Our Central Galapagos cruise itinerary begins on Santa Cruz Island, the most populated island in the archipelago. Here, we first explore the lush vegetation of the highlands before venturing down to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station to meet giant tortoises face-to-face.
After that, we’ll hop aboard Yacht Isabela II at the end of the day and begin our overnight journey to Santa Fe Island. The next morning, we’ll wake up to visit the sandy white beach of this island with its numerous sea lion harems, which also makes for a wonderful spot to go for our first snorkeling, kayaking or glass-bottom boat excursion.
In the afternoon, we disembark amid the waters of Plaza Island, with its yellow and prickly-pear-eating land-iguanas as well as a coastline where we can find sea lion colonies and dozens of sea birds.
A favorite among many visitors to the archipelago is our visit to North Seymour Island, which starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and then the interior of this island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.
Later on, we disembark on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, at the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, which makes for a great spot to go for a swim or go snorkeling. We begin Thursday’s expedition at Bartolome Island, with its unbeatable volcanic viewpoint on a hill, golden-sandy beach and excellent wildlife exploration for guests that either wish to go snorkeling or take a ride on our glass-bottom boat.
After lunch, we land at the white-coral-sand beach of Sullivan Bay, complete with a trail that goes over a dramatic lava field and is ideal for swimming or snorkeling. This last site rounds out our Central Islands itinerary!
Central Galapagos Highlights
Central Galapagos Wildlife
Central Galapagos Itinerary Map
Day by Day
Day 1 - Baltra & Santa Cruz Islands
Baltra Airport (Baltra Island)
You arrive at Baltra Airport and are shuttled down to the Itabaca Channel where we’ll assist you in taking a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride will then take us up to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch. Afterwards, we will continue down to the town of Puerto Ayora.
Puerto Ayora & the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
After driving down from the highlands, we will get the chance to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the numerous giant tortoises that reside there. The Station also serves as the headquarters for scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Afterwards, we will take a stroll down the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking Yacht Isabela II. After checking in, you’ll be invited to the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and then dinner.
Day 2 - Santa Fe & South Plaza Islands
Santa Fe Island
We’ll hop aboard the dinghy and shuttle on over to the idyllic white-sand beach of Santa Fe Island, which itself is populated by colonies of sea lions. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed here, typically found sitting perched atop the salt bushes. The brilliantly yellow Santa Fe land iguana, which is exclusive to just this island (in the whole world!), might also be spotted during the walk. Following the walk, you’ll have the choice of swimming and snorkeling along a natural wave barrier. Alternatively, you can choose to take a ride aboard Yacht Isabela II’s glass-bottom boat.
South Plaza Island
The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand beach and volcanic rocks that make up the shoreline. A carpet of scarlet-colored sesuvium succulents sits at the base of a large cluster of luminescent-green prickly-pear cacti. Crawling around this entire scene are the yellow-greyish land iguanas. Along the coastline, we’ll walk right by sea lion colonies while seabirds play along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Day 3 - North Seymour & Santa Cruz Islands
North Seymour Island
After breakfast, the morning excursion begins with our disembarking and enjoying a walk along the coast and inner area of this beautiful and relatively flat island. Throughout the excursion, you will get to observe numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and land iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkeling, dinghy coastal exploration or a glass-bottom boat ride for great views of the underwater world.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and simply abandoned here. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtles. Las Bachas, located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, comes complete with a glorious white-sand beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds for various wading birds, from stilts all the way to flamingos. You are welcome to swim or snorkel from the beach here.
Day 4 - Bartolome & Santiago Islands
On this morning, an iconic and postcard-worthy Galapagos feature awaits: Bartolome Island. We will disembark from our dinghy shuttle boat and begin a steep climb up a wooden staircase where the view from the top makes it well worth the effort! Following the walk, we will once again hop aboard the dinghies for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock. After this, there will be time for you to enjoy the beach as well as do some snorkeling. You can also choose to ride aboard the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world without getting wet.
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
After lunch, we will board the dinghy to disembark at Sullivan Bay over on the east coast of Santiago Island. This visitor site comes complete with a white coral-sand beach, which is great for swimming and snorkeling. Additionally, there’s a trail that goes over a lava field that once flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife.
Day 5 - Baltra Island
After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport to hop on your flight back to the mainland. Safe travels!
Monday to Friday
Monday to Friday
Prices Per Person
- All meals
- Bilingual naturalist guides
- Conferences and lectures
- Visits to the islands mentioned in the itinerary
- Transportation to/from the airport in Galapagos on cruise arrival and departure dates
- Snorkeling equipment
- Internet (via Computer Station, low-bandwidth)
- Onboard Medical Assistance
- Luggage handling
- Airline tickets to/from Galapagos*
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$100 USD per person)**
- Transit Control Card for Galapagos (US$20 USD per person)**
- Wetsuits (available for rent)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages*** (you can also ask your destination expert to include a drinks package in your quote. Ask us about all the available options we have for you!)
- Gifts and additional items
- Fuel surcharge
- Wi-Fi internet (Intermittent and low-bandwidth. Available for an additional fee)
*Upon request, airline tickets can be included. Metropolitan Touring guarantees availability of these flights. Airfare is subject to change.
**Upon request, we can include the Galapagos National Park and INGALA Transit Control Card fees (US$100 and US$20 respectively and subject to change without prior notice). However, due to logistical reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operational departure date and not before.
***Guests may bring their own wine or spirits; however, there is a corkage fee of $25 USD + tax.
- During peak season dates, Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to prioritize reservations taking into account factors such as payment and confirmation dates. A peak season supplement also applies.
- We reserve the right to limit the number of twin/double cabins for single use dependent on availability.
- Twin/Double Cabins for single use incur a 100% surcharge of the price per person.
- Regardless the number of cabins occupied, the ship’s authorized maximum operating capacity cannot exceed 40 guests.
- Galapagos Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, logistical, or operational reasons.
- All rates are subject to change. If fuel prices increase, additional charges may apply.
- All credit card payments are exempt from additional fees.