Quito and 6 Day Galapagos Sea Star Journey Cruise – Southern Islands
9 Days/8 Nights
From $6,509 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Set off on a six-day cruise aboard the Galapagos Sea Star Journey to the archipelago’s southern islands. Discover the unique character of each island visited and observe endemic and native species, including sea lions, giant tortoises, and waved albatrosses. You will also learn about the volcanic origins of the islands. Highlights include the Breeding Center on San Cristobal Island, the flamingo lagoon on Floreana Island, and snorkeling with sea lions on Sant Fe Island.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 8 nights (3 nights in Quito and 5 nights aboard the Galapagos Sea Star Journey), and 18 meals (8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners).
Best Time to Go: Year-Round.
Destinations: South America, Ecuador, and Galapagos.
Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Sea Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Wildlife Viewing.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Española Island, Floreana Island, North Seymour Island, San Cristóbal Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Fe Island, and South Plaza Island.
Note: The route and program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters.
Dry Landing: Guests step from the dinghy directly onto rocks or a dock.
Wet Landing: As the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Day 1 (Sun): Quito.
Depart to Quito. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito.
Day 2 (Mon): City Tour of Quito-Middle of the World.
In the morning, you will have a city tour of Quito. You will explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, and visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compania and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. You will drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan and finish the morning at the Panecillo hillside, with its breathtaking views of the old and modern parts of the city.
Following the city tour, you will be driven to the “Middle of the World City” complex, which is located 11 miles north of Quito. Here, you will see the monument of the equatorial line, a 98 foot high stone trapezoidal monument with a brass globe on top. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 3 (Tue): Quito-San Cristobal Airport-Puerto Chino and Breeding Center (San Cristobal).
Upon arrival at San Cristobal Airport, visitors must go through an inspection to verify that no foreign plants or animals are being introduced to the islands. An entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid) must be paid to the Galapagos National Park in order to conserve the islands. A representative of the M/Y Galápagos Sea Star Journey will meet you outside, help collect your luggage, and escort you by bus to the harbor.
In the afternoon, you will visit Puerto Chino. It is rife with huge cactus over the trail like trees. Once you get on the beach, you will enjoy its surroundings with its wildlife. Sea lions share the beach with people so its common see the puppies playing and swimming. Enjoy the deep blue waters with the waves and tide, occasionally there is wildlife to see, especially tortoises.
After, you will visit the Breeding Center Jacinto Gordillo, also known as the “Galapaguera”. It is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat. San Cristobal island has endemic species such as: Mockingbird Nesomimus melanotis, lava lizard (Microlophus bivittatus), Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus leei) and the tortoises. All of these species can be observed in this place, the beach is large and it works as a nesting zone for marine tortoises. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Wed): Suarez Point-Gardner Bay (Espanola).
Suarez Point is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the oceanfront, the large, waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air at least from 50 to 75 meters high. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay offers an excellent beach to relax, swim and even kayak, plus the opportunity to observe sea lions (Zalophus wolle-baki). Here we can also observe sharks in the clear ocean waters.
At this place one can see three species of Darwin finches: A subspecies of the large-billed cactus finch (Geospiza fuliginosa), which is similar to the large-billed terrestrial finch; The small-beaked ground finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the singing finch (Certhidea Olivacea) which is another endemic subspecies. Both resident and migratory birds are observed.
It is worth to notice that this zone is really important for marine tortoises nesting, specially the (Chelonia mydas). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Thu): Punta Cormorant-Post Office Bay-Baroness Lookout (Floreana).
Punta Cormorant. This site offers probably the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It is situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
Post Office Bay. Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by marines and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. We will continue to the north of the island and will ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) the ruins of what is known as her House can be seen. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Fri): Santa Fe-South Plazas.
Santa Fe. Located on the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift, which is why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is also the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of land Iguanas on the islands. After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters, you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail, many salt bushes can be seen as well giant as Pickly pear cactus. Gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fish.
South Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found at other islands. Throughout the island we may see several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is given due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food, which encourages reproduction and adaptation. Swallow Tailed Gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other seabirds such as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Sat): North Seymour-Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz).
North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) 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. 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 a silvery-blue. This truly is one of the most varied and interesting experiences you will live through.
Bachas. These two small beaches are found to the West of 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 it is occasionally 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 strategic point to protect the Panama Channel. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8 (Sun): Mosquera-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach, where lie a big population of sea lions. You can also observe several species of shorebirds. This site offers great snorkeling and swimming. Along the rocks are commonly running Red Lava crabs or Sally light-foot crabs. Transfer to Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 9 (Mon): Quito.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
|Galapagos Suite (Upper Deck)||$12,989||$6,509||$6,039|
|Galapagos Suite (Main Deck)||$14,149||$7,089||$6,579|
|Sea Star Suite||$15,289||$7,659||$7,119|
- The above prices are valid until December 20, 2020.
- Triple rates are based on one child under 12 sharing a cabin with two adults paying full fare.
- There is a high season surcharge to be determined.
Alternating Sunday Departures Throughout the Year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Three nights accommodations at Swissotel Quito (or similar).
- City tour of Quito/Middle of the World.
- Accommodations on board the M/Y Galapagos Sea Star Journey.
- All meals scheduled on board (including water, coffee, and tea) and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
- Use of kayaks.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Use of wetsuits.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Quito & Galapagos
Group Private: Group Private: All services in Quito are private and all services in the Galapagos are operated on a group basis.
Elevations: Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level.
IGTOA’S Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund: South American Vacations is an active member of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association). In support of IGTOA’s Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, we contribute $20 for each passenger that we send to the Galapagos Islands. You’ll travel knowing that you support the lasting protection of Galapagos Islands.
Sixty percent of the funding of this program goes directly to the Charles Darwin Foundation for science, conservation, and education. Their work, carried out through the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park, is vital to the preservation of the islands. You can visit their web site to learn more www.darwinfoundation.org. The remainder goes toward IGTOA’s mission of creating a model of responsible and sustainable tourism.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $3,400 per person in Single Occupancy, $2,300 per person in Double Occupancy, and $2,200 per person in Triple Occupancy, plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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