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Destination: The Western Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands – Western Itinerary

The Galapagos Islands – Western ItineraryItinerary

February 25 – March 4, 2025

Day 1: En Route from U.S. | Arrive in Quito, Ecuador

Tuesday, February 25, 2025
After an evening arrival in Quito transfer to your five-star boutique hotel—the only Relais & Châteaux property in Quito—for a restful night's sleep.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena

Day 2: Quito
Wednesday, February 26, 2025
The journey begins with a full-day guided tour of Quito, a city steeped in rich history. Explore the captivating streets of historic Old Town where colonial architecture imparts the tales of centuries past. A local expert will escort you through a lively neighborhood for an opportunity to visit with local artisans, shopkeepers and confectioners.

Delight your senses in the vibrant San Francisco Market full of colorful local fruits and vegetables and culinary traditions. Stop by a chocolatier to learn how cacao beans are processed followed by a tasting of Ecuador's finest chocolates.

Stroll to La Compañía de Jesús for an inside tour. Built by the Jesuits in the 17th century, the church's intricate façade, lavish interiors, elaborate wood carvings and ornate, gilded decorative elements make it a true architectural gem.

After a special lunch featuring local ingredients visit the Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum, located inside a restored 17th-century colonial mansion, to view its collection of pre-Columbian art.

This evening become acquainted with fellow travelers during a welcome reception.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena (B,L,R)

Day 3: Quito | Flight to Baltra | Santa Cruz: Highlands | Puerto Ayora – Embarkation
Thursday, February 27, 2025
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport for the approximate two-hour flight to Baltra Airport. Upon arrival transfer to the Baltra Ferry Terminal to ferry to Santa Cruz Island.

A short, scenic drive across Santa Cruz brings you to the Highlands for lunch. Afterward visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll encounter the magnificent and iconic Galapagos giant tortoise, a species for which the Galapagos Islands are named. Walking among these enormous creatures is a profound and humbling experience. Gain an understanding of the comprehensive conservation efforts of maintaining and improving the environment and biodiversity in this remarkable archipelago. Also learn about the various stages of tortoise care and development, including a visit to the baby tortoise breeding area.

Visit Puerto Ayora's main street before arriving to the port where your expedition vessel, Isabela II, awaits. During embarkation take time to unpack and become familiar with your stateroom and the ship's welcoming public spaces.

This evening before dinner join fellow travelers, the captain and spirited expedition staff for a cocktail and to learn details of the activities ahead.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

Day 4: Bartolomé | Santiago: Sullivan Bay
Friday, February 28, 2025
Our island-hopping adventure takes us to Bartolomé and its spectacular beach. If desired, climb the wooden staircase (less than a half-mile distance) to reach the summit for expansive panoramic views of the Galapagos. Back at the beach see herons and Galapagos hawks and enjoy time to snorkel in the calm waters.

Set out on a panga boat for a cruise around Pinnacle Rock, formed of limestone created by the accumulation of small volcanic elements. This active spot is home to playful Galapagos penguins that share the area with sea lions and colorful fish.

After lunch explore Sullivan Bay, renowned for its otherworldly volcanic landscape. Walk through paths of extensive lava flows and photograph the unique geological formations covering the barren terrain. 

Returning to the ship embrace valuable leisure time to rejuvenate between adventures. Relax on the spacious sun deck while admiring the panoramic landscape, take a dip in the hot tub or re-energize with a workout in the fitness room.

You'll anticipate on-board meals with excitement, as each is prepared by the ship's Le Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomic director and created with top-quality organic ingredients.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 5: Santa Cruz: Dragon Hill | Santiago: Buccaneer Cove
Saturday, March 1, 2025
Arriving back to Santa Cruz at the northwest tip walk the trail to Dragon Hill. Along the way see the endemic land iguana (which resemble small dragons) and other reptiles, plus mockingbirds, Darwin's finches and yellow warblers.

Dragon Hill offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago. Enjoy leisure time to stroll the shoreline or snorkel with hopes of spotting rays and green turtles.

Cruise the coastline beside the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove and hear about the pirates, privateers and whalers who set anchor here during the 17th and 18th centuries. It's 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, namely “Elephant Rock” and an impressive natural cave.

During leisure time join a guide for a relaxing panga or glass-bottom boat ride, or snorkel or kayak.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

Day 6: Isabela: Punta Vicente Roca | Fernandina: Punta Espinoza
Sunday, March 2, 2025
This morning explore the captivating coast of Isabela by watercraft looking for wildlife, including colonies of Galapagos fur seals, 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 aboard Isabela II navigate along the Bolivar Channel where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans.

This adventure's final island destination is 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, countless marine iguanas and the famous flightless cormorant with its beguiling blue eyes.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

Day 7: Baltra – Disembarkation | Flight to Quito, Ecuador 
Monday, March 3, 2025
Bid a fond adiós to the Isabela II crew this morning prior to departing Baltra for Quito where you will spend your final night. (B,L)

Returning flights to the U.S. may begin departing late evening on Day 7 (9:00 pm and later).

For guests joining the post-tour: Depending on prevailing air schedules, guests may take an evening group flight to Lima, Peru, and overnight at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel or similar.
Overnight: Wyndham Quito Airport
Overnight: Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel  (for guests joining the post-tour)

Day 8: Quito | Depart for U.S.
Tuesday, March 4, 2025
After breakfast main program guests departing during the suggested times take a complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home.

If post-tour guests did not depart on Day 7, they will depart Quito for flights to Cusco, Peru, this morning. (B)

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

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level


Guests should be sure-footed on stairs and able to walk at least one mile on rocky, volcanic, and uneven ground. Some optional 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