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This voyage explores in depth some of the larger islands in the Galapagos, with landings to see Galapagos penguins, Galapagos giant tortoises and a host of unique bird species.

A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island will help you learn about the breeding programmes being undertaken in the Galapagos to protect the giant tortoise and land iguana.  You can also see giant tortoises in the wild in the highlands of Santa Cruz. You will then spend at least three days exploring Isabela Island, the largest of the archipelago, home to flamingos, penguins, green turtles and land iguanas.

Your journey then continues to the nearby volcanic island of Fernandina, which has a huge population of land iguanas, as well as a variety of other wildlife.  The trip culminates with landings on Santiago, Bartolomé and North Seymour, where you can see fur seals, sealions, magnificent frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and more penguins.

A typical Galapagos Highlights itinerary is shown below, on board the  Beluga, however we offer a variety of other voyages, durations and vessels.

Typical Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive Baltra airport & board vessel, Santa Cruz

    After arriving at Baltra airport you will be transferred to your vessel.  Later that day you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about their giant tortoise and land iguana breeding programmes. In the highlands of Santa Cruz the giant tortoise can be seen in the wild.

  2. Day 2: Floreana Island

    Floreana is best known for its colourful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts and early colonists.  Punta Cormorant has two contrasting beaches and a large inland lagoon where pink flamingos can be seen. You will be able to snorkel at Devils Crown, located just off Punta Cormorant. The site is a completely submerged volcano that has eroded to create the appearance of a jagged crown.

  3. Day 3: Isabela Island

    Today brings landings on Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, formed by five active volcanoes fused together. Wolf Volcano is the highest point in the entire Galapagos at 1707 metres. Volcan Sierra Negra has a caldera with a diameter of 10 kilometres – here you can view recent lava flows, moist highland vegetation and parasitic cones. You will also visit Puerto Villamil, a charming small town on a white sand beach. Highlights include the Tortoise Breeding Station and the flamingo lagoon

  4. Day 4: Isabela Island

    Continue your exploration of Isabela with a landing at Punta Moreno, located on the central south western coast of the island. The site has spectacular views of Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes and you can see impressive lava flows and desolate, pristine landscapes.  Elizabeth Bay is  only accessible by dinghy, and it is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay. Galapagos green turtles and rays can usually be seen in the water here.

  5. Day 5: Isabela Island

    There is more to see on this fascinating island, and today you will first stop at Urbina Bay, located in the foothills of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Wildlife to be found here includes colourful land iguanas and Galapagos giant tortoises. Later you will visit Tagus Cove, a natural harbour where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship's names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill to Darwin's Crater salt-water lake provides an excellent view.

  6. Day 6: Fernandina Island

    Fernandina is the youngest volcanic island and is still active – it has rugged slopes, unusual lava formations and a huge population of land iguanas. There are also sealions, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants.  You’ll then take a panga ride along the cliffs to land at Punta Vicente Roca, where Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.

  7. Day 7: Santiago and Bartolomé Islands

    Located between Isabela and Santa Cruz, Santiago offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. A walk along the rocky coastline at Puerto Egas will show you some of the Galapagos’ best tidal pools.

    Continuing to Bartolomé, a hike will take you to the highest point to enjoy spectacular views.  Sealions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock, and there is a sandy beach for swimming and snorkelling.

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

    The island of North Seymour is home to endemic Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, and magnificent frigatebirds. After visiting this final island, it’s time to disembark your vessel and transfer back to Baltra airport.

    This trip can easily be combined with our 8 day superior Galapagos Islands to make a complete and in depth experience of the Galapagos.

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 £4,075 pp
  • Group size: Varies according to vessel
  • When to go: Jan-Dec: Departs Fridays (Beluga) or Saturdays (Mary Anne) year round
  • 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 equipment (wetsuits not included)
  • Activities available:
    • Birdwatching
    • Panga ride
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
Featured locations:


The volcanic slopes of the largest island in the archipelago are home to some 6,000 Galapagos tortoises. On the west coast the cold water 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


Studded with volcanic cones, Floreana is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos – its volcano has long been extinct. It has a luxuriant vegetation, and nutrient rich soil, with diverse native and introduced flora. The submerged crater of Devil’s Crown is one of the best snorkelling sites in the Galapagos.

  • Where: Southern islands
  • Ideal for viewing: red-tailed tropicbird, South American sealion, Sally Lightfoot crab, green turtle, lava lizard


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


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

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

North Seymour

Magnificent frigatebirds, Galapagos sealions and blue-footed boobies 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. There is 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


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 vessels:


The Beluga is a small but surprisingly spacious and comfortable, first-superior class, motor yacht carrying 16 passengers in eight double or twin cabins. The vessel is air-conditioned throughout, and facilities include a lounge, bar, dining area and plenty of deck space. The crew of ten includes a naturalist guide.

Mary Anne

The elegant Mary Anne is an environmentally friendly ship with an astonishing 1,000 metres of canvas sail. She accommodates passengers in 12 well-appointed cabins, all with air conditioning and private facilities. On board there is a lounge and bar area, solar deck and outdoor dining area.