Quito and 6 Day Galapagos Sea Star Journey Cruise – Western 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 western islands. Discover the unique character of each island visited and learn about the endemic and native species, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and penguins. You will also learn about the volcanic origins of the islands. Highlights include the Charles Darwin Station on Santa Cruz Island, hiking the rim of Sierra Negra volcano, and observing the flightless cormorants on Fernandina 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.
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 (Tue): 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 (Wed): 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 (Thu): Quito-Baltra Airport-Charles Darwin Station (Santa Cruz).
Upon arrival at Baltra 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 ride to Puerto Ayora Village.
Charles Darwin Station. Although a great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn about the protection and conservation of the islands. The National Park information center, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity are the best places to learn actively about these topics. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Fri): Tintoreras-Sierra Negra Volcano (Isabela).
A delightful place called Tintoreras is reached by a nice zodiac ride. These are small islands in front of the Puerto Villamil coast. There is Heron lava on the lookout on a mangrove branch, and Galapagos Penguins and sea lions often pop out on shore. White-tipped reef sharks are fairly common in the archipelago. Their name in Spanish is Tintorera, thus the name of this site as they are always found here resting in the shallow waters.
Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in Galapagos with approximately 3,000 inhabitants. We head up to the highlands from Puerto Villamil to Sierra Negra slope, and later we will hike on uneven terrain until we arrive to the Sierra Negra volcano rim. Sierra Negra is the second widest crater in the world. From this viewpoint, you have fantastic sights to the 6×5 mile wide crater, the rest of the volcanoes, and Perry Isthmus, a 12 km wide lava field. From here we hike to Chico Volcano to watch the striking lava formations, examples of the geological occurrences that have created the Galapagos Islands. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Sat): Punta Moreno-Elizabeth Bay (Isabela).
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugated cardboard or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons, where several unique species of birds can be found.
This is a marine visitor site, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac, and therefore, there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts off with a visit to the Marielas islets where the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos is found. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves. Their red roots and green leaves are definitely an attraction. It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead while schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swim below. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Sun): Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)-Tagus Cove (Isabela).
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza which is located on the northeastern tip of the island. Just across Tagus Cove, a visitor site is found. Marine iguanas here conglomerate in larger groups in comparison to any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and may even block the way at the landing dock, a beautiful show for everyone. Among the unique species found here, we find the Flightless Cormorant. A bird that due to the lack of predators, had to adjust its way of survival and adapt its skills to find food in the ocean.
Its wings, tail and feet progressively have adapted for swimming. By looking at this species one can truly witness Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Remember to stay within 2 meters of the cormorants and penguins.
Tagus Cove consists of a tour along the cliffs. A zodiac will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin and the flightless cormorant, among other seabirds. From the landing dock, we hike 30 minutes up to the top of the cliff from where you can see the Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultra-saline lake which is saltier than the ocean itself. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove as they were written by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Mon): Espumilla Beach-Puerto Egas (Santiago).
Espumilla beach is located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the El Niño phenomenon, one of the two lagoons in this site underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attractions are the Palo Santo forest and the sea turtle nesting site.
Puerto Egas. Its black beach is located on the west side of the island and is the main attraction. Its volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt from Hector Egas’ company, to start the exploitation of salt, which failed because the price of salt in the continent was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. The project was abandoned and the company left its infrastructure. Overnight aboard the ship. (B)
Day 8 (Tue): Isla Lobos (San Cristobal)-San Cristobal Airport-Quito.
Starting at Port Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the island, Isla Lobos is reached in approximately one hour by panga. The trail will lead across a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks and sandy areas. There is a small population of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, which nest in this site. At the beach you will see a large colony of sea lions and you may see shorebirds.
After your visit to Isla Lobos, transfer to San Cristobal Airport for your flight back to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 9 (Wed): 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)
|Galapagos Suite (Main Deck)
|Sea Star Suite
- 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 Tuesday 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.
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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