Sail aboard the Santa Cruz II and discover every nature lover's dream come to life on the Galápagos Islands.

Starting at: $6,495 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Mother and baby seal  Travelers snapping a photo of seals   A tortoise and a traveler   Bright Frigate bird  Pair of Blue-footed Boobies  Swallow-tailed Gull  Two Nazca Boobies  Green sea turtle in the Galápagos  Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals basking on the beach  Colorful iguana  View of Bartolome Island  Machu Picchu  Weaving is a time-honored tradition in Peru

Wonders of the Galápagos Islands Voyage

A Voyage Aboard the 90-guest Santa Cruz II

10 days from $6,495

Sail aboard the Santa Cruz II and discover every nature lover's dream come to life on the Galápagos Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.


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The Galápagos Islands comprise a mysterious landscape of wonder, beauty, and the most unusual wildlife found anywhere on Earth. Wake up to new vistas each day—cruising to six of the Galápagos Islands made famous by Charles Darwin, now a fascinating World Heritage site— and learn about it in depth from a highly qualified and diverse team of experts. 

Highlights Include

  • Unique Wildlife: Watch the antics of Blue-footed Boobies and observe the beauty of Nazca Boobies, flamingos, and Frigate birds. Get up close to sea lions, seals, Sally Lightfoot crabs, iguana, penguins, and giant land tortoises in their native habitat, where Darwin developed his research on evolution.
  • Featured Islands: Cruise to North Seymour, a tiny sandy-shored isle known for exceptional whale watching as well as sea lions, swallow- tailed gulls, and large colonies of Blue-footed Boobies and Frigate birds. Observe the volcanic peaks of Isabela and Fernandina Islands as you scan the vistas for dense wildlife or go snorkeling. Isabela is also known for its orca whale and dolphin populations in Tagus Cove and land iguana and tortoises at Urbina Bay. On Santa Cruz, learn about efforts to protect the rare giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station, plus enjoy the sparkling white-sand beaches. You’ll also call at Floreana, one of the first islands to be settled by Europeans, as well as Baltra Island. 
  • The Santa Cruz II: Cruise aboard our newly refurbished ship, which is outfitted with a fleet of Zodiacs and snorkeling gear. Our vessel is the ideal size for an expedition to the Galápagos—large enough to provide a choice of excursions but also offering an intimate experience. 
  • Quito: Enjoy two days in Quito, featuring a tour of the Old City, and take an excursion to the equatorial milestone marker. 

The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Quito, Ecuador

Fly to Quito, the highest capital city in the world at 9,350 feet, and transfer to your deluxe hotel. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks, yet only miles from the Equator, Quito is known for its magnificent Spanish colonial architecture and lively street life.

Day 2 — Quito

Quito is a city of startling contrasts, where thousands of years of native South American tradition are interwoven with imported Catholicism, the Spanish language, and European culture. Quaint family-owned shops and open-air markets are steps away from the ornate Spanish baroque-style cathedrals favored by the conquistadors and the gleaming skyscrapers of today. On the city tour, visit the Golden Court and the noble, 16th-century Iglesia (Church) de San Francisco. Continue to the heart of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and see the Moorish-influenced Catedral Metropolitana and the Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesus, renowned for its lavish interiors decorated with an estimated seven tons of gold leaf.

This evening, attend a private welcome reception in the hotel. (B,R)

Day 3 — Quito

On this day you have a visit to the Museo Nacional del Banco Central’s Archaeological Gallery followed by an excursion to the Equator at zero degrees latitude, stand with one foot in each hemisphere in the “middle of the world,” where an 18th-century multinational expedition located the Equator and established for the first time an accurate measurement of the earth’s size. Step inside the hundred-foot-tall monument to this endeavor and tour the Ethnographic Museum, illustrating the diversity of Ecuador’s indigenous peoples. (B)

Day 4 — Quito, Baltra, Galápagos Islands, North Seymour

Fly to the small Galápagos island of Baltra. Embark the Santa Cruz II in time for lunch and attend your first briefing by the English-speaking Ecuadorian naturalists.

Continue to diminutive North Seymour Island, a tiny sandy-shored isle home to sea lions and the world’s only marine iguanas. Observe large colonies of charming Blue-footed Boobies and magnificent frigates birds, whose males puff up their bright red chests to impress potential mates.

Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Please note that the Santa Cruz II’s specific itinerary and cruise pattern is dependent on weather, sea conditions and Galápagos National Park Service regulations.

Day 5 — Isabela and Fernandina

Cruise along the Bolivar Channel, which offers stunning views of the volcanic peaks of Isabela and Fernandina. Spend the morning at seahorse-shaped Isabela Island, snorkeling in the waters off Punta Vicente Roca and searching the northern shores for the sea lions, penguins, and Blue-footed Boobies that inhabit the area.

Dominated by the sweeping slopes of La Cumbre Volcano, the moon-like landscapes of Fernandina Island are the habitat of one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in the Galápagos. During an afternoon visit, observe how recent volcanic activity has reshaped the island’s topography, creating an ever-changing environment for the island’s thriving populations of marine iguanas, cormorants, and sea lions. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Isabela

Trace the west coast of Isabela, one of the younger islands, formed by six shield volcanoes, five of which remain active. Be on deck for possible sightings of orcas and dolphins breaching the waters of Tagus Cove. Take a short but steep hike to Darwin Lake, a saltwater pool within a tuff cone frequented by land birds—ground and tree finches, large-billed flycatchers, and sometimes the woodpecker finch, which awed Darwin with its remarkable use of twigs as a tool for feeding.

Observe the unusual results of geologic forces at Urbina Bay, where a 1954 volcanic uplift stranded nearly four miles of coral reef 15 to 20 feet above the water’s surface. On the arid shore you may encounter the largest land iguanas in the Galápagos as well as giant tortoises and flightless cormorants. Enjoy spectacular snorkeling in the bay. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Island’s pristine white beaches, prickly pear cacti, vibrantly colored flamingos, and prehistoric-looking iguanas make it an essential stop during a cruise of the archipelago. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about efforts to protect the island’s rare giant tortoises. Its most famous resident until 2012 was an approximately 100-year-old tortoise known as “Lonesome George,” thought to be the last member of a now extinct subspecies from Pinta Island.

Transfer to the island’s cool, lush highlands for lunch amidst mist-covered forests.  

This afternoon, choose from a variety of activities at your leisure. Kayak in the clear blue waters of secluded Tortuga Bay, watching for black turtles, colorful reef fish, marine iguanas, and lava gulls. Hike or mountain bike along the island’s trails or simply walk on the white-sand beach. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Post Office Bay, Champion Islet and Cormorant Point, Floreana Island

The island of Floreana was one of the first in the archipelago to be settled by European whalers and buccaneers. Walk along the brackish lagoons and mangroves near Punta Cormorant, famous for the flamingoes and pelicans that congregate here.

Snorkel or cruise via Zodiac and glass-bottom boat in the clear waters surrounding pristine Champion Islet, encountering sea horses, sea turtles, sea lions, coral hawkfish and other aquatic wonders. Scan the skies and shorelines for possible sightings of the endemic Floreana Mockingbird, common to the islands when Darwin visited but critically endangered today.

Attend the Captain’s farewell reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Days 9-10 — Guayaquil and Depart for the U.S.

Dock at Baltra to disembark the ship. Fly to Guayaquil and enjoy dinner in the deluxe Hilton Colón Hotel, with late-evening departure to the U.S., or continue on to the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Post-Tour Option with an overnight in Guayaquil. Arrive in the U.S. (B,D) 

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)