Your five-night Galapagos Islands experience includes round-trip airfare from Quito to Baltra. Enjoy two nights hotel accommodation plus three nights aboard the Queen Beatriz, a motorized yacht with large en suite cabins, including air conditioning and ocean views (see cabin options under pricing). A chef prepares all meals, including breakfast and international dishes, on board.
Your small-group sailing voyage around the Galapagos Islands operates with a maximum of 6 passengers, ensuring you’ll receive personal attention from your experienced shipboard staff and crew. Your guide -- trained in conservation and natural sciences, and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service -- will inform you about the abundance of wildlife as you explore each island!
Day 1: Quito
Upon arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. You can arrive in Quito at any time, since there is no itinerary planned before an evening orientation. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception for the location of your pre-departure meeting.
The remainder of the day is yours to explore Quito at leisure. Head to the museums, churches and historical buildings of Old Town or just hang out in a local park as you watch life pass by in this fascinating South American city. Consider arriving a few days early to experience all Quito has to offer, including a dynamic Ecuadorian nightlife!
At 6pm, meet your tour representative and other travelers in preparation for your cruise to the Galapagos Islands.
Overnight: Hotel Rio Amazonas in Quito
Day 2: Quito – Isla Santa Cruz (B, L, D)
Transfer to Quito Airport for your early morning flight to the island of Baltra. When you arrive at Baltra Airport, gateway to the Galapagos Islands, you’ll transfer a short distance to your anchored catamaran, M.C. Queen Beatriz.
After you settle into your cabin, set sail for Punta Carrion, a shallow and protected cove located on the northeastern side of Isla Santa Cruz. Take your first dip in the balmy waters of this idyllic cove, ideal for swimming and snorkeling among rays and white-tipped reef sharks. Punta Carrion is plentiful with marine and birdlife, so keep an eye out for the famous blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons and great blue herons as well!
Overnight: yacht cabin en route to Isla Isabela
Day 3: Isla Isabela (B, L, D)
Wake up on the southern coast of Isla Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands. With a majestic landscape shaped by five active volcanic craters, Isabela comprises one of the youngest geological areas in the world – formed less than one million years ago. Cruise along the southern coast where clear turquoise waters lap the largest area of beaches in the Galapagos.
Stop at Las Tintoreras and look down from the wooden walkway into a narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping. Spot the occasional playful sea lion, as well as blue-footed boobies, penguins, marine iguanas and crabs that call this area home. Then, splash into the water for an opportunity to swim or snorkel with sea turtles.
Your guide will accompany you to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you’ll find five distinct giant tortoises, each recognized by the shape of their shells – from flat saddlebacks to higher, domed-shaped shells – a result of different foods and habitats.
Then, visit the infamous Wall of Tears (El Muro de las Lágrimas), a volcanic stone wall built by prisoners of a penal colony as punishment. The historical site reaches 65 feet (25 meters) high and took the lives of thousands during its construction from 1946 to 1959.
Overnight: yacht cabin
Day 4: Isla Floreana (B, L, D)
Isla Floreana is rich in wildlife and natural wonders – a highlight of any Galapagos Islands cruise. Go ashore at Punta Cormorant, best place to see Galapagos sea lions who rest on the exquisite beach. Step into fine sand made up of olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral that gives the beach its olive-green color.
Look for pink flamingos and other water birds wading in the lagoons, including pintails and stilts. Just offshore, spot the Devil’s Crown – an old, eroded volcanic cone that’s a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, frigates and red-billed tropicbirds that can also be seen nesting in the rocky crevices.
Don your snorkeling gear and head to center of the cone, quite possibly the most remarkable snorkeling spot in the entire Galapagos archipelago, full of sea lions and colorful fish.
On Floreana you’ll also find Post Office Bay, where 18th-century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop – a custom that continues to this day. Visitors can post their own letters or check if there is any mail to deliver back home.
Overnight: yacht cabin
Day 5: Isla Santa Cruz – Quito (B, D)
Visit the Galapagos’ second largest island, Isla Santa Cruz, home to the Charles Darwin Research Station located in the small town of Puerto Ayora. Head to the station's visitor center and museum to learn more about the archipelago's natural and human history.
Here, delve into the mysteries of evolution and hear about the foundation’s conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. Observe giant tortoises in very stage of development, including hatchlings and older turtles – all part of the foundation’s breeding program to reintroduce the giant tortoises to their natural habitat.
In the afternoon, cruise back to the Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, transfer back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Hotel Rio Amazonas in Quito
Day 6: Quito (B)
Enjoy a final visit with your cruise mates over breakfast before completing your trip in Quito. Since there is no itinerary planned for your day, you can depart the accommodation at any time. Please ask for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities if you’d like to explore Quito on your own.
Stretched out along a central Andean valley beneath Volcan Pichincha, Quito offers plenty to do. Consider a guided hike at Cotopaxi National Park or a visit to Equator Monument (each at your own expense). Ask your tour representative about more options, or simply stroll the city’s colonial streets or browse for souvenirs.