbound ships would drop off letters and the ships returning home would mail them. To keep the tradition alive, make sure to leave an addressed postcard in the barrel and sort through the postcards that have been left to see if there’s one you can take home to deliver in your hometown. (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Santa Cruz Island and Santiago Island

 

Santa Cruz Island

Your return to Santa Cruz Island will start with a morning wildlife walk at Cerro Dragon or Dragon Hill. Dragon Hill has a small lagoon behind the beach and offers the opportunity to see flamingos and pintail ducks, among other birdlife. The trail continues through arid landscapes adorned with cactus and scrub vegetation and is home to large land iguanas. The walk continues to the top of Dragon Hill, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline and nearby islands. Dragon Hill also has a good snorkeling spot; snorkeling will usually be done after the walk, depending on conditions. 

Santiago Island

Santiago Island is located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. The island, which consists of two overlapping volcanoes, is the fourth largest in the archipelago. A favorite island for pirates and whalers, Santiago has a long human history as well as outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. The island has a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas, a fur seal grotto, the chance to see Galápagos hawks, and some amazing lava formations such as Sullivan Bay.

Sullivan Bay offers a captivating insight into the geological history of the Galápagos Islands. Here, visitors can explore vast lava fields created by previous volcanic eruptions, with the most recent occurring just over 100 years ago. These fields are characterized by smooth, rippled textures known as pahoehoe lava and boast a surreal black coloration. The stark beauty of the lunar-like terrain provides a dramatic backdrop for hiking and photography enthusiasts alike. Along the coastline, visitors may also encounter marine iguanas basking in the sun and seabirds soaring overhead. Depending on conditions, there may be a chance to snorkel at Sullivan Bay. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Genovesa Island

Genovesa Island, also known as Tower Island, is a remote and pristine volcanic island located to the northeast of the main cluster of islands. It is home to a vast array of bird species, including the iconic red-footed and Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and storm petrels. One of its most distinctive features is Darwin Bay, a natural harbor formed from a submerged volcanic caldera, offering unparalleled opportunities for birdwatching and snorkeling.

In the morning you will visit Darwin Bay for a picturesque walk that winds through diverse landscapes. 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. Snorkeling will either be done in the morning or the afternoon, depending on conditions, and the exact snorkeling spot will be determined by the naturalist guide. 

Later in the afternoon, a scenic panga ride along the rocky cliff ledges will bring you to the base of the steep rocky steps named after His Royal Highness Prince Philip, who visited the island in the 1960s. This site is abundant with birdlife, and there is a good possibility of seeing the unique Short-eared Owl here. During the dinghy rides along the cliffs, fur seals and several species of seabirds can be spotted. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Santa Cruz Island and Transfer to Baltra Airport

Caleta Tortuga on Santa Cruz Island is a red mangrove lagoon and a perfect example of how mangroves alter the marine environment to create a rich and unique habitat. Early in the morning, you will embark on a quiet and peaceful dinghy ride to spot sharks, rays, marine turtles, and other marine and land life that inhabit this mangrove ecosystem.

Transfer to Baltra Airport

At the end of the cruise, you will disembark and transfer to Baltra Airport for your ongoing flight to Mariscal Sucre Quito International Airport. (B)

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Baltra Airport, Galápagos Islands

Meeting time

Morning of Day 1 (time dependent upon the flight)

Return

Afternoon of final day (you are free to depart this evening or arrange an extra night in Quito)

Trip Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Galápagos tour aboard the Beluga is different and some activities may be subject to change depending on other groups in the area, the weather, and participants’ abilities. Additionally, daily distances and activities within the park are governed by our permit which allows us to visit these protected sites. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:

Our Western itinerary visits the islands of Santa Cruz, Sombrero Chino, Rábida, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, Bartolome, and North Seymour.

Day 1 | Arrival in Baltra and Santa Cruz Island

Your journey begins on Day 1 with a flight from Quito to the Baltra Airport in the Galápagos Islands. After you clear the Galápagos entry point, you’ll collect your baggage and exit the terminal. Your guide will be waiting for you in the arrivals area and your journey to Santa Cruz, the second-largest island in the Galápagos, will begin.

Your first stop will be at a Galápagos tortoise reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz. You’ll have the remarkable experience of walking among some of the oldest animals in the world. The island is home to giant tortoises that can grow up to 500 pounds and live for 175 years or more. Follow your guide along a scenic trail to the tortoises’ natural habitat in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

After lunch, you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Center and National Park Information Center. Here you’ll learn all about the incredible species that call the islands home, including the giant tortoise as well as Darwin’s favorite finch. You will also be able to visit the tortoise and land iguana breeding program. 

After the visit to the Charles Darwin Center, you will have some time to walk around the lively town of Puerto Ayora, where you can also pick up some souvenirs. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred to the yacht. Once you have had a chance to settle into your accommodations, we’ll reunite for dinner. (L, D)

Day 2 | Sombrero Chino and Rábida Islands

Sombrero Chino Island

Sombrero Chino (“Chinese Hat”), is a small islet situated just off the southeastern coast of Santiago. Its name is derived from its resemblance to a traditional bamboo or rice hat when viewed from the north, although from above, it appears more oval-shaped on satellite imagery. The islet’s rugged terrain, characterized by volcanic rubble and lava formations, serves as a stark reminder of the Galápagos’ fiery origins.

Along its western coast, a short hiking trail offers visitors a glimpse into this harsh landscape. Both Sombrero Chino and the adjacent Santiago shore are frequented by Galápagos sea lions and penguins, often seen basking in the sun or seeking refuge from the heat. The skies above may reveal sightings of the Galápagos hawk. The highlight of a visit to Sombrero Chino lies beneath the surface, in the turquoise channel that separates it from Santiago. Snorkeling here offers encounters with various species of sharks, penguins, rays, and tropical fish. Access to this area is limited, with permits granted to select boats.

Rábida Island

Rábida Island, formerly known as Jervis, stands out with its small yet striking landscape characterized by steep slopes and red-sand beaches. Its rich iron lava deposits lend the sands and soils their vibrant red hue, making it one of the most distinctive islands in the Enchanted Isles of Ecuador.

Exploring Rábida begins with a wet landing on its unique maroon beach along the northern coast, where marine iguanas and sea lions often seek shade in nearby caves. Rábida is renowned for its pelican colonies, which nest in the saltbushes along the coastline, offering visitors an intimate view of these majestic birds. Above the cliffs, blue-footed and Nazca boobies grace the skies. 

Adjacent to the beach lies a saltwater lagoon, occasionally serving as a feeding and breeding ground for flamingos. These vibrant birds, known for their pink hue, thrive on a diet of pink shrimp larvae and water boatmen. While their presence on Rábida fluctuates, pintail ducks and common stilts are frequently spotted in the lagoon.

Following the path inland, abundant Opuntia cacti and Palo Santo trees create habitat for various land birds, including Darwin’s finches, Galápagos doves, and Galápagos mockingbirds, offering a glimpse into the island’s unique ecosystem. The hiking path leads to a wonderful viewpoint where one can appreciate the color palette of this island. Depending on time and conditions, there may be the option to snorkel at Rábida; snorkeling is usually done from the beach.  (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Isabela Island

Isabela Island stands as the largest of all the islands, stretching nearly 75 miles in length and surpassing the combined area of all other islands in the archipelago. Its northwestern edge harbors Tagus Cove, historically frequented by pirates, buccaneers, whalers, and fishermen alike.

Formed by the fusion of six shield volcanoes, Isabela Island is one of the Galápagos’ youngest and remains predominantly active, with the famed Wolf Volcano claiming the archipelago’s highest summit. Isabela boasts an unparalleled richness of wildlife, housing more wild tortoises than all other islands combined, each volcano nurturing distinct species. The nutrient-rich Cromwell Current along the west coast sustains a thriving ecosystem, attracting a diverse array of marine life, and making Isabela a premier destination for whale watching, with 16 species sighted in its waters.

You’ll start your day with a morning hike to Sierra Negra. Sierra Negra stands as the Galápagos’ most awe-inspiring volcano, boasting a crater stretching over 6 miles in diameter, ranking as the world’s second-largest. Accessible via a 45-minute drive, hikers can trek along a path leading to and running along part of the rim of the volcano. The journey also offers an option to traverse recent lava flows from the 1979 eruption of the parasitic cone, Volcan Chico. The trek rewards adventurers with breathtaking vistas from Sierra Negra’s rim, offering sweeping panoramas of Isabela’s other volcanoes and extending views across to Fernandina, making the journey well worth the endeavor.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit the town of Puerto Villamil, a charming village that retains its quaint fishing port allure and is often regarded as the most picturesque in the entire archipelago. With its stunning, palm-fringed beach adorned with bright white coral sand, Villamil epitomizes tropical beauty. Nestled behind the beach are saltwater lagoons harboring pink flamingos, pintail ducks, and various other species. Depending on conditions, guests may visit Los Humedales, the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center, Flamingo Lagoon, or Tintoreras. (B, L, D)

Day 4 | Isabela Island

You’ll start your day with a morning nature walk at Punta Moreno, a captivating excursion along Isabela Island’s western coast. Following a scenic panga ride along the rugged shoreline, you’ll encounter a vast lava field that stretches towards the distant Cero Azul volcano. Traversing this otherworldly terrain you will come across several tidal lagoons, pools, and mangroves teeming with diverse wildlife, particularly bird species. Keep an eye out for marine turtles or sharks in the larger tidal pools, where the crystal-clear waters afford unique viewing opportunities from the shore. During your hike back to the panga pick-up point, expect sightings of Galápagos penguins on the rocky shores, along with various bird species like herons and flamingos. This excursion offers a perfect blend of wildlife encounters and scenic hiking through impressive lava landscapes.

Your morning will continue with snorkeling at Punta Moreno, which is done from the panga. Snorkeling here offers the chance to swim with marine turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas, and penguins. If you keep an eye out you may even spot a seahorse!

In the afternoon, you will enjoy a panga ride to Elizabeth Bay, a tranquil refuge for diverse wildlife. Its shoreline features mangrove areas that stand out against the surrounding lava fields, while numerous small islets and rocky reefs dot the bay, contributing to its rich biodiversity. Accessed only by panga, an exploration of Elizabeth Bay offers an intimate encounter with Isabela’s inhabitants. During the boat ride, you’ll have the chance to observe rays, sharks, green sea turtles, Galápagos penguins, pelicans, and an abundance of sea lions. Closer to the shores and mangroves, sightings of Galápagos flightless cormorants and marine iguanas are common. Depending on conditions, there may be the option to kayak in this bay. Your guide will discuss options with you. (B, L, D

Day 5 | Isabela Island

You’ll begin another day of exploration on the western shore of Isabela Island with a morning wildlife walk and snorkeling at Urbina Bay, nestled at the base of Alcedo Volcano. Remarkably, this area emerged from the sea during a dramatic uplift event in 1954. Its relatively level terrain showcases corals and marine formations lifted from the depths by this geological upheaval. Upon landing, a relatively long hiking path leads you inland, traversing the island’s arid zone. Here, you’ll encounter Galápagos land tortoises and land iguanas in their natural habitat. Returning towards the coastline, you’ll encounter colonies of the distinctive and endemic flightless cormorant.

Snorkeling at Urbina Bay is usually done from the beach. This spot offers delightful snorkeling opportunities, where you may find yourself swimming next to a Galápagos penguin! It’s also a great spot to observe the marine iguanas feeding beneath the surface.

In the afternoon, you’ll head to Tagus Cove. The waters around Tagus Cove are the coldest and most productive in the Galápagos because of the upwelling of the Cromwell Current, and dolphins and whales are frequently seen. Tagus Cove was used historically as an anchorage for pirates and whalers. One can still find the names of the ships carved into the rock above the landing (a practice now prohibited). A steep yet brief hiking trail leads to the saltwater Darwin Lake, nestled within a volcanic cone. Further ascending from Darwin Lake, a series of 160 steps brings you to a breathtaking viewpoint offering panoramic vistas of the Galápagos. Here, you may encounter unique wildlife such as Galápagos hawks, vermilion flycatchers, and various species of Darwin’s finches.

The cove’s quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs. This is also a place where both kayaking and snorkeling are permitted, depending on conditions. Your guide will discuss options with you. (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Fernandina and Isabela Islands

Fernandina Island

Fernandina, the youngest island of the Galápagos Islands, stands as a highlight in the archipelago. Surrounded by rich, cold water currents, it hosts a diverse array of species, including flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, and both land and marine iguanas. 

Noted for its dramatic landscape changes, smoking craters, and tales of volcanic eruptions, Fernandina sits atop the volcanic hotspot that birthed the entire Galápagos archipelago. Its main volcano, La Cumbre, boasts a massive 4-mile summit crater. Recent eruptions, both within the crater and on its outer slopes, have seen lava flows reaching the sea. 

Home to a significant land iguana population, Fernandina’s volcanic crater serves as a nesting ground, where they nest both in and out of the crater. Its surrounding waters, influenced by the cold water Cromwell Current, teem with life, offering a superb feeding habitat for species like the flightless cormorant and Galápagos penguins.

You’ll begin your exploration of Fernandina with a morning wildlife walk at Punta Espinoza on the northeastern tip of the island just across from Tagus Cove. Punta Espinoza is a narrow ledge of lava and sand that extends from the base of the volcano to the sea and is bustling with wildlife. If conditions are good, snorkeling will be done around the bay of Punta Espinoza. 

Isabela Island

Back on Isabela, you’ll enjoy afternoon snorkeling and a panga ride at Punta Vicente Roca. There are no designated landing spots here; snorkeling is done directly from the boats. The surroundings here boast stunning scenery, shaped by the remnants of two ancient volcanoes, with cliffs and caves providing a breathtaking backdrop to the bay. Protected from ocean swells, the bay offers an ideal snorkeling experience. Cold-water currents attract a diverse array of marine life, often resulting in feeding frenzies that include whales, dolphins, Galápagos sea lions, tuna, blue-footed boobies, and other seabirds, creating spectacular sights.

Additionally, there is the option to go on a panga ride along the shore, allowing visitors to explore caves and encounter other species such as Galápagos flightless cormorants and a small colony of Galápagos fur seals. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Santiago and Bartolome Islands

Santiago Island

Santiago Island is located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. The island, which consists of two overlapping volcanoes, is the fourth largest in the archipelago. A favorite island for pirates and whalers, Santiago has a long human history as well as outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. The island has a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas, a fur seal grotto, a chance to see Galápagos hawks, and some amazing lava formations such as Sullivan Bay.

You’ll start your day with a morning wildlife walk at Espumilla Beach at the northern tip of James Bay, a vast bay on the northwest coast of Santiago. It boasts a picturesque shoreline bordered by lush green forests. The beach is a habitat for marine iguanas, commonly spotted feeding along the rocky edges.  Additionally, Espumilla Beach serves as a nesting ground for Galápagos green turtles. Inland, a hiking trail winds past a seasonal lagoon, often tinted bright green by algae, where Galápagos flamingos and pintail ducks can be observed. The trail then meanders through the arid zone, offering glimpses of various bird species, including Galápagos hawks.

Nearby the towering cliffs of Buccaneers Cove, which earned its name because it was once a haven for pirates, privateers, buccaneers, and whalers who anchored here and ventured ashore, serve as a habitat for various Galápagos seabirds, sea lions, and fur seals. The geological formations are captivating, characterized by layers of compacted tuff volcanic material shaped by wave and wind erosion. Boobies, pelicans, and gulls frequent these ledges for feeding and nesting, while Galápagos fur seals seek shelter among the rocks to escape the heat, and sea lions swim playfully along the coastline. With an abundance of marine life, this is also a good site to go snorkeling where moray eels, octopuses and sometimes even sharks can be seen. Your guide will discuss options with you, as this site also permits kayaking and panga rides. 

Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island, though lacking in lush vegetation and diverse wildlife, captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring landscape, centered around the iconic Pinnacle Rock. Named after Sir Bartholomew Sulivan, a British lieutenant and friend of Charles Darwin, this barren island showcases the Galápagos’ renowned geological formations. A hike will take you to the highest point on Bartolome for one of the most spectacular views in the whole archipelago. Depending on the conditions, snorkeling may be done before or after the hike. 

Despite its sparse terrestrial inhabitants, Bartolome boasts a colony of Galápagos penguins and serves as a prime snorkeling destination, teeming with marine life. Alongside penguins, snorkelers may also encounter marine turtles, sea lions, and white-tipped sharks. There is also a sandy beach with great swimming options. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | North Seymour Island and Transfer to Baltra Airport

North Seymour Island

Renowned for its abundant wildlife, North Seymour hosts an array of iconic Galápagos species, notably boasting one of the largest nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies. A popular one-mile visitor trail traverses the island, offering immersive encounters with land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galápagos sea lions, frigatebirds, and pelicans, among other fascinating inhabitants.

Transfer to Baltra Airport

At the end of this all-encompassing Galápagos tour, you will disembark and transfer to Baltra Airport for your ongoing flight to Mariscal Sucre Quito International Airport. (B)

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Baltra Airport, Galápagos Islands

Meeting time

Morning of Day 1 (time dependent upon the flight)

Return

Afternoon of Day 8 (you are free to depart this evening or arrange an extra night in Quito)

Trip Map

A guide and two guests aboard a pango speeding away from the rock spire at Bartolome Island Galapagos

Dates & Prices

2024 DeparturesPrice
July 12, 26$4,000
August 9$4,000
October 18$4,000
November 1,15, 29$4,000
December 13$4,000
2025 DeparturesPrice
January 10, 24 $4,400
February 7, 21 $4,400
March 7, 21 $4,400
April 4, 18 $4,400
May 2, 16, 30 $4,400
June 13, 27 $4,400
July 11, 25 $4,400
August 8 $4,400
October 17, 31 $4,400
November 14, 28 $4,400
December 12 $4,400
2024 DeparturesPrice
July 10, 24$5,300
August 7$5,300
October 16, 30$5,300
November 13, 27$5,300
December 11$5,300
December 25$5,500
2025 DeparturesPrice
January 8, 22$5,850
February 5, 19$5,850
March 5, 19$5,850
April 2, 16, 30$5,850
May 14, 28$5,850
June 11, 25$5,850
July 9, 23$5,850
August 6$5,850
October 15, 29$5,850
November 12, 26$5,850
December 10$5,850
December 24$6,100
2024 DeparturesPrice
July 3, 17, 31$5,300
August 14$5,300
October 9, 23$5,300
November 6, 20$5,300
December 4$5,300
December 18$5,500
2025 DeparturesPrice
January 1$6,100
January 15, 29$5,850
February 12, 26$5,850
March 12, 26$5,850
April 9, 23$5,850
May 7, 21$5,850
June 4, 18$5,850
July 2, 16, 30$5,850
August 13$5,850
October 8, 22$5,850
November 5, 19$5,850
December 3$5,850
December 17, 31$6,100

Prices are per person based on double occupancy. 

Single Supplement

50% of the cruise cost

Children

30% discount over the published rate for children under 12 years old (one child per adult). This discount is not applicable over Christmas and New Year’s departures.

Deposit

2024: 6-day $800 | 8-day $1100
2025: 6-day $880 | 8-day $1220

Ways to Save

To book with one of our special offers, call 1-800-346-6277 or contact us today.

The Need-to-Know Info

Trip Details

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Fully crewed yacht with English-speaking park naturalist
  • Accommodations on a first-class yacht (based on double occupancy)
  • Meals as outlined in the itinerary as B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner, plus complimentary tea, coffee, water, and juices
  • All activities and equipment as outlined in the itinerary, including snorkel gear, wetsuits, and kayaks
  • All transfers within the Galápagos

Additional Costs

  • Flight to/from Galápagos: $555/person
  • National Park Service Entrance Fee: $200/adult | $100/child 11 and under
  • $20 transit fee
  • Airport taxes and fees
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations
  • Mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage

Additional costs are subject to change

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation to/from Quito, Ecuador
  • Roundtrip flights from Quito to Galápagos (arranged by OARS)
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Single supplement fee (by choice or circumstance) 
  •  Galápagos Islands transit control card (arranged by OARS)
  •  Galápagos National Park entrance fee (arranged by OARS)
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan or mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage (must have a minimum $100,000 coverage value)
  • Alcoholic beverages & soft drinks from the boat’s inventory
  • Pre- or post-trip accommodations, transfers, and/or day tours (can be arranged by OARS upon request)
  • Gratuities for the park naturalist, guides, and yacht crew

Beluga is a spacious and comfortable “Superior First Class” motor yacht offering panoramic windows in the salon and ample deck space, where you can relax and tour the Galápagos’ beautiful sights in speed and style. This deluxe 110-foot yacht can accommodate 16 guests in 8 double cabins, each with a private bathroom and complete with hot and cold water showers. Outfitted exclusively for the Galápagos Islands, Beluga is fully air-conditioned and boasts an exceptional staff who will ensure your every need is fulfilled as you cruise from island to island.

Awarded the Smart Voyager certification for adhering to conservation standards, Beluga is equipped with twin electronic Scania diesel engines, three Perkins generators, two reverse osmosis water makers, and an onboard wastewater treatment plant, allowing you to experience the Galápagos in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Your time on Beluga will be spent with a small group led by a highly-experienced multilingual naturalist guide who will introduce you to all the incredible wonders the Enchanted Isles have to offer. An onboard chef and barman will ensure you’re well-fed and well-pampered, guaranteeing a once-in-a-lifetime Galápagos tour that simply can’t be beat.

The luxury yacht Beluga out to sea in the Galapagos.
A room aboard the luxury yacht Beluga in the Galapagos islands; blue and white towels are decoratively displayed on the white comforter of a double bed and blue curtains are decoratively pulled back to reveal the ocean through large windows.
The dining room of the Beluga luxury yacht; 8 chairs suround a table with place settings, wine glasses, and bottles of wine. A beverage buffet runs along the wall behind it with 3 port holes looking over the ocean.

The meals served on Beluga are a fusion of international flavors and Ecuadorian specialties, with a focus on healthy and fresh ingredients. Served buffet-style, menus are crafted to showcase locally sourced ingredients and keep you energized for your wildlife excursions.

Begin each day with a hearty breakfast buffet featuring an array of options including yogurt, granola, cereals, toast, cheeses, meats, eggs, baked goods, juices, and hot drinks. Snacks are offered mid-morning and mid-afternoon, thoughtfully prepared to help keep you nourished throughout the day. Coffee, tea, and water are available at all times.

For lunch and dinner, enjoy a variety of dishes that always include a protein option alongside fresh salads, cooked vegetables, and tasty sides. All meals end with a delicious treat made by the chef on board who can also prepare birthday cakes and other meals for special occasions.

We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we must consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

The Galápagos Islands have a surprisingly cool, subtropical climate regulated by the cold, north-flowing (Humboldt) and west-flowing (Peruvian) ocean currents, which originate in Antarctica. Generally, December to April are the warmest months (75-90°F) and coolest from May through November (60-75°F), with August and September being the coolest months. The islands only receive an average of 10 inches of rain per year, so it is rarely “rainy” though you can expect some precipitation year-round.

The temperature of the air and water varies depending on the strength of the trade winds. During periods of weak winds, December through March, the cooling currents subside and temperatures rise. The waters are warmest during this period (65-80°F). In April, the trend begins toward stronger winds and cooler temperatures (both air and water) with the strongest trade winds and coolest temperatures being customary in late September. In October, the trend reverses. And so the seasons cycle endlessly through time, with the occasional appearance of El Niño and La Niña phenomena.

The larger islands with volcanic peaks have a dramatic range of climatic zones. The coastal areas are quite arid, covered with plants adapted to desert conditions, and receive infrequent precipitation. The highland parts of these islands receive moisture almost year-round in the form of garúa (thick fog, mist, or drizzle), which supports a lush rainforest where all of the tortoises live.
In the Quito area, the gateway to the Galápagos, the elevation is about 9,000 feet above sea level and greatly moderates the climate. The temperature ranges from 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with lower temperatures from April to October. Daytime temperatures are generally warm and pleasant, while evenings are cool. Bring a warm layer for the evenings.

Average Air & Water Temperatures

Average Air Temp (F°)Average Water Temp (F°)
January75-80 (warm)70-75
February75-85 ( warm to hot)70-80
March80-90 (warmest)70-80
April75-80 (warm)70-75
May70-75 (cool)70-75
June70-75 (cool)65-70
July70 (cool)60-65
August68-70 (cool)60-65
September60-70 (coolest)60-65
October70-75 (cool)63-70
November70-75 (cool)65-72
December73-78 (warm)65-73

Before booking your trip with OARS, there are a few important considerations we’d like you to know about.

  • Purchase Travel Protection: In order to take part in this trip, each participant must have a minimum of $100,000 of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage in place for the dates of the trip. This can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. Learn more about the plan we recommend.

  • Essential Travel Documents: A passport is required for travel to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands.
  • Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.
  • Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation email for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.

Reservations and Deposits

A deposit of 20% of the cruise cost is required at the time of reservation. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception. Payments can be made by check, money order, eCheck, wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency. Your payment is fully refundable for 7 days, less a 3% processing fee, after making a reservation when you reserve a trip 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.

Cancellations and Refunds

Canceling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below.

Date of CancellationCancellation Fee
90 or more days prior to trip Deposit
89 – 60 Days prior to trip50% of the trip cost
59 – 0 days prior to tripFull fare

We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

Canceled Trips

OARS International and the outfitter Enchanted Expeditions reserve the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 15 days prior to departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less the initial deposit amount and any non-refundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.

Our Exploring the Enchanted Galápagos Isles tour is run by an affiliate company and arranged through O.A.R.S. International, Inc.

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