6 days

Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands

Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito

Frigatebird spotting

Post Office Bay on Floreana

Waved albatrosses and boobies on Espanola Island

Puerto Ayora

The tortoises of Charles Darwin Research Station

Trip rating
  • As we fly from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, located in the equatorial water of the Pacific Ocean, we suddenly find ourselves in a very different world. As we board our vessel, the M.C Queen Beatriz, and follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, we start to encounter nature at its finest.  Sea lions and iguanas await us at Plaza Sur and Santa Fe, whilst in San Cristobal we meet the grand-daddy of the Galapagos – the giant tortoise.  A hike on Bartolome offers panoramic views across some of the other islands, showcasing the dramatic volcanic landscape. This is indeed the Galapagos journey with something for everyone.

     

    Why we love it

    • As you board your vessel, M.C Queen Beatriz, and follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, you will encounter nature at its finest.
    • Explore the islands from on deck, on foot and in the water, no doubt with your eyes open for your next unique sight.
    • Sea lions and iguanas await you at Plaza Sur and Santa Fe, whilst in San Cristobal you meet the grand-daddy of the Galapagos – the giant tortoise.
    • A hike on Bartolome offers panoramic views across some of the other islands, showcasing the dramatic volcanic landscape. This is indeed the Galapagos journey with something for everyone.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - (Sat) Arrive in Quito and transfer to hotel.

    • On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be 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. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place.
    • If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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).
    • Note: Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.

    Day 2 - Morning flight to San Cristobál, transfer to the M.C Queen Beatriz. Visit the San Cristobál and Galapaguera.

    • This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Please note the pick-up time will usually be as early as 4am as the airport is a one hour drive and you must allow for delays and check-in times. (Your tour leader will confirm this time with you at the pre-departure meeting on Day 1.
    • On arrival at San Cristobál Airport in the Galapagos you must pay the US$110 arrival tax for entry to Galapagos National Park (which includes the US$10 transit fee). This is best done using cash, as using credit cards can be a time consuming process.
    • You will be met in the arrival hall of the airport by a National Park Guide, and transferred to the catamaran ‘M.C Queen Beatriz’. Lunch will be served on the boat.
    • This afternoon you will travel into the interior of the island to visit the highlands site of ‘Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado’ (Red Hill) where the national park has established a breeding program and information centre for tortoises. Here, you will be able to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat and learn all about their origin, evolution and their threatened future.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Visit Bartolomé Island and Sullivan Bay.

    • Bartolomé is a relatively new island in the archipelago and traces of its volcanic past can be seen everywhere, as evidenced by the amazing lunar-like landscape.
    • The Pinnacle Rock is one of the most photographed sites in the Galapagos – an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, while nearby two golden bays back onto each other.
    • You can hike to the top of a once-active volcano here, and enjoy superb views across to Sullivan Bay, on nearby Santiago Island.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Santiago Island, including Espumilla beach, Bucanero Cove and Puerto Egas.

    • Today you will visit some wonderful places. 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. Espumilla beach is also well known for its Palo Santo Forest and some extraordinary lava formations.
    • This morning you will also visit Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove), a natural monument of rocks caused by sea erosion. This cove was used by pirates to careen their ships. It is a place of local legends and stories! Port Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island.
    • South of the beach is Sugarloaf Volcano, which has deposits of volcanic tuff. This site is named Puerto Egas, after Hector Egas who last attempted to mine salt here. The walk along the beach will expose hundreds of marine iguanas, California sea lions and Galapagos fur sea lions.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Charles Darwin Station / Flight to Quito.

    • Today you will visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You will also see baby tortoises and land iguanas.
    • This is your final excursion before you return to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. As you will be leaving the boat this morning, please remember that if you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip would be very much appreciated by them. As a guideline we recommend each passenger consider US$15 per day for the crew and US$10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.
    • Upon arrival in Quito Airport you will be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - End Quito (Thu).

    • Your voyage will come to an end today after breakfast.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of eight onboard the Galapagos vessel.
    • Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.
    • Accommodation onboard the Queen Beatriz.
    • All Zodiac and shore excursions during the voyage.
    • Hike to the top of a once-active volcano on Bartolome Island.
    • All meals aboard the M.C Beatriz.
    • Use of snorkelling equipment, including a wetsuit, during the voyage.
    • Arrival transfer.

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
    • Galapagos transit card and the entrance fee to Galapagos Islands National Park
    • Drinks purchased on board
    • Daily budget
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands

    Helen - Australia, 20 Aug, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    I was blown away - the Galapagos Islands are so much more than I ever expected. Wish I had more time here!

    Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands

    Sandra - Australia, 1 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    I could have stayed longer before the second trip but didn,t realise. The food was fantastic, The activities were interesting and informative.Saw lots of fish, wildlife and birds

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSGEB
Start City: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
End City: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

What to know

The National Park and Transit Card fee of US$110 is not included in the trip cost and must be paid in cash upon arrival at Baltra airport.

Please note if you're visiting Isabela Isalnd there's a US$20 fee that must be paid upon arrival.

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