Composed of 14 islands and hundreds of islets and rocks, the archipelago was born from a volcanic hot spot. Beyond this geological aspect, the Galapagos are also located on a point of convergence of many ocean currents. Thanks to this, the islands are subject to a succession of climates and seasons. In turn, the icy waters of the Humboldt Current emerge from the south to bathe the archipelago with nutrients, urging the species to initiate the breeding season. Then the warm northern currents come to bathe the islands, giving a break to the vast majority of species. Of the seven thousand terrestrial aquatic and marine species present, 30% are endemic. With no natural predators, they have lost the instinct to flee, giving the visitor excellent viewing opportunities. On this 11 day cruise we will visit the majority of the richest and most diverse central islands in an attempt to see all of the archipelago's bird species, whilst not missing any of the terrestrial and marine wildlife. Take your binoculars.

Galápagos
12 days
From 5820 US$
Cruise Cruise
Birding tours Birding 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 on 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

Day 2: San Cristóbal Island: Cerro Tijereta

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Morning transfer from your hotel to Quito National Airport, accompanied by one of our assistants, for your flight to the Galápagos Archipelago. Upon arrival at Puerto Baquerizo, the main port of San Cristóbal, a health and environmental inspection is carried out to protect these fragile ecosystems from 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 to get to your cabins and familiarise yourself with the different areas of the ship. In the afternoon, we will explore Cerro Tijeretas, where we will be able to observe a spectacular panoramic landscape, as well as our first Opuntia forests, or mockingbirds, geospizas and large frigatebird colonies. This will also be the time to talk about Charles Darwin's first landing in the Galápagos.

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Overnight on board the Yacht
20 minutes
2h30, stopover in Guayaquil

private transfer to the airport with English-speaking staff, English-speaking bird guide

Day 3: 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 tortoise 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 Waved albatross. From April to December, couples raise their young here. The parade of these winged giants, made up of beak snapping and head bobbing, is particularly rhythmic! In the afternoon you will go to a snorkeling site for in the company of schools of Royal Damselfish, Bumphead 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 bird guide

Day 4: Floreana Island: Asilo De Paz - Champion Islet

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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 climb up to the Asilo de 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 bird guide

Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Cerro Crocker

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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 there that we will try to observe our last endemic of the islands: the very rare and discreet Galápagos Crake. Around the secondary forests of Rancho Primicia we will complete our list with several typical highland passerines of this island.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking bird guide

Day 6: Santiago Island: Puerto Egas – Espumilla Beach

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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, Black-necked stilt, White-cheeked pintail, Galapagos hawk, but also a huge colony of marine iguanas. The great interest of this site is especially the presence of two 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 bird guide

Day 7: 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 Great 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 see the amazing gliding seabirds and, in particular, the Red-billed Tropicbird, which plays in the updrafts 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 bird guide

Day 8: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca - Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza

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This morning the boat will be dreaming in front of one of the iconic sites of Isabela Island. Cape Vicente Roca is a Tuff cone that is home to large colonies of Galápagos penguins. Underwater, the rich and colourful underwater walls attract large numbers of feeding sea turtles. 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 will head for Fernandina. This island is the youngest of all the islands of 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 will disembark at Punta Espinoza, a rocky coastline lined with mangroves which is home to Galápagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking bird guide

Day 9: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove - Urbina Bay

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From Isabela Island, we will land at Tagus Cove, a well-sheltered former privateer's anchorage. The trail leads to Darwin Lagoon, a collapsed volcanic chamber filled with fresh water. The surrounding vegetation is home to several species of Darwin's finches. A zodiac ride will take you close to the cliffs where the rare Galápagos martin nests and several colonies of marine iguanas and sea lions. A little further south on Isabela Island, Urbina Bay is located at the foot of the Alcedo volcano, from where we can observe large colonies of marine iguanas. This arid coastal area, where large stretches of coral are found, is one of the best sites for observing the curious and endemic flightless cormorant. Back on board in the middle of the afternoon, for another snorkelling session.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking bird guide

Day 10: Isabela Island: Sierra Negra - Wetland

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After a short night of sailing, you will wake up on the southern shores of Isabela Island, where we will dock. We will climb by bus and on foot to the Sierra Negra volcano. This huge volcanic field is one of the largest active calderas in the world. The view from the top is impressive and on a clear day you can see the surrounding volcanoes. Afterwards, you will return to Puerto Villamil to visit the tortoise breeding centre, where you will receive further explanations about the scientific work being carried out on this emblematic species. We will then visit the brackish water lagoons to observe new species of waders and anatidae. All these sites will be an opportunity to discover, observe and photograph a large number of land and water bird species. Return to the ship in the afternoon.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking bird guide

Day 11: Pinzon Island: Dragon Hill

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Pinzón Island is the ideal place for snorkelers. It will be a great break from the pace of the trip. Penguin Bay on Pinzon Island is a protected cove with calm, clear, shallow waters on the eastern side of the island. Its location in the centre of the main island chain makes it rich in marine life. Congregations of green sea turtles, large tropical and subtropical reef fish, reef sharks and rays are common. Occasionally, large groups of common bottlenose dolphins swim in the area. A dinghy ride will give us an idea of the importance of this island in terms of studying the evolution of the Darwin's finches of the archipelago. In the afternoon, we will disembark at Dragon Hill, on the northwestern coast of Santa Cruz Island. After a wet landing, you will head to a hyper-saline lagoon for the observation of several waders and anatidae such as the Black-necked stilt, the White-cheeked pintail and several groups of American flamingo. On the upper part of the hill, a large colony of Land Iguanas nests, reintroduced here during a project carried out by the Galápagos National Park.

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Overnight on board the Yacht

English-speaking bird guide

Day 12: Santa Cruz – Seymour – Baltra - Guayaquil

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After approaching the northern coast of Santa Cruz, we will head for Seymour Island. Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Noddis, Galápagos Shearwaters and Magnificent Frigatebirds will accompany you during your last hours at sea. Seymour Island is home to a large colony of Sea Lions, both species of Frigatebirds and the wonderful Swallow-tailed Gull, the only nocturnal gull in the world. The short trail will also allow you to discover a vegetation consisting of Palo Santo and Opuntia cactus. Back on board mid-morning to collect our belongings and head to the airport for our flight to the mainland. From the international terminal of Guayaquil airport you will take your international flight back home.

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English-speaking bird guide, private transfer with English-speaking guide to the airport

Dates of the next departures

Dates
Itinerary
Status
From Mar 30 to Apr 10, 2023
Itinerary
Trip confirmed (10 places left)

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

Dates Itinerary Status
From Mar 30 to Apr 10, 2023 Itinerary Trip confirmed (10 places left)

Prices per person

Itinerary Price lower deck Price upper deck
Itinerary 5,820 US$ 5,820 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).
  • All transfers as mentioned.
  • Bilingual English-speaking naturalist guide
  • English-speaking escort at the airport
  • Accommodation in cabins and double rooms 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).
  • Domestic flights Quito-Galápagos or Guayaquil-Galápagos (US$560)**
  • Excursions and activities indicated as optional in the programme.
  • Some meals (expect to pay between US$8 and US$15/meal)
  • Single room supplement on land (US$95/person).
  • The supplement for the French-speaking bird guide on board (US$ 95/pers)
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks for all meals.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Personal insurance.
  • Bank commissions for payments.
  • Entrance fees to the Galapagos National Park (US$ 100/pers)
  • Ingala transit card (US$20/pers)
  • Anchorage fee in Isabela (US$5/pers)

Payment and reservation terms

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

  • A deposit of 25% of the invoice amount at the time of booking (date to be determined)
  • The balance must be paid at the latest 45 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.

Cancelation terms

All cancellations must be made by email to the local agency. Cancellation costs are to be paid by the client. If the client has a cancellation insurance policy, he/she will have to pay these costs and take the necessary steps to declare the cancellation according to the terms of the contract to the insurer, who will take care of the eventual reimbursement.

The cancellation conditions for the cruise are as follows:

  • 121 days or more before the date of the cruise: the deposit will be retained.
  • 120 days to 61 days before the cruise date: 50% cancellation fee
  • 60 days or less before the cruise departure date: 100% cancellation fee.

Important note

This trip incorporates a special cruise itinerary, including unconventional sightseeing for this ship. A special request to change the itinerary has been made to the Galápagos 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 19 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 and depending on the tourist season and local holidays. Our quotations are calculated in US Dollars and we are committed to this amount. The equivalent value in any other currency is therefore indicative and calculated on the basis of the exchange rate on the day of the offer. The value of the extensions are calculated on the basis of 19 participants.
** Flight prices are indicative and may be subject to change depending on the date of confirmation. Tickets must be purchased by the ship owner for the whole group (19 participants).

 

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

Your guides 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.
Xavier Amigo

Xavier Amigo

es fr ca br
A great enthusiast of the neo-tropical environment, he has now resided for more than 25 years in Ecuador, where he founded Nature Experience. A self-taught ornithologist and naturalist, he holds a diploma in Conservation Strategy and Techniques in the neo-tropical zone, an active member of several conservation foundations and a founding member of the National Bird Watch Network ( RedAvesEcuador). He will help you in the elaboration of your natural, ornithological and professional requests. He will also share with you his experience of more than fifteen years as a guide in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil but also in Peru and the Galapagos.

Seaman Journey

The Catamaran Seaman Journey is a first class cruise ship that has been sailing between the Galapagos Islands since January 2008. It offers both comfort and stability at sea to ensure a smooth journey.

During the cruise, you can enjoy the spacious cabins or the pleasant social areas from which to admire the sunsets for example.

The Seaman Journey has a maximum capacity of 16 passengers allowing for both privacy and conviviality.

Category

First class

Construction

2008

Length

27 m - 88 ft

Beam

11 m - 36 ft

Speed

10 Knots

Capacity

16 Passengers

Crew

9 + Guides

Cabins

8 cabins (5 double, 4 double and one single)

Electricity

110V / 220V

Facilities

Solarium, bar, lounge and dining room

Characteristics of the trip

Travel theme

Galapagos Islands cruise, ornithological, naturalist and photographic

Accompaniment

English speaking naturalist

Group

16 adults

Arrival city

Quito or Guayaquil

Departure city

Quito or Guayaquil

Accomodation

Standard or superior cruise and hotel accommodation

Physical condition

Low to moderate
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