We’re delighted to have you aboard for this journey of discovery to some of the most beautiful islands in the Galapagos. Our itinerary together begins on Baltra Island, a former military base during World War II, and now an Ecuadorian naval and air force station as well as a national airport. Once aboard La Pinta, we venture east along the volcanic shores of North Seymour and Santa Cruz islands, until we reach South Plaza Island, where we begin our adventure with a dry landing on this island. During the next day, we will explore Santa Fe Island and San Cristobal Island, home to the provincial capital of the Galapagos province. Then, we sail south to Española Island, with its remarkable visitor site (a favorite of many visitors): Punta Suarez. Here, we’ll wander along the rugged coastline, home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sea lions, marine birds, and even albatrosses (seen throughout much of the year). In the afternoon, Gardner Bay provides a wonderful setting for a combination of beach-time, swimming, snorkeling or exploring aboard the glass-bottom boat. We end on Monday with a visit to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, the most populated in the archipelago. The entire crew aboard La Pinta will do their utmost to ensure your Galapagos tour is a truly moving and memorable experience.
Day by Day
Day 1 - Baltra & South Plaza Islands
This adventure begins with your morning flight to Baltra Island followed by an immediate transfer to the nearby dock to board Yacht La Pinta. After an introductory briefing onboard, you will partake in an emergency boat drill, be assigned to your cabin and then be invited to lunch. Yacht La Pinta will then raise anchor and start sailing to South Plaza Island for the first afternoon outing.
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 will walk right by sea lion colonies while seabirds play along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Day 2 - Santa Fe & San Cristobal Islands
Santa Fe Island
We take the dinghy from Yacht La Pinta over to this idyllic white-sand beach that’s populated with 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 your choice of swimming and snorkeling along a natural wave barrier. Alternatively, they can choose to take a ride aboard Yacht La Pinta’s glass-bottom boat.
Cerro Colorado & Tortoise Breeding Center (San Cristobal Island)
After lunch, we will disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the archipelago’s capital city. Following this, we will take a 40-minute drive over to the island’s southern shore. Once there, at Cerro Colorado, we will visit the Breeding Center for the highly-endangered giant tortoises that amble around a fantastic deciduous forest. This forest is also home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird and the San Cristobal lava lizard.
Day 3 - San Cristobal Island
On this morning, we land at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline, allowing guests to observe frigatebirds plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, you will have the chance to swim along the beach and snorkel, weather permitting.
After lunch, a dinghy ride along the shores will take us over to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coral beach. This is a great site for walking, with rewarding birdwatching opportunities that feature plenty of seabirds and shorebirds. Galapagos sea lions will also be present. History Fact: These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked along back in September of 1835.
Day 4 - Española Island
The morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk across lava terrain to visit the unique seabird colonies that populate this area. Waved albatrosses (visible from April until January), boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and the famous “blowhole” geological formation await! Also, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the red-green-black marine iguanas! Many regard this site as one of the best in all Galapagos. Afterwards, we will head back onboard for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will disembark at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds and finches. You can also choose to simply enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area. Alternatively, you can opt to kayak or take a ride aboard our glass-bottom boat.
Day 5 - Santa Cruz & Baltra Islands
Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)/Baltra Airport
After disembarking at the Puerto Ayora docks in the morning, we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and get a chance to check out the breeding program for giant tortoises. You will also get a good sense of the efforts and progress that the Foundation and National Park have made in terms of conservation. Afterwards, we will take a bus that will take us up and over Santa Cruz Island to the opposite coast. Once there, a short ferry ride will take us across the channel to Baltra Island and then the airport. This Galapagos journey ends at Baltra Island, where you will board your flight back to the mainland. Baltra’s flat substrate (due to its tectonically uplifted origin) is the reason for why this island was chosen back in the 1940’s as the construction site for an airport.
Thursday to Monday
Prices Per Person
- All meals
- Soft drinks*
- Island sightseeing
- Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish only
- Wet suit rental and snorkeling gear
- Taxes and transfers in the islands.
- Transfer from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Mercure, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Sheraton, Wyndham) to airport for flights to/from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers we must have guest’s hotel contact.
*Soft drinks include juices and carbonated drinks, not “virgin” cocktails.
** Wi-Fi is available in the yacht’s social areas. Due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connection is intermittent and low-bandwidth.
- Airfare to/from the Galapagos*
- Galapagos National Park admission fee (US$100 per person)**
- Transit Control Card for Galapagos (US$20 per person)**
- Alcoholic beverages***
- Gifts and additional items.
*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 US$27 + 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.
- Only 3 Luxury Cabins are available for single use, with a surcharge of 50% of the price per person.
- Twin/Double Cabins incur a 100% surcharge of the price per person when used as singles, please check availability first.
- Luxury Plus Cabins (of which there are 4) incur a 50% surcharge per person when used as twin or double.
- Regardless the number of cabins occupied, the ship’s authorized maximum operating capacity cannot exceed 48 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.