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Yolita: Central, South & East Islands

Overview

Spend seven nights exploring the magical Galápagos Islands aboard the small 16-passenger Yolita, travelling between the central, southern and eastern islands. Wander along beautiful white-sand beaches in amongst colonies of sea lions and iguanas, encounter 100-year-old tortoises and discover a marine wonderland at Devil's Crown, a snorkeler’s paradise. Learn the history of Post Office Bay, drop off a postcard and maybe collect one to deliver on your return home.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: SEV10YB

Location: Galapagos Islands - Ecuador

Ship: Yolita II

CRUISE ITINERARY

On arrival into Quito you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Quito

Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city, a short distance from the Equator and with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is known for its stunning colonial architecture and art-work. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.

Quito

This morning you will be transferred early to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival in Baltra, you will be met by your naturalist guide and transferred to Puerto Ayora to board the ship.

Please note that the Galapagos National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galapagos, as well as ecological study and conservation.

The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000 kilometres (620 miles) off the Pacific coast of South America. The archipelago is comprised of 13 major islands and scores of islets that served as a living laboratory for Charles Darwin, the renowned evolution theorist. Long before Darwin arrived in the Galapagos, seafarers knew these isolated islands as home to some of the strangest and most wonderful wildlife imaginable, including birds that could swim but no longer fly, aquatic iguanas, dragon-like lizards left over from prehistoric times and the giant Galapagos tortoises for which the islands were named.

In the afternoon, we visit North Seymour Island, an island that teems with wildlife, offering an amazing wildlife experience. Trails pass alongside marine iguanas and sea lions and blue-footed booby nests where mating pairs perform their courtship dance and mating rituals. We head out to a rocky shore where pelicans can be seen dive bombing in a feeding frenzy. Inland there is a large nesting site of magnificent frigatebirds. These incredible birds have wingspans that extend to two metres and the males display puffed-up scarlet throat sacks as they sit perched precariously in low bushes watching over their large chicks.

There will also be the opportunity to snorkel here at North Seymour Island in amongst the sea lions and rays.

We return to the Yolita with its spacious cabins and large upper deck where you can soak up the sun’s rays and enjoy the scenery. The ship sails overnight so you wake up refreshed and ready to explore the next destination.

Sucre International Airport/Seymour Airport

The first landing for the day is at Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal, where we explore the coastline and look for wildlife and seabirds and learn about the island’s natural and human history. The sandy beach is home to Sally-Lightfoot crabs, brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and California sea lions as well as marine iguanas. There will be time to take a refreshing swim and to walk to a freshwater lagoon frequented by flamingos.

In the afternoon we sail to the dramatic León Dormido, or Kicker Rock, which is a magnificent rock with steep vertical walls that rise from the ocean, set in a shape resembling a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 metres above the surface of the water and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel navigable by small vessels.

Kicker Rock is one of the most stunning landmarks in the Galapagos Islands, home to an incredibly diverse range of marine life that inhabits the nutrient-rich water. Sharks and fish are drawn to the rock and provide an exhilarating and unique snorkelling experience.

Later in the day we explore the tiny Islas Lobos, home to a large sea lion colony and abundant marine life. Here you will explore on foot and by boat for some great wildlife encounters, taking a panga ride to view the sea and shore birds nesting and feeding. You may spot a small colony of blue-footed boobies, nesting frigatebirds as well as two species of sea lion. There is also the opportunity to snorkel off the beach at Isla Lobos, in amongst the families of sea lions and their inquisitive pups looking to play.

Cerro Brujo/Kicker Rock

Today we visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suárez on Española Island with guided walks to observe wildlife and free time for swimming or snorkelling.

Gardner Bay is an excellent site for swimming and snorkelling and features a magnificent white sandy beach, home to sea lions and seabirds. The beautiful turquoise waters support incredible sea life. Look out for young sea lions and schools of large tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish and bump-head parrot fish.

There is the option to snorkel at Gardner Bay. Further out towards Tortuga Rock and Gardner Island you may see schools of large colourful tropical fish, manta rays and whitetip reef sharks. You may get the chance to swim with the sea lions - an opportunity not to be missed!

In the afternoon we head to Punta Suarez on the western side of Española Island. Española (also known as Hood) is the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago and is home to several species of wildlife including masked and blue-footed boobies. A hike to the top of the cliff provides spectacular photo opportunities. We follow the trail through a rookery and learn the geological history of the island from our guide, including its dramatic volcanic features, climate, flora, and fauna.

Bahía Gardner/Punta Suárez

This morning sees us landing at the tiny island of Santa Fé for a guided walk through the giant prickly pear forest (Opuntia) in search of land iguanas and other amazing wildlife. The hike takes us towards the cliffs on the northern shore of the island. The island, also known as Barrington, is home to an endemic species of land iguana and rice rat. It is also one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and maybe get a glimpse of a whitetip reef shark.

We make an afternoon landing at South Plaza (Plaza Sur), one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos. This island is home to one of the largest populations of land iguanas as well as a wide range of other fauna and incredible birdlife. We walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation. We may see red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, as well as sea lions playing in the water.

Isla Santa Fe/South Plaza

This morning we visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre at Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos, with the largest population and with Puerto Ayora as its main town. It also boasts the most varied of the islands’ vegetation zones including coastal, transition, scalesia, miconia and pampa.

The Charles Darwin Research Station is located a short walk from the centre of the town. It is a science organization that was initiated in 1964, working to preserve the ecosystem of the Galapagos through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers and volunteers. It also provides a study location for international scientists and training for Naturalist Guides.

We tour the exhibition centre to see photo displays of recent volcanic eruptions, charts outlining geological formations and drawings of the evolutionary development of endemic species. The station is also a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back from the brink of extinction. Here you can see the famous Galapagos tortoise up close. A corral houses adult Galapagos tortoises and there is a nursery in which the young are cared for until around age three when their shells have hardened.

**Please note: The Charles Darwin Research Station has partially closed until December 2016. Groups affected will visit the highlands to see the giant tortoises in the wild.**

This afternoon we head to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island and visit the El Chato Reserve, to see giant land tortoises in the wild in their natural environment. We explore the Reserve’s lagoon and lava tunnels, keeping an eye out for owls that often roost in the entrances to the tunnels.

At the end of the day you have some free time to walk around the small port town of Puerto Ayora. You may like to visit a local fish market or do some souvenir shopping before we return to the ship.

Puerto Ayora

Punta Cormorant is the only landing site on Floreana Island. The landing site is a green sand beach, coloured by olivine crystals, volcanic-derived silicates of magnesium and iron. Around the point, Corona del Diablo, or Devil's Crown derives its name from the broken remains of a partially submerged volcanic cone. The eroded volcanic cone surrounds the coral reef, the ideal home for marine life. This is a perfect spot to go snorkelling from the boat, as the waters are home to large schools of colourful tropical fish, rays, reef sharks and sea turtles that make their home among the coral reef. You need to be a strong swimmer to snorkel here as the currents can be intense.

In the afternoon we visit historic Post Office Bay. In the late 18th century, English whaling vessels placed a barrel here to be used as a post office. Today, the box is used mainly by tourists, who drop off and pick up unstamped letters to be carried to far destinations.

Punta Cormorant/Floreana Island

Today sees us visiting Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) to observe the birdlife and sea lions and for snorkelling, followed by a visit to Cerro Dragon for some great birdwatching opportunities.

We arrive at the small island of Sombrero Chino, so called due to its unique shape, lying off the southern tip of Santiago. Here it is often possible to see Galapagos penguins and the abundant marine life makes snorkelling here a fantastic experience. There is a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen on a guided walk amongst the beautiful volcanic scenery and along the spectacular white-coral sand beach.

Next we visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) on the west coast of Isla Santa Cruz to observe land iguanas and a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and other bird species. We take a short walk from the beach to a hypersalinic lagoon frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. We pass through a Scalesia tree forest. This tree is endemic to the area with only 400 specimens of Scalesia trees left in the world.

Chinese Hat/Cerro Dragon

This morning we explore Black Turtle Cove on the northern end of the island and take an excursion by panga. Here we explore the mangroves to observe the rich and varied marine life between the fresh and salt waters, including manta rays, sea turtles, pelicans and an abundance of other birdlife. Whitetip reef sharks can sometimes be seen gliding by.

This afternoon you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Quito. On arrival there is a transfer to the group hotel with time to enjoy one last night in Ecuador’s capital.

Black Turtle Cove/Quito

Today is free for you to explore Quito at your leisure until your departure time.

Quito

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing & date

Departing Ending Duration
15 Jun 2019 24 Jun 2019 10
29 Jun 2019 08 Jul 2019 10
13 Jul 2019 22 Jul 2019 10
27 Jul 2019 05 Aug 2019 10
10 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019 10
24 Aug 2019 02 Sep 2019 10
07 Sep 2019 16 Sep 2019 10
05 Oct 2019 14 Oct 2019 10
19 Oct 2019 28 Oct 2019 10
02 Nov 2019 11 Nov 2019 10
14 Dec 2019 23 Dec 2019 10
28 Dec 2019 06 Jan 2020 10
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Important Information

  • Arrival transfer
    Certified Galápagos National Park Service Guide
    Hotels (2 nts), aboard the Yolita in twin-share cabins (7 nts).
    All meals aboard the Yolita
    Spot Frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies (North Seymour Island)
    Snorkelling at Kicker Rock, Isla Lobos, Gardner Bay and Corona del Diablo
    Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
    Excursion to see giant tortoises in the wild (Santa Cruz Island)
    Visit to Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)
    Onboard snorkelling equipment and wetsuits
    Internal flights
    All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and 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

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.