This 8-day Southern Western Galapagos Islands cruise on the Archipel I catamaran brings you the most stunning landscapes and exciting attractions of the region with a carefully curated itinerary.
Begin by meeting your expert naturalist guide at San Cristobal Airport on San Cristobal Island, and after a warm welcome on the stylish catamaran, set sail to your first anchor point of Colorado Hill. A breeding center nestled in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Colorado Hill is dedicated to preserving the endangered Galapagos giant tortoises. A tour of the site allows you to grasp the efforts behind their mission.
Sail onward to South Plaza Island, half a pair of the Plazas Island off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz. Here, you'll embark on a hike with your knowledgeable naturalist guide and observe one of the largest sea lion colonies of the Galapagos archipelago.
Then visit one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos - Santa Fe. Despite its tiny land area of 24 sq. km, it's estimated to be some four million years old.
Discover Floreana Island and see blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and red-billed tropicbirds on a dinghy ride along the unspoiled shorelines of Champion Islet. Then go for a swim in the enticing waters of La Loberia beach before leaving Floreana Island.
Explore the highlights of Santa Cruz on the fourth day of this Southern Western Galapagos Islands cruise, and begin with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. A facility dedicated to marine life conservation and maintaining biodiversity in the region, witness giant tortoises live in captivity here. Then tour the Highlands of Santa Cruz where you'll see the Twin Craters and observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat for a contrasting experience.
Sail through the islets of Las Tintoreras and observe white-tipped reef sharks resting in the calm turquoise waters, then land on the Galapagos archipelago's largest island of Isabela Island, which boasts an extensive land area of 4640 sq. km. Tour the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center situated just outside Puerto Villamil, where you'll learn the efforts behind ensuring the survival of giant tortoises in the wilderness on the Galapagos Islands.
Journey onward to Moreno Point and walk its lava fields and explore its tidal lagoons, keeping your eyes peeled for sightings of herons, frigatebirds, and green turtles. Then the Archipel I sails toward Elizabeth Bay where you'll have the opportunity to visit the breeding grounds of the Galapagos penguins.
Uncover pirate history at Tagus Cove, your final stop on Isabela Island, a site on its northwestern shores that was historically frequented by pirates who left their mark by carving the names of the vessels they commanded into the surrounding cliff faces.
Reach Fernandina Island, the third-largest in the Galapagos archipelago, and walk the barren landscape of Punta Espinosa, observing the large colonies of marine iguana that bask in the sun. You'll be surprised to discover that despite its barren landscape, lava cacti thrive here, against a dramatic backdrop of Volcán La Cumbre.
This comprehensive eight-day Southern Western Galapagos Islands cruise ends with a visit to Las Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island, where you'll learn the origin of its name and discover the role it played in World War II.
Built for comfort while cruising the islands of the Galapagos archipelago, the Archipel I boasts 8 modern cabins with cushy twin and double beds, furnished with sea view windows so you have easy access to the region's spellbinding beauty at any time. The catamaran is serviced by a dedicated crew of nine to deliver an unparalleled experience at sea.