Galapagos fur seal and baby on the shoreline
Two red-footed boobies perched on a tree branch
Guests riding on a skiff during sunset
Sunrise view over the water
Guests embarking on a hike on land
Close-up of Sally Lightfoot crab
Aerial view of a part of the Galapagos Islands
Blue-footed booby sitting below trees that have lost leaves
Couple strolling along beach at the shoreline
Galapagos fur seal and baby entering the water from shore
Guests kayaking through the water
Marine iguana crawling over rocks
Galapagos tortoise swimming through a school of fish
Close-up of face of Galapagos tortoise
Five Galapagos hawks perched on top of cacti
Red-footed booby perched on tree branch
Galapagos fur seals basking on the sand
Sunset view of the Isabela II on the water
Two kayakers paddle through water with Isabela II in the background
Two guests pose for a picture with a Galapagos tortoise in the foreground
Marine iguana warming itself on a rock
Panoramic view of the exterior of Isabela II
Young Galapagos fur seal looking directly at camara
Guests embarking on a skiff ride to shore
Flamingo preparing to take flight over water
Frigatebird sitting on a tall tree branch
Two large Galapagos turtles
Two blue-footed boobies touching beaks
Baby fur seal snuggling with its mother
Guests returning to Isabela II by skiff
Close-up of Galapagos tortoise eating a blade of grass
Group of guests on shore posing for picture
View of the water from land
Close-up of sleeping fur seal
Guests standing at the shoreline with an iguana looking at them in the foreground
Colorful marine iguana
Guests riding on a skiff waving to the camera
Guests watching a Galapagos tortoise from afar
Guests gathered around the Galapagos post office barrel
Rainbow arched over Isabela II
Galapagos fur seal laying on the beach with Isabela II sailing in the water in the background
Isabela II in the background with kayakers and a skiff in the foreground
Kayakers paddling through the water
Group photograph of guests riding a skiff
A baby Galapagos fur seal sits next to a marine iguana on a rock
Guest posing on a wooden platform on land for a picture
  • Duration
  • 8 Days
  • Activity Level
  • Moderate
  • Group Size
  • 40
The Galapagos Islands – Western Itinerary

The Galapagos Islands – Western ItineraryItinerary

Day 1: En Route from U.S. / Arrive in Quito, Ecuador
After an evening arrival in Quito, transfer to your award-winning hotel for a comfortable night's sleep.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena – Quito 

Day 2: Quito
Head out for a full-day, guided tour of historic Old Town. A local expert will take you through the Quito neighborhood called San Roque, where you'll visit with local artisans, including shopkeepers, hat makers, and sweet confectioners. Explore the San Francisco Market—one of the oldest in the capital. There, learn about unique Ecuadorian fruits and vegetables, as well as local culinary traditions. Stop by a chocolatier to learn how cacao beans are processed, and taste the finest chocolates of Ecuador! 

Next, head north toward the political heart of the city. Following a brief narrative, stroll to the Jesuit church of la Compañía to admire its stunning gold-leaf interior. Relax and enjoy lunch that highlights the unique and diverse flavors of this culturally rich South American country. 

In the afternoon, head to the Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum, inside a restored 17th-century colonial mansion, to view its collection of pre-Columbian art. This evening, meet your traveling companions for a welcome reception and prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena – Quito (B,L,R) 

Day 3: Quito / Flight to Baltra / Santa Cruz: Highlands / Puerto Ayora – Embarkation
Arrive by plane to Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. After a short, scenic drive across Santa Cruz Island, arrive in the Highlands to enjoy lunch. 

Later, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to gain an understanding of the extensive conservation efforts that have gone into maintaining and improving the environment and biodiversity in this remarkable archipelago. See the Galapagos giant tortoise up close on paths leading through arid-zone vegetation, and learn about the various stages of tortoise care and development, including a visit to the baby tortoise house.

Take a late afternoon stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Isabela II

Join the captain this evening for a cocktail and briefing on the exciting activities to come. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 4: Bartolomé / Santiago: Sullivan Bay
One of today's highlights includes a panoramic view of the Galapagos from a special vantage point—an overlook atop Bartolomé Island. On a pristine day, more than 10 islands can be seen from this viewpoint. After the morning hike, examine the environment by snorkeling or by glass-bottom boat. 

Return to the beach to board dinghies for a cruise around Pinnacle Rock, formed by an eroded tuff-stone cone—light limestone created by the accumulation of small volcanic elements. Pinnacle Rock is home for a small colony of the flightless Galapagos penguin, which shares the area with sea lions and other marine birds.

After lunch, explore Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago Island featuring a white coral sand beach that's ideal for swimming. This location has some of the best snorkeling within the archipelago. See and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos by traversing the walking trail across a lava field that flowed here in 1897.

Tonight after dinner look up and experience the enchantment of stargazing. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 5: Santa Cruz: Dragon Hill / Santiago: Buccaneer Cove
The island of Santa Cruz is the only one with six different vegetation zones. Pit craters, Scalesia forest, cacti, and ferns are found here. After breakfast, set off on a walk, passing a lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks, and American flamingos. Continuing inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas. Afterward, snorkel from the shore in hopes of spotting rays and green turtles.

Later today, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. Buccaneer Cove was used extensively by pirates, privateers, and whalers to set anchor and head ashore. It is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and intertidal organisms. The geology is fascinating, with layers of compacted tuff volcanic material that, due to wave and wind action, has eroded into different forms and shapes. Enjoy fantastic natural  formations, such as the “Elephant Rock,” and an impressive natural cave.

Relish the available opportunities for snorkeling or relaxing with panga or glass-bottom boat rides. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 6: Isabela: Punta Vicente Roca / Fernandina: Punta Espinoza
Explore the captivating coast of Isabela Island by dinghy, seeking abundant wildlife, including colonies of Galapagos fur seals, the nesting sites of Nazca boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, and marine iguanas. Depending on conditions, there may be a chance to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Back on board, navigate along the Bolivar Channel, where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans.

Then visit the island of Fernandina, the youngest island of the archipelago and arguably one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet. Punta Espinoza boasts an amazing combination of barren landscapes and abundant wildlife, all dominated by the lofty volcano at the heart of the island. Highlights to spot include hawks, penguins, huge numbers of marine iguanas, and the famous flightless cormorant, with its beguiling blue eyes.

This evening, join fellow guests and crew for a festive farewell toast followed by dinner.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 7: Baltra – Disembarkation / Flight to Quito, Ecuador 
Bid a fond adiós to the Isabela II crew this morning prior to departing Baltra for Quito, where you will spend your final night.
Overnight: Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel (B,L-aloft)

Day 8: Quito / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times will take a complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. Guests continuing on the post-tour will depart Quito for flights to Cusco, Peru. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level:

Moderate

Guests should be sure-footed on stairs and able to walk at least one mile on rocky, volcanic, and uneven ground. Some nature hikes will be on irregular and steep terrain. Guests should also be comfortable managing wet beach landings and boarding small vessels, both from shore and the deck of the Isabela II. Also keep in mind that you will experience varying altitudes to which you may not be accustomed. 

Maximum elevation: 9,350 feet in Quito, Ecuador