Earth Journey, created with BBC Earth; exclusive 6-night Galápagos cruise aboard Isabela II; daily Galápagos island excursions with expert naturalists, featuring wet and dry landings via Zodiac-style panga; two nights in Guayaquil
All gratuities to Tauck Director, guides, naturalists and ship staff
On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts plus other select BBC Earth touches
Includes two on-tour flights
Field equipment may include FLIR® thermal imaging cameras and shotgun microphones
Exclusive 6-night Galápagos Cruise aboard the expedition ship, Isabela II - with no more than 40 Tauck guests
Private Tauck Shore Excursions in the Galápagos Islands with expert naturalist guides - averaging two daily - for an up-close experience with some of the most unusual and intriguing species of the world
Two nights at Oro Verde Guayaquil, gateway to the Galápagos Islands
Daily cocktail hour, all-day soft drinks; wine and beer with dinner aboard ship
Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
21 meals (8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners); service charges, applicable fuel surcharges, admission fees, entrance fees to Galápagos National Park, porterage
Tour begins: Oro Verde Guayaquil. A transfer is included from José de Olmedo International Airport to Oro Verde Guayaquil, located in the city's dynamic business district. Most flights arrive late in the day.
Fly to the Galápagos Islands and embark your cruise
Fly to San Cristóbal Island to board Isabela II. In your orientation briefing, you'll learn more about the exciting cruise* ahead: transfers ashore by panga (Zodiac-style rafts), wet landings that may require wading ashore in shallow water, and dry landings on rocky surfaces. Your first panga ride takes you to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for a bus ride to Cerro Colorado, where work is under way to save the endangered giant tortoise. Back on ship, join us for a welcome cocktail and a relaxing dinner.
Going for the views atop Genovesa Island
A morning panga* ride along the cliffs of Genovesa (Tower) Island stops for a dry landing on the rocks of Prince Philip's Steps. It's your choice: continue exploring by panga or join us for a climb of about 90 ft. up rock-hewn steps. Once at the top, a walk across flat land brings remarkable views. Among the bird colonies that live here are Nazca and red-footed boobies, great frigate birds, storm petrels, lava-and-swallow-tailed gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Snorkeling* or kayaking* are available. After lunch, a wet landing on the island leads to an easy stroll. You can continue walking with our naturalist over sharp lava and uneven terrain for the reward of dramatic views, or if you prefer, return to the beach for swimming or snorkeling.
Intriguing wildlife & lava on Santiago Island
Climb aboard a panga this morning to explore Buccaneers' Cove on Santiago Island; back in the 17th and 18th centuries, the cove was known as favored stashing grounds for pirated gold and other treasures. When you visit Buccaneers' Cove on your Galápagos cruise today, however, the treasures you'll find are the natural kind: marine birds, anemones, barnacles and sea stars, marine iguanas and fur seals. This afternoon, join us for a wet landing at Puerto Egas, where a walk along the coastline lets you experience the porous texture of tuff stone and rocky lava flows, formed long ago by volcanic activity. Afterward, enjoy a refreshing swim.
Galápagos "youngsters" - Isabela & Fernandina
Today Isabela II makes her way to Isabela and Fernandina, the youngest of the Galápagos Islands (they're only about 5 to 10 million years old). On Fernandina, a walk from Punta Espinoza leads you through exotic lava flows. Look for blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins and more. Go snorkeling off pristine Fernandina Island, surrounded by the richest waters of the archipelago. Back on Isabela, hike from secluded Tagus Cove to view Darwin Lake; sail past volcanic cliffs by panga.
Checking out volcanic Urbina Bay on Isabela
On a visit to Urbina Bay, hike with a naturalist through remains of sea life left high and dry in 1954 when volcanic activity lifted the land below by 15 ft., then head to Punta Vicente Roca. Here geological formations provide a gorgeous backdrop for plentiful nesting birds including blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls and Brown Noddy Terns. And conditions permitting, take time for snorkeling within sight of a colony of fur seals.
Exploring Rabida & Santa Cruz Islands
Today, the beaches of Rábida Island fascinate with views of sea lions, marine iguanas and yellow warblers; snorkeling or a glass-bottom boat ride are special pleasures here. Later follow the trails at Cerro Dragón, named after the land iguanas on northern Santa Cruz Island; keeping an eye out for stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and other shore birds around saltwater lagoons. A farewell cocktail awaits back on ship.
Disembark & back to Guayaquil
Disembark Isabela II in Baltra for your return flight to Guayaquil and another night at Oro Verde Guayaquil; spend some free time at your hotel or perhaps take a stroll along the city's waterfront promenade, El Malecón. Tonight, we invite you to share favorite experiences from your Galápagos cruise with your fellow travelers at our farewell cocktail party and dinner.
Tour ends: Guayaquil. A transfer from Oro Verde Guayaquil to José de Olmedo International Airport is included. Please allow at least 3 hours for flight check-in.