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Natural Paradise - 8 Day Cruise A

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Overview

This 8-day cruise aboard the luxurious Natural Paradise takes you to discover the beauty and incredible wildlife of the Galapagos Islands that have intrigued explorers since Charles Darwin first set foot on the archipelago. Snorkel with marine turtles and sea lions, set eyes on the famous Pinnacle Rock, encounter giant Galapagos tortoises in the highlands, wander along coral beaches and through forests of cacti, and explore rugged volcanic landscapes with their lava fields and lava tubes. A unique array of wildlife awaits, from lava lizards to yellow and red land iguanas, from sea lions to Sally Lightfoot crabs, not to mention the myriad of birds including magnificent frigatebirds, Galapagos penguins, boobies and flycatchers.

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Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ECTSNP8A

Travel Style: Small Ship Cruising.

Location: Ecuador

Ship: Natural Paradise

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your cruise, contact us today to discuss. 

WHY CHOOSE THIS CRUISE?

  • You will undertake this voyage on board the Natural Paradise, a luxury yacht designed to make your sailing experience through the Galapagos as comfortable as possible. 

  • Encounter the unique wildlife of the Galapagos, from turtles, rays, flamingos, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins and tortoise.

  • This itinerary is easily combined with a land based tour of South America, easily expanding your journey to include incredible cultural encounters and indescribably beautiful landscapes.

CRUISE ITINERARY

Morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.

You will arrive at San Cristobal Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by a Natural Paradise staff member and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing.

In the afternoon, you will visit Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and snorkeling allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life.

San Cristobal Island

In North Seymour you may see Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigate birds which are abundant on this island. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.

In the afternoon, you will visit South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is the Sesuvium. During
the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.

North Seymour & South Plaza Islands

In the afternoon you will visit Rabida Island which is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago, as well as a great snorkeling site. We will start on Rabida’s famous red/ maroon sand beach, and after an easy hike, you will arrive to a stunning view point to enjoy the amazing landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.

In the afternoon, you will head to Bartholomew Island where the famous Pinnacle Rock is found. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even Green volcanic formations. We will take a trail of stairs to the summit of the volcano (about 30 or 40 minutes) where you will enjoy one of the best views of the islands! You will also visit a small, beautiful beach surrounded by the only vegetation found on this barren island. The beach is perfect for snorkeling where you may even see and swim with Galapagos penguins.

Rabida & Bartholomew Islands

In the morning, you will visit Sullivan Bay located on the southeast part of Santiago. This place is interesting for its geology because the area is covered by lava flows. This place has elevations in the form of small volcanoes formed by the lava flows.

In the afternoon you will visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz. The visitors’ site at Dragon Hill is located on the northwestern part of Santa Cruz Island and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments although it is only slightly less than a mile long (1,600 meters). The beach is very rocky. At high tide it’s a nice place for snorkeling. At this Dragon Hill you can find vegetation typical of the intertidal and dry zones.

Santiago & Santa Cruz Islands

In the morning, you will head to the highlands. Accessible by bus from Puerto Ayora, the highlands of Santa Cruz are a deep green which contrast beautifully with the dry, lower part of the islands. The predominant vegetation in the highlands are Scalesia trees which create a lush green forest. The lava tunnels, over half a mile long, are underground and walking through them is a unique, surreal experience.

Then, you will visit the Twin Craters located opposite to each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. The view is breathtaking.

In the afternoon, you will visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, where giant tortoises are bred in captivity; this is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long when adults. Subspecies of the giant tortoises interact with one another, and many of the older tortoises are accustomed to humans stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity.

The babies are kept until they are about four years-old and are strong enough to survive on their own.

Santa Cruz Island

In the morning, you will visit El Barranco which is also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps. It is a steep, rocky path that leads up a high cliff rock face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to Palo Santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared owls, Galápagos storm petrels, and Galapagos doves.

In the afternoon, you will visit the white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay which includes a half
mile trail (0,75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls, which can easily be spotted here. Further down the path we’ll find tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view of a Cliff.

Genovesa Island

The morning visit is to Espumilla Beach where marine iguanas lounge and the Sally Lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey right before your eyes. Snorkeling is highly recommended as you could come face to face with an octopus, moray eel, shark and a variety of other species of tropical fish.

In the afternoon, you will go to Egas Port, also known as James Bay, on Santiago Island which is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to the coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos furseals bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.

Santiago Island

Morning’s visit is to Bachas Beach, which is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz which is a beach for swimming. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest on the beach.

After this final visit, you will be transferred to the Baltra airport in time for your flight back to the
mainland.

Santa Cruz Island
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Amend your itinerary to include the incredible wonders of Peru. This amazing 9-day itinerary will allow you to see the best of Peru. Visit incredible cities such as Lima and Cusco which are buzzing and vibrant with a unique blend of urban modernisation and rural lifestyles. You will also be able to visit and experience the incredible mystery of the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu and explore the legendary Sacred Valley. Find out more.

  • Upgrade your Ecuador experience by the wonders of the Amazon. Stay in a luxurious eco lodge tightly nestled in the Ecuadorian corner of the Amazon rainforest. Explore by canoe or on foot, search for colourful wildlife including toucans, parrots, monkeys or elusive giant otters. Experience the most diverse set of species on the planet. Find out more.

  • Discover the unrivalled jewel of colonial architecture that is Quito. A 4 day discover Quito tour will take you through a pulsating, lively Latin city. Visit the cities historic centre a UNESCO world heritage site, marvel at the cities artistic and colonial origins in various museums or embrace the colours of the Otavalo market, perhaps the most important indigenous market in all South America. Find out more.

Pricing & date

Natural Paradise - 8 Day Cruise A from USD 0
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Important Information

  • All meals and excursions
    Transfers in the islands
    Bilingual National Park Guide
    Use of snorkellin equipment/wetsuit
    Use of underwater camera
    Free Airport Assistance*
    Hotel night in Quito or Guayaquil (the day before the cruise)*
    2 Free transfers to Galapagos Flights* 

    *Applies when purchasing airfare from Royal Galapagos

    Exclusions

    Roundtrip airfare to/from Galapagos
    Alcoholic drinks
    Galapagos National Park Fee (USD$1oo per person subject to change) 
    Galapagos Transit Control Card (USD$20 per person subject to change) 
    Travel/Medical insurance
    Gratuities 
    Personal Expenses

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details.

  • Park entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.

  • Departure date, season & availability.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

Royal Galapagos supports a number of sustainability initiatives within the Galapagos. Royal and its associated vessels like the Natural paradise support the Galapagos Conservation Trust, which of sustainability and conservation within the Galapagos. While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore whilst remaining culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE