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Galapagos Travel

San Jose Central Western

Itinerary A

from $4,100
8 days

Ship Name

M/Y San Jose

Trip Type

Sea

When To Go

Year Round

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Trip Summary

This comprehensive 8 day yacht expedition primarily explores the remote and exclusive western islands of Isabela and pristine Fernandina, which are both just recently born out of fire. After rounding Isabela clockwise we will return to the heart of the archipelago for several landings at Santiago and its satellite islets, before finishing on and around Santa Cruz and North Seymour. This cruise itinerary includes two nights of quiet rest at fairly calm anchorage-sites.

Activities
Zodiac Tours
Snorkeling
Photography
Birding

Itinerary Day By Day

Day 1

Santa Cruz

Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor. In the afternoon you visit Las Bachas- actually two small beaches found to the West of Black Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles.  Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels.  The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.

Day 2

Isabela Island

In the morning, a nice zodiac ride to a trip highlight- the "Tintoreras”, small islands in front of Puerto Villamil coast. There is Heron lava on the lookout on mangrove branch, and Galapagos Penguin and sea lion often pop out on shore. White-tipped reef sharks are fairly common in the archipelago. Their name in Spanish is Tintorera, thus the name of this site as they are always found here resting in the shallow waters. This afternoon the wetlands close to Puerto Villamil village will be visited. There are a few lagoons, swamps and mangroves, primarily known for their migrant bird populations. One of the most attractive species to be seen is the flamingo. You will also visit the Arnaldo Tupiza breeding center, where giant tortoises are reared in captivity on Isabela, to better protect the main sub specie of this island. The Wall of Tears also known as ‘Muro de las Lagrimas’ is another point of interest; the wall was constructed of clocks of lava rock between 1946 and 1959, when Isabela was a penal colony. 

Day 3

Isabela Island

Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugated or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons, its main attraction are several species of birds which can be found around this lakes and mangroves. At Tagus Cove, a tour along the cliffs in a zodiac will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where you can view Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultrasaline lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove. It has been written by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries.

Day 4

Fernandina & Isabela Islands

Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza located at the northeastern tip of the island. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and some time block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Cormorant. This bird had to adjust its way of survival and perfection its skills of finding food in the ocean. Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. To see these birds, is to witness evolution happening right in front of you, At the north-western tip of Isabela Island lies the visitor site Punta Vicente Roca. During a panga ride we will observe impressive geological formations including a large cave and volcanic tuft cones. The cliffs are home to a variety of nesting birds, including Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and Brown Noddy Terns. The calmer waters within the cave are a popular area for sea turtles. Above all, Punta Vicente Roca is an excellent snorkeling area due to the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current. There is good possibility to spot sea lions, penguins, sea turtles and other marine life. 

Day 5

Santiago Island

Espumilla beach is located at the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the “El Niño phenomenon”, one of the two lagoons of this site underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attraction is the palo santo forest. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles. At the nearby Buccaneers Cove we have a great snorkeling opportunity.  In the afternoon explore Puerto Egas, a black beach located at the west side of Santiago Island. Volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach and this is the main attraction of the Island. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of company of Hector Egas, to start the exploitation of salt, which failed because the price of salt on the continent was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. The project was abandoned and they left their infrastructure.

Day 6

Rabida & Chinese Hat

Rábida Island is unique because of the red color of the rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous and external factors as rain, salt water and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent.
A short walk along a trail lead us to a coastal lagoon behind the beach, which permits the observation of land birds, such as finches, doves, yellow warblers and mocking birds. At the lagoon there is a colony of flamingos. The beach is often full with sea lions, and there are good snorkeling opportunities. Chinese Hat is a small islet (1 sq km) located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, shaped like a Chinese hat when seen from north side. On the west side lava formations may be observed, formed under the sea and raised upward, this is why coral heads are found on the lava. This is an excellent visit for interpretation of geological features such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is covered by sea lions colonies, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.

Day 7

Santa Cruz Island

Some of the main attractions on Santa Cruz are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall and the Charles Darwin Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity which you will visit.  In the afternoon, tortoises in a more natural environment are on the roster as you venture into the "Highlands" of the island.  The road to the highlands leaves from Bellavista, a small village located at a 15 minute drive from Puerto Ayora and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone.  With clear weather (unpredictable) this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round. Here you will visit the Twin Craters, which are two pit craters. You will visit as well a local ranch where we can observe the Giant Tortoise specie of Santa Cruz Island in its natural habitat. After our Highlands visit, we will return to Puerto Ayora and the yacht.

Day 8

North Seymour

You end your Galapagos epxloration with a spectacular excursion to North Seymour, an uplifted (different to volcanic origin) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing. Watch your step, as the boobies don't worry much about where they nest, and you might just step on one. The trees are dotted with male frigate birds trying to attract the attention of the ladies by inflating their bright red skin flaps (seasonal activity). They sometimes fly in the air to call more attention to themselves. There's a circular path that takes you through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash with a silvery-blue color.

Later, a transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.

Dates & Rates

Please click on a column header to view cabin photos and descriptions.

Departure DateStandard Cabin
 Mar 7 - Mar 144100
 Mar 21 - Mar 284100
 Apr 4 - Apr 114100
 Apr 18 - Apr 254100
 May 2 - May 94100
 May 16 - May 234100
 May 30 - Jun 64100
 Jun 13 - Jun 204100
 Jun 27 - Jul 44100
 Jul 11 - Jul 184100
 Jul 25 - Aug 14100
 Aug 8 - Aug 154100
 Aug 22 - Aug 294100
 Sep 5 - Sep 124100
 Sep 19 - Sep 264100
 Oct 3 - Oct 104100
 Oct 17 - Oct 244100
 Oct 31 - Nov 74100
 Nov 14 - Nov 214100
 Nov 28 - Dec 54100
 Dec 12 - Dec 194100
 Dec 26 - Jan 24100
 Jan 9 - Jan 164295
 Jan 23 - Jan 304295
 Feb 6 - Feb 134295
 Feb 20 - Feb 274295
 Mar 6 - Mar 134295
 Mar 20 - Mar 274295
 Apr 3 - Apr 104295
 Apr 17 - Apr 244295
 May 1 - May 84295
 May 15 - May 224295
 May 29 - Jun 54295
 Jun 12 - Jun 194295
 Jun 26 - Jul 34295
 Jul 10 - Jul 174295
 Jul 24 - Jul 314295
 Aug 7 - Aug 144295
 Aug 21 - Aug 284295
 Sep 4 - Sep 114295
 Sep 18 - Sep 254295
 Oct 2 - Oct 94295
 Oct 16 - Oct 234295
 Oct 30 - Nov 64295
 Nov 13 - Nov 204295
 Nov 27 - Dec 44295
 Dec 11 - Dec 184295
 Dec 25 - Jan 14295

View Rate Notes

The above rates are per person, based on double occupancy and in US dollars unless indicated otherwise.

Deposit: 25% of fare per person, higher for Peak Season / Holiday Sailings. Deposits may be paid by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express).

Final Payment: Due 90 days prior to departure.  For Peak Season / Holiday Sailings due 120 days prior to departure.  Final payment is payable by check or wire only.

Additional Costs:

  • Single: Twin / Double Cabins for single use have a surcharge of 80%.
  • Solo travelers allowed to book twins at twin rate on a sharing basis. Inquire for details.
  • Triples:  Main Deck Suite can accommodate 3. Third person pays Standard Cabin rate.
  • Christmas surcharges range from $200 per person to $400 per person, inquire for details.
  • New Year's surcharge: $400 per person
  • Child Discount: Children under 12 are 20% off when sharing with 2 full paying adults
  • Galapagos National Park Fee of $100 per adult | $50 per child 11 and under
  • Transit Control Card: $20 per person
  • Airfare to the Galapagos: $500 per adult
  • Wet suit rental: $40 per person
  • Pre and Post Hotels and Transfers: Package rates available

Holiday / Peak Season Dates: Christmas Dec 19 - 26, 2017 & New Year's Dec 26 - Jan 2, 2018

Child Policy: Children accepted, infants on request. Children under 12 sharing a cabin with their parents or guardians are 20% off with two full fare-paying guests.

Included: Accommodations on board, all meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish, snorkeling gear, luggage handling, medical care on board (but not the cost of medication), taxes, and shuttle transfers in the islands, transfers in Quito or Guayaquil.  

Not Included: Wet suits (available to rent $40 per person per departure), Air to the galapagos, Galapagos National Park Fee ($100 adult / $50 child), Transit Control Card $20, Fuel Surcharge $50, alchoholic beverages & soft drinks, internet / wifi, international air, hotels in Quito or Guayaquil pre and post cruise, transfers (other than indicated above)

Cancellation Policy:  Cancellations must be received in writing. All deposits are refundable up to 120 days, less a per person operator fee (varies by operator) ranging from $250 - $500 per person. Reservations cancelled after final payment due date will lose the full cruise fare.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised.

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

Pay 2017 Rates For 2018 Trips

Galapagos - Pay 2017 Rates for 2018 Trips

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Ship Information

M/Y San Jose - 16 Passengers

The San Jose is one of the larger 16 passenger yachts in Galapagos, and its design leaves ample room for a large sun and shaded deck, both with lounge chairs. This outside deck space is excellent for relaxing, enjoying panoramic views and wildlife observation. The interior part of the main deck contains the cozy living/dining room with comfortable sofas, rectangular tables, a buffet bar and a coffee station where coffee, tea and water are available for free. The lounge also contains a a flat screen home cinema, DVD-player and a small library that facilitates the on-board naturalist presentations. Cabins are relatively spacious with private bathroom and doors that open right onto an outdoor promenade. All cabins are located in the quieter upper front half of the yacht, and not directly above or next to the engine room, making for quieter overnights.

Accommodations

Trip Policy

Included: Accommodations on board, all meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish, snorkeling gear, luggage handling, medical care on board (but not the cost of medication), taxes, and shuttle transfers in the islands, transfers in Quito or Guayaquil.  

Not Included: Wet suits (available to rent $40 per person per departure), Air to the galapagos, Galapagos National Park Fee ($100 adult / $50 child), Transit Control Card $20, alchoholic beverages & soft drinks, internet / wifi, international air, hotels in Quito or Guayaquil pre and post cruise, transfers (other than indicated above)

Cancellation Policy:  Cancellations must be received in writing. All deposits are refundable up to 120 days, less a per person operator fee (varies by operator) ranging from $250 - $500 per person. Reservations cancelled after final payment due date will lose the full cruise fare.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised.

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

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