Iconic Wildlife & Sublime Scenery

giant tortoises

Embark on a 7-day journey aboard the Santa Cruz II and immerse yourself in unique experiences exploring the Galápagos Islands. Encounter diverse wildlife, from iconic giant tortoises to playful sea lions, and witness the fascinating landscapes that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Explore pristine beaches, volcanic craters, and lush highlands, guided by knowledgeable naturalist experts. Dive into turquoise waters for unforgettable snorkeling adventures among colorful marine life, and discover the islands’ rich biodiversity through guided hikes and panga boat excursions. Unwind each day aboard the comfortable expedition ship, enjoying exceptional service and camaraderie with fellow travelers. This exclusive itinerary promises an unforgettable exploration of one of the world’s most renowned natural wonders.

Day 1 : Quito

Your adventure starts at the Equator amidst the verdant Andean foothills. Quito, situated at 9,350 feet, ranks as the world’s second-highest capital city. Its primary allure lies in the charming Old Town, established upon an ancient Inca site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts immaculately preserved colonial buildings, vibrant plazas, impressive churches, and dignified monuments. After settling into your accommodation, venture out to discover the area.

Consider arriving a few days prior to join one of the optional Pre-Programs if your schedule allows.

Day 2 : Quito

Today, take pleasure in a guided exploration of Quito’s extraordinary Old Town, renowned as one of South America’s most extensive and well-maintained colonial districts. Stroll along cobblestone pathways, marvel at the architecture, and indulge in delicious chocolate crafted from Ecuador’s finest cacao.

Following this, journey to the renowned ‘Middle of the World City’, situated approximately 16 miles north of Quito. After lunch, visit the iconic monument marking the imaginary line of the Equator. Be prepared with your camera to capture the moment as you stand with one foot in each hemisphere.


Day 3 : Galapagos

As your South America land adventure nears its end, it’s time to transition to the next leg of your journey. After breakfast, a brief flight will transport you to Baltra Island, situated within the breathtaking Galápagos Archipelago. From there, a transfer will swiftly bring you to the port, where the comfortable expedition ship MS Santa Cruz II awaits.

Our exploration of the Galápagos Islands will commence in the afternoon as we trace the north shore of Santa Cruz towards the captivating landscapes of Cerro Dragón, also known as Dragon Hill, where we will disembark. Along the initial part of the trail, we’ll pass by a brackish lagoon frequented by shorebirds and American flamingos. Further along the trail, you’ll enjoy a picturesque view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, offering your first opportunity to encounter land iguanas.

Dragon Hill | Galapagos Islands

Photo: sgoodwin4813

Day 4 : Isabela And Fernandina Islands

Your day will commence at Punta Vicente Roca, situated on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island. Following breakfast, we will embark on a coastal exploration aboard a panga boat, led by your naturalist guides who will enlighten you about the area’s striking geology.

This location serves as a nesting site for various bird species, so keep an eye out for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, and boobies. If weather permits, you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel alongside the cliffs, where you may encounter green sea turtles, oceanic sunfish, and fur seals.

Later in the day, we will venture to Fernandina, an island distinguished by its unique ecology and a thriving population of marine iguanas. Keep watch along the coastline for sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hawks, and penguins.

Galapagos Islands | Isabela Island | Cormorants

Day 5 : Santa Cruz Island

Today’s itinerary involves exploring Santa Cruz Island. In the morning, we will disembark at Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.

At this facility dedicated to giant tortoise conservation, you’ll have the chance to observe newly hatched tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches—the birds central to his theory of evolution by natural selection. The station is also home to a remarkable forest of prickly pear cacti that attracts various land birds.


For lunch, enjoy a cooler climate in the lush highlands, where you can observe giant tortoises grazing on grass and lounging in pools.

Later in the day, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in another activity, such as mountain biking or visiting a sugar plantation.

Day 6 : Floreana Island

Following breakfast, embark on a panga boat excursion through the channels along Floreana’s north shore, enjoying the picturesque views of the island from Baroness Cove. Later, we’ll disembark at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries.

Post Office Bay - Galapagos Islands

© Latin Trails

After lunch, discover the marvels around Champion Islet either by panga boat or aboard the glass-bottom boat. This location is renowned as one of the finest snorkeling spots in the archipelago.

Next, we’ll journey to Cormorant Point, where we’ll stroll from an olivine-crystal beach to a brackish lagoon. Along the way, you can expect to see American flamingos, pintail ducks, and more fascinating wildlife.

Day 7 : Baltra Island To Quito

As your expedition cruise comes to a close, it’s time to bid farewell to the wildlife and scenery of one of the world’s most incredible nature destinations. We’ll also say farewell to the wonderful crew and naturalist guides as we disembark at Baltra Island.

A transfer will take you to the airport in Baltra for your flight to Quito to connect to your international flight, or if you prefer, continue to Guayaquil for another adventure.

To explore more of Ecuador, why not extend your stay and join one of the optional Post-Programmes.


  • Immerse yourself in immaculately preserved colonial buildings, vibrant plazas, and historic churches.
  • Stand on the Equator and capture memorable moments with one foot in each hemisphere.
  • Spot land iguanas on Dragon Hill and observe unique bird species like American flamingos and shorebirds.
  • Explore the striking geology of Isabela Island and snorkel alongside marine life including sea turtles and fur seals.
  • Learn about giant tortoise conservation and observe newly hatched tortoises and Darwin’s finches.
7 Days
All ages



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


  • Flights in economy class between Quito and Baltra, all taxes included


  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito before the expedition cruise

  • Transfers between the airport and the ship in Baltra


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


  • Galápagos Islands National Park admission fee

  • Transit Control Card for the Galápagos Islands

  • Access to the airport lounge at the Quito (or Guayaquil) airport upon return from the Galápagos Islands for guests flying internationally on the day of disembarkation

Expedition Cruise

  • Stay 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 who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore

  • Range of included activities

  • Complimentary wetsuit rental

  • Welcome and farewell cocktails

*House beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water

†Please note that Wi-Fi and phone reception are very limited in the remote areas where we travel, and streaming is not supported.

Onboard activities

  • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team

  • Use of our Science Center, which features a small library and microscope

  • The Citizen Science Program allows guests to contribute to ongoing scientific research projects.

  • Our onboard professional photographer will give photography tips and teach techniques for capturing landscape and wildlife photos.

  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs and gym

  • Join informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings.

Landing activities

  • Escorted landings with small panga boats

  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities

  • Expedition photographers will be on hand to assist you.


  • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions

  • Your flight from Baltra will go to Quito. If you wish to end your expedition in Guayaquil, please advise your booking agent.

  • Quito’s altitude is approximately 9,350 feet above sea level. You may experience mild altitude sickness during your stay.

  • Excursions and activities are subject to change

  • Please ensure you meet all entry and boarding requirements

  • No gratuities are expected

Not Included

  • International flights

  • Additional overnight(s) if required due to international flight timings

  • Travel Insurance

  • Luggage handling