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Rudder from Another Mudder - Northern Islands

Trip Length

Trip Code

10 days GSGPA

Maximum Passengers

16 people

Countries Visited

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Start City

End City

Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Rudder from Another Mudder - Northern Islands


Green turtles and pink flamingos on Isla Santa Cruz. Dolphins in the waters around Genovesa. Birds abundant on Isla Santiago. Sea lions and penguins on Isla Fernandina. Swimming with marine iguanas off Espumilla Beach. Don’t ever say the Galapagos don’t treat you good.


In 1535 the Galapagos Islands were discovered by Fray Tomas de Berlanga, the Bishop of Panama. In 1835, Charles Darwin first arrived on the HMS Beagle. In 1959 the Government of Ecuador declared the archipelago’s uninhabited areas as a national park. Then in 1978 the Galapagos was designated the first UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Rudder from Another Mudder - Northern Islands

Day to Day Itinerary

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

Perhaps 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: Fly to Baltra, visit Bachas beach

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It's time to get your cruise on. Hope you remembered thongs (aka flip-flops), bathers (aka togs, swimmers, swimming costume or swimsuit) and pajamas (aka PJs or jammies) First stop is Las Bachas beach, popular with sea turtles and flamingos.

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
Santa Cruz Island is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and marine iguanas are also commonly seen

The sand here is particularly white and soft - it's made of decomposed coral

The rocks provide great snorkelling and are the perfect habitat for the Sally Lightfoot crabs

A saltwater lagoon near to the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel, and also look out for great blue herons

Day 3: Isla Genovesa

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Genovesa is a collapsed volcanic island. We guess some volcanoes just can't handle the pressure.

Sail overnight to reach Genovesa the archipelagos north east outpost

Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself has abundant wildlife

All three kinds of boobies live here, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous other species such as tropic birds and frigate birds

Walk the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps to the heart of the seabird rookeries

Look out for storm petrels on the islands rocky plains

Cool off with a snorkel

See breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons, swallowed tail gulls, mocking birds and hopefully the vampire finch on Darwin Beach

Pass by tide pools with Sea Lions and Diamond Sting Rays and perhaps encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels while snorkelling

Day 4: Isla Santiago and Cerro Dragón

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Lots of iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions and Galapagos fur seals on the menu today. No, not the eating menu. The seeing menu. Two different things.

Walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava from an eruption that occurred in 1897

Hopefully see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and sometimes penguins

Learn about the geological history of the islands from your guide as you walk

Set sail for Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), on Santa Cruz's north coast

Walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos

Walk further to see views of the bay and the western area of the archipelago - this area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station

Bird watch, perhaps see Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers

The path can be challenging

Day 5: Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

The Galapagos giant tortoise is basically just a big tortoise. If that doesn't sound that exciting, just consider other things that increase in awesome as they increase in size: mountains, lakes, icebergs, burritos, smiles, paychecks, TV screens, dinosaurs - the list goes on.

Visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos
Puerto Ayora is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station

Perhaps go to the visitor centre and museum - learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos and see giant tortoises up close

Spend free time exploring Puerto Ayora, check your email or have a drink at a local bar and see the local’s way of life

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

Day 6: Isla Isabela and Tagus Cove

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Isabela is a pretty name for an island, which is fitting, because this is a really pretty place. If you think that sounds lame then we can't be friends anymore.

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

Day 7: Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinoza and Bahia Urbina

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It's not often the words 'lava' and 'cactus' are mentioned in the same sentence. But soon it's all you'll be talking about, because today you'll walk among actual lava cactus.

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 tortoises

Day 8: Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Buccaneer Cove is a real-life pirate hangout. Well, it was during the 18th and 19th century at least. They used to anchor in the bay (a good hiding spot) to repair ships and head ashore to fetch salt, tortoises, fresh water and firewood. Yeah, they used to eat tortoises.

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

Day 9: Daphne – Baltra – Fly Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Make one last opportunity to spot some high-flying bird action on Daphne before partaking in some high-flying bird action yourself on the flight back to Quito.

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 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 10: Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Brekkie. Goodbyes. Home. Until next time, compadre.

The adventure ends today after breakfast

Your Trip

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.

Nuts and Bolts

The services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of eight onboard the Galapagos vessel.

Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.

Accomodation on board the Nemo III

All Zodiac and shore excursions during the voyage.

All meals aboard the Nemo III.

Use of snorkelling equipment including a wetsuit during the voyage

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals




Not Included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, US$10 Galapagos transit card, US$100 Galapagos National Park fee, US$20 Isabela Island fee, other meals, drinks, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.


Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos, you will need to purchase a US$10 transit card (which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos). You must pay US$100 entrance fee to Galapagos Islands National Park upon arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos. This has be paid in US dollar cash (credit cards are not accepted).

Important Information

Please note

This trip is operated by our sister company, Intrepid Travel

Gecko's Community Trust & The Galapagos Conservancy
If, after having visited this unique and precious region of the world, you would like to make a donation towards the protection of the Galapagos, the recently launched Gecko's Community Trust is the easiest and most convenient way to do so.

The Trust supports the Galapagos Conservancy, an organisation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Galapagos conservation. It is a membership-based organisation and the largest source of private support for conservation efforts. The 11,000 Friends of Galapagos are individuals and institutions who care deeply about the Galapagos Islands, and understand the scientific importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

Funds raised by the Galapagos Conservancy support the core operations of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), both located on the island of Santa Cruz.

Please see below for details on how to make a contribution to the Gecko's Community Trust or refer to the Pledge Card provided at your pre-cruise briefing which contains details for making a donation.

Meals & Dietary requirements

All meals are included whilst on the Nemo III. There is a chef on board who cooks up local and international cuisine daily, including a buffet breakfast.

Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Peregrine of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

16 July 2014

General Contact Details

Geckos AdventuresPhone: 855-832-4853
Web: Visit Geckos