4-night Galápagos Islands cruise aboard new Santa Cruz II with expert naturalist guides, on-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts; average of two shore excursions per day; explore Quito and visit the Equator
All gratuities to Tauck Directors, local guides, drivers, naturalists and ship staff
On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts plus other select BBC Earth touches
4 nights aboard the 90-guest Santa Cruz II, designed especially for Galápagos Islands cruising; dry and wet landings
Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions
Licensed Naturalist Guides of Galápagos National Park accompany shore excursions and hold briefings aboard ship, offering hands-on natural history lessons
Private Tauck Shore Excursions with experts, averaging two daily, for wildlife sightings and exciting activities
Entrance fee to Galápagos Nat'l Park - USD $100 value
Have brunch near a dormant volcano close to the Equator and explore colonial Quito on a guided tour
Learn about the Galápagos' natural history and conservation in the islands during a visit to the Cristóbal Interpretation Center on San Cristóbal
Aboard ship - daily cocktail hour; all day soft drinks; wine and beer with dinner
On-Tour Air (2 flights)
Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
18 meals (7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners); gratuities to drivers, service charges, most taxes and porterage
Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Tour begins: Swissôtel Quito. A transfer is included from Mariscal Sucre International Airport to the Swissôtel Quito, where you'll enjoy an Executive Level room. Join us for a special reception with local entertainment before our welcome dinner at the hotel. Then get a good night's sleep so you'll be rested and ready for your family's unforgettable Galápagos experience.
Visit the Equator and explore Quito
Quito is not only 9,200 feet above "seal" level, it's also on the Equator... the "middle of the world." Take the opportunity to stand on both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time, and learn more about Quito's unique geography at the Inti Ñan Museum before enjoying an Ecuadorian brunch near a volcanic crater. Explore centuries-old Colonial Quito on a guided tour. Then spend the rest of the day and evening at leisure as you get set for tomorrow... when your Galápagos cruise gets underway!
Cruise to islands time forgot
Fly to Baltra Island for the start of your Galápagos cruise* aboard Santa Cruz II. We'll be charting a course for Santa Cruz Island today, where a wet landing takes you to pearly white Las Bachas Beach (named for the US military barges, referred to as "bachas," that were beached and abandoned there after WWII) - an important nesting area for the green sea turtle - surrounded by saltwater lagoons. Look for pintail ducks, flamingos, stilts, and sandpipers on a guided walk. Join our expert naturalists for an informative briefing back aboard ship this evening, prior to the Captain's welcome reception followed by dinner.
Meet the locals on Santiago Island
Go ashore on Santiago Island for a walk through a mangrove forest to see flocks of pink flamingos. This morning we'll take a boat ride off Buccaneer's Cove to observe seabirds like frigates, pelicans and boobies and go snorkeling off the panga. After lunch, a wet landing at Puerto Egas provides even more opportunities to see seabirds, along with a colony of sea lions, and marine iguanas. Go for a swim and a snorkel, and learn more about the sea lions and marine iguanas who live here.
Explore Rábida & Hike on Bartolomé
Meet Darwin's finches and other rare birds today after a wet landing on Rabida (Jervis) Island, with its red-colored beaches. Experience both wet and dry landings on your excursion to Bartolomé Island; hike up to the summit and drink in amazing vistas of its volcanic features and the neighboring islands. Ride a panga around Pinnacle Rock, and view sea lions, sea turtles and tiny tropical Galápagos penguins in a panorama of life found only here. Tonight you'll find out more about the Galápagos Islands with our shipboard naturalists.
Towering sights & birds at Darwin Bay
Explore Genovesa (Tower) Island by panga and a dry landing; climb up Prince Philip's Steps for a hike across the island, where you'll see masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and more. An afternoon cruise and a wet landing at Darwin Bay offers more amazing views of thousands of rare birds, including red-footed boobies, gulls, mockingbirds, herons and finches, as well as an optional walk across volcanic terrain. Back aboard the ship, celebrate the end of your cruise at our Captain's farewell dinner.
Disembark on Santa Cruz & fly to Guayaquil
Disembark Santa Cruz II on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, and visit a tortoise reserve to observe in the wild one of the rarest forms of wildlife that continue to thrive here on the Galápagos Islands - the giant tortoise - and efforts being made by the Ecuadorian National Park Service to preserve and protect life on the islands for future generations. Late morning, travel to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil on the mainland, and an overnight at the Wyndham Guayaquil. Join us this evening for a poolside farewell party at your hotel as your family's memorable Galápagos experience comes to a close.
Tour ends: Guayaquil. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the Wyndham Guayaquil to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is included. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.