Travel aboard the
Travel to southern Galapagos islands of San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, and Santa Cruz on a cruise designed for families and explorers of all ages. Multilingual naturalist guides provide exceptional learning opportunities by leading shore excursions twice a day, and delivering talks about geology, history, evolution, flora and fauna of the islands are provided in several languages. The charming Coral I & II boast elegant sea-view cabins and suites, ample outer decks with jacuzzi and pool, and a fine selection of meals from buffet breakfast and gourmet dinners to evening barbecues.
San Cristóbal Island
Arrive in the Galápagos where your guides will shuttle you to the pier to board the Coral I & II.
Before boarding, guests visit the interpretation center in San Cristóbal. Learn about the nature and history of the islands, including the Galápagos’ volcanic origins, native species, and colonization. Guests also have the opportunity to hike the Tijeretas Hill. This one-hour high-intensity hike offers beautiful views of the island and ends with a large frigate bird colony including, if lucky, the San Cristóbal mockingbird.
San Cristóbal Island
This morning, visit Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill), a lava formation surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches. Snorkel, sunbathe, or explore the nearby lagoon, which is home to many migratory birds including black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, sandpipers, and white-cheeked pintails. Cerro Brujo also offers gorgeous views of Kicker Rock, an islet off the southern coast of San Cristóbal.
This afternoon, embark on a hike along olivine mineral beaches leading to a steep climb to the top of a volcanic tuff, taking in several magnificent viewpoints. See three of the Galápagos’ rare booby species and two types of frigate birds plus a sea lion colony. Guests can also opt to explore the area on a dinghy ride, kayak, or snorkel the crystalline waters as a wide range of seabirds fly overhead.
Today, step onto one of the most unique and oldest islands in the Galápagos, Española Island. Due to its isolation from the rest of the islands, wildlife and plants are some of the most unique in the region. Hike to the nesting grounds of the Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, Galápagos dove, Galápagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls, and see the world’s largest colony of waved albatrosses. The mating season, April to December, provides an unequivocal experience for bird enthusiasts. Other unique inhabitants include turquoise marine iguanas, lava lizards, and colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs. Admire the the infamous “Soplador,” a naturally occurring blowhole made from waves rushing into the volcanic sea caves. Water can shoot up to 23 m. (75 ft.) into the air.
Gardner Bay is a beautiful white coral sandy beach guarded by a colony of sea Lions. Here, there are no trails. Explore the shores, spotting Española Island’s many birds, including three species of Darwin finches, the cacti finch, small ground finch, and the warbler finch. Swim and snorkel among king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, and parrot fish.
Hike through black mangrove beds to a lagoon where the largest flamingo population in the Galápagos lives. Explore the white sand beaches to arrive at one of the most important nesting sites for green sea turtles. Floreana Island features exotic plants only found here, such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, Galápagos Milkwort, and holy stick. Swim or snorkel among amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions, even white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins can sometimes be observed as well.
On the north side of Floreana drop an unstamped postcard into the centuries-old post office. A wooden barrel, installed by Captain James Colnett in 1793, served as an informal post office for sailors passing through. Today, visitors place unstamped postcards inside the barrel hoping another traveler, going to the letter’s destination, will deliver it. This side of the island also boasts Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, lava lizards and fantastic snorkeling opportunities amongst green sea turtles and groups of playful sea lions.
Santa Cruz Island / Departure
Set off into the mountains of the Galápagos for the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. Admire tree and ground finches, vermilion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets along the way. The road winds through the varied landscape of the island, from the coast through the agricultural zone up to the dense humid forests. Giant Galápagos tortoises are often seen wandering through pastures on the way. This is a birdwatcher’s haven. Nearly every land bird of the Galápagos lives or migrates here.
Following the visit, guests return to the airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
NOTE: The above itinerary reflects the intended program, however, should be read as a guide only. The actual itinerary will depend on weather conditions, wildlife encounters, any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control, as well as to readjustment of National Park policies and regulations.