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In Darwin's Footsteps | Santa Cruz II

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Overview

EXCLUSIVE - BOOK AND SAVE: Up to $1,000 off select cabins and 2022 departures* 

Explore the Galapagos Islands in style onboard the fully refurbished Santa Cruz II. With a maximum capacity of 90 passengers, this vessel appeals to those looking for facilities and comfort that the smaller catamaran expeditions can't offer.

This 10 day package combines offer the first two nights on the mainland to experience Ecuador's capital city - Quito, and a day visit into the Valley of Volcanoes to admire the awe of Cotopaxi, standing at 5,911 meters above sea level before flying out to the Galapagos archipelago and spending the next 7 day exploring the very best the UNESCO protected Galápagos.

You’ll get closer to the natural wonders with the use of our small expedition boats, kayaks, snorkelling gear and paddleboards. There’s a wide range of activities to choose from, and the Expedition Team will guide you on shore visits. Safety and sustainability are always at the core of our operations, and our aim is to leave the smallest footprint behind wherever we go.  

 

*Offers aboard the Santa Cruz II end 31 May 2022 and are subject to availability. Valid for 2022 departures only and are subject to availability. Not combinable with any other promotion. Book selected Explorer cabins and Darwin Suites and save up to $1,000 AUD off the regular retail price. Book selected premium cabins and save up to 25% off the regular retail price. Applies to selected departures only; cabins limited. Subject to availability and currency fluctuations. Further conditions apply, contact us for more information.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ECHUIDF

Travel Style: Small Ship Cruise

Location: Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

Ship: Santa Cruz II

Flights: Includes Return economy class flights between Quito and the Galapagos Islands.  

CRUISE ITINERARY

Begin your adventure in the 'city of eternal spring'

Welcome to Quito, high up in the foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes and straddling the Equator.

Built on the foundations of an ancient Inca settlement, today you'll find a bustling, modern capital. Its well-preserved historic centre, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, blends Spanish colonial architecture, with Moorish and indigenous influences. Settle into your hotel, then head out to explore.

If you have time, come a few days early and join our four-day Pre-Programme and tour the lost civilisation of the Incas at the breathtaking Machu Picchu.

Welcome to Quito – Day 1

Visit one of Ecuador's natural wonders

Your first stop is the bustling Sangolqui open-air market, where you can sample Andean specialities and buy handicrafts from friendly stallholders.

Spot wild llamas, Andean Gulls, and maybe the majestic condor on your drive through Andean moorlands to Cotopaxi National Park. We’ll take a walk to the beautiful Limpiopungo Lagoon.

The day's main highlight is Cotopaxi Volcano. You'll walk to a height of almost 12,800 ft up this stunning active volcano. Almost perfectly conical, it features one of the world's only equatorial glaciers. For lunch, you'll enjoy some fantastic regional cooking before returning to the hotel.

Cotopaxi Volcano – Day 2

Meet the Galápagos' giant tortoises

Your first stop today is the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve – a breeding centre for the highly endangered giant tortoise. It's also home to other endemic species, including the San Cristobal Mockingbird and lava lizard.

The giant tortoise is probably the most iconic of all Galápagos wildlife, with a lifespan of over 100 years. Here, they thrive, ambling around forests similar to their natural habitat.

Our small expedition boats will then take you to Punta Pitt, the only site in the Galápagos where you might see three species of boobies. Enjoy a nature walk, explore the coastline by boat, or snorkel and swim in the crystal-clear water.

San Cristobal – Day 4

Spot wildlife against idyllic backdrops

We start the day with a scenic nature walk on the blissful beaches of Santa Fe, home to the endemic Barrington land iguana and a colony of sea lions.

You can go swimming or snorkelling from our expedition boats, take our kayaks for a paddle around the island, or join a trip in our glass-bottomed boat and observe the marine life below. After lunch, prepared by our onboard chefs, we head to South Plaza Island.

Spot frigatebirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls and Galápagos Shearwaters gliding on the breeze. Here, among a dazzling array of flora, land iguanas laze by the shore while marine iguanas slip in and out of the water.

Santa Fe and South Plaza – Day 5

Learn about local conservation on Santa Cruz Island

Today you'll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, where a team of 200 work to conserve the local wildlife. Here you can see baby tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches - the birds he used as a basis for his theory of evolution.

Experience a cooler climate over lunch in the lush highlands, where giant tortoises roam, munching on grass and wallowing in pools.

Then there's time for an optional activity, including mountain biking or kayaking in beautiful Tortuga Bay. Or hike to the snow-white beach of Playa Brava and the secluded mangrove cove at Playa Mansa.

Explore Santa Cruz - Day 6

Lava lizards and incredible birdlife

Your Galápagos cruise reaches Española, the archipelago's most southerly island. Birdlife here is truly extraordinary - look out for Waved Albatrosses, Nazca Boobies, Blue-footed Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

It’s also a chance to spot red Española lava lizards and marine iguanas, as well as see the famous blowhole, El Soplador, blasting water 75 ft into the air.

After lunch on board the ship, we'll head to the picturesque coral beach of Gardner Bay and nearby Osborn Islet, to seek out sea lions, mockingbirds and finches. If you're feeling active, you can go snorkelling or join an optional kayaking excursion.

Española – Day 7

Green turtles, sharks and rare bird colonies

The wealth of wildlife-watching opportunities continues at Eden Islet, where we hope to see Galápagos green turtles, rays and friendly reef sharks. On the shore, look out for distinctive frigatebirds with their rubbery, red throats.

You can swim or snorkel to explore the reefs. Or you may also have a chance to see the reefs from our glass-bottomed boat or by kayak. After lunch, we'll sail to North Seymour.

The island is a great site for spotting colonies of Blue-footed Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls. Sea lions and marine iguanas also congregate here, attracted by the bountiful sea life in its waters.

Eden Islet – Day 8

The end of an incredible wildlife adventure

Your expedition cruise around the Galápagos Islands draws to a close as you disembark at Baltra Island. From here, you'll fly to Guayaquil, where a friendly representative will help you connect to your international flight. From here it's on to Quito.

As you leave this fascinating region, you'll take with you incredible memories of amazing wildlife and wonderful experiences in this unique part of the world that few have the privilege of seeing.

Back in the charming city of Quito, you'll have time to explore and see some of the sights you may have missed at the start of your trip.

Fly to Guayaquil/Quito – Day 9

Say goodbye to South America

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at your hotel, before preparing for your journey home.

We hope you're left with some amazing memories of the incredible scenery and wildlife of the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador, as well as thoughts of your newfound friends and the wonderful adventure you shared together.

Depart South America – Day 10
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing per person & date

Departing Ending Duration
11 May 2022 20 May 2022 10
25 May 2022 03 Jun 2022 10
08 Jun 2022 17 Jun 2022 10
22 May 2022 31 May 2022 10
06 Jul 2022 15 Jul 2022 10
20 Jul 2022 29 Jul 2022 10
03 Aug 2022 12 Aug 2022 10
17 Aug 2022 26 Aug 2022 10
31 Aug 2022 09 Sep 2022 10
14 Sep 2022 23 Sep 2022 10
28 Sep 2022 07 Oct 2022 10
12 Oct 2022 21 Oct 2022 10
26 Oct 2022 04 Nov 2022 10
09 Nov 2022 18 Nov 2022 10
23 Nov 2022 02 Dec 2022 10
07 Dec 2022 16 Dec 2022 10
21 Dec 2022 30 Dec 2022 10

Important Information

  • Two nights in Quito before the expedition cruise including breakfast and dinner on Day 2
    One night in Quito after the expedition cruise, including breakfast and dinner
    Return economy class flights between Quito and the Galapagos Islands 
    Galapagos Islands National Park admission fee and Transit Control Card for Galapagos Islands 
    Transfers between Quito hotel and airport on the day of embarkation and disembarkation,
    Transfers between Galapagos Airport and the ship 
    Full day Nature Tour to Cotopaxi National Park, including lunch
    Stay in a cabin of your choice  
    All land based activies whilst in the Galapagos including Landings, coastal exploration, kayaking, snorkelling, glass-bottom boat trips
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner with selected beers, wine, sodas, and mineral water onboard the Santa Cruz II 
    Complimentary wetsuit rental
    Wifi

    Complimentary tea and coffee 
    Citizen Science programme
    Complimentary reusable water bottle 
    English-speaking Expedition Team leading activities and providing educational information on board and ashore  
    Welcome and farewell cocktails 

    Exclusions 

    International flights
    Visa & reciprocity fees (if applicable) 
    Travel insurance
    Beverages outside of meal times.
    Personal expenses 
    Gratuities for tour guides/drivers

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details. 

  • Please note park entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice. 

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore whilst remaining culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE

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