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A comprehensive voyage around the western islands of the Galapagos archipelago, discovering pristine environments and astounding wildlife.

This trip includes visits to several islands of the Galapagos archipelago, starting at Santa Cruz where you can get up close to giant tortoises at the breeding centre. You then spend a couple of days exploring Isabela, home to South American fur seals and Galapagos penguins, not to mention the birdlife to be found in the island’s lagoons. 

Continue your voyage to Fernandina Island, an active volcano with rugged slopes and unusual lava formations, before landing at the intriguing red beach of Rábida and seeking out the land iguanas of Cerro Dragón. Finally, end with a visit to Santiago and its tiny neighbouring island, Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) - a fairly recent volcanic cone, home to sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, marine iguanas and lava lizards.

A typical 8 day Western Islands itinerary is shown below, on board Anahi, however we offer a variety of other voyages, durations and vessels.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive at Baltra airport and transfer to vessel

    After settling in, you head up to the highlands of Santa Cruz, which offer a lush green contrast to the beaches and lowlands elsewhere on the island, and where there is a chance to observe giant tortoises in the wild (July to mid April) if weather conditions are good.

  2. Day 2: Isabela: Sierra Negra Volcano & tortoise breeding centre

    This morning, visit Sierra Negra, one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos, and one of five volcanos on the island of Isabela. Enjoy some stunning views here before an afternoon visit to the tortoise breeding centre and the island's wetlands, home to a variety of unique bird species such as whimbrels, gallinules and white-cheeked pintails.

  3. Day 3: Isabela: Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay

    Remaining around Isabela Island, visit Moreno Point on the west coast of the island, where you can hike along the paths with good chances of seeing flamingos, turtles and even white-tip reef sharks along the coast. Nearby is Elizabeth Bay, where the rocks play host to many blue-footed boobies.

  4. Day 4: Isabela: Tagus Cove & Urbina Bay

    Today the plan is to land at Tagus Cove on the northwest of Isabela - this inlet provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Highlights here include Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants. An uphill hike takes you to the rim of Darwin Lake, a crater filled with salt water, and to a dramatic viewpoint. 

    Continue in the afternoon to Urbina Bay, a great place for snorkelling and home to some of the largest iguanas in the Galapagos, as well as giant tortoises, turtles, rays and a myriad of tropical fish.

  5. Day 5: Fernandina: Punta Espinoza / Isabela: Punta Vicente Roca

    The morning is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago - Fernandina - which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sealions, Sally lightfoot crabs, hawks, Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants. In the afternoon, return to Isabela and Punta Vicente Roca, a large bay and snorkeling site.

  6. Day 6: Santiago: Puerto Egas / Rábida

    First stop today is the island of Santiago, home to an incredible wealth of wildlife: marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, flamingos, Galapagos hawks, dolphins and sharks to name a few! 

    In the afternoon, disembark on Rábida’s red-coloured beach, so named because of the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A walk brings you close to a large colony of sealions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches.

  7. Day 7: Sombrero Chino & Bartolome

    Named after its appearance of a chinese hat, Sombrero Chino is a tiny island located off the south-eastern tip of San Salvador island. At the northern end of the island you will find a small colony of sea lions, and Galapagos penguins can also occasionally be found swimming here. A trail around the cove should reward you with sightings of oystercatchers, as well as marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs and lava lizards. 

    In the afternoon, your voyage continues to Bartolome, and its stunning rock formations. This island is home to one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Galapagos - Pinnacle Rock, an impressive lava tower. The beautiful pink and white sand beach is the location for sea turtles who return here each year to lay their eggs.

  8. Day 8: North Seymour, disembark & transfer to Baltra airport

    Home to one of the most iconic residents of the Galapagos Islands - the blue-footed booby - North Seymour Island is also home to large colonies of nesting frigatebirds. Disembark in the afternoon to end your week of unforgettable wildlife encounters!

You should note: Exact itinerary and duration will depend on your chosen vessel, departure date and local conditions.

Key info

  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 8 days from £4,285 pp
  • Group size: Varies according to vessel
  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Accommodation in twin-share cabin
    • All meals on board ship
    • Guided shore excursions
    • Transfers
    • Snorkelling gear
    • Wet suit rental
  • Activities available:
    • Birdwatching
    • Panga ride
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
Featured locations:

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station and Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. The island’s rocky coastline and mangrove-lined inlets are good for marine life. The lush greenery of the highlands offers a welcome contrast, with its huge craters, lava tunnels and giant tortoises roaming freely.

  • Where: Central Islands
  • Ideal for viewing: giant tortoise, green turtle, marine iguana, vermilion flycatcher, Galapagos rail

Isabela

The volcanic slopes of the largest island in the archipelago are home to some 6,000 Galapagos tortoises. On the west coast the coldwater currents produces an abundance of marine life and it is possible to snorkel with sealions. An uplifted coral reef provides brackish lagoons which are home to a variety of seabirds.

  • Where: Western Islands
  • Ideal for viewing: Galapagos penguin, South American fur seal, white-cheeked pintail, Galapagos hawk, land iguana
  • Excellent for: Penguin watching

Fernandina

Fernandina is an active volcano with rugged slopes and unusual lava formations, which create some surreal landscapes. Its constant change of volcanic state and lack of plant life mean it is probably the least visited island.It is home to a huge population of marine iguanas, and penguins are commonly spotted.

  • Where: Western islands
  • Ideal for viewing: flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, land iguana, marine iguana, Sally Lightfoot crab
  • Excellent for: Penguin watching

Santiago

Santiago Island has a narrow, steep-sided point of land, which provides an extraordinarily beautiful landscape with cliffs and rocky pinnacles that create a nesting site for hundreds of marine birds. In the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates used this place to maintain their vessels and replenish their supplies.

  • Where: Central islands
  • Ideal for viewing: Galapagos penguin, South American fur seal, Galapagos hawk, lava lizard, American flamingo
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Rábida

This island – also known as Jervis – is one of the most colourful and varied islands in the archipelago, with several different types of lava. It is famed for its beach of maroon sand and stunning viewpoint. The island is a delight for birdwatchers, with some of the rarest bird species in abundance.

  • Where: Central islands
  • Ideal for viewing: Galapagos hawk, brown pelican, white-cheeked pintail, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos sealion
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

North Seymour

Magnificent frigatebirds, Galapagos sealions, blue-footed boobies and are all numerous on North Seymour. The island was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. It has a good walking trail crossing the island.

  • Where: Central islands
  • Ideal for viewing: land iguana, marine iguana, Galapagos sealion, magnificent frigatebird, blue-footed booby
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Bartolomé

Home of the iconic Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé consists of an extinct volcano (114 metres altitude) with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. The trail that leads to the summit offers one of the finest views in the islands, including the black lava flows on nearby James Island.

  • Where: Central islands
  • Ideal for viewing: Galapagos penguin, lava lizard, brown pelican, blue-footed booby, Galapagos green turtle
  • Excellent for: Penguin watching
This itinerary is available on the following cruise vessel:

Anahi

Anahi is a power catamaran yacht, which provides great stability, and is the ideal vessel for passengers with little or no experience at sea. Eight cabins equipped with portrait windows, air-conditioning, lower berths, and a private bathroom, provide comfortable accommodation for Galapagos cruises.