For some of the best snorkelling in the Galapagos, head to The Devil’s Crown, just north of Cormorant Point. The Crown consists of an almost completely submerged volcano, and is home to brightly-coloured fish, sea turtles, rays, penguins, marina iguanas, eels, reef sharks and much more.
- Quito, Ecuador
- Quito, Ecuador
- Physical rating
- Min 15
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 16
- Carbon offset
- 0kg pp per trip
Why we love this trip
On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you are met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. There is a pre-departure meeting in the evening at 6pm when you meet others travelling on your cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to our local representative who will be conducting the meeting.
Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, so we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this charming colonial centre offers a wealth of things to see and you could lose yourself for hours meandering through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and exploring the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco. The city is filled with Baroque art and architecture, as exemplified by magnificent churches, monasteries and public buildings. If your feel like exploring further afield, you might like to head for one of the many viewpoints over the city. El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers sensational views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes. The 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city. Incredible vistas can also be enjoyed from La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain.
On arrival in the Galapagos we are met in the arrivals hall and then transferred to our boat, the Nemo, anchored a short distance away. Once on board we'll be assigned our cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch.
The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic hub of the archipelago and is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museum are essential stops for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history, and keen to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. It also offers our best chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and we can see many newborn and young giant turtles - part of the breeding program to reintroduce them to their natural habitat. Observe the giant opuntia and jasminocereus cactus trees. Leisure time to explore Puerto Ayora, check email or have a drink at a local bar and see the local’s way of life.
Tagus Cove was a place of anchorage for pirates and whalers who collected turtles for their trip. Approximately a two hour visit where we can snorkel, check out ancient graffiti on its walls, observe flightless cormorants, penguins, blue footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl. The walk leads to a high point where we take in a spectacular panorama of the island, Volcano Wolf and the North of Isabela Island.
Urbina Bay is very interesting place to visit where, because of an eruption of Volcano Alcedo in 1954, it was uplifted 10 meters from the sea floor. We are able to catch a glimpse of some huge boulder-like formations on land. We negotiate a tricky wet landing on the black sand beach and along the shore there are sometimes Flightless Cormorants and Marine Iguanas. On the walk on the path you can find shells, coral, Darwin´s Finches and the beautiful colour of the Galapagos cotton. The main attractions are Land Iguanas and Galapagos Giant Tortoises!
Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, is one of the most idyllic locations in the Galapagos Islands and is an important nesting site for marine turtles. With its large waves is often a favourite amongst beach lovers. Potentially we will see Galapagos hawks up close, ghost crabs, blue footed boobies plunging for fish and brown pelicans. It is also well known for its Palo Santo Forest and some extraordinary lava formations.
We then go to view the spectacular geology of volcanic ash (Tuff) of Buccaneer’s cove. Here we can find remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past, hence the name Buccaneer Cove. A place of local legends and stories it is where Darwin camped for a 9 days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are good, we can snorkel again.
We visit Daphne island which has a peculiar and impressive landscape because it was shaped by volcanic activity. It is a great place to do some bird spotting and here we can find a variety of seabirds such as blue-footed and masked boobies, terns, petrels and even the beautiful frigate birds with their vibrant red pouches. No need to get wet for this activity as we circle the island.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We say farewell to The Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay.
There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito so please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest.
Meals6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
TransportBus, Motorised catamaran, Plane, Zodiac
AccommodationHotel (2 nights), Motorised Catamaran (4 nights)
- Punta Moreno
- Urvina Bay
- Punta Espinoza
- Tagus Cove
- Espumilla Beach and Buccaneer’s Cove
- Puerto Egas
- Isla Daphne
Dates & availability
Jump to a departure month
Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.
DRY DOCK - ALTERNATE BOAT:
Please note that the Nemo III will be going into dry dock 27th September until 08th November (inclusive) for compulsory maintenance. During this time, we will be using the Nemo II, which is the smaller sister (by about 1 metre) of the Nemo III. Like the Nemo III, the Nemo II is a twin-hulled sailing catamaran with a maximum capacity for 12 passengers, rather than 16 so the group size will also be smaller. The itinerary will remain as per the advertised itinerary for the Nemo III.
Departure dates affected:
06th – 12th October 2015