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Galapagos by Sea (West)

Classic Galapagos Cruise | View photos »

10 day trip described, guide price £4,930pp i Fully customisable to you

Snorkel with sea lions, walk across lava fields, drift among penguins, and marvel at the uniquely fearless wildlife of Galapagos. This handpicked cruise around the highlights of the archipelago allows you to discover the incredible wildlife and landscapes of Galapagos in depth.

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Day-by-day itinerary

Travel to Quito

Fly from the UK to Quito today. Please note that international flights for this holiday are quoted separately. Transfer to your comfortable hotel, located in one of the quieter parts of the city. Relax after your journey this evening.

Explore the beautiful city of Quito

Your guide comes to the hotel this morning to take you on a tour of Ecuador’s capital and its surroundings. Quito is positioned on the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, and is home to perhaps the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America (now UNESCO-listed). Explore the historic centre to learn about the city’s colonial past, perhaps dropping into the Government Palace en route.

Fly to Galapagos and board your boat

The Galapagos are around 600 miles off mainland Ecuador so the flight takes a good couple of hours. Meet your guide who takes you up into the highlands of Santa Cruz to meet the islands' most famous inhabitants, the giant tortoises. After a visit to the Darwin Centre to learn about their efforts to protect the tortoises, board your boat this evening and settle into your comfortable cabin.

Flamingos, turtles and amazing snorkelling

Walk across Floreana Island to see the somewhat incongruous sight of flamingoes feeding in a lagoon just inland. Carry on along a good path to a very pretty sandy beach where you can spot rays and sea turtles. This afternoon it's time to go snorkeling in the distinctive Devil’s Crown crater, where you swim through pretty coral formations teeming with marine life. You should see some sea lions and lots of fish. With luck you will see sharks – on a good day you might see hammerheads here.

Tiny penguins, enormous crater

From Isabela island, sail out to the Tintoreras this morning, a Galapagos in miniature, where you should see the small and rare Galapagos penguin. This afternoon you hike up Sierra Negra, the largest crater of all Galapagos volcanoes. Up here you should see lots of bird life, including short-eared owls.The scenery is breathtaking as you look north along the line of volcanoes strung along Isabela’s spine.

Walk on lava fields

Land at Punta Moreno, where you should see penguins living alongside marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies. Carry on in-shore to a series of mangrove rimmed lagoons. There is very still little sign of life on these fairly new lava fields though you pass flightless cormorants on your way back to the boat. Get into the pangas to explore the coastline around Elizabeth Bay. Cut off the engines as you drift in the silence of the late afternoon looking for sea turtles, sharks and penguins in this unusual setting.

Land iguanas and pirate graffiti

Land in Urbina Bay this morning where you can sometimes spot giant tortoises in the wild. You will almost certainly see land iguanas. Visit the cliff-side gallery of Tagus Cove later for a clear view of some 19th century pirate grafitti. It is more than a little strange to see vandalism in such a pristine place.

Walk through piles of iguanas

Visit the youngest island, Fernandina, to walk to the jagged point of Punta Espinosa to see marine iguanas warming themselves on the lava. You may well need to watch where you are treading as there are lots and lots of them piled up against each other for warmth.

Spectacular views of the archipelago

Land on the small, barren outcrop of Isla Bartolomé. Walk to the top of the island on a wooden walkway for beautiful views across the eastern Galapagos Islands. Head back down the hill to snorkel around the base of the emblematic Pinnacle Rock. The visibility here is amongst the best of the week. You might even swim with penguins or sharks. Certainly the channels and rock formations underwater make for a beautiful snorkelling environment.

Travel back home

Get up early this morning to walk on the rocky outcrop of North Seymour before disembarking in Baltra to fly back to the mainland. The west cove of North Seymour offers splendid snorkelling and swimming as well as a white coral sand beach. Fly back to Guayaquil or Quito from where you connect straight onto your international flight home.

Note: This is just an itinerary idea and we'll therefore tailor everything to you.

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About this trip

Is this the right trip for you?

Flexible departures: If you're ready to start travelling again, you can book now secure in the knowledge that we offer you the freedom to defer your trip, until the point your balance is paid, to any available date before the end of 2021. For expedition cruises, such as to the Galápagos Islands, this will be dependent on the flexibility the cruise operators are able to offer us and so will be done on a case by case basis.

Financial protection: For complete peace of mind in these uncertain times, your money is fully protected by our membership of ABTOT and the ATOL scheme.

Ensuring your safety: Please rest assured that your safety is always our top priorty. Our partners will all follow the strict guidelines set out by the government to ensure your safety whilst travelling, and we will fully support them to ensure they are able to do so.

How can we tailor this trip to you?

As a tailor made trip, we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. The Galapagos element we discuss with you to select the best accommodation, balance of islands visited and activities etc. The suggested version of this trip has a mixture of private and shared guiding, we can adjust things to have a stronger emphasis on one or the other. In addition, we can add, or reduce, elements to make your perfect holiday. It is not uncommon to add time in the Amazon, for instance or extend your stay in the Galapagos by a couple of nights.

How adventurous?

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Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Assumes 7 nights on board MV Beluga in high season in 2018.

What's included?

The price is per person based on two sharing and includes:

7-night Galapagos cruise with all meals and activities
First-class accommodation with breakfast and most lunches and dinners
Internal flights to and from the Galapagos
Private airport transfers
Private guiding in Quito
Shared guided activities in the Galapagos
Ecuador & Galapagos Holiday Guides with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
Financial protection and safety auditing

International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routing is into Quito (UIO) and out of Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito.


As a tailor made trip, we offer a range of different boats in the Galapagos. This itinerary is based on M/Y Beluga, a superior first-class yacht. She carries a maximum of 16 passengers, giving her a wonderfully intimate feel, and the guide and crew are excellent.

The eight cabins are either double or twin each with en-suite bathroom. Given the amount of time spent out and about exploring the islands or up on deck , cabin size is rarely a critical element of your Galapagos holiday. The deck space is ample making her feel pleasantly airy and spacious in general.

In terms of weather, the Galapagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant all year round. The water temperature and conditions do vary with colder, choppier waters from June through October giving way to warmer and calmer seas for the rest of the year.

How does this trip benefit the destination?

We only work with sustainable land-based operators and small hotels who actively contribute to the protection of the islands. We also support and promote the work of the UK-based Galapagos Conservation Trust, should you wish to support their efforts following your trip. Typically we find that our visitors leave with a heightened sense of awareness and responsibility for protecting our planet. It can be a really life affirming experience.

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Request our 5-part Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos

Enter your email address below and over the next 5 days we will send you our free Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos:

  • Day 1 - Seven wildlife encounters we won't forget
  • Day 2 - Why the Galapagos has to be done right
  • Day 3 - Why you shouldn't overlook the mainland
  • Day 4 - Six lodges and hotels we just didn’t want to leave
  • Day 5 - Answers to some commonly asked questions about Ecuador

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Book Subscribe to The Pothole » Beluga yacht moored off Fernandina Island in the Galapagos View of Quito The colonial heart of Quito Giant tortoise close encounter in the Galapagos Islands Flamingo feeding on Floreana Island Looking out over the world's second largest crater, Galapagos Flightless cormorant in the Galapagos Islands Land iguana, Galapagos Islands Marine iguana pile up, Fernandina Island, Galapagos Bartolome island in the Galapagos archipelago Close up of feet of a blue footed booby