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Darwin's Legacy

Navigating the Diverse Southwestern Volcanic Archipelago

(Friday to Thursday)

7 days
FROM USD 7,789 pp
12 of 15
Galapagos Iconic Species

Overview

Home / Galapagos Islands Tours Itineraries / Central and Southwestern Galapagos Itinerary

Set forth on a transformative expedition with our Darwin’s Legacy expedition, where the spirit of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking discoveries comes to life. This itinerary takes you into the heart of the southwestern Galapagos, a region forged by recent tectonic upheavals and rich with geological wonders that are teeming with life.  

In the southwestern Galapagos, you’ll witness the true origins of the archipelago, a land where volcanic forces have sculpted a dramatic and otherworldly landscape, and also—a land where recent creation unfolds.  Fernandina Island, our first destination, is renowned as one of the most untouched environments on the planet, where life continues to evolve in isolation, entirely immune from human influence. This region provides remarkable glimpses into the unique adaptations of the local wildlife, which is complemented by a visit to the Charles Darwin at the Research Station—a site where we’ll get to learn more about the intricate science that’s at play in the Galapagos. Ultimately, the pristine environments on this trip, many of which are untouched by human intervention, are guaranteed to reveal nature’s adaptability and resilience. 
 
Each stop on our journey through the southwestern volcanic region of archipelago reveals a different aspect of the Galapagos’ dynamic ecosystem, making this expedition a comprehensive and awe-inspiring exploration of one of the world’s most unique and evolving natural environments! 

 

The BIG15: Must-See Wildlife of the Galapagos

Because the Galapagos Islands are so extensive, picking where to visit and what to see can be difficult. To create our itineraries and enable guests to see the best balance of Galapagos species, we spoke with researchers, Naturalist Guides, and island aficionados to select the archipelago’s most unique and fascinating animals. Their choices inspired our Galapagos BIG15, which features the most iconic Galapagos wildlife.

Day by Day

Island Hopping Path

Day 1 - Baltra & North Seymour Islands​

Baltra Island

Embark on your adventure with an early morning flight to Baltra Island, where a swift transfer awaits to take you to the dock for boarding Yacht La Pinta. Upon arrival, engage in an informative welcome briefing, participate in a boat drill, receive your cabin assignment, and savor a delicious lunch aboard.

North Seymour Island

Upon disembarking in the afternoon, stroll along the coastline and through the interior of captivating North Seymour Island. Witness a plethora of bird colonies, playful sea lions, and intriguing land iguanas as you explore the diverse terrain. Opt for a coastal exploration via dinghy for a closer look at the island’s wonders. As the day winds down, gather for an evening briefing, enjoy a welcome cocktail, and indulge in a delightful dinner onboard.

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)

As there is no designated landing site at this location, our exploration of Punta Vicente Roca unfolds via panga rides led by expert naturalists. They provide insightful commentary on the area’s striking geology, showcasing remnants of lava flows and layers of tuff stone. Expect to encounter a rich array of wildlife, and if ocean conditions permit, relish the opportunity to snorkel along the cliffs with the hope of swimming alongside graceful green sea turtles.

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

In the afternoon, we venture to Fernandina Island, the youngest and most pristine in the archipelago, beloved by many visitors. Punta Espinoza offers a unique juxtaposition of stark landscapes teeming with vibrant wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks soaring overhead, playful penguins frolicking in the water, and intriguing flightless cormorants. Marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding volcanic terrains, making this destination a standout favorite among nature enthusiasts.

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)

Commence your day with a visit to Urbina Bay on the western coast of Isabela Island, a geographical marvel resulting from the uplifting of the ocean floor. These newly emerged lands, propelled from the depths, are being colonized by diverse species. Just as Darwin studied similar phenomena in Chile, gaining insights into Earth’s geological history and species adaptation, you too can witness this fascinating evolutionary process. Explore the shoreline adorned with corals, shells, and the vibrant Galapagos land iguanas, with occasional sightings of the iconic giant tortoises. While navigating the Bolívar Channel, watch for various whale species that frequent these waters.

Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)

Situated in the secluded northwest of Isabela, Tagus Cove has been a sought-after anchorage for pirates and whalers throughout history, including a notable visit by HMS Beagle in 1835. Today, this historic site offers a captivating visitor experience. Embark on a scenic uphill trek to the rear of Darwin Crater, a unique geological formation filled with saltwater. Dive into the crystal-clear waters for a snorkeling session or glide across the bay in kayaks, immersing yourself in the extraordinary landscape before embarking on a memorable hike.

Rabida Island

Embark on the day with a landing at Rabida Island’s distinctive red-hued beach. A leisurely beachside stroll unveils the presence of marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and various species of Darwin’s finches. This idyllic setting not only offers a prime snorkeling spot right off the beach but also provides an opportunity for non-snorkelers to explore the marine life beneath the waves via our glass-bottom boat.

Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)

Journey to the captivating landscapes of Dragon Hill on the northern coast of Santa Cruz. The expedition encompasses a walk around a brackish water lagoon frequented by an array of bird species, while the inland trail treats you to panoramic views of the bay and the neighboring western islands of the archipelago. Keep a lookout for the iconic land iguanas that inhabit this area, adding to the allure of this remarkable destination.

Puerto Ayora & Charles Darwin Research Station

Begin your morning with a visit to the aptly named Research Station, paying homage to the renowned British naturalist Charles Darwin. Explore the station’s facilities, including the impressive giant tortoise pens set amidst a striking forest of prickly-pear cacti. This site is the epicenter of scientific research, conservation efforts, and National Park administration in the Galapagos. Conclude the visit with a delightful lunch on the island.

Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Following lunch, venture into the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island, offering a stark contrast to the arid coastal regions, thanks to the abundant rainfall they receive. This verdant setting provides a habitat for the iconic Darwin’s Finches and the unique Scalesia trees found exclusively in the Galapagos. Delve into the rich biodiversity as you encounter roaming giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Visit a giant tortoise reserve for an up-close encounter with these gentle giants, immersing yourself further in this captivating ecosystem before returning to the yacht at day’s end.

Post Office Bay

Kick off the day with a picturesque panga ride through the intricate channels along Floreana’s enchanting north shore. Follow this scenic journey to Baroness Cove, offering mesmerizing vistas of Floreana’s coastal beauty. Our next stop is Post Office Bay, home to a historic barrel that has functioned as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. At this site in 1835, the Beagle made a significant observation under Captain Lawson’s command.

Opportunities for kayaking and snorkeling await at this iconic location.

Champion Islet & Punta Cormorant

Before disembarking at Punta Cormorant, indulge in a snorkeling session or ride on our glass-bottom boat along the coast of the extinct cone, “Champion Islet.” Later in the afternoon, our exploration continues at Punta Cormorant, where an olivine-crystal beach sets the stage for a stroll by a brackish water lagoon, offering sightings of avian treasures like greater flamingos. On the opposite side of the island lies a pristine white-sand beach frequented by sea turtles that emerge at night to nest, adding to the allure of this remarkable destination.

Baltra Island

Conclude our unforgettable journey on Baltra Island, where we transition to the airport for our return flight to the mainland. Due to its uplifted formation, the island’s level terrain was pivotal in its selection as the ideal airport site in the 1940s.

Sailing Dates & Prices

Start Date End Date Request

Included

*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.

Not Included

*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$200 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.

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At Metropolitan Touring we process the information you provide us with in order to respond to the request made by you in relation to the services we provide and the products we supply. You can exercise the rights of access, rectification and updating of inaccurate data or, where appropriate, request the deletion or elimination, limitation or suspension of the processing of your data or oppose the processing of your data. You can contact us at [email protected]


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