Our Northern Galapagos cruise itinerary begins at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Province. On our first afternoon, we visit Cerro Colorado, a breeding center for the islands’ famous giant tortoises that is located amid a fantastic deciduous forest. We sail north overnight and awaken at the sunken caldera of Genovesa Island – a privileged place to visit with thousands of marine birds.
On Thursday, we had back to the central islands to learn about both the distant and recent history of Buccaneer Cove aboard our inflatable dinghies. Following that, we’ll explore its underwater realm by going snorkeling or traveling aboard the glass-bottom boat.
After that, we disembark at the popular site of Puerto Egas, a great place to see land and marine birds that are surrounded by a landscape made up of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. Sailing through the night, the next morning we will find ourselves at one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos and then disembark at Punta Espinoza, with its amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights here include hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant.
Later, at Tagus Cove, an uphill hike takes us to the rim of Darwin Crater along with some lovely views, followed by an inflatable dinghy ride to spot local wildlife, go for a swim, kayaking or snorkeling. We continue our exploration of Isabela Island the following day, at Urbina Bay, which is the intriguing result of an oceanic uplift, home to large and very colorful Galapagos land iguanas. Afterwards, Punta Vicente Roca will dazzle with its abundant wildlife and, hopefully, sightings of green sea turtles. Sunday sees us anchor to visit the red beach of Rabida Island and its large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin’s finches. In the afternoon, we visit the north shore of Santa Cruz over at Dragon Hill, which itself is home to land iguanas and a trail that offers a beautiful view of the bay, rounding out the end of our Northern Galapagos itinerary.
Northern Galapagos Highlights
Northern Galapagos Wildlife
Northern Galapagos Itinerary Map
Day by Day
Day 1 - San Cristobal Island
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
You’ll land at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno’s airport and will then be transferred over to the nearby dock. Shortly after that, you’ll board Yacht Isabela II, check in, receive an introductory briefing and have lunch onboard.
Cerro Colorado & Tortoise Breeding Center
At Cerro Colorado, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the local breeding center for the highly-endangered giant tortoises. The Center is situated in the middle of a fantastic deciduous forest, which itself is home to dozens of bird species and the endemic San Cristobal lava lizard.
Day 2 - Genovesa Island
Prince Philip’s Steps
The morning starts off with a pleasant dinghy ride along the cliffs of Genovesa Island before we disembark at Prince Philip’s Steps, which itself is the start of a steep but short climb up a wooden staircase. Once at the top, the terrain is pretty flat, which allows for a mesmerizing, mile-long walk to the other side of this small island. Along the way, you’ll get to check out large colonies of Nazca boobies, frigatebirds and storm petrels as well as the elusive short-eared owl. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer dinghy ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). Snorkeling and kayaking activities are available here.
In the afternoon, we’ll land at the beach for an easy stroll that involves observing hundreds of birds, mainly frigatebirds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds.
Day 3 - Santiago Island
After breakfast, you’ll get the chance to explore the coastline and impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, all while learning about the area’s history. This cove is home to a large number of seabirds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. We’ll also get to marvel at the fantastic geological formations such as “Elephant Rock” and “The Bishop,” as well as an impressive natural cave. Here, you will have the chance to go snorkeling, take a ride on the dinghy or the glass-bottom boat.
This visitor site offers a wonderful opportunity to see land and seabirds amid a landscape full of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas can be spotted grazing upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur seals. You’ll also have the chance to go snorkeling and swimming here.
Day 4 - Fernandina & Isabela Islands
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
In the morning, we will visit the youngest and most pristine island of the archipelago – Fernandina. This island is ranked among one of the top islands to visit in Galapagos, by guests and guides alike. It is here that you will discover an amazing interplay between barren terrain and abundant wildlife. Highlights here include: hawks, marine iguanas, penguins, flightless cormorants and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Over on the northwest side of Isabela is secluded Tagus Cove – an anchorage spot that once served as a pit stop for pirates and whalers a long time ago. Nowadays, Tagus Cove is a superb visitor site. Upon disembarking, you will get to partake in an uphill hike that takes you around the rear side of Darwin Crater, which is a small lake that consists entirely of salt water. Afterwards, you can choose to either snorkel or ride a kayak along the dramatic coastal landscape.
Day 5 - Isabela Island
After breakfast, you will disembark at Urbina Bay over on the western side of Isabela Island. This visitor site happens to be the result of tectonic uplift of the actual ocean floor! As a result, you’ll get to see plenty of dried-out corals and shells alongside large and very colorful Galapagos land iguanas. After the hike, you are more than welcome to snorkel and possibly even encounter flightless cormorants and penguins while in the water!
Punta Vicente Roca
Because there is no disembarking site at this location, this bit of coastal exploration is done aboard our dinghies. Naturalist guides will explain the dramatic geology of the area, which primarily consists of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife present here and, depending on weather conditions, you will be able to snorkel along the cliffs, most likely in the company of green sea turtles!
Day 6 - Rabida & Santa Cruz Islands
In the morning, you will disembark at Rabida Island’s red-colored beach. A stroll along the beach allows guests to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, too. Non-snorkelers are invited to ride Yacht Isabela II’s glass-bottom boat for an exploration of life underneath the waves.
Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The walk here involves casually circling a brackish-water lagoon that’s often frequented by lagoon birds. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay as well as the western islands of the archipelago. You might even be lucky enough to observe land iguanas here, too!
Day 7 - Baltra Island
The journey ends at Baltra Island, where you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland. Safe travels!
Tuesday to Monday
2021 (Itinerary changes to Northern 5D/4N - Sailing 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.