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Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands (Grand Daphne)

Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands (Grand Daphne)

From $ 8,886 AUD

Description

When it comes to encountering wildlife up close and personal, a voyage to the Galapagos Islands really is an experience like no other. Head underwater off Isla Santa Cruz, Bartolome or Isla Isabela and you’ll be snorkelling with sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles and penguins. Look to the skies in North Seymour or Caleta Bucanero and you’ll spot boobies, pelicans and more soaring above. Head out for a wander across the volcanic landscapes of Punta Espinosa and you’ll see land iguanas and flightless cormorants. This 10-day sailing expedition through the central islands of the Galapagos is an adventure waiting to happen.

Trip Name
Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands (Grand Daphne)
Last Updated
2022-05-25
Days
10
Capacity
16
Highlights
  • Experience the benefits of small group travel aboard your vessel, M/Y Grande Daphne, sailing through the natural beauty of the Galapagos, day and night.
  • Explore the remote west coast of Isabela on a small panga boat, and venture to the far-west Fernandina, home of the highest density of marine iguanas.
  • Encounter the unique Galapagos wildlife in their natural habitat, from giant blue-footed and masked boobies, pelicans and frigate birds to iguanas, sea lions and turtles.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. The maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without notice due inclement weather or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control. Any changes to the itinerary will be undertaken with your safety and comfort in mind. There may be some early starts to the day for the scheduled activities to be conducted as per the itinerary due to specific visiting hours for some sites. All travel distances/times and durations for the activities listed in the trip notes are a guide only and are subject to change.

Day 1 - Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. This country might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but it stakes a legitimate claim as the continent's most complete package, blessed with interesting cities, perfect beaches and the remarkable Galapagos Islands. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5 pm or 6 pm tonight. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you arrive early, get out and explore Quito (2,850 m), one of South America’s most attractive cities. Stroll around the Old Town, and be sure to visit the majestic Monastery of San Francisco if you have time. Alternatively, check out Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, the local hot springs or the Equatorial Monument.
Day 2 - Isla Santa Cruz
Transfer to Quito Airport for your early morning flight to the Galapagos Islands. Keep in mind that you may leave the hotel as early as 4:30 am (a boxed breakfast will be provided). Your flight to the Galapagos Islands will make a stop in Guayaquil to refuel and pick up other passenger (total flight time is around 3.5 hours). On arrival in the Galapagos, you’ll be met in the arrivals hall by your naturalist guide and transferred to your boat, M/Y Le Grande Daphne, which will be moored close to Isla Baltra. Once on board, you’ll meet the crew, be assigned a cabin and enjoy a delicious lunch with your fellow travellers. Try on the snorkelling gear to ensure it fits, before your first snorkelling session. Wetsuits can also be hired at an additional cost. Sail from Baltra to Las Bachas, on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz, which is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. You may also see some marine iguanas. The sand here, made of decomposed coral, is particularly white and soft, and the nearby rocks make for an excellent snorkelling spot, where you might see some of the many Sally Lightfoot crabs on the island. A saltwater lagoon just near the beach is home to flamingos, whimbrel and great blue herons. Estimated travel time/distance: Isla Baltra to Las Bachas: 30 minutes; 4 nautical miles
Day 3 - Isla Rabida - Isla Santiago
Today you will sail from Las Bachas to Isla Rabida, known for its spectacular red sand beaches, caused by the high content of iron in the sand which rusts to form the unusual shade. Follow a trail from the shore along to a lagoon which is one of the best spots in the Galapagos to view flamingos. Keep an eye out for nesting pelicans, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions – all are commonly sighted on the island. Check out a vast opuntia cactus forest, hinting at the previous habitation of land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves, finches and lava lizards. You may like to take the chance to go snorkelling and seek out sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish. This afternoon, sail to Playa Espumilla, located on the northern coast of Santiago. With soft sands and calm waters, Espumilla is a favourite spot for swimming and snorkelling. Not only is this island a nesting site for marine turtles, it’s also a place to see ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish), brown pelicans and Galapagos hawks up close. It is also well known for its palo santo forest and some extraordinary lava formations. Estimated travel time/distance: Sail from Las Bachas (Isla Santa Cruz) to Isla Rabida: 3.3 hours; 23 nautical miles Isla Rabida to Playa Espumilla (Isla Santiago): 2 hours; 19 nautical miles
Day 4 - Isla Isabela - Isla Fernandina
Sail overnight from Isla Santiago around to the western shores of Isla Isabela. Wake up near Tagus Cove, where pirates and whalers used to collect tortoises for their travels. Enjoy a short visit here (approximately 2 hours), perhaps snorkelling or checking out the graffiti on the walls (the oldest of which is from 1836). Witness flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, a variety of waterfowl and the most northerly penguins in the world. You will walk to a lookout point for a stunning view of the north of Isabela Island and Volcan Wolf (Wolf Volcano). This morning, you will also visit nearby Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. It’s also volcanically active and the most westerly island, making it one of the least visited. The absence of introduced mammals gives it a unique landscape, and it boasts the highest concentration of marine iguanas in the archipelago. The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. Take a walk around the beautiful peninsula, which boasts such wildlife and plant life as lava cacti, marine iguanas, barking sea lions, tiny penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a lookout for that marvellous Galapagos predator hunting from the treetops: the Galapagos hawk. Top-notch snorkelling opportunities await in the clear waters, and turtles and sea lions can be seen swimming around and feeding on the shore. This is also a great spot to see flightless cormorants drying their atrophied wings on the rocks. Estimated travel time/distance: Playa Espumilla (Isla Santiago) to Caleta Tagus (Isla Isabela) : 8.5 hours; 80 nautical miles Caleta Tagus (Isla Isabela) to Punta Espinoza (Isla Fernandina): 50 Minuts; 4.5 nautical miles
Day 5 - Isla Fernandina - Isla Isabela
Today’s journey takes you to Vicente Roca Point, famed for its deep-water snorkelling and incredible concentration of marine life, caused by the upwelling of cold water currents. Take a dingy ride along the coast to admire the diversity of sea and coastal birds – nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants can all be seen here. In the afternoon, head to Albemarle on the northeast side of Isabela Island. Covered in mangroves, the bay is home to sea turtles, sea lions, penguins and flightless cormorants who feed on the algae and fish here. Take a walk inland and discover the remains of an old radar base from World War II and pass by pahoehoe and a’a lava formations. Another fantastic location for snorkelling, you may like to have a look beneath the water’s surface in search of sea turtles and flightless cormorants. Estimated travel time/distance: Punta Espinoza (Isla Fernandina) to Punta Vicente Roca (Isla Fernandina) 2 hours; 16 nautical miles Punta Vicente Roca (Isla Fernandina) to Punta Albermarle (Isla Isabela) 2.2 hours; 21nautical miles
Day 6 - Isla Santiago
Sail this morning to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach on the west side of James Bay, northwest of Isla Santiago, home to incredible volcanic tuff formations. Take a stroll along the beach with the native marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals. You can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. You might also end up snorkelling with a Galapagos fur seal – they’re always looking for a friend! In the afternoon travel to the northwest side of Santiago Island where you’ll find Caleta Bucanero, named after the pirates and buccaneers who once found shelter in the bay. Here you’ll have the chance to go snorkelling and take a dinghy ride to look for blue-footed boobies, pelicans and nocturnal seagulls nesting in the cliffs. Estimated travel time/distance: Punta Albermarle (Isla Isabela) to Pto Egas (Isla Santiago): 5.2 hours; 45 nautical miles Puerto Egas (Isla Santiago) to Caleta Bucanero (Isla Santiago): 1 hour; 9 nautical miles
Day 7 - Isla Bartolome - Isla Sombrero Chino
Wake up in Bartolome Island, a spectacular volcanic landscape full of spatter cones and lava flows, and home to Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. Put on your walking shoes and climb up 360 wooden steps to the summit, where an amazing view of Pinnacle Rock awaits. This is one of the most photographed sights in the Galapagos – an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, providing a focal point for two nearby bays. Hike to the top of a once-active volcano and enjoy superb views across to Bahia Sullivan on nearby Isla Santiago. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Galapagos hawk. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling among the colourful marine life. In the afternoon, travel to the small island of Sombrero Chino, found on the southeast side of Santiago Island. With lovely sandy beaches and a striking volcanic landscape, this is a fantastic place to take a hike and look out for the sea lions and penguins that rest here, and snorkel in search of reef sharks and sea turtles. Estimated travel time/distance: Caleta Bucanero (Isla Santiago) to Isla Bartolomé: 2.2 hours, 21 nautical miles Isla Bartolome to Isla Sombrero chino:1.25 hours, 7 nautical miles
Day 8 - Isla North Seymour - Isla Santa Cruz
Wake up this morning in North Seymour, one of the most visited islands of the Galapagos. First up is a walk around the island to spot some blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship, sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour. Blue-footed boobies nest on the ground while the frigate birds nest just above them in the saltbushes. As you walk, look out for land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions and the endemic incense tree. After the walk, cool off and go snorkelling and encounter a great variety of fish and perhaps some white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions. Later in the day, travel to Isla Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. Pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in the small town of Puerto Ayora. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You may also see baby tortoises and land iguanas. Estimated travel time/distance: Isla Sombrero Chino to Isla North Seymour: 1.30 hours; 18 nautical miles Isla North Seymour to Charles Darwin Station (Isla Santa Cruz) S: 3.45 hour; 31 nautical miles
Day 9 - Isla Baltra - Quito
Flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, so it’s an early start for your last morning on the islands. You will visit the Santa Cruz Highlands. Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where you can see the unique scalesia cloud forest, dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world-famous woodpecker and warbler finches. You might also glimpse a vermillion flycatcher. Then it’s time to bid farewell to the archipelago and head to the airport for your mid-morning flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. This flight takes approximately 2.5 hours with a transit in Guayaquil. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, at about 4 pm, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay. A local Intrepid representative might stop by the hotel this evening to get your feedback on the trip.
Day 10 - Quito
There are no activities planned for the day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time in Quito beforehand, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do, such as the Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, hot springs, the Equatorial Monument or perhaps city tour of the fascinating Old Town. If you want to spend more time, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability) and can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
27-09-202206-10-2022AUD $ 8,926-
27-09-202206-10-2022AUD $ 8,926-
27-09-202206-10-2022AUD $ 9,661-
27-09-202206-10-2022AUD $ 9,526-
11-10-202220-10-2022AUD $ 8,926-
11-10-202220-10-2022AUD $ 8,926-
11-10-202220-10-2022AUD $ 9,661-
11-10-202220-10-2022AUD $ 9,526-
06-12-202215-12-2022AUD $ 9,661-
06-12-202215-12-2022AUD $ 9,526-
06-12-202215-12-2022AUD $ 8,926-
06-12-202215-12-2022AUD $ 8,926-
17-01-202326-01-2023AUD $ 9,486-
17-01-202326-01-2023AUD $ 9,616-
17-01-202326-01-2023AUD $ 8,886-
17-01-202326-01-2023AUD $ 8,886-
31-01-202309-02-2023AUD $ 9,486-
31-01-202309-02-2023AUD $ 9,616-
31-01-202309-02-2023AUD $ 8,886-
31-01-202309-02-2023AUD $ 8,886-
14-02-202323-02-2023AUD $ 9,486-
14-02-202323-02-2023AUD $ 9,616-
14-02-202323-02-2023AUD $ 8,886-
14-02-202323-02-2023AUD $ 8,886-
12-05-202321-05-2023AUD $ 9,486-
12-05-202321-05-2023AUD $ 9,616-
12-05-202321-05-2023AUD $ 8,886-
12-05-202321-05-2023AUD $ 8,886-
26-05-202304-06-2023AUD $ 9,486-
26-05-202304-06-2023AUD $ 9,616-
26-05-202304-06-2023AUD $ 8,886-
26-05-202304-06-2023AUD $ 8,886-
18-08-202327-08-2023AUD $ 9,486-
18-08-202327-08-2023AUD $ 9,616-
18-08-202327-08-2023AUD $ 8,886-
18-08-202327-08-2023AUD $ 8,886-
15-09-202324-09-2023AUD $ 9,486-
15-09-202324-09-2023AUD $ 9,616-
15-09-202324-09-2023AUD $ 8,886-
15-09-202324-09-2023AUD $ 8,886-
29-09-202308-10-2023AUD $ 9,486-
29-09-202308-10-2023AUD $ 9,616-
29-09-202308-10-2023AUD $ 8,886-
29-09-202308-10-2023AUD $ 8,886-
27-10-202305-11-2023AUD $ 9,486-
27-10-202305-11-2023AUD $ 9,616-
27-10-202305-11-2023AUD $ 8,886-
27-10-202305-11-2023AUD $ 8,886-
10-11-202319-11-2023AUD $ 9,486-
10-11-202319-11-2023AUD $ 9,616-
10-11-202319-11-2023AUD $ 8,886-
10-11-202319-11-2023AUD $ 8,886-
08-12-202317-12-2023AUD $ 9,486-
08-12-202317-12-2023AUD $ 9,616-
08-12-202317-12-2023AUD $ 8,886-
08-12-202317-12-2023AUD $ 8,886-

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights),Overnight boat (7 nights)

Transport

Boat,Plane,Bus,Zodiac (Panga)

Map