Galapagos Voyage Central & Remote Northern Islands
Our 9-night exploration of Darwin's central and remote northern islands starts with a night in the vibrant city of Guayaquil before taking an internal flight to the Galapagos. The archipelago boasts 77 endemic species and the islands are fiercely protected and visitor numbers are strictly limited. Incredibly 97% of the National Park is pristine and untouched.
We visit nine of the islands from our base, the intimate 32-guest M/V Evolution. Highlights include stops at famed Post Office Bay on Floreana (established in 1793 by British whalers the Post Office Barrel can still be used today to send letters home) and the rarely visited Genovesa (Tower) Island, home to red-footed boobies and short-eared owls. Genovesa is often referred to as 'Bird Island' for the vast number of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest.
The M/V Evolution is a small and intimate expedition ship and is the perfect haven for relaxing in comfort between daily excursions. The ship offers an observation deck, a canopied bar and world-class service.
Typical day-by-day itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Guayaquil
Arrive into Guayaquil, Ecuador, and transfer to the Hotel Oro Verde.
Day 2 - Guayaquil / San Cristobal: Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock
Fly to the islands and board the Evolution. Stroll along the beach at Playa Ochoa, where a nearby tidal lagoon plays host to flamingos, finches and Chatham mockingbirds. At sunset, we cruise around Kicker Rock.
Day 3 - South Plaza Island
At only 426 feet wide, South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Look for yellow land iguanas on a walk to a grove of prickly-pear cactus. Non-hikers can enjoy a Zodiac ride, watching for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds and blue-footed boobies. Since there is no true trail on Mosquera Islands, you are able to stroll at your leisure.
Day 4 - Sombrero Chino Island / Santiago Island: Puerto Egas
The tiny uplifted island of Sombrero Chino – or Chinese Hat – features a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble and lava tubes. The “land” is made of a few adjacent craters and old, fragile pahoehoe lava flows. Vegetation is just starting to take hold, including colorful carpetweed plants. Enjoy a Zodiac ride and swim before lunch. This afternoon, search the tide pools of Puerto Egas for sea life. During low tide, we may see marine iguanas feeding on algae. Our naturalists will point out the birdlife, including great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons.
Day 5 - Genovesa Island
Genovesa is often referred to as “Bird Island” for the vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest. And while Genovesa harbors one of the Galapagos’ largest and most diverse bird populations, there are no land reptiles — with the exception of some very small marine iguanas. This is due to the direction of the ocean currents, which couldn’t carry the terrestrial animals here. Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to an area with colonies of red-footed boobies. Watch for short-eared owls which feed on the petrals that fly about. Explore Darwin Bay, home to the rare lava gull. While anchored at Genovesa, enjoy an opportunity to swim, kayak and snorkel in the calm caldera of this partially eroded volcano.
Day 6 - North Seymour Island / Santa Fe Island
North Seymour is the nesting site for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds and the only place where we can always find males showing their red pouches to attract females. Plus, we are sure to see blue-footed boobies perform their comical courtship dance in the open areas. Hike to a scenic lagoon, where we may observe Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds and a variety of Darwin's finches. You may kayak and snorkel from the beach.
Day 7 - Floreana Island
Walk to Post Office Bay, once used by navigators to send mail with homebound messengers. Swim and kayak in the bay before a walk along the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant. After hiking to a flamingo lagoon, spot fish and sea turtles during a relaxing stroll along the beach. Enjoy superb snorkeling at Devil’s Crown, where sea water has filled the sunken cone of an extinct volcano.
Day 8 - Santa Cruz Island
Begin our day in the forested highlands, with ample opportunity to see and photograph giant tortoises in the wild. Stop at a family run farm before learning about the work being done to study and preserve wildlife at Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center at the Darwin Research Center.
Day 9 - Galapagos / Guayaquil
Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, drifting silently through this area of mangroves. Fly to Guayaquil, with time to relax at the Hotel Oro Verde.
Day 10 - Leave Guayaquil
For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Galapagos Voyage - Darwin's Enchanted Isles
Where you stay
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
Oro Verde, Guayaquil (5 star)
In keeping with Guayaquil's status and progressive outlook, the Oro Verde Hotel is as far from the historic haciendas and mansions of the highlands as it is possible to be. A luxury five star city centre property, it is extremely opulent and has every comfort travellers could possibly need. Although it caters primarily to the business market, so do all other Guayaquil Hotels, as the city has commerce as its raison d'etre. It is, however, representative of the progressive and style conscious city itself, with acres of marble, mirrors and chandeliers, three restaurants as well as delis and ice cream parlours, an outdoor pool, gymnasium and sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi complex.
Spacious and luxurious rooms are state of the art with cable television, air-conditioning and flashy chrome bathrooms. A fifteen minute walk takes you down one of the cities most interesting shopping and people watching streets to the waterfront, or you can just relax in the air conditioned interior and enjoy the services and facilities available.
Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.
MV Evolution (5 Acorn)
This intimate ship features a great deal of public space, including an observation deck and a canopied bar on the roof deck, perfect for enjoying a snack and drink on the canopied roof deck while whale watching or chatting with fellow passengers. Two-person kayaks are also available and a doctor is aboard on every voyage and even accompanies your small group off-ship.
Each day the naturalist guides will give talks and briefings on the day’s events and about the natural and human history of the Galapagos. They will help you understand the context of what you’ve seen and help prepare you for the next day’s activities. A convenient boarding platform makes it easy and safe to board our excursion boats. You are also welcome to visit the captain and crew and learn all about the ship’s operation and navigation.
Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.
The air-conditioned cabin is the perfect haven between excursions, featuring private facilities and ample storage space.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange flights and connecting transfers to your hotel.
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. However, as this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available.
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Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 26 people (in total) are required for each departure.
Guided walking, twin centre. Managed by Headwater rep.
Selected Fridays from 9 Sep '16 to 21 Apr '17, for 10 days (9 nights).
9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners included.
Enquire about this holiday
Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.