Galápagos — West, Central & East Islands aboard the Estrella del Mar

10 days, Quito to Quito

from €2,969 pp

Climb aboard the comfortable Estrella for seven nights of in-depth exploration of the Galápagos, including the less visited western islands. You’ll witness a nesting site for the flightless cormorant on Isabela Island, hike the Sierra Negra volcano, and catch great views amidst the largest colony of marine iguanas on Fernandina Island, the youngest in the archipelago. With air-conditioned cabins – all featuring private baths and views to the ocean – and included snorkelling equipment, this will be a trip you’ll never forget.

10 days, Quito to Quito

from €2,969 per person

Is this tour for me?

Travel Style: Marine

Small-ship adventures on the world’s great seas, rivers, and other places only accessible by boat.

Service Level: Standard

Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character; mix of public and private transport.

Physical Rating: 3 – Average

Some tours may include light hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, avg 12

Age requirement: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities, so check into the hotel and enjoy the city. A G Adventures representative will greet you at the hotel and brief the group on the various aspects of the tour.
If you are not able to attend the welcome meeting, a representative will leave all important information at the hotel’s reception indicating what time to be ready on Day 2 of the trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed in this dossier.
Booking pre- or post-trip accommodation is highly recommended to fully experience the city and take advantage of the optional activities available.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting with G Representative:

The adventure begins today. Feel free to explore, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. Your G Representative will review the details of your tour.

 

Accommodation:
Hotel Hilton Colon (or similar)
Day 2: Quito/Puerto Ayora

Take an early flight to the Galápagos Islands and transfer to Puerto Ayora and board the ship. Spend the afternoon in the highlands seeing giant tortoises in the wild and exploring lava tunnels.

The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $20 USD per person. This card is to be purchased in CASH at a counter in the Quito airport before boarding the flight to the Galápagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galápagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galápagos Islands and is a supplement to the existing entry fee to the National Park and is not controlled by tour operators or travel agencies. It is the first of a number of initiatives to track, control, and maintain the sustainable tourism targets set out by the Galápagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago.

The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galápagos Islands Park entry fee of USD100 per person. This is payable at the airport upon arrival in the park. It is not included in the cost of the tour, and must be paid in CASH. This fee funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galápagos as well as ecological study, conservation, and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

 

Plane:
Mariscal Sucre International Airport – Seymour Airport2h

Flights from Quito to Baltra depart between 6:40am and 9:40am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 9:30am and 12:30pm with a short refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will generally arrive at the boat in time for lunch on Day 2 before the afternoon activity.

Highlands Giant Tortoises Visit:
Santa Cruz Island

Head to Santa Cruz’s verdant highlands and the El Chato Reserve, a perfect place to see giant tortoises in their natural environment. Explore the reserve’s lagoon and lava tunnels, keeping an eye out for owls that often roost in the tunnels’ entrances.

Lava Tunnels Visit:
Santa Cruz Island

Check out Santa Cruz’s lava tunnels, massive underground lava tubes found throughout the island that, in some places, extend several kilometres.

Estrella Del Mar:
Santa Cruz Island – Chinese Hat

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 3: Chinese Hat/Rábida Island

Spend the morning exploring lava flows and lava tunnels on the small island of Chinese Hat. After, enjoy a refreshing dip in turquoise waters. Search for fish and sea turtles in the protected bay. In the afternoon, explore the red sand beaches and salt water lagoons of this tiny island. Look for wading flamingos and nesting pelicans before heading out to do some snorkelling.

Chinese Hat Visit:
Chinese Hat1h-2h 1-2km

Spend the morning exploring lava flows and lava tunnels on the small island of Chinese Hat before diving into the turquoise water to cool off and search for fish and sea turtles in the protected bay.

Rabida Island Excursion:
Rábida Island

Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes – it’s a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.

Estrella Del Mar:
Chinese Hat – Santiago Island

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 4: Playa Espumilla/Puerto Egas

In the morning, see the towering cliffs of Buccaneer Cove and keep an eye out for the hundreds of birds nesting on the edge. Later, land at Puerto Egas home to the elusive Galápagos hawk. Visit the salt crater as well as a dark-sand beach and tidal pools.

Playa Espumilla Excursion:
Playa Espumilla

Head to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites.

Puerto Egas Visit:
Puerto Egas

Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay. Spot a great number of shore birds and reptiles – the beach area is home to a plethora of wildlife.

Estrella Del Mar:
Santiago Island – Fernandina Island

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5: Punta Espinoza/Urbina Bay

Enjoy a morning visit to Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest of the Galápagos Islands. Witness the large colony of marine iguanas and a variety of bird life. In the afternoon, travel to Urbina Bay, located at the base of Alcedo Volcano. Hike the trail to get a view of the caldera and watch for land iguanas along the way.

Punta Espinoza Visit:
Punta Espinoza

Tour a number of different trails at this not-to-be-missed landing site that’s home to some of the largest colonies of marine iguanas and sea birds. Follow the path along the beach and across lava flows for a unique opportunity to explore one of the least-visited areas of the Galápagos.

Urbina Bay Visit:
Urbina Bay

Visit Urbina Bay for a unique walk among a massive marine reef that was raised out of the water in 1950 during an uplift. See “sculptures” of dried coral and other ocean formations while touring the area on foot. Urbina Bay also offers great opportunities to see land iguanas that have astonishingly yellow skin, flightless cormorants, brown pelicans as well as marine turtles and rays.

Estrella Del Mar:
Fernandina Island – Isabela Island

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6: Elizabeth Bay/Punta Moreno

Pay a morning visit to Elizabeth Bay which offers amazing bird and marine life viewing opportunities. Head out on the pangas and explore the shallows and mangroves to look for sea turtles and penguins. In the afternoon, land at Punta Moreno on the southwest coast of Isabela to see lava formations, flamingos, and amazing views of the three most active volcanoes in the Galápagos Islands.

Elizabeth Bay Panga Ride:
Elizabeth Bay

Head out by panga to explore, keeping an eye out for wildlife hiding among the mangroves. Search for marine turtles, rays, and flightless cormorants in the sheltered waters. Also spot blue-footed boobies, penguins, and pelicans feeding on the abundant marine life.

Punta Moreno Visit:
Punta Moreno

Visit Punta Moreno and explore its interesting landscape, which is home to black lava flows and a unique system of brackish lagoons that draw in a wide range of wildlife. Spot Darwin’s finches, Galápagos doves, penguins, and more! Be sure to bring your camera for shots of the island’s amazing scenery. Punta Moreno boasts a panoramic viewpoint of three of Isabela’s imposing volcanoes: Alcedo, Sierra Negra, and Cerro Azul.

Estrella Del Mar:
Isabela Island – Puerto Villamil

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 7: Isabela Island

Early landing in the small town of Puerto Villamil before beginning the hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano, which has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galápagos. Later on, visit las Tintoreras, one of the best places to see sharks and other marine wildlife. Choose to visit the wet lands or the tortoise breeding centre in the Puerto Villamil area.

Get Active: Sierra Negra Volcano Hike:

Hike to the rim of the 10km (6 mi) wide crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, which has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galápagos. Trek across the moon-like landscape of the lava fields and fumaroles, and enjoy spectacular views looking north toward Fernandina and the rest of Isabela Island. The volcano last erupted in October 2005, making it the most recent eruption of the Galápagos.

Las Tintoreras Excursion:
Las Tintoreras

Tour the “Tintoreras” to watch manta rays and whitetip reef sharks swim in the channels between the rocks. Get up close to pelicans, frigatebirds, and diving blue-footed boobies, and keep an eye out for rare Galápagos penguins, the only species found in Galápagos and north of the Equator.

Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre Visit:
Isabela Island2h-3h

Walk through the town’s wetlands to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. With the giant tortoise on its way to extinction in the late 1950s, this program was established to protect these noble creatures.

Estrella Del Mar:
Puerto Villamil – Santa Cruz Island

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 8: Santa Cruz Island

Take the morning to explore Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galápagos. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, do some shopping, and see how locals live in the islands. After lunch on board, hike to the beautiful beach at Tortuga Bay. Choose to relax on the white sand or rent a kayak and search for rays and turtles in the shallow waters.

Charles Darwin Research Station Visit:
Puerto Ayora45m

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos’ ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. The research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community.

The station is also a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity in the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close – a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened.

Get Active: Tortuga Bay Hike:

Enjoy a short walk to the beautiful white beach of Tortuga Bay. Relax on the beach, walk along the mangroves looking for marine iguanas and birdlife, or rent a kayak and explore this marine wonderland. Look for Tintoreras sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays in the water’s shallow areas.

Estrella Del Mar:
Santa Cruz Island – San Cristóbal Island

The Estrella is as beautiful as her name. With room for 16 travellers and a Naturalist Guide inside her modest-yet-surprisingly-roomy confines, the Estrella is everything you could want in a ship at a price you won’t believe. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 9: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno/Quito

Disembark early and visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Centre on the island before flying back to Quito. Enjoy an evening in Quito.

Flights from San Cristóbal to Quito depart between 11:30am and 1:30pm depending on the day of the week. The flights will arrive into Quito between 4:00pm and 5:40pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will arrive back at the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.

San Cristóbal Interpretation Center Visit:
San Cristóbal Island

Pay a visit to the Interpretation Centre to learn everything you wanted to know about the Galápagos from the islands’ natural history to their ecosystems and flora and fauna.

Plane:
San Cristóbal Island – Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

 

Accommodation:

Hotel Hilton Colon (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 10: Quito

Depart at any time.

Departure Day:

Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast

What’s Included

  • Cruise the Galápagos Islands aboard the Estrella (7 nts)
  • All meals aboard the Estrella
  • Certified Galápagos National Park Service Guide
  • Excursion to see giant tortoises in the wild (Santa Cruz Island)
  • Visit to the largest marine iguana colony in the Galápagos (Fernandina Island)
  • Chance to see flightless cormorants and penguins (Isabela Island)
  • Sierra Negra Hike (Isabela Island)
  • Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
  • Hike to Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island)
  • Visit to a wildlife interpretation centre (San Cristóbal Island)
  • Onboard snorkelling equipment and wetsuits
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Hotels (2 nts), aboard the Estrella in twin-share (bunks) cabins (7 nts).

Meals

9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Allow USD80-105 for meals not included. Drinks and tips on board not included.

Transportation

Plane, motorized yacht (Estrella), van, panga, private bus.

Staff & experts

CEO/Naturalist Guide while in the Galápagos Islands (certified by the Galápagos National Park Authority), local G Adventures Rep in Quito.

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