Travel aboard the
Adventure deep into the Galápagos for a 5-day cruise to the western islands of Santiago, Isabela, Fernandina, and Santa Cruz aboard the luxury expedition ship, Legend. This boutique vessel was designed specifically with comfort in mind. With 52 ocean view, air-conditioned cabins, balcony suites, and an option to connect suites, families and friends can stay close together. With two daily excursions onto the islands, you’ll have the chance to snorkel, swim, kayak, and hike through the wilds before returning to the ship. Boasting three decks, there are spacious social areas and room to enjoy an outdoor BBQ, dine on the restaurant’s five-star gourmet cuisine, soak in the pool, or stargaze from the jacuzzi while sipping a handcrafted cocktail.
Arrive Baltra Island / Mosquera Islet
Arrive in the Galápagos at Baltra Island from Quito or Guayaquil where you’ll be picked up by your guides. After just a ten-minute bus ride to the pier you’ll board the Galápagos Legend.
This afternoon, explore Mosquera Islet, between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe herons and lava gulls. With no trails, the islet calls you to forge your own across the wide open sands and barren lava rock. Keep an eye out for the little sea purslane, a reddish herb that grows in the sand.
This morning, step onto the black volcanic sand beach of Egas Port on Santiago Island. Visited by Darwin in 1835, the first part of the trail is formed of volcanic ash and basalt rock. This island’s unique, layered terrain is truly striking. Home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron, lobster, starfish, marine iguanas grazing on algae, and scarlet-colored Sally Lightfoot crabs. Fur seals swim playfully in the volcanic rock pools.
Touch down on the heart of the Galápagos, Rabida Island, with its red sands and cliffs. Sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin’s finches live on this red rock. This is a fantastic place to snorkel where the marine life is particularly active, or take a dinghy ride around the cliffs to observe nesting seabirds.
After breakfast, walking along the visually stunning landscape of Urbina Bay. In 1954, volcanic activity caused a six-kilometer stretch of coral reef to shift upwards of five meters in a matter of hours. Walk along the skeletal coral garden, now home to lizards and mockingbirds. Find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant on the volcanic black beach. See a wide variety of colorful exotic flowers that attract insects, birds, and reptiles. After a short walk inland, snorkel alongside sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish.
As you travel from Urbina to Tagus Cove, your next stop, you can often spot whales, especially between May and December. This cove, named for a British warship that moored here in 1814, was used as an anchorage for pirates and whalers. You can still find the names of these ships carved into the rocks like graffiti. Hike to Darwin Lake, set within a tuff cone filled with salt water. See tree finches, Galápagos hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and sometimes the woodpecker finch. Take a dinghy ride along the shoreline to admire blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, terns, flightless cormorants, and Galápagos penguins. The largest population of penguins in the Archipelago live on this part of Isabela.
Fernandina Island / Isabela Island
This morning, walk along the lava-covered Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of marine species in the Galápagos. The largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas mingle with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galápagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galápagos hawk. Vegetation is scarce inland, with just a few cactus and mangroves along the shoreline growing out of the rope-like lava that covers most of the island.
After lunch, dive into the waters surrounding Vicente Roca Point on Isabela Island for tremendous deep water snorkeling. The upwelling of cold water currents here attracts more species of marine life than any other in the Galápagos. This area, known as the Bolivar Channel, is only accessible by water. Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants.
Santa Cruz Island / Baltra Island Airport
After breakfast, take a tour into the mountains of Santa Cruz Island to the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. Along the way, witness tree and ground finches, vermilion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets, the birds usually standing atop giant tortoise shells. This island is a convergence of the coastal zone that passes through agricultural lands and then gives rise to the dense humid forests. The reserve brings you into contact with the endangered Galápagos giant tortoise. In their natural habitat, the tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, eating grass and leaves, and wallowing in small pools.
Following the visit, you’ll return back down the mountain for the trip back to the airport for your return flight home.
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, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control.