You won't find this Galapagos cruise anywhere else! Birding Experience has designed it especially for birding enthusiasts to discover as many endemic species as possible in the Galapagos, so set sail in Darwin's footsteps in search of the world's unique wildlife!

This unique birding cruise has been carefully and extensively designed by our expert birders to maximise the observation of almost all the birds present on the Galapagos. The tour has been granted special permission by the Galapagos National Park to modify the traditional boat routes to anchor at all the important birding sites.

Galápagos
12 days
From 5270 US$
Cruise Cruise
Birding tours Birding tours
Photo and bird watching tours Photo and bird watching tours

Your travel expert

Xavier Amigo

Responsible for naturalist, botanical and ornithological travel. Responsible of fixing and profesional contact.

Xavier Amigo
xavier@ecuador-experience.com
Contact our expert
12 12 days

Day 1: Arrival in Ecuador - Quito

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Arrival at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in the Ecuadorian capital at the end of the day. Welcome, transfer and short briefing about the upcoming trip. Depending on the flight schedule, we will be able to stroll around our hotel to see some of the typical species of the inter-Andean valley.

Dinner and overnight stay in a standard hotel in the inter-Andean valley near the airport.

Private transfer, English-speaking assistance

Key species: Sparkling Violetear, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Giant Hummingbird, Western Emerald, Great Thrush, Saffron Finch, Scrub Tanager, Blue and Yellow Tanager

Day 2: Baltra island – North Seymour island

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Morning transfer from your hotel to Quito National Airport, accompanied by one of our assistants, for your flight to the Galapagos Archipelago. Upon arrival at Baltra, the main port airport of the archipelago, a health and environmental inspection is carried out to protect these fragile ecosystems from any exogenous intrusion. Your naturalist guide will be waiting for you at the airport. You will go with him to the pier where your yacht is anchored. You will be welcomed on board by the entire crew and the captain who will give you a quick welcome briefing and help you get to your cabins and familiarize yourself with the different areas of the ship. In the afternoon, we will set sail for Seymour Island. Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Noddis and Galapagos Shearwaters will accompany you during these first hours of sailing. Seymour Island is home to a large colony of Sea Lions, both species of Frigatebirds and the Swallow-tailed Gull. The short trail will also take you through the Palo Santo trees (Brusera) and Opuntia cactus vegetation.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

Private transfer with English-speaking assistance to the airport, English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Frigatebird, American Oystercatcher, Red-billed Tropicbird, Swallow-tailed Gull, Blue-footed Booby, Red-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Brown Noddy, Galápagos Shearwater, Lava Gull, Small Tree Finch

Day 3: Isabela island: Punta Albemarle - Punta Vicente Roca

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Last night's sea crossing took us to the northern coast of Isabela. Cape Albemarle is a former US military base from the Second World War. Along these rocky coasts, several colonies of winged cormorants and Galapagos penguins take advantage of the abundance of food linked to the presence of cold water currents, to nest here.  Cabo Vicente Roca, located further southwest of the island, is a tuff cone that shelters some nests of the rare and endemic dark swallow. At their feet large colonies of Galapagos penguins use the basaltic coasts for nesting. Underwater, the rich and colorful underwater walls attract large numbers of sea turtles that come to feed.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Flightless Cormorant, Galápagos Penguin, Galápagos Martin, Galápagos Mockingbird, American Stilt, Galapagos Hawk, Brown Pelican, Yellow Warbler, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone.

Day 4: Fernandina island: Punta Espinoza

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This morning the boat will wake up facing Fernandina. This island is the youngest of all the islands in the archipelago. This is probably why its main volcano is also one of the most active in the world. The numerous eruptions and perpetual lava flows have changed and shaped the relief and appearance of this island. We disembark at Punta Espinoza, a rocky coastline lined with mangroves that is home to Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants as well as a large number of complementary species of passerines and waders. A sail along the Bolivar Channel will allow us to observe the possible pelagic birds that come here to fish. If the captain allows us, we will approach the beach of Tortuga Negra, in order to try to see the Mangrove Finch, one of the rarest birds of the archipelago. In the afternoon, we weigh anchor and begin our long sail to the uninhabited and forbidden islands of Darwin and Wolf.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Mangrove Finch, Galápagos Penguin, Lava Heron, Black-necked Stilt, Galápagos Mockingbird, Flightless Cormorant, Galapagos Flycatcher, Small Tree-finch, Small, Medium and Large Ground-finch, Wilson's Phalarope, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Green Warbler-Finch, Galápagos Hawk.

Day 5: Wolf island

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Darwin and Wolf are the northernmost islands of the archipelago. They are part of a different geological era and origin from the rest of the Galapagos. The first great attraction of this island is for divers, the presence of one of the largest biomasses of underwater species and in particular of large sharks, including the whale shark and the scalloped hammerhead shark. But for scientists and birdwatchers, it is the vampire Ground-Finch that is the star of the place. It is the last species of its kind described by science in the Galápagos. Genetically separated from the Sharp-beaked Ground-Finch, it is the 17th species of Darwin's finches to be found on the archipelago. This new taxon has adapted to the seasonal lack of seeds by turning to a hematophagous diet in times of shortage. Yes, this insignificant little bird supplements its diet, as its name suggests, by absorbing blood, by pecking the skin of fools, and then sucking the wound and feeding on its hemoglobin. Thanks to the zodiacs, we will go along the different areas of the wing to try to observe this rare bird.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Galápagos Shearwater, Vampire Ground-Finch, Galápagos Petrel, Galápagos Shearwater, White-vented Storm-Petrel, Galápagos Storm-Petrel, Galapagos Martin, Red-footed Booby.

Day 6: Darwin island

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Even further north is Darwin. A true pelagic sanctuary, this small island is bathed in the warmest waters of the archipelago. Due to its isolation, it is home to the largest colonies of Red-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies in the archipelago. In addition to another population of  Vampire Ground-Finch, the micro endemic subspecies of the Galapagos Dove, darker than that of the central islands, can also be found here. Many pelagic and semi-pelagic birds also have a nesting place here. During migration, many shorebirds choose this island as a temporary stopover. We will explore the steep coastline of the island by sea in our zodiacs. As on Wolf, it is strictly forbidden to land on these islands. In the afternoon we start our long sail south to the central islands. The upper deck will be an excellent position for further sea-watching.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Galápagos Dove, Red-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Galápagos Warbler (ssp.) Galápagos Mockingbird (ssp), Vampire Ground-Finch, Large Ground-Finch (ssp.), Red-billed Tropicbird, White-vented Storm-petrel, Markam’s Storm Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Lava Heron, Magnificent Frigatebird, Pink-footed Shearwater, Brown Noddy, Swallow-tailed Gull, Sooty Tern, Elegant Tern.

Day 7: Santiago island: Puerto Egas – Playa Espumilla

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This morning we will anchor in front of James Bay. The long black sandy beaches, fringed by mangroves, are located a little east of Puerto Egas. Behind the beach are two brackish water lagoons, where several species of birds reside: Flamingos, Stilts, Pintails, Hawks, but also a huge colony of marine iguanas. The great interest of this site is the presence of two endemics species of Sea lions. One colonizes the sandy beaches and the other the rocky volcanic coasts. After lunch, we will anchor in front of Playa Espumillas. This beautiful beach of golden sand, fringed by mangroves, is located in James Bay. Behind the beach, there is a brackish water lagoon which the path overhangs through a scented wood forest. You can walk freely to discover this new site or simply lie down on the sand to enjoy a moment of relaxation and probably come across some green turtles.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

The ascent to the top of the island is subject to authorization from the Galapagos National Park and can only be confirmed a few weeks prior to the start of the cruise.

Key species: Large Ground Finch, Sharp-beaked Ground Finch, Common Cactus Finch, Small Ground Finch, Great Blue Heron, Nazca Booby, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Galápagos Dove, Galapagos Mockingbird, Large Ground-finch, Common cactus-finch, Vegetarian Finch. Darwin´s flycatcher.

Day 8: Genovesa island

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Genovesa Island, in the north-west of the archipelago, is essentially made up of the remains of a huge crater, now largely submerged. Nicknamed "Bird Island", its reputation is well deserved. On the coral sands of Darwin Bay, many species nest on the ground or in the scrub. Along the trails, you can also see many of the island's endemics. A panga ride along the cliffs of the submerged volcano will allow you to observe the amazing gliders that are the seabirds and, in particular, the Red-Billed Tropicbird, that plays in the air currents created by the cliffs. Walking along the cliff path, you can see many species of pelagic and semi-pelagic birds, as well as 4 of the 14 species of Darwin's Finches. In the afternoon, a visit to El Barranco will allow us to learn about the geological and volcanic past of the archipelago, through the prism of the numerous "pa-hoe-hoe" lava fields.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Short-eared Owl, Gray Warbler-Finch, Large Ground-Finch, Genovesa Ground-Finch, Genovesa Cactus-Finch,
Genovesa Mockingbird, Red-Billed Tropicbird, Nazca Booby, Red-footed Booby, Band-rumped Storm Petrel, Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel, Galápagos Shearwater, American Oystercatcher, Lava Gull, Red Phalarope, Warbler Finch, Large Ground Finch, Galapagos Flycatcher, Galápagos Dove, Swallow-tailed Gull.

Day 9: San Cristobal island: Punta Pitt - Isla Lobos

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We will wake up this morning at the northernmost point of San Cristobal Island. Punta Pitt is reached via a yellow sandy bay, where it is common to see many shorebirds. The path that climbs to the top of the cliffs provides good opportunities to see and photograph a large number of finches and other passerines. On the higher ground, several colonies of boobies await us as well as frigate birds and other marine species. We will then walk along the east coast of the island to the islet Lobos. Here we will be able to observe a spectacular panoramic landscape, as well as dense Opuntia forests, where Mockingbirds, Finches and large colonies of Frigatebirds, but also numerous marine iguanas, nest. This will be an excellent time to talk about history and Charles Darwin's first landing in the Galapagos.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Red-billed Tropicbird, Elliot's Storm-Petrel, Galapagos Hawk, Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel, Galapagos Shearwater, Wandering Tattler, Swallow-tailed Gull, Brown Noddy, American Oystecatcher, Waved Albatros, Galapagos Petrel, Blue-footed, Red-footed and Nazca Booby, San Cristobal Mockingbird, Common Cactus-Finch, Medium Ground-Finch, Gray Warbler-Finch, Small Tree-Finch, Galapagos Flycatcher.

Day 10: Española island

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Española is the southernmost island of the archipelago and also one of the oldest. Its geographical isolation has led to the appearance of several endemic species. You will have to keep your eyes wide open to try to observe the Española Mockingbird or the local Giant Land Turtle species. The latter is a true miracle, as the population has grown from 14 survivors in 1960 to more than 2000 individuals. But the star of the site is without doubt the Galapagos Albatross. From April to December, couples raise their young here. The love dance of these winged giants, made up of beak snapping and head bobbing, is particularly rhythmic, but without any arguments! In the afternoon you will go to a snorkeling site for a water walk in the company of schools of Royal Damselfish, Humphead Parrotfish and Galapagos Surgeonfish. An aquatic immersion that varies according to the time of year and the sea currents.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Waved Albatros, Lava Heron, Red-necked Phalarope, White-cheeked Pintail, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Great Blue Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Galápagos Hawk, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Martin, Española Mockingbird, Masked Booby, Semipalmated Plover, Gray Warbler-Finch, Small Ground-Finch, Galapagos Petrel, Española Ground-Finch.

Day 11: Floreana island: Asilo De La Paz - Islote Champion

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This morning we will wake up facing the northeast coast of Floreana Island, the southernmost of the archipelago. Floreana is home to two strictly endemic species, which we will look for in two very different locations. Firstly, from the port of Velasco Ibarra, we will go up to the Asilo de la Paz. This wooded hill is one of the best sites for the Medium Tree-Finch. But it is also the breeding ground for several species of giant tortoises. We will then return to our speedboat, and head for the Champion Islet, home to one of only two populations of the Floreana Mockingbird. During the sea crossing to the north, we will complete the day's observation with a search for pelagic birds and cetaceans.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Paint-billed Crake, Medium Tree-Finch, White-cheeked Pintail, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Yellow Warbler, Small Ground-Finch, Semipalmated Plover, Galapagos Flycatcher, Gray Warbler-Finch, Medium Ground-Finch, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Blue Heron

Day 12: Santa Cruz island: Cerro Crocker - Baltra

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From Puerto Ayora, we will go by private bus to the heights of Santa Cruz in order to look for typical species of different ecosystems, between original vegetation covers, agricultural areas and ecotones. We will focus on a habitat that we have not yet had the chance to visit (the miconia zone), in two particular sites: Media Luna and Cerro Crocker. It is here that we will try to observe our last endemic of the islands: the very rare and discreet Galapagos Rail. Around the secondary forests of Rancho Primicia we will complete our list with several typical highland passerines of this island. Late morning transfer to Baltra airport for our flight to Guayaquil, followed by our international flight.

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English-speaking naturalist guide

Key species: Galápagos Rail, Paint-billed Crake, Galápagos Mockingbird, Galápagos Flycatcher, Galápagos Dove, Short-eared Owl, Green Warbler-Finch, Woodpecker Finch, Small Tree-Finch, Brujo Flycatcher, Vegetarian Finch, Small Ground-Finch, Medium Ground-Finch, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Large Tree-Finch, Large Ground-Finch, Common Cactus-Finch, Galapagos Barn Owl.

Dates of the next departures

Dates
Itinerary
Status
From Jun 01 to Jun 12, 2023
-
Trip confirmed (6 places left)
From Aug 03 to Aug 14, 2023
-
From Mar 07 to Mar 18, 2024
-
From Aug 15 to Aug 26, 2024
-

You want a personalized departure date? Contact us Request a personalized date

Dates Itinerary Status
From Jun 01 to Jun 12, 2023 - Trip confirmed (6 places left)
From Aug 03 to Aug 14, 2023 - -
From Mar 07 to Mar 18, 2024 - -
From Aug 15 to Aug 26, 2024 - -

Prices per person

Itinerary Price lower deck Price upper deck
Itinerary 5,270 US$ 5,270 US$

You are a group of travelers and want a special rate? Contact us Request a personalized quote

Included

  • Private transportation (gas, road taxes, parking, insurance of vehicle and passengers).
  • English-speaking airport accompaniment.
  • All transfers as mentioned.
  • Bilingual English-speaking naturalist guide on board and on land.
  • Accommodation in double cabins with private bathroom on board and in double rooms with private bathroom on land.
  • Meals as mentioned.

Not included

  • International flight. (You can consult our list of tour operators offering flights).
  • Excursions and activities indicated as optional in the program.
  • National flight Continent-Galapagos (560 $US/pers)
  • Entrance fees to the Galapagos National Park (US$ 100/pers)
  • Single cabin supplement on board (100% of the price/pers)
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks for all meals.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Personal insurance.
  • Ingala transit card (US$ 20/pers)
  • Bank commissions for payments.

Payment and reservation terms

To book your tour, please confirm your agreement in writing to the local agent.

  • Deposit of 25% of the invoice amount at the time of booking (date to be determined)
  • The balance must be paid at the latest 60 days before arrival in Ecuador according to the same terms.

The agency declines all responsibility for the execution of the confirmed services in case of non compliance with the above payment terms.

The rates quoted here are based on payment to our US account only.

Important note

This trip incorporates a special cruise itinerary, including unconventional sites for this ship. A special request to change the itinerary has been made to the Galapagos National Park. The itinerary is therefore subject to last minute changes, should the National Park not agree to this request. Changes may also occur as a result of natural events or changes in domestic legislation. The visitor must take into account and accept the possibility of last-minute changes in the organisation of the trip. The operator therefore reserves the right to make any changes necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the travellers and to comply with the laws in force. The hotels are given as an indication subject to availability at the time of booking the tour. In case of unavailability, a hotel of the same category will be proposed.

Formalities

Formalities: Passport valid 6 months after your return date. No visa is required at this time. Your health insurance (private or public) is mandatory to enter Ecuador.

Vaccinations: Although no vaccinations are compulsory, we advise you to consider vaccinations against tetanus, yellow fever and hepatitis A and B as essential.

We recommend that you consult your doctor before departure and that you take out insurance to cover medical expenses and repatriation.

Concerning parasitic diseases transmitted by mosquito bites (such as malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya) please note that Quito, the centre of the country and the Galapagos are not affected. Furthermore, the majority of the country's risk areas are not located in the areas we visit on our tours.

* In US dollars based on 8 participants in a double room/cabin. These rates are valid for the dates selected but may be subject to increase at the time of booking. Our quotations are calculated in US Dollars and we are committed to this amount. The equivalent value in Euros or in any other currency is therefore indicative and calculated on the basis of the exchange rate on the day of the offer.
**Flight prices are indicative and may change depending on the date of confirmation. The purchase of the tickets must be done by the ship owner for the whole group (8pax)

Photo credits: Xavier Amigo, Dusan-Brinkhuizen, Pierre Ferron, Vincent Mouret.

 

Your guide for this trip

Luis Die

Luis Die

en es fr
Born in Spain, he has been living in the Galapagos and Ecuador for 30 years, where he leads trips throughout the country. He studied biology at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid where he also obtained a master's degree in ecology. He started birding at the age of 15 and since then it has been a passion for him wherever he travels. As a certified Galapagos naturalist guide with over 30 years of experience in the islands, he has led groups of travelers from all over the world, in Spanish, French or English, focusing on birding, wildlife, flora and marine life. He is an avid birder, hiker, cyclist and photographer, as well as a lecturer, and has a passion for sharing the natural world with others, not only in the Galapagos but also in the cloud forests and Amazon rainforest. As a guide, he has led groups in different countries in South America, Central America, Antarctica and Africa. Author of a field guide to the terrestrial life of the Galapagos (Vol 1) and the marine life of the Galapagos (Vol 2), published by Spot Fieldguides.

Characteristics of the trip

Travel theme

Galapagos Islands cruise, ornithological, naturalist and photographic

Accompaniment

English speaking naturalist

Accomodation

Standard or superior cruise and hotel accommodation

Physical condition

Low to moderate
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