Waved Albatross, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Itinerary: Option 3 Cruise Extension with MV Archipel 1

26 April to 3 May 2021

Experience a journey aboard the catamaran Archipel 1, a comfortable motor yacht, as you sail around the UNESCO-listed Galapagos Islands on this 8-day cruise which gives you an extensive overview of the Galapagos. You will have the chance to combine the circumnavigation of Isabela Island with excursions in the most southern points of the archipelago. You will also be able to snorkel with sea lions in Loberia and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz. You’ll encounter land iguanas, giant tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches on nature walks, and listen to nightly briefings from a naturalist guide on-board. Sleep comfortably in your twin cabin equipped with sea-view windows. You will visit a variety of places from Santa Fe to Las Tintoreras, Elizabeth Bay to Punta Suarez and The Highlands to Tagus Cove.

Map MV Archipel 1, Galapagos Cruise Extension Option 3, 8 Days/7 Nights
Click to enlarge map

Itinerary: Cruise Extension with MV Archipel 1 (Mid Class Yacht)

Day 1: 25 April 2021, Guayaquil, B

A free day today to relax or explore this beach-side city. You will require a night’s accommodation here. Unipark Hotel. Additional cost, USD 155.00 per room.

Day 2: 26 April 2021, Fly to San Cristóbal, B/L/D

Upon arrival at San Cristóbal Airport your guide will meet you, assist you with the luggage and accompany you on the short bus ride to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Here you will board the catamaran Archipel 1. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch on-board.

Cruise during lunch to Cerro Colorado (San Cristobal) and the Tortoises Protection and Growing Centre, located approximately 40 minutes by bus to the southeast of the island. This centre was built to improve the status of the population of the island tortoises. It includes a large corral, a visitor centre, breeding centre and an interpretive trail. Along this trail it is possible to see different species of native and endemic plants as well as birds including the San Cristobal Mockingbird, Yellow Warblers, and many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.

Young Giant Galapagos Tortoise crossong the road, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Yellow Warbler, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Day 3: 27 April 2021, South Plaza and Santa Fe, all meals included

After breakfast you will enjoy an unforgettable guided walk on South Plaza, the best place to encounter endemic Galapagos land iguanas; patient and photogenic models. You can also look out for some of the unique hybrids between the male marine iguana and female land iguana. About 20m beneath the upper rim, impressive waves splash against the foot of soaring cliffs. Clouds of petrels, storm petrels, shearwaters and brown noddies make spectacular flights and sometimes look like they’re walking on the waves. Take your binoculars and don’t miss the red-billed tropic bird with its graceful long tail and spectacular mating fights. These cliffs are also a nesting place for the endemic swallow-tailed gull.

Storm Swallow, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Swallow-tailed Gull, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

After lunch you will land at Barrington Bay (Santa Fe) right in the middle of a Galapagos sea lion colony on the beach, where you will have time for a refreshing swim or excellent snorkelling among tropical reef fish in the crystal-clear azure waters of the Bay. You will also encounter bizarre giant prickly pear cactus (opuntia) forests. These are the largest cacti on the islands, with extremely thick trunks, and can grow over 10m. At the end of the morning we have a wet landing at the beach of Santa Fe where we have a guided nature walk. This extraordinary island is a remnant of probably the most ancient volcano on the Galapagos.

Galapagos Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Barrington Bay, Santa Fe, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Opuntia Forest, Santa Fe, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Day 4: 28 April 2021, Floreana

Bottlenose dolphins frequently escort our passage to Champion Islet and you can see them from nearby jumping the waves! Underwater, Galapagos sea lions are playful acrobats that become the number one attraction. There are also lots of reef fish, and perhaps a green Pacific turtle. An inflatable dinghy ride along the shoreline of this islet offers sightings of lots of seabirds that are endemic to the archipelago, including Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds and red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls and lava herons. A bird watcher’s wish is to get a glimpse of the Charles Mockingbird on top of prickly pear cacti. This mockingbird is a scientific and historic key species, because it put Darwin on track of his theory of ‘adaptive radiation’.

Bottlenose Dolphins, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

A school of Parrotfish, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Green Pacific Sea Turtle on the beach, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

A pair of blue footed Boobies, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Red-billed Tropicbird, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Frigate Birds, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

The Asylum of Peace Island, Floreana, is of historical interest. Your hike goes past a mesmerising cave and visits a fascinating freshwater spring. La Loberia beach gets its name from the large number of sea lions that populate the island and rest on the sand. It’s an ideal spot to relax by the ocean, go snorkelling as well as enjoy the sea lions that live there.

Day 5: 29 April 2021, Santa Cruz

Our dinghies will bring you to the pier of Puerto Ayora, from where you will be taken to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is where biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are carried out. The complex houses interpretation and information centres about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The most memorable part of your visit will probably be the successful breeding centre and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises. Afterwards, you will have some free time to stroll around.

Aerial view of Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Tortoise Breeding Program, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

In the afternoon visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz. Because wild Galapagos giant tortoises don’t stop at official National Park boundaries, dozens of them also roam on the adjacent woodlands in the populated agricultural zone of Santa Cruz. Thanks to their concentration around their favourite muddy pools, these semi-open pastures and moist scalesia-woodlands are the best place for a quick visit.

Day 6: 30 April 2021, Isabela

We arrive during the night at Las Tintoreras. Just outside the harbour of Puerto Villamil, a group of islets protrude just above the ocean. The jagged black formations, dotted with mangrove and candelabra cactus, are the remnants of a lava stream that has ended up in the ocean. Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago.

Las Tintoreras near Puerto Villavil, Isabela, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Las Tintoreras with Candelabre Cactues near Puerto Villamil, Isabela, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

You may see marine life trapped in large tidal pools, including spectacular whitetip reef sharks (called “tintoreras” in Spanish, as is the site’s official name). This species of shark is common in the archipelago, and generally spotted on the seabed when you go snorkelling, while they rest from their nocturnal hunts. At this unique location you can observe them comfortably from the bank in the crystal-clear turquoise waters. Sometimes turtles and elegant white-spotted eagle rays or golden rays glide back and forth through this calm channel, as well as smaller fish and Galapagos sea lions. Also, this is where the largest species of marine iguanas reproduce. The rocky shoreline with its intertidal life also attracts sally lightfoot crabs, lava herons and Galapagos penguins, which reside on the other (western) side of Isabela.

A shoal of fish, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Marine Iguana, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Sally Lightfoot Crab, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Lava Lizard, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

In the afternoon visit the Tortoise breeding centre and Wetlands. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in the Galapagos with approximately 3000 habitants. First, we will visit the Flamingos Lagoon; the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the main reproductive sites for the greater flamingos. On your visit to Colorado Hill, you will discover the amazing and emblematic giant Galapagos tortoises in the Tortoise breeding centre, and maybe even get to see one hatch (seasonally)! In addition, you will understand how much hard work is put into saving the last local giants of San Cristobal.

Puerto Villamil, Isabela, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Galapagos Flamingos, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Day 7: 1 May 2021, Isabela

Crater rim, Isabela, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Sierra Negra, Isabela, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Punta Moreno is located between the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul, on the north coast of Isabela Island. The trail leads along the lava river Pahoehoe to a complex of several coastal lagoons. The main attraction are various bird species which can be found in lakes and mangrove forests.

Sail on to Elizabeth Bay. Your inflatable dinghy will turn landwards, leaving the surf behind and entering the calm estuary of Elizabeth Bay through a narrow entrance. Pacific green turtles swim gracefully around you, sometimes popping up their heads to take a breath. You might also see spotted eagle rays or sharks. Brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies show diverging plunge-diving techniques, while lava herons and great blue herons prefer to wait patiently for what comes along. You can also compare the huge red mangroves with black, white and button mangroves.

Pacific Green Sea Turtle, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Cow-nosed Stingray, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Brown Pelican, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Oyster Catcher, Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Day 8: 2 May 2021, Isabela

In the morning we will enter the Bolivar Channel to Tagus Cove (Navigation time: 3h). Meanwhile you can enjoy the delicious lunch buffet before snorkelling and visiting Tagus Cove. Explosive eruptions have blown out a part of the outer rims of both tuff cones and created their characteristic horseshoe shapes as well as Tagus Cove itself. The inner crater rim contains Darwin Lake. Traditionally sailors wrote the names of their vessels on the eastern cliffs of Tagus cove. During the hike along the inner crater ridge of Darwin Lake you can continue to a great viewpoint on the outer caldera rim, with views to the outstretched lava slopes of Darwin Volcano.

This arid inland zone is overgrown with characteristic tropical dry forest vegetation including a special variety of palo santo, Galapagos cotton and yellow cordia (muyuyu). During the hike you can spot different Darwin’s finches, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks.

Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus Rubinus Nanus), Galapagos Islands, Pacific, Ecuador, South America

Espinoza Point is Fernandina’s only terrestrial visitors’ site, and one of the few locations where you will find some interesting results of natural selection. Foremost is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. You will also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcán La Cumbre as a spectacular backdrop. The narrow headland that you walk along is the end of a lava tongue that has reached the coast and solidified upon contact with the cold seawater.

Day 9: 3 May 2021, Santa Cruz and Baltra, B

Las Bachas, two small beaches are in the west of the Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz. Their sand consists of decomposed corals, which makes it white and soft. This makes it the favourite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there are small water lagoons, where flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilt birds and rainbows, can occasionally be spotted. On the second beach, which is the wider one, you can explore the remains of two abandoned warships. In the Second World War these were left by the US, as the island of Baltra was used as a strategic point for the protection of the Panama Canal.

In the Afternoon Transfer to Baltra Airport for your onward flight


Cruise Extension with MV Archipel 1 (Mid Class Yacht): 26 April to 3 May 2021

Indicative price per person twin share charter: AUD 7070.00


We are holding 2020 prices for each cruise until 1 April 2020. Book your place early and you are guaranteed NOT to pay 2021 prices.


• Accommodation in double cabins (double bed or 2 single beds) with private bathroom*
• All meals, water, tea & coffee
• All excursions as described in the programme (subject to change) with bilingual guide (Spanish/English)
• Airport assistance at Quito airport (when flight & cruise are booked together)
• All transfers in Galapagos (Airport-Yacht-Airport only included when booked together)
• Snorkelling equipment
• Bath & beach towels

* Single travellers share a cabin with a person of the same sex, unless a single room is booked, and the single room surcharge is paid (guaranteed single cabin). Individuals who are willing to share their cabin are exempt from the single room supplement, even if no fellow traveller is added.

Please note:

The Galapagos National Park Authority has final control over every cruise itinerary to ensure sustainable and responsible tourism and the sailing schedule or activities may be changed due to unsuitable weather conditions and other unforseen events or circumstances.


• International and National (Ecuador-Galapagos-Ecuador/Peru) flights
• Galapagos National Park Entrance, USD 100.00 (subject to change) to be paid upon arrival in cash
• Transit Control Card, USD 20.00 (subject to change) to be paid upon departure from mainland to Galapagos in cash)
• Galapagos Airport Transport, if the flight has not been booked together with the cruise
• If necessary, single room supplement
• Optional wetsuit (to be paid in cash only)
• Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks (to be paid in cash only)
• Personal expenses, extras & gratuities (tips)
• Travel insurance

For further information, don’t hesitate to contact Zen Oriental Journeys by emailing Lee Grafton or ring 0401 123 347


Bookings will be processed in order of receipt. Any bookings after this date will be accepted subject to visa processing, flight availability, land content and room availability. Such booking must be paid in full after confirmation of your acceptance in the tour. Special conditions and additional charges to airfares and package prices may apply depending on date of booking.

Costs associated with the Asia In-Country Study Tours can be tax deductible. Educators may be able to claim their study tour expenses under a number of tax deduction categories which include: self-education expenses; excursions, school trips and camps if these trips have an educational benefit and are related to the curriculum or extra-curriculum activities of the school; acquisition of teaching aids used for curriculum development and teaching programs. Participants must contact their tax advisor or visit the Australian Tax Office website to confirm eligibility.

  Copyright © Ralph A. Ledergerber - All rights reserved | Home | Site map | Terms of use | Privacy | Testimonials | Newsletter | Contact us