Western Galapagos - Isabela II
You'll love the nautical styling of this comfortable, 40-passenger ship. The Isabela feels like someone's private Galapagos yacht.
Galapagos: Drink It In
Our journey begins on Santa Cruz Island as we explore the lush vegetation of its highlands before venturing down to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station. The next day, we’ll enjoy the panoramic views from Bartolome Island before exploring the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay, venturing through its dramatic lava field. The next morning takes us to Dragon Hill, home of dusty-yellow land iguanas! After this adventure, we head out to discover Punta Vicente Roca’s wildlife. Later, we’ll make our way to the youngest island in the archipelago, Fernandina, widely regarded as one of the most pristine environments on the planet.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- • Watch blue-footed boobies perform their mating dances without running away as the animals here have no fear of humans.
• Peer into the undersea world via this ship's glass-bottom boat.
• Lean into the over 65 years of experience this operator has offering trips in the region.
Trip Sustainability Awards
Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.
On the East African Energy Renewal Board
Runs local educational facilities for children.
Day 1: Baltra Airport & Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island)
After landing at Baltra Airport, we drive to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the fascinating, more humid Highlands of the island to enjoy lunch, and then continue south down to Puerto Ayora on the coast.
At the eastern end of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the archipelago, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, the islands’ headquarters for scientific research and conservation. Later in the afternoon, we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking. Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 2: Bartolome Island & Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the panoramic view from the top is well worth the effort! Following the walk, we take a panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock in search of Galapagos penguins and other wildlife.
After lunch, we board the pangas (inflatable dinghies) and land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach that is ideal for swimming. A trail runs along a lava field that flowed here around 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and understand the volcanic origin of the Galapagos.
Day 3: Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island) & Buccaneer Cove (Santiago Island)
The north coast of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Dragon Hill. After disembarking, the first part of our walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks, and American flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas (for which the visitor site is named, following a concerted effort to conserve them by the Galapagos National Park). After our walk, we can snorkel from the shore, hoping to spot rays, green turtles, and sharks.
After lunch, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. Opportunities for snorkeling and a ride on the panga or glass-bottom boat are available.
Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) & Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
Since there is no landing site at this location, we explore the captivating coast by dinghy, seeking out abundant wildlife including colonies of Galapagos fur seals, the nesting sites of Nazca boobies, not to mention flightless cormorants, penguins, and marine iguanas. Depending on the conditions of the ocean, we’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Back on board, we navigate along the Bolivar Channel, where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans.
Day 4 (Continued)
We end our journey on a high note by visiting the island of Fernandina, the youngest island of the archipelago, and arguably one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet. Our visitor site of Punta Espinoza boasts a fantastic combination of apparently barren landscapes and abundant wildlife, all dominated by the lofty volcano at the heart of the island. Highlights to spot include hawks, penguins, vast numbers of marine iguanas, and the famous flightless cormorant, with its beguiling blue eyes.
Day 5: Baltra Island
Our journey ends at Baltra Island, where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Baltra’s flat substrate (due to its uplifted origin) is the reason why the island was chosen back in the 1940s as the location for building an airport.
Please Note: Itineraries for reference only. Routes and programs may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety and operational reasons, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Wetsuit Rental: $70 per person for the 7-day itinerary.
Children: 25% discount for children under the age of 12 at time of Galapagos cruise. Child discounts are conditional and may not apply on certain departures.
Isabela has been the perfect ship for so many of my clients. She's an excellent size for going to shore with ease, and her expert crew has delighted my clients again and again.
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: