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Image by Amy Perez
San Cristobal to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands Expedition Cruise

16 - 27 December 2022

12 Days / 11 Nights

Prepare to embark on an expedition that will make all of your fellow travellers jealous. This is a journey that gives more than it takes, from understanding how indigenous animals have adapted through evolutionary inventiveness to surviving on the open volcanic plains to snorkelling and exploring the underwater world. Whatever the guidebooks say, this is one destination you must see for yourself. We assure you will not be prepared for the odd otherworldliness of the Galapagos.

Itinerary in a Nutshell

22

Ports

1

Country

Silver Origin

Expedition Cruise

Routes
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Ecuador: Galapagos Islands - Santiago - Isabela - Fernandina - Floreana - Santa Cruz Highland - Genovesa

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Day 01  |  San Cristóbal, Galapagos - Kicker Rock

San Cristobal is one of numerous islands in the Galapagos produced by extinct volcanoes. It is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago and is located toward the archipelago's eastern end. There are about 8,000 people who make their homes on the island and who either rely on tourism, fishing, or government jobs, or who farm the island's rich volcanic soils. The Galapagos Islands' main hub is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the island's southern coast. The port, where Charles Darwin most likely set foot for the first time in the 1830s, is commemorated with a statue of the man himself. Kicker Rock is a volcanic tuff cone 5 km west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel 20 meters deep. Approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, and frigatebirds can be spotted in the air and sea lions on the shore. Snorkelers have seen manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and turtles.

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Day 02  |  Isla Bartolome - Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Buccaneer Cove is a James Island inlet. It got its name from the first visitors, pirates. Some believe they came looking for water, tortoises, and places to hide their valuables. In Zodiacs, we'll look for Nazca Boobies, Blue Footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls. We've seen marine turtles and reef sharks here. Also in Buccaneer Cove, we may see the Galapagos sea lion basking on the beaches and the fur seal seeking cover on the crumbled rocks along the coast. Isabela Island has Punta Vicente Roca.The South Equatorial Countercurrent feeds marine life and seabirds in this part of the archipelago. Green turtles, sharks, rays, whales, and dolphins are common, while fur seals are rare. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs, and Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants live nearby. The great variety of seaweeds along Isabela's western coast attracts marine iguanas. Punta Vicente Roca has deepwater snorkeling.

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Day 03  |  Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela - Punta Espinoza, Fernandina

Isabela Island has Punta Vicente Roca.The South Equatorial Countercurrent feeds marine life and seabirds in this part of the archipelago. Green turtles, sharks, rays, whales, and dolphins are common, while fur seals are rare. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs, and Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants live nearby. The great variety of seaweeds along Isabela's western coast attracts marine iguanas. Punta Vicente Roca has deepwater snorkeling. Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a low, lava-formed beachfront with views of La Cumbre volcano. Hundreds of marine iguanas lie on black lava rock, absorbing heat and protecting their territories. Galapagos sea lions and their pups rest here and play in small tidal pools. Walk past sandy places where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along shallow mangrove ponds bordered with red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sun.

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Day 04  |  Tagus Cove - Elizabeth Bay, Isabela

Tagus Cove's rocky coast has sheltered ships and yachts for ages. The cove is named after the HMS Tagus, which visited Galapagos in 1814. In the 1830s, other ships painted or scratched their names on rocks. Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants are often observed approaching Isabela and Fernandina. From the landing, a trail past Darwin Lake goes to a spatter cone viewpoint. The hike often features Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers, and Large-billed Flycatchers. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies like shorerocks. Elizabeth Bay is Isabela's narrowest east-west extent. The easternmost area of Elizabeth Bay, a cove only accessible via a small channel, includes red, white, and black mangroves. Various creatures favor different regions of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks near the bay's entrance, are liked by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants, and Galapagos Penguins as a resting site. Great Blue Herons prefer the mangrove region for hunting or perching. Sharks, rays, and turtles feed or relax in the bay. The shallow water and mangrove roots in the little inlet hide smaller fish from predators.

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Day 05  |  Post Office Bay - Champion Islet - Punta Cormorant, Floreana

Floreana's Post Office Bay was used to leave mail for those who were travelling to the Galapagos Islands or to the recipient. Today, visitors drop their postcards in a barrel and hand-deliver letters. The bay's beach and mail barrel enable swimming and snorkeling. The region has ruins of a 1920s Norwegian fish cannery and village. Floreana is inhabited, although water access is limited. Post Office Bay's track links to the sole route from Puerto Velazco Ibarra to a highland spring. Champion Islet is 700m off Floreana's northeast shore. It's one of four Floreana marine destinations for deepwater snorkeling. Sea lions, turtles, sharks, sting rays, and a variety of colorful fish often approach snorkelers. During a Zodiac trip over Champion Islet, you can witness Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and Red-billed Tropicbirds, as well as the rare Floreana Mockingbird. Floreana Island's northernmost point is Punta Cormorant, named for the British naval cruiser HMS Cormorant in the late 19th century. From the landing beach, a short path leads to a shallow lagoon with flamingos. The bright pink birds skim for shrimp and tend to nestlings. The walk climbs a short hillside through Palo Santo trees to a white-sand beach on the tip. You may see enormous female sea turtles pushing themselves out of the water to lay eggs in sugar sand dunes above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site, your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, and Yellow Warblers. Floreana Island's northernmost point is Punta Cormorant, named for the British naval cruiser HMS Cormorant in the late 19th century. From the landing beach, a short path leads to a shallow lagoon with flamingos. The bright pink birds skim for shrimp and tend to nestlings. The walk climbs a short hillside through Palo Santo trees to a white-sand beach on the tip. You may see enormous female sea turtles pushing themselves out of the water to lay eggs in sugar sand dunes above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site, your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, and Yellow Warblers.

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Day 06 |  Santa Cruz Highlands -  Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Santa Cruz Island's high elevation creates microclimates. Coastal and mountain fauna are different. The highlands' continuous drizzle and torrential downpour make life easier. Giant tortoises breed, feed, and relax here before their long journey to the coast. Silver Origin will anchor in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, near the Charles Darwin Research Station. At the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas, guides explain captive breeding and reintroduction programs. The Galapagos Cactus Finch feeds on the station's large prickly pear cactus trees. Enjoy Puerto Ayora's art galleries and cafés during leisure time.

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Day 07  |  Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz - Isla Guy Fawkes - Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

As you disembark for a hike at Cerro Dragon, you'll land on volcanic rock covered in Sally light-footed crabs. Enjoy a visit to a brackish water lagoon with shorebirds, pink flamingos, and a volcanic rock cover dry enough for Galapagos land iguanas. Find this Galapagos resident in Santa Cruz. Your guide will help you spot them in their tunnels or around cactus as they forage. Guy Fawkes is a group of four islets on Santa Cruz Island. Deep waters encircle satellite cones. As they ascend, they encounter powerful sea currents, creating the area teeming with life. These little islets contain underwater cliffs filled with sponges, corals, sea stars, and urchins, making it a colorful area for deep water snorkeling. Due to the above conditions, there are huge aggregations of fish, and due to the depth of the water, Sharks or Manta Rays are common. Guy Fawkes is a great site to deep-water snorkel. What will you find? Baha Borrero is a white coralline beach on Santa Cruz Island where Green Sea turtles nest. Behind the dunes are Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty shrubs. Yellow Warblers and Darwin Finches like the Common Cactus Finch and Small Ground Finch frequent this area. Due to its altitude, this extinct volcano presents all the diverse zones of vegetation, from littoral to arid, to humid, to dry pampa. It's a beautiful scene to take in whether swimming in the bay or strolling along the beach.

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Day 08  |  Day at Sea

Days at sea allow you to relax, unwind, and catch up. These blue sea days are excellent for heading to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on reading, or topping off your tan.

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Day 09  |  Prince Philips Step's - Darwin Bay, Genovesa

Genovesa is the archipelago's northernmost island. Darwin Bay developed when Genovesa's southern crater collapsed. Genovesa is nicknamed "Bird Island" due to its large number and variety of land and seabirds. Prince Philip's Steps go to a platform above the bay. The "steps," named after Prince Philip, visited the Galapagos twice. Red-billed Tropicbirds prefer the cliffs, while Magnificent Frigatebirds, Nazca and Red-footed Boobies prefer the summit. At Genovesa Island, the ship enters Darwin Bay, a flooded volcanic crater. Zodiacs dock on a beach where Galapagos sea lions rest. Shore explorations may reveal small marine iguanas. Inland, visitors can see seabirds of different sizes breeding in vegetation. Red-footed Boobies sit on branches beside the path. Watch for Great Frigatebirds and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Darwin Bay offers great snorkeling with enormous schools of reef fish and dazzling sea stars.

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Day 10  |  North Seymour - Sullivan Bay, Santiago

North Seymour Island is lava rock. The island's flat plateau is where sea lions nurse pups and frigate birds nest. The island is dry, thus prickly pear cactus is the primary tree, which Galapagos land iguanas favor. Scarlet-brown volcanic stones cover the undulating ground, and male Magnificent Frigatebirds inflate their red gular sacs to impress females soaring overhead. Blue-footed Boobies do a ritualized mating dance to strengthen their pair bond and show off their blue feet. Schools of creole wrasses and parrot fish are popular here. Santiago Island's Sullivan Bay lava fields resemble the moon's surface. As crimson Sally Lightfoot crabs skitter over black volcanic coasts, rangers explain how the islands formed geologically. 1897 lava flows date this. Geologists call this rope-like lava pahoehoe, a Hawaiian word.

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Day 11  |  Punta Mangle, Fernandina - Punta Moreno, Isabela

Dampier Archipelago's rust-colored rocks, Spinifex grass, white beaches, and blue oceans create a magnificent kaleidoscope. Burrup Peninsula is surrounded by 42 islands. First European visitor William Dampier called the archipelago in 1699. Ancient people inhabited the area. Aboriginals call the archipelago and peninsula Murujuga. Animals and people are easily recognizable, while legendary creatures and geometric patterns aren't. Dampier Marine Park protects coral reefs, sponge gardens, and seagrass meadows. A 5-meter tidal range adds rugged coastlines and sand flats. Corals, fish, and 1200 mollusks have significant biodiversity. Flatback and Hawksbill Turtles live here. Snorkeling shows a wealth of life. Arid rocky islands require adapted flora and wildlife. Reptiles and Rothschild's Rock Wallabies seek shade in rocky overhangs. Ospreys and Sea-eagles eat mostly seafood. Huge stick nests are on beach rocks. Some nests are decades old, a more manageable span.

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Day 12  |  San Cristobal

San Cristobal is one of numerous islands in the Galapagos produced by extinct volcanoes. It is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago and is located toward the archipelago's eastern end. There are about 8,000 people who make their homes on the island and who either rely on tourism, fishing, or government jobs, or who farm the island's rich volcanic soils. The Galapagos Islands' main hub is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the island's southern coast. The port, where Charles Darwin most likely set foot for the first time in the 1830s, is commemorated with a statue of the man himself.

The Fleet

For more routes and detailed journey programs, please contact TRUVI team.

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