Skip to main content

Monserrat - West & Central Islands

Overview

Cruise aboard the comfortable Monserrat, sailing around the western and central archipelago to discover the wonders of the Galapagos. As you sail from one island paradise to another, you will encounter the remarkable wildlife for which this region is famous. Encounter sea lions, turtles, land and sea iguanas as well as the giant Galapagos tortoises, Sally Lightfoot crabs and a multitude of bird species. Explore volcanic lava flows on the island of Bartolomé, relax on the stunning white-sand beaches of Santiago, climb to the rim of a volcano and snorkel amongst the tropical fish and other marine life. Every day is an adventure.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: SEV10NC

Location: Galapagos

Ship: Monserrat

CRUISE ITINERARY

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Arrival transfer in Quito

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

Free day in 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 across Santa Cruz to Puerto Ayora where you will 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.

This afternoon we head to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island and visit 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.

We return to our ship, the Monserrat, a spacious 20 person vessel, sailing overnight to ensure that you arrive refreshed and ready to explore the next destination. Enjoy the amenities while cruising - spend time on the top deck lounge and bar, indulge in a meal with new friends or relax in the indoor air-conditioned areas. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

Baltra & Santa Cruz Island

The day begins with a visit to Sullivan Bay on Isla Santiago to witness the striking giant lava formations that contrast with the white coral sand beach. Plant life is sparse on the island due to its harsh environment and relatively new lava flow. We enjoy a walk along the lava formations before reaching a white coral sand beach, where abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions gather on the shore.

There is time to enjoy a refreshing dip in the water, snorkelling in amongst the varied fish species and other marine life found in the shallow waters. You may also see turtles and rays.

We continue on to Bartolomé and have a guided tour of the dramatic volcanic features of the island, before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint. At the summit of the island you will gain an understanding of its volcanic origins and enjoy a spectacular view.

The island is famous for Pinnacle Rock, one of the most iconic rock formations in the Galapagos and an excellent spot for swimming and snorkelling. Here you may encounter Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, sea lions, whitetip reef sharks and a huge variety of fish. The Galapagos penguin is the only species of penguin found north of the Equator.

Sullivan Bay & Bartolomé Island

Today sees us visiting the beach on Las Bachas to relax or swim in the crystal waters before we continue to Cerro Dragón on the west coast of Santa Cruz to see land iguanas and a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds.

This morning we visit Playa las Bachas (Bachas Beach), located on the north eastern tip of Santa Cruz. Here the sand is made of decomposed coral, making it soft and white and a favourite site for nesting sea turtles. As you stroll along the beach, you may see colourful Sally Lightfoot crabs on the lave rocks along the shoreline. Trek with the guide to look for a range of wildlife including flamingos, hermit crabs, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, black-necked stilts and sea lions. There will be time to take a dip in the crystalline waters, snorkelling or swimming off the 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.

Las Bachas & 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.

We sail to Baltra for lunch and in the afternoon continue on to Mosquera Island, a small island located between Baltra and North Seymour. It is a reef of rocks and coral with a beautiful white sand beach. Here we walk along the beach looking out for wildlife, observing the vast sea lion colonies and searching for aquatic life in the tidal pools that dot the coastline.

Black Turtle Cove, Baltra Island & Mosquera Island

This morning we make an early landing in the small town of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island before hiking to the rim of the 10km (6 mi) wide crater of the Sierra Negra Volcano, which has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos. We trek across the lava fields and fumaroles with their moon-like landscape, enjoying spectacular views north towards Fernandina and the rest of Isabela Island. The volcano’s last eruption was in October 2005, making it the most recent eruption of the Galapagos.

In the afternoon we visit Las Tintoreras and the tortoise breeding centre in the Puerto Villamil area.

Las Tintoreras Bay is home to a colony of whitetip reef sharks. Here we take a panga across the bay to "Tintoreras Shark Alley” to observe the sharks found swimming in the channels between the rocks. We may also see pelicans, frigatebirds and diving blue-footed boobies as well as manta rays and rare Galapagos penguins.

We walk through the town’s wetlands to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. We pass basking iguanas and flamingos, before heading into the forest to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat at this reserve. These incredible animals were on their way to extinction in the late 1950’s and this program was established to protect these noble creatures.

Isabela Island

Today sees us visiting Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) to observe the birdlife and sea lions and for snorkelling, followed by an excursion to Rábida to see a lagoon and sea lion colony.

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.

There is the opportunity to snorkel from the beach or swim in the cove, maybe encountering sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins and large schools of tropical fish.

This afternoon’s excursion takes us to the red sand beaches of Isla Rábida. An abundance of birdlife frequents the island including pelicans, white-cheeked pintails, boobies and a number of species of finches. There are a number of trails here. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon and another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasant aroma that wards off mosquitoes. Back at the beach you can observe the pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes and maybe watch parent pelicans returning with gullets full of fish for the noisy youngsters.

There is also the opportunity to take a panga ride from the beach to a cliff wall that drops off into the water for one of the best deep-water snorkelling spots in the Galapagos.

Chinese Hat & Rabida Island

Today we visit Puerto Egas, Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island. Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals and both land and sea turtles. Here you can enjoy great wildlife viewing, both on land and in the water.

Playa Espumilla is one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galapagos Islands, with thick mangroves as well as flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites.

At Puerto Egas (also known as James Bay) we see a salt crater as well as a dark sand beach made up of eroded lava and tidal pools. We explore the spectacular shoreline where there are marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs with fur sea lions found further along the lava flow path. There are many shore birds to be seen here as well as reptiles and the beach is home to an abundance of wildlife.

Snorkel off the beach to explore the fascinating underwater world of Puerto Egas. You may see rays, turtles and reef sharks whilst snorkelling.

Please note that you need to be a good swimmer to snorkel here. The "crown" provides protection from the open sea, but the water can be rough and the currents strong.

At Buccaneer Cove we explore by panga, cruising alongside the high cliffs and spectacular rock formations. Buccaneer Cove was once a favourite hideout for pirates as they restocked their boats with food and water. Here we may spot sea lions relaxing on the beach and sea birds nesting in the cove.

Santiago Island

This morning we visit North Seymour Island, lying just north of Baltra, 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.

Enjoy one final snorkelling opportunity here at North Seymour Island in amongst the sea lions and rays.

After disembarking the ship in Baltra, you will be 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.

North Seymour Island, Baltra & 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
22 May 2019 31 May 2019 10
05 Jun 2019 14 Jun 2019 10
19 Jun 2019 28 Jun 2019 10
03 Jul 2019 12 Jul 2019 10
17 Jul 2019 26 Jul 2019 10
14 Aug 2019 23 Aug 2019 10
25 Sep 2019 04 Oct 2019 10
09 Oct 2019 18 Oct 2019 10
23 Oct 2019 01 Nov 2019 10
06 Nov 2019 15 Nov 2019 10
20 Nov 2019 29 Nov 2019 10
04 Dec 2019 13 Dec 2019 10
18 Dec 2019 27 Dec 2019 10
Enquire Now

Important Information

    • Cruise the Galápagos Islands aboard the Monserrat (7 nts)
      2 Certified Galápagos National Park Service guide
      All meals aboard the Monserrat
      Highlands giant tortoises excursion
      Snorkelling at Sullivan Bay, Bartolomé Island, Bachas Beach, Chinese Hat, Isla Rábida and Puerto Egas
      Black Turtle Cove Excursion
      Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (Isabela Island)
      Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
      All landings and excursions
      Snorkelling equipment and wetsuits
      Internal flights
      All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
    •  
    • Accommodations
      Hotel (2 nts), aboard the Monserrat in twin-share or double cabins (7 nts).

       

    • Meals
      9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
      Allow USD80-105 for meals not included. Drinks and tips on board not included.

    • Transportation
      Plane, motorized yacht, panga, private vehicle.

       

    • Staff & experts
      2 CEOs/Naturalist Guides while in the Galápagos Islands (certified by the Galápagos National Park Authority), local Rep in Quito.

  • 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.