Galápagos Islands – In Darwin’s Footsteps (Eastern Route)

Resort:Galapagos Islands
Operator: Hurtigruten Expeditions
Destination: Ecuador, Galapagos Islands
Price From: £5500.00


Embark on an extraordinary journey to the UNESCO-protected Galpagos Islands, retracing the footsteps of Charles Darwin and immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring biodiversity of this unique archipelago.

Quito: Setting Out from Beautiful Quito

Begin your adventure in Quito, a captivating city renowned for its colonial charm and vibrant culture. Spend two nights here, indulging in Ecuadorian delicacies, exploring colourful markets, and soaking in the rich history of the city. Enjoy a guided tour of Quito’s historic center and a visit to the Equator, gaining insight into the cultural and natural heritage of this enchanting region.

Galpagos Islands: Awe-Inspiring Exploration

Depart from Quito and venture to the Galpagos Islands for an unforgettable marine adventure. With an onboard Expedition Team of local guides, embark on a journey to encounter the iconic wildlife and pristine landscapes that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Explore islands such as San Cristbal, Santa Fe, Santa Cruz, and Espaola, home to an array of fascinating species including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and Blue-footed Boobies.

Experience the Galpagos Islands like never before, with opportunities for up-close encounters with wildlife through small panga boats, kayaks, and a glass-bottom boat. Discover the natural wonders of the archipelago and gain a deeper understanding of its ecological significance.

Immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of the Galpagos Islands, where every moment promises an extraordinary encounter with nature. Join us on this remarkable expedition to explore Darwin’s playground and unlock the secrets of one of the world’s most remarkable destinations.


Day 1: Vibrant Quito

Your adventure commences in the vibrant city of Quito, nestled in the lush Andean foothills at an elevation of 9,350 feet. Quito boasts an exquisite Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with colonial architecture, colorful plazas, and majestic churches. After settling into your hotel, immerse yourself in the city’s charm and explore its historic streets.

Day 2: Visit Historic Quito

Embark on a guided tour of Quito’s remarkable Old Town, renowned as one of South America’s largest and best-preserved colonial-era quarters. Wander through cobblestone streets, savoring Ecuadorian chocolate and marveling at the architectural wonders. Later, venture to the iconic ‘Middle of the World City’ to stand on the Equator line and capture unforgettable moments.

Day 3: Your Cruise Begins

After breakfast, board a short flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galpagos Archipelago. Transfer to the port and embark on the MS Santa Cruz II, your comfortable expedition ship. Begin your exploration of the Galpagos Islands with a visit to Mosquera Islet, home to a diverse array of wildlife including sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Day 4: Tortoises of San Cristbal

Journey to the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve on San Cristbal Island, a breeding center for the iconic giant tortoises. Marvel at these majestic creatures and explore the island’s natural beauty. Depending on the timing, you may also visit Cerro Brujo or Punta Pitt for additional wildlife encounters and scenic exploration.

Day 5: Santa Fe and South Plaza

Embark on a nature walk along the pristine beaches of Santa Fe Island, observing the endemic Barrington land iguanas and colonies of sea lions. Then, venture to South Plaza Island, renowned for its diverse birdlife and stunning landscapes. Enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, or glass-bottom boat excursions to further explore the marine wonders.

Day 6: Explore Santa Cruz

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, where you can learn about conservation efforts and encounter giant tortoises and Darwin’s finches. Indulge in a cooler climate and explore the lush highlands, followed by optional activities such as mountain biking or visiting a sugar plantation.

Day 7: Dramatic Espaola

Experience the extraordinary birdlife of Espaola Island, including Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and waved albatrosses (seasonal). Encounter red Espaola lava lizards and marine iguanas, and marvel at the famous blowhole known as El Soplador. Conclude the day with a visit to Gardner Bay and Osborn Islet for more wildlife encounters and water activities.

Day 8: Reef Life on Eden Islet

Explore the abundant marine life of Eden Islet, including Galpagos green turtles, rays, and reef sharks. Observe frigatebirds and snorkel among vibrant coral reefs. Sail to North Seymour Island to witness colonies of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, along with sea lions and marine iguanas.

Day 9: End of an Expedition

Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Quito, where your expedition cruise concludes. Reflect on the incredible wildlife encounters and unforgettable experiences as you depart the Galpagos Islands. Consider extending your stay in Ecuador or joining optional Post-Programs to further explore this fascinating region.



What’s Included:

  1. Flights:

    • Economy class flights between Quito and Baltra, and Baltra and Guayaquil, including all taxes.

  1. Hotel:

    • Two hotel nights in Quito before the expedition cruise, including breakfast, and dinner on Day 2.

  1. Transfers:

    • Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito before the expedition cruise.
    • Transfers between the airport and the ship in Baltra.

  1. Excursion:

    • Full-day excursion: Historic Quito & Middle of the World, including lunch, before the expedition cruise.

  1. Extras:

    • Galpagos Islands National Park admission fee.
    • Transit control card for the Galpagos Islands.
    • Access to the airport lounge at the Guayaquil (or Quito) airport upon return from the Galpagos Islands for guests flying internationally on the day of disembarkation.

  1. Expedition Cruise:

    • Accommodation in a cabin of your choice.
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages*.
    • Complimentary tea and coffee.
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board.
    • Complimentary reusable water bottle.
    • English-speaking Expedition Team organizing and accompanying activities on board and ashore.
    • Range of included activities.
    • Complimentary wetsuit rental.
    • Welcome and farewell cocktails.

  1. Onboard Activities:

    • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team.
    • Use of the Science Corner with library and microscope.
    • Photography tips and techniques from the onboard professional photographer.
    • Citizen Science Programme participation for ongoing scientific research.
    • Use of ship’s hot tubs and gym.
    • Informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings.

  1. Landing Activities:

    • Escorted landings with small panga boats.
    • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities.
    • Expedition photographers available to assist you.

  1. Notes:

    • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions.
    • Quitos altitude is approximately 9,350 feet above sea level; mild altitude sickness may be experienced during your stay.
    • Excursions and activities are subject to change.
    • Please ensure you meet all entry and boarding requirements.
    • No gratuities are expected.
    • Depending on your flight times, an additional overnight stay might be needed (not included).

What’s Not Included:

  • Additional overnight(s) if required due to international flight timings.
  • International flights.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Luggage handling.