Source Events: We’re delighted to have you on board for this journey of discovery to some of the most beautiful islands in the Galápagos. This itinerary will take us to the true origins of the archipelago, to a world only recently created by the titanic tectonic upheavals of our Earth’s crust, whose volcanic hot spot formed the islands in a blink of an eye in geological time. Fernandina Island is regarded as one of the most pristine island environments anywhere in the world, where life has evolved in its natural state, far from the intervention of man.
- See vibrant and abundant wildlife up close
- Snorkel near Isabela island, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles
- Stroll along the beach and observe marine iguanas and several species of Darwin’s finches
- Circle around water lagoons to catch a glimpse of Flamingos and other birds
- Non-snorkelers can enjoy a glass-bottom boat for an exploration of life underneath the waves.
Day 1: Wednesday, Arrival Casa Gangotena – Quito
Arrive in Quito
Day 2: Thursday, Casa Gangotena – Quito
After breakfast you’ll join our Source travelers for a City tour a day dedicated to exploring the lives, beliefs, cuisine and traditions of Old Town Quito, the first city named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, and a revelation to many people. Afternoon at your leisure to do more exploring and shopping. Get ready for our Welcome Dinner.
Day 3: Friday, Quito/Baltra/North Seymour
After early breakfast our adventure begins with a morning flight to Baltra Island and immediate transfer to the dock to board Yacht La Pinta. There’s an introductory welcome briefing, boat drill, cabin assignment followed by lunch. North Seymour Island following an afternoon disembarkation, we enjoy a walk along the coast and the interior of this beautiful flat island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and land iguanas. There are opportunities for coastal exploration by dinghy. Evening briefing, welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 4: Saturday, Isabela/Fernandina
Since there is no landing site at Punta Vicente Roca, the coastal exploration is by panga, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife and, depending on the conditions of the ocean, we’ll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles.
In the afternoon, we visit the youngest and most pristine island of the archipelago, Fernandina, one of many visitors’ all-time favourites. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins, flightless cormorants and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
Day 5: Sunday, Isabela
After breakfast, we disembark at Urbina Bay, on the western side of Isabela Island, The result of an uplifting of the ocean floor. Here you can see corals, shells, and large and very colorful Galápagos land iguanas, as well as (occasionally) giant tortoises. Navigating the Bolivar Channel, there are good chances of spotting several species of whales. On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries, and today makes a great visitor site. An uphill hike takes us to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. We can snorkel or ride kayaks amid the dramatic landscape before going on our hike.
Day 6: Monday, Rabida/Santa Cruz
In the morning, we disembark at Rabida Island’s red-coloured beach. A stroll along the beach allows us to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. For non-snorkelers, we can ride our glass-bottom boat for an explorations of life underneath the waves.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Our walk includes circling a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay an the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance to observe land iguanas.
Day 7: Tuesday, Santa Cruz
The morning visit heads to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are the Galápagos’ headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park Administration. A delicious lunch is served at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. After lunch, we head up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by vehicle. This is a great place to look for the emblematic Darwin’s Finches and the endemic Scalesia trees. The highlands are also great for exploring the exuberant vegetation where giant tortoises roam in the wild. This will surely be one of the most remembered visits of the whole voyage.
Day 8: Wednesday, Fernandina/Isabela
After breakfast, we land at the Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Panga rides along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can also be enjoyed. Views from La Lobería and the Baroness viewpoint are quite rewarding. There’s great kayaking and swimming from the beach as well. Before disembarking at Punta Cormorant we can snorkel or ride our glass-bottom boat along the coast of an extinct cone called “Champion Islet”. Later in the afternoon, our visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, we come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest.
Day 9: Thursday, Baltra
Our journey ends at Baltra Island, where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Baltra’s flat substrate (due to its uplifted origin) is the reason why the island was chosen back in the 1940’s as the location to building an airport.
Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, the three-story Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel in Quito harbors 31 rooms, a showcase of eye-catching style, a fine mix of classic architecture, contemporary interior design, antiques, fine furnishings, modern technology and quintessential comforts. Beautifully and eclectically-appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and relax, whether you’re in its dining room, at the glassed-in patio, in the garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, at the elegant indoors Sitting Room by the patio or atop its panoramic third-floor terrace.
October 18th – 26th, 2017
Deluxe Plus Stateroom
Port Taxes & Galapagos National Park Fees
- 2 nights Quito at Casa Gangotena including breakfast
- Quito City Tour
- Welcome Dinner in Quito
- Airport/Hotel Transfers
- Ship Accommodations
- All meals on the Ship
- Non Alcoholic Beverages
- Islands Sightseeing Tours
- Naturalist Guide and Lecture Services
- Complimentary Wet Suit
- Complimentary Snorkeling Gear
- Complimentary Wi-Fi at hotel and aboard La Pinta
- Luggage Handling
- Medical Care on board (but not the cost of medication)
- Transfers in the Islands
What’s Not Included
- International Flights
- Domestic Flights
- Post Cruise Hotel Accommodations in Guayaquil or Quito
- Travel Insurance
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Personal Expenses
Join our guides in the lounge for nightly briefings about the next day’s activities. On the following day, visit the National Park on carefully planned excursions. In between outings, it will feel as if your connection with the islands never ends, as panoramic windows in our numerous social areas offer almost permanent visual contact with the island landscapes while you are inside the ship. Or step outside with your camera and make the most of the numerous outdoor social areas, including an outdoor terrace for dining when weather permits and an observation deck that is perfect for equatorial stargazing. Relax in the hot tub, work out in the cardio-gym, or lounge on the sun deck.