16 Nights / 17 Days • Expedition Cruise
- Explore the stunning Galapagos Islands with world-class photographers, expedition leaders and lecturers
- The 96-passenger vessel is ideal: small enough to get in close, but big enough to go far afield
- Travel with top National Geographic photographers and certified photo instructors—at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you
- Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and sharing events we call “laptop galleries.”
- All skill and interest levels are welcome; our expert photographers and instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with the best photos of your life
- Non-photographers have many activities and excursions available
- Enjoy a wellness program with elements ranging from kayaking and hiking, to exercises inspired by yoga and Pilates, massage therapy, and body treatments
Galapagos Islands and Landmarks, including:
North Seymour and Rabida Island, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Dragon Hill and Guy Fawkes/El Eden and Daphne Major, Bartolome and Sombrero Chino and Genovesa (all based on approvals and conditions)
- 15 Nights on board the National Geographic Endeavour II
- 2 Nights Hotel Hilton Colon, Guayaquil
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages (including cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water), hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
- Fitness centre, plus wellness programming
- Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
- The guidance and company of our expedition staff
- Excursions – including Zodiac & kayak explorations
- Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
- Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
US$12,530 • November 24, 2017
Price is per person (based on double) in a Category 1 Cabin
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DAY 1 - U.S. / Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart U.S. and arrive Guayaquil by late evening; it’s a short drive to the Hotel Hilton Colon, where we spend the night.
DAY 2 - Guayaquil/ Galápagos Islands/Embark National Geographic Endeavour II
After the 1½ hour flight to Galápagos, we’ll board the ship. This afternoon we will begin to explore Galápagos with a landing at the beautiful Las Bachas beaches, lined with endemic coastal plants and protected saltwater lagoons. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 - North Seymour Island and Rabida Island
North Seymour Island is an uplifted piece of seafloor, home to land iguanas, sea lion colonies, blue-footed booby and frigate bird nesting colonies. We will spend the morning observing and photographing the rich wildlife of this islet as we hike the rocky trail.
This afternoon will be the first of many great snorkeling opportunities. You can also opt to kayak along the picturesque volcanic coast. Later you’ll land on the bright red sand of a charming beach and take a hike into the island to search for hawks and other land birds to photograph. (B, L, D)
DAY 4 - Fernandina Island
Fernandina Island is the youngest and most pristine island in Galápagos. The stark black lava flows are home to some of the largest marine iguana colonies in the archipelago, and the peculiar-looking flightless cormorants nest along the coast. Bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs, fun to photograph, scamper among the black rocks, and sea lions play along the coast against the dramatic backdrop of volcanoes.
Later today, sail across the channel to Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. Snorkel in a sea turtle feeding area and then take Zodiac rides along the coast to look for Galápagos fur seals and penguins. Late afternoon, gather on the outer decks to get a look inside the huge collapsed caldera of a Ecuador Volcano while crossing the Equator at sunset. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 - Isabela Island
In 1954, over half a square mile of marine reef off the coast of Urbina Bay was uplifted almost instantaneously by as much as 15ft, and evidence of this event abounds in the area. You’ll land on a turtle nesting beach of black sand, and take a couple of hike options to look for the wildlife of the area, that includes a large land iguana nesting colony and occasional giant tortoise sightings.
In the afternoon the ship repositions to the historical Tagus Cove, a sheltered bay that has been a popular anchorage for centuries of visitors, including Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle. Activities you can choose here include a scenic hike that looks over a volcanic crater with a lake inside, Zodiac rides and kayaking outings to look for penguins, flightless cormorants and shorebirds, and even some deep water snorkeling. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 - Santiago
Hike up into a coastal forest behind one of the largest turtle nesting beaches in Galápagos, you will explore the spectacular Buccaneer Cove by Zodiac and kayak, and enjoy snorkeling among the dense schools of reef fish that find refuge in the indented shoreline.
Afternoon hikes at Puerto Egas lead you through a fascinating geological landscape of mixed ash and lava flows, tidal pools and grottoes. Inhabiting the area you will find both Galápagos sea lions and fur seals, marine iguanas, land and shore birds, and brilliant Sally Lightfoot crabs. (B, L, D)
DAY 8-9 - San Cristobal
This important island is the easternmost island and the political capital of the province. We will be spending a total of two days visiting this special area. The first morning you’ll visit Punta Pitt with its fascinating geology, also the only site where all three booby species that occur in the Galápagos nest together. You will take hikes up to the plateau for wonderful views, and take Zodiac cruises along the base of the cliffs to look for red-footed, Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and possibly even snorkel and kayak among young sea lions.
This afternoon we land on the photogenic coral sand beach at Cerro Brujo, a good place to wander, swim and look for sea lions and shorebirds against a volcanic backdrop. This is also a good place to kayak, paddleboard and enjoy panga rides. Late afternoon you’ll join us on deck for sunset cocktails as we sail around one of the most impressive rocky outcrops in the archipelago, the famed Leon Dormido or “Kicker Rock.”
This second morning we are in the capital, Baquerizo Moreno, where we exchange guests who opted for the one-week program. As an exclusive excursion, we drive up will drive up to the only important freshwater body in Galápagos—a 34000m² lake at 687 meters above sea level that is formed in an old volcanic crater. On the way down we will visit a semi-captive tortoise population, including the endemic Chatham tortoise. Later, take time to explore the sleepy town, with a large sea lion colony inhabiting the picturesque waterfront. (B, L, D)
DAY 10 - Española
The oldest and southeastern-most of the Galápagos Islands, this seabird paradise is home to Darwin’s finches, Galápagos hawks, and large blue-footed and Nazca booby colonies, as well as several species endemic to this island, such as the waved albatrosses, Hood mockingbirds, and Hood lava lizards. You’ll walk among colorful red and black marine iguanas and sea lions. The morning will be spent at the spectacular Gardner Bay, home to a pristine white sand beach inhabited by extensive sea lion colonies. Activities here include exploring the beach, deep-water snorkeling, and kayaking. The afternoon will be spent hiking among the sea bird colonies at Punta Suarez. (B, L, D)
DAY 11 - Floreana
During an early morning hike at Punta Cormorant you’ll observe flamingos and shore birds, a turtle nesting beach and fascinating vegetation. Later, while at Champion Islet, you’ll spend time looking for the endangered Charles mockingbird from our Zodiacs, then don your gear to snorkel among sea lions in clear waters. During the afternoon, you’ll explore the historical Post Office Bay by Zodiac and kayak, then land on one of the same beaches Charles Darwin set foot on, and check the barrel originally set up by 18th century whalers for mail.
This morning for experienced divers we also offer a dive option with our local operator after the early morning visit to Punta Cormorant at additional cost. (B, L, D)
DAY 12 - Santa Cruz
You’ll leave the ship early and head into the lush highlands where giant tortoises forage, to explore some very different ecosystems to those encountered in the lowlands and spend time observing and photographing these relics of another age. We’ll have lunch in the highlands, then drive to visit a charming sugar cane mill located in the highlands called El Trapiche, then continue to the coast to spend the rest of the afternoon at the picturesque El Garrapatero beach.
Today on this second visit for those on the full epic program, join an exclusive photo workshop aboard ship. Experienced Scuba divers can opt to join a two-tank dive at celebrated Gordon Rocks with our local dive operator (at additional cost, experienced divers only). (B, L, D)
DAY 13 - Dragon Hill and Guy Fawkes/El Eden and Daphne Major
Today you will hike through giant cactus and incense tree forests to reach Dragon Hill, the habitat of the colorful Santa Cruz land iguanas that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Later you will have the opportunity to snorkel along the steep, invertebrate-coated walls of the islets of Guy Fawkes.
You will learn about the ground-breaking research of scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant into Natural Selection among the finches of Daphne Major as the ship circumnavigates the famous islet. (B, L, D)
DAY 14 - Bartolome and Sombrero Chino
This morning you will visit Bartolomé, an enchanting landscape where lava, mangroves and golden sand converge. You will have the opportunity for an early morning hike to the summit of the cone, with stunning views of the famous Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding volcanic landscape. Later in the morning, you will enjoy some wonderful snorkeling from the beach, where you might encounter sea lions, small reef sharks and even Galápagos penguins.
In the afternoon you will continue to explore some of the small islets just off the coast of Santiago Island, this time a small volcano called “Sombrero Chino”, due to its resemblance to a Chinese hat. The stark lava flows form tubes and caves that are an important nesting area for Galápagos penguins, and the waters bathing the shore are rich in fish life. (B, L, D)
DAY 15 - Genovesa
The National Geographic Endeavour II sails into the caldera of Genovesa, known as “bird island”, where you’ll enjoy hikes among nesting colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies all while keeping a look out for hunting short-eared owls. You’ll ride Zodiacs and kayak along the base of the caldera wall, and snorkel among large schools of parrot fish and other tropical species. (B, L, D)
DAY 16 - Galápagos / Disembark/Guayaquil
Disembark and fly to Guayaquil. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure at the Hotel Hilton Colon. (B)
DAY 17 - Departure Day
Depart Guayaquil this morning. (B)
- Ask us about affordable airfares (from Guayaquil to and from the Galapagos Islands – and internationally)
- This trip can easily be combined with a journey to the Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador’s fabulous capital, Quito, or even with a trip to Peru or Chile.
Price is per person based on two people sharing a standard room. Other room types: please inquire. Proof of insurance is mandatory; if you need to purchase trip cancellation or health insurance please inquire. For full Booking Conditions, please see thetravelsociety.com/booking-conditions/ Tour is operated by The Travel Society, Inc., 174 Spadina Ave., Suite 404, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C2, Canada; 1 (877) 926 2500; TICO Registration #1280649