Galápagos — West & Central Islands aboard the Monserrat

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Overview

Picture it: the Galápagos, viewed from the deck of the comfortable Monserrat as she cuts through blue waters bound for another island paradise loaded with natural splendour. But it’s not just a “look but can’t touch” situation – on this trip, you’ll get up-close and personal with aquatic wildlife like sea lions and turtles, hike over volcanic lava flows to check out the landscapes of Bartolomé, and relax on the stunning white-sand beaches of Santiago. Get out onto the high seas and start making better memories.

Itinerary

Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Quito/Puerto Ayora

Early flight to Baltra. Meet the guide and transfer across the island of Santa Cruz to Puerto Ayora to board the ship. Take an afternoon excursion to the highlands to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Upon arrival, meet the naturalist guide, who will assist with the transfer to the Monserrat moored in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sullivan Bay/Bartolomé Island

Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island to see giant lava formations contrasting the white-coral sand beach. Continue to Bartolomé for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Bachas Beach/Cerro Dragón

Visit the beach on Las Bachas and relax or swim in the crystal waters. Continue to Cerro Dragón on the west coast of Santa Cruz to see land iguanas and a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds.

Visit Bachas Beach in the morning, located on the northeastern tip of Santa Cruz Island. A great beach to stroll on with crystalline waters perfect for swimming, Bachas Beach also gives visitors the opportunity to see frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.

In the afternoon, visit Cerro Dragón, on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. See land iguanas as well as a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and various species of birds.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Black Turtle Cove/Mosquera Islet

Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove before navigating back to Baltra for lunch. In the afternoon, sail to Mosquera and walk along the beach and observe the vast sea lion colonies.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Isabela Island

Arrive at Puerto Villamil, home to the small community that lives on Isabela Island. In the morning, hike the Sierra Negra volcano, which has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galápagos. Visit Las Tintoreras and the tortoise breeding centre in Puerto Villamil in the afternoon.

In the morning, visit Las Tintoreras, a small island in front of Puerto Villamil. Its bay is known to be home to a colony of whitetip sharks. Check out the tortoise breeding centre to see some of the famous giant tortoises of the Galápagos.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Chinese Hat/Rábida Island

Visit Chinese Hat for snorkelling opportunities and to observe the birds and sea lions. Take an afternoon excursion to Rábida to see a lagoon and sea lion colony.

In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Puerto Egas/Santiago Island

Morning excursion to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools. Continue to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which boasts thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Head to Buccaneer Cove to witness the towering cliff wall rock formations.

Morning excursion to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Continue to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools.

Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: North Seymour/Quito

Visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies. Disembark at Baltra and fly back to Quito.

Visit North Seymour, just north of Baltra, home to sea lions, marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, magnificent frigatebirds, and blue-footed boobies.

Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for a flight to Quito. Flights from Baltra to Quito depart between 10:00am and 1:00pm depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into Quito between 2:30pm and 5:30pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will arrive back at the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 10: Quito

Depart at any time.

Includes: Breakfast

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