Wonders of the Galápagos Islands

Program Overview

Immerse yourself in the truly unique coastal landscapes that inspired Charles Darwin on this unequaled 10-day Galápagos journey, an unforgettable experience with a bounty of extraordinary flora and fauna. Begin your journey exploring the UNESCO treasures, rich indigenous traditions and contemporary verve of Quito, Ecuador’s beguiling capital city. Then travel to the Galápagos and discover the natural splendor of six Galapagos islands, encountering birds, marine and land animals up close. Enjoy included shore excursions, from walking with giant tortoises in San Cristóbal to swimming with playful sea lions in Santa Fé… a once-in-a-lifetime experience!


Program Details

February 2 to 11, 2025 (La Pinta)
From $7,495* plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Exclusive, intimate journey through the incomparable Galápagos Islands, home to reptiles, birds, plants and aquatic life that exist nowhere else on the planet.
  • Created in our tradition of innovative programming and educational travel.
  • Access to ports unavailable to larger vessels and included excursions throughout your program.
  • Specially arranged visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the conservation of the Galápagos Islands and see baby tortoises, giant tortoises and iguanas.
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage sites — City of Quito and Galápagos Islands.

Day 1      Depart home city

Day 2     Quito

Day 3    Quito/Baltra Island

Day 4     Santa Cruz Island

Day 5    Baltra Island/Embark La Pinta/South Plaza Island

Day 6     Santa Fé Island/San Cristóbal Island

Day 7    San Cristóbal Island

Day 8    Española Island

Day 9   Disembark ship/Baltra Island/Fly to Guayaquil

Day 10   Guayaquil/Depart for home city

View detailed program itinerary >

La Pinta

Exclusively Chartered, First-Class Small Ship

Learn more about the La Pinta >


Swissôtel Quito
The deluxe Swissôtel Quito is centrally located near the old town, steps from restaurants, shops, museums and cultural gems. Guest rooms are air-conditioned with en suite bathrooms and elegant, modern décor. Swissôtel boasts two restaurants, a deli and bar on site, as well as a spa, gym and wellness area.

Finch Bay Hotel
Finch Bay Hotel, one of National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World,” is the only beachfront hotel in Galápagos. With subtle architecture that mimics the surrounding volcanic rocks and attractive wooden walkways leaving the environment undisturbed, this hotel is distinctive, elegant and comfortable. All rooms and suites have private baths with hot-water showers, hair dryers and other amenities (such as biodegradable soap and shampoo) and all are smoke-free. All rooms access a porch or balcony with hammocks overlooking landscaped gardens.

Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel
The deluxe Hilton Colon Guayaquil offers luxurious secure accommodation, with spacious rooms and five restaurants on site. It boasts a tropical garden, wellness center and a spa with sauna, steam bath and treatment rooms.

Ready to Begin Your Journey?

We'll contact you. No obligation.

Reserve My Spot

Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city

Depart for Quito, Ecuador. Please check your bags from your gateway city to your arrival city. Transfer to the Swissôtel Quito, a luxury hotel with premier location.

This evening, explore the area on your own, if you wish, and make your own plans for dinner.

Day 2 Quito, Ecuador

Perched high above Quito, on a hill called El Panecillo (“little loaf of bread”) a winged madonna statue made of 7,000 small pieces of aluminum casts her eye over the city. We will begin our tour with her, gazing at the city and its surrounding volcanoes from this unbeatable vantage point. Next stroll to the historic center of Quito, which has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Here the monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo and the church of La Campañía all epitomize the Baroque School of Quito—an amalgam of indigenous art with Spanish, Italian, Moorish and Flemish styles. Take in Independence Plaza, Carondelet Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace.  Amble down La Ronda, one of Quito's oldest streets, which began as an Incan trail that followed a small creek. After the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, the street was lined with houses built in the Andalusian style; it changed again in the early 20th century when it became the preferred hangout of artists, poets, musicians and politicians. Indulge your sweet tooth at a local artisanal chocolatier and learn how they make their distinctive—and delicious! --chocolate.

Both Quito (from Quitu, meaning “middle of the world”) and Ecuador (Spanish for “equator”) are named for their unique position in the middle of the world. The Equatorial Monument marks La Mitad del Mundo, latitude zero. Here you can straddle the equator, with one foot in each hemisphere, and learn fascinating facts about the indigenous people who have lived in the area throughout time. Stroll through the nearby colonial-style town, complete with a central plaza, main boulevard, side streets, restaurants and shops.

This evening, meet your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception, then enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 3 Quito/Isla Baltra

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Quito airport for your included flight to Isla Baltra, Galápagos. After landing, transfer from the airport to the deluxe oceanfront Finch Bay Hotel, one of National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World.”

Spend the afternoon at your leisure, then enjoy an included dinner at the hotel.

Day 4 Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is one of only four inhabited islands in the Galápagos archipelago. It is the only island with six different vegetation zones; the reason for the array of microclimates here is the altitude. Santa Cruz climbs to a surprising 2,835 feet above sea level, so plant and animal species vary widely from the arid shoreline up to the misty highlands.  During our excursion today we hope to see free-roaming giant tortoises, land and marine iguanas and a wide variety of birds.

Start the day with a visit to Tortuga Bay, boasting a white coral sand beach, turquoise water and an abundance of wildlife. Look for marine iguanas, green sea turtles and birds such as blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, Darwin’s finches and flamingos.

Enjoy lunch with the group at a local restaurant.

Spend this afternoon at your leisure and make your own plans for dinner. For restaurant and itinerary suggestions, visit the Gohagan Travel Hospitality Desk.

Day 5 Baltra Island/Embark La Pinta/South Plaza Island

Today, embark the deluxe La Pinta, a sailing vessel with the amenities of a large ship but the exclusive feel of a yacht. Settle in and savor a delectable lunch on board as we sail to South Plaza Island.

One of the main highlights of South Plaza Island is its unique wildlife, specifically two endemic species: the giant Opuntia cactus, known for its unusual top-heavy shape, and the land iguana, known for its distinct golden-yellow coloration. The two species are intertwined, because the iguanas love the cacti as food. On today’s nature walk, you may observe the iguanas basking in the sun or foraging on the cacti. Meanwhile the cacti may have adopted their massive wide shape as a reaction to the iguanas feeding on the lower limbs. Keep your eyes peeled during today’s nature walk—you may even spot a rare land-and-marine iguana hybrid!

Day 6 Santa Fé Island/San Cristóbal Island

Santa Fé, a small and somewhat flat island, is one of the oldest in the archipelago; rock formations under the water’s surface date back 3.9 million years. Keep a lookout for various species of land iguana and lava lizards, as well as many species of birds. After exploring on foot, cool off with a swim or snorkel in the pristine turquoise waters, where you can cavort alongside playful sea lions, colorful fish, sharks and stingrays. Or view the vivid kaleidoscope of marine life from a glass-bottom boat!

 Settle in to enjoy lunch on board while sailing to San Cristóbal Island.

 Visit Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado. In this tortoise reserve and sanctuary, resident tortoises and their hatchlings roam freely in semi-natural habitats, wallowing in mud pools and chewing the abundant leafy vegetation. Through enriching exhibits and informative presentations, visitors can learn about the history and biology of the giant tortoise, as well as the conservation efforts and challenges faced in protecting them.

Day 7 San Cristóbal Island

This morning’s zodiac ride will take us to Punta Pitt, on the far eastern side of the island, where we’ll disembark on the beach and be greeted by a raucous group of bachelor sea lions. On our guided walk, learn about these competitive fellows, plus the tough and hardy plants that thrive on the volcanic lava fields here. But perhaps most notable of all is the bird population on San Cristóbal. This is the only place in the Galápagos where all three species of boobies—red-footed, blue-footed and Nazca—live together in harmony. And boobies aren’t the only birds you’ll see. Keep your binoculars and cameras at the ready on this up-close wildlife adventure!

Settle in for lunch as we sail to the other side of the island for our afternoon excursion.

The name of this breathtaking destination, Cerro Brujo, translates to “Witch Hill,” but the spot is nothing but beautiful. The clear water makes a show of the dazzling marine life—graceful rays and sea turtles are often spotted here. The beach is home to friendly sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Spot birds and other wildlife during a dinghy ride along the cliffs; during a guided walk on shore you might spy the freshwater lagoon behind the beach, home to great blue herons, finches and egrets.

Day 8 Española Island

This coastal area is notable for two incredible sights. Suarez Point is the breeding site for nearly all the world’s waved albatrosses. The birds, who have the largest wingspan in the Galápagos, come from all over the planet to nest and breed here in the black lava cliffs. Watch for the mating dances and loving courtship behavior of the avian pairs, who mate for life. Although the birds are confident flyers, you may see some clumsy takeoffs and landings.

Next, visit the magnificent blowhole on the island, which spurts water high in the air as waves crash onto the rocks below. Have your camera ready for this morning’s unique excursion!

Enjoy a delicious lunch on board as we sail to Gardner Bay, on the other side of Española Island.

This stunning bay is well known for its beautiful white sand beach, haven for a friendly colony of sea lions. This is the perfect spot for relaxing and spotting wildlife, including “Christmas” marine iguanas basking on the rocks (look for their distinctive red-and-green coloring) and curious Galápagos mockingbirds, who may approach you. However, the most notable and beautiful wildlife may be in the turquoise water. Opt for a ride in a kayak or glass-bottom boat—you may even spot a Galápagos green turtle!

Join your fellow passengers tonight for the Captain’s Farewell Reception on the ship, and raise a glass to your epic Galápagos adventure!

Day 9 Disembark/Santa Cruz Island/ Baltra Island/Guayaquil

This morning after breakfast on board, disembark La Pinta. Transfer from the ship to Santa Cruz Island.

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a sanctuary where over 200 scientists and volunteers work to investigate and protect many species endemic to the Galapagos, most famously giant tortoises. Learn about the center’s breeding program and walk the grounds to observe the awe-inspiring tortoises (and their babies!), plus land iguanas and birds.

Transfer to Baltra Island airport for your included flight to Guayaquil. Transfer to the Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel.

After settling in to the hotel, spend the evening exploring the area, if you wish, and make your own dinner plans.

Day 10 Guayaquil/Depart for Home City

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport for your return flight home.