Fish and Ships - Northern Islands

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito
Frigatebird spotting
  • See giant tortoises lumbering the Santa Cruz highlands, spy all manner of birdlife in Tagus Cove and snorkel with turtles and sea lions in Punta Espinoza. Stroll along Bahia Urbina’s coral-strewen shores and visit a former pirate hideout in Buccaneer’s Cove.


    For some of the best snorkelling in the Galapagos, head to The Devil’s Crown, just north of Cormorant Point. The Crown consists of an almost completely submerged volcano, and is home to brightly-coloured fish, sea turtles, rays, penguins, marina iguanas, eels, reef sharks and much more. 


    Day 1 - Quito

    Explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the highest capital city in the world with a judicial building. La Paz, in Bolivia, is the actual highest capital city in the world, but it doesn't have a judicial building. Who would've thought a judicial building could make such a difference?

    Attend a welcome meeting in the evening, check with the hotel reception for details

    Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day

    Wander through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and explore the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco, see The Baroque art and architecture when visiting the churches, monasteries and public buildings

    Perhpas head for one of the many viewpoints over the city, El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes, the 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city

    La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain also offers great views

    Day 2 - Baltra - Santa Cruz Highlands

    Fly to Baltra and get acquainted with your floating home. You're off to the highlands today. It's not going to be anything like the Scottish Highlands, so put your Braveheart costume away. This one is full of giant tortoises.

    Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to the Galapagos Islands (you may depart as early as 4am)

    A US$10 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival - have cash on hand for these transactions to save time
    You'll be met and transferred to the boat (the Nemo III) when you arrive

    You'll be assigned cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over lunch

    Head to the highlands of Santa Cruz for a total change of scenery

    Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests, where you'll see 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 as well as vermillion flycatcher

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove

    Meet two of our favourite gals today - Isabela Island and Elizabeth Bay. Isabela is all about birds, marine life and lava flows. Elizabeth prefers penguins, blue-footed boobies and snorkelling.

    Visit the archipelago's largest island, pay a USD$20 island entrance fee

    Spend the morning at Punta Moreno on the south west coast

    Enjoy beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of 3 active volcanoes, flamingos, and incredible lava formations

    Walk on top of the black lava field with views of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul, perhaps see brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves, lava and candelabra cactus, and Lava lizards

    Walk by brackish water lagoons covered with several different plants where pink flamingos, ducks and black neck stills res

    Reboard the boat for some snorkelling

    Visit Tagus Cove  for around two hours - snorkel, check out ancient graffiti on its walls, observe flightless cormorants, penguins, blue footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinoza and Bahia Urbina

    Lava cactus are a thing, apparently. Take a walk among them on Fernandina today. You can't miss the colourful marine iguanas at Bahia Urbina, either.

    Visit nearby Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands

    The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano

    Walk around the peninsula and see lava cacti, marine iguanas piled on top of each other, barking sea lions along the beach, flightless cormorants, tiny penguins, and Sally Lightfoot crabs

    Look out for the biggest predator of the Galapagos Island, The Galapagos Hawk

    Snorkel in clear waters to see turtles and sea Lions swimming and feeding on the shore

    Visit Urvina Bay  - a very interesting place

    Go for a walk and find shells, coral, Darwin´s Finches and the beautiful colour of the Galapagos cotton, as well as land iguanas and Galapagos giant tortoise

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

    It's all about the iguanas today. However, we're more partial to the fur seals and little Sally Lightfoot crabs, because they are super cute (not that the iguanas are ugly but, well... they won't be winning any beauty prizes in a hurry).

    Puerto Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island

    See volcanic tuff formations, along with marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, California sea lions, Galapagos fur sea lions and lava grotos

    Visit tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish

    Snorkel with California sea lions and Galapagos fur sea lions
    Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, is an important nesting site for marine turtles, it also has waves and is also a favourite among beach lovers

    Perhaps see Galapagos hawks up close, ghost crabs, blue footed boobies plunging for fish and brown pelicans, as well as the Palo Santo Forest and some lava formations

    View the geology of volcanic ash (Tuff) of Buccaneer’s cove

    Find remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past, hence the name Buccaneer Cove - Darwin camped for a nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife

    Maybe snorkel again

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Isla Daphne – Baltra – Fly Quito

    Last chance for bird watching today, before the short flight back to civilisation.

    Visit Daphne island, a peculiar landscape shaped by volcanic activity

    Do some bird spotting and find a variety of seabirds such as blue-footed and masked boobies, terns, petrels and even frigate birds

    Farewell to The Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for your flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour

    Upon arrival in Quito Airport, transfer back to the hotel for an overnight stay


    Day 7 - Quito

    The trip winds up after breakfast. Make sure you shake the sand out of your shoes and wherever else it might have accumulated.

    The adventure ends today after breakfast, there are no activities planned for this day

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Bus, Motorised Yacht, Plane, Zodiac
2 nights Hotel, 4 nights Motorised Yacht
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

What to know

On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park and a US$10 transit fee.  A US$20  fee is also to be paid on arrival on Isabela Island.

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