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Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands | Grand Daphne

10 Days
From USD 6,265

Trip Code: ECTSUGC

DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)

SHIP: Grand Daphne

DestinationDestination

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

DestinationDeparture Date

Selected Tuesdays

TransportAccommodation

Standard



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OVERVIEW

Cruise around the Central Islands of the Galapagos aboard the M/Y Daphne to witness the myriad of colourful and fascinating wildlife that thrives on these remote islands and in the surrounding waters. Discover the stunning landscapes of these volcanic islands as you sail between Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Bartolome, Santiago, Isabela and Fernandina. Snorkel with sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions and Galapagos penguins. Follow frigatebirds, boobies, pelicans, Galapagos hawks and albatrosses as they soar overhead. Walk through mangrove forests, across lava fields and beaches and past flamingo lagoons. Panoramic vistas and extraordinary wildlife keep you mesmerised for the entire voyage.

ITINERARY

Quito

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. This country might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but this audacious land stakes a legitimate claim as the continent's most complete package, blessed with perfect beaches and the remarkable Galapagos Islands. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm or 6 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception or notice boards for where and when it will take place. 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. 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 your leader. If you arrive early, get out and explore Quito (2,850 m), one of South America’s most attractive cities. Stroll around the Old Town, and be sure to visit the majestic Monastery of San Francisco if you have time. Alternatively, check out Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, the local hot springs or the Equatorial Monument.

Isla Santa Cruz

Transfer to Quito Airport for your early morning flight to the Galapagos Islands. You’ll leave the hotel as early as 4:30 am. A boxed breakfast will be provided. A transit card (USD20 per person) is payable on departure at Quito Airport, and a national park entry fee (USD100 per person) is payable on arrival on the islands. Please have cash on hand for these transactions, as credit cards can be time consuming. On arrival in the Galapagos, you’ll be met in the arrivals hall and transferred to your boat, Daphne. Once on board, you’ll be assigned a cabin, meet the crew and get to know your naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch. Sail from Baltra to Las Bachas (approximately 30 minutes; 4 nautical miles). The lush sands of Las Bachas, on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. Marine iguanas are also commonly spotted. The sand here, made of decomposed coral, is particularly white and soft. The rocks make for excellent snorkelling and are populated by Sally Lightfoot crabs which are plentiful on the island. A saltwater lagoon just near the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel – you might also see a great blue heron. Remnants of a floating pier, a testimony to the US presence in the Galapagos during World War II, can also be seen.

Isla Rabida - Isla Isabela

Today you will sail from Las Bachas to Isla Rabida, known for its spectacular red sand beaches, caused by the high content of iron in the sand which rusts to form the unusual shade. Follow a trail from the shore along to a lagoon which is one of the best spots in the Galapagos to view flamingos. Keep an eye out for nesting pelicans, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions – all are commonly sighted on the island. Check out a vast opuntia cactus forest, hinting at the previous habitation of land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves, finches and lava lizards. You may like to take the chance to go snorkelling and seek out sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish.

In the afternoon, head to Albemarle on the northeast side of Isabela Island. Covered in mangroves, the bay is home to sea turtles, sea lions, penguins and flightless cormorants who feed on the algae and fish here. Take a walk inland and discover the remains of an old radar base from World War II and pass by pahoehoe and lava formations. Another fantastic location for snorkelling, you may like to have a look beneath the water’s surface in search of sea turtles and flightless cormorants.

Isla Isabela

Sail overnight from Isla Santiago around to the western shores of Isla Isabela. Wake up near Tagus Cove, where pirates and whalers used to collect tortoises for their travels. Enjoy a short visit here (approximately 2 hours), perhaps snorkelling or checking out the graffiti on the walls (the oldest of which is from 1836). Witness flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, a variety of waterfowl and the most northerly penguins in the world. You will walk to a lookout point for a stunning view of the north of Isabela Island and Volcan Wolf (Wolf Volcano).

Today you will also visit Bahia Urbina on the west of Isabela Island, Urbina Bay has a wide variety of plant life which changes depending on the season. You will be able to observe the beautiful color of the plants which attracts many different insects. The site also features a short trek inland, where giant tortoises can be spotted amongst the bushes in their natural habitat. You may also see land iguanas which often nest in the middle of the trail where their distinctive, textured and yellowish skin can be observed from up close. Flycatchers, Darwin’s finches and mockingbirds are common on the ground and in the trees.

Isla Fernandina - Isla Isabela

Today we visit Punta Espinosa that is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. Take a walk around the beautiful peninsula, which boasts such wildlife and plant life as lava cacti, marine iguanas, barking sea lions, tiny penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a lookout for that marvelous Galapagos predator hunting from the treetops: the Galapagos hawk. Top-notch snorkeling opportunities await in the clear waters, and turtles and sea lions can be seen swimming around and feeding on the shore. This is also a great spot to see flightless cormorants drying their atrophied wings on the rocks.

In the afternoon head to Punta Vicente Roca, this site allowed for panga rides to observe the abundant wildlife and offers one of the best snorkeling spots of the Archipelago. The snorkeling “route” takes us along the cliffs and offers the not so common chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves.

The primitive and unaggressive bullhead shark, known locally as the Port Jackson shark, is often seen here sharing its space with red-lipped batfish, frogfishes, Pacific seahorses, the endemic Camotillo, schools of barracuda and brown-stripped snappers. Sponges, corals, and other marine invertebrates are also abundant in the area.

Isla Santiago

Sail this morning to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach on the west side of James Bay, northwest of Isla Santiago, home to incredible volcanic tuff formations. Take a stroll along the beach with the native marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals. You can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. You might also end up snorkelling with a Galapagos fur seal – they’re always looking for a friend! In the afternoon travel to the northwest side of Santiago Island where you’ll find Caleta Bucanero, named after the pirates and buccaneers who once found shelter in the bay. Here you’ll have the chance to go snorkelling and take a dinghy ride to look for blue-footed boobies, pelicans and nocturnal seagulls nesting in the cliffs.

Isla Bartolome - Isla Sombrero Chino

Wake up in Bartolome Island, a spectacular volcanic landscape full of spatter cones and lava flows, and home to Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. Put on your walking shoes and climb up 360 wooden steps to the summit, where an amazing view of Pinnacle Rock awaits. This is one of the most photographed sights in the Galapagos – an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, providing a focal point for two nearby bays. Hike to the top of a once-active volcano and enjoy superb views across to Bahia Sullivan on nearby Isla Santiago. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Galapagos hawk. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling among the colourful marine life. In the afternoon, travel to the small island of Sombrero Chino, found on the southeast side of Santiago Island. With lovely sandy beaches and a striking volcanic landscape, this is a fantastic place to take a hike and look out for the sea lions and penguins that rest here, and snorkel in search of reef sharks and sea turtles.

Isla North Seymour - Isla Santa Cruz

Wake up this morning in North Seymour, one of the most visited islands of the Galapagos. First up is a walk around the island to spot some blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship, sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour. Blue-footed boobies nest on the ground while the frigate birds nest just above them in the saltbushes. As you walk, look out for land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions and the endemic incense tree. After the walk, cool off and go snorkelling and encounter a great variety of fish and perhaps some white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions. Later in the day, travel to Isla Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. Pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in the small town of Puerto Ayora. 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 may also see baby tortoises and land iguanas.

Baltra - Quito

Flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, so it’s an early start for your last morning on the islands. You will visit the Santa Cruz Highlands. Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where you can see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world-famous woodpecker and warbler finches. You might also glimpse a vermillion flycatcher. Then it’s time to bid farewell to the archipelago and head to the airport for your mid-morning flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. This flight takes approximately 2.5 hours with a transit in Guayaquil. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, at about 4pm, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay. A local Intrepid representative might stop by the hotel this evening to get your feedback on the trip.

Quito

There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito, such as the Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, hot springs, the Equatorial Monument or perhaps city tour of the fascinating Old Town. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.

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Grand Daphne

Grand Daphne

Recently released in 2020 the Grand Daphne is one of the latest vessels to cruise the Galapagos Islands. This spacious and elegant vessel holds just 16 passengers, making for an intimate and cozy Galapagos exploration. With a number of facilities including a sun deck, indoor and outdoor bar area, there are plenty of social spaces to soak in the sights, sun and unforgettable senses the Galapagos have to offer. 

Ice Class: Length:
Breadth: Max
Draft: Cruising
Speed:
Electricity: Passenger
Capacity:
16

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Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

Standard

Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.

Superior

Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.

Deluxe

Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.

Pricing per person & date

Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands | Grand Daphne from USD 6,265
Selected Tuesdays

Important Info

  • Meals
    9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

    Transport
    Boat, Plane, Bus, Zodiac (Panga)

    Accommodation
    Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (7 nights)

    Included activities
    Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
    Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
    Isla Bartolome - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Bartolome - Snorkelling (1.5 hours)
    Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Walk (1.45 hours) - Wet Landing
    Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Snorkelling (1 hour)
    Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
    Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Snorkelling (45 mins)
    Isla Sanitago - Buccaneer's Cove - Sail (15 mins)
    Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove - Walk (1.45 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove - Snorkel (1 hour)
    Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinosa - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinosa - Snorkel (1 hour)
    Isla Isabela - Elizabeth Bay - Panga Ride (2 hours)
    Isla Isabela - Punta Moreno - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Isabela - Punta Moreno - Snorkel
    Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Isabela - Sierra Negra Volcano Crater Walk (3.5 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Isabela - Los Humedales (Wetlands) - Dry Landing
    Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
    Isla Santa Cruz - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
    Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability