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

Starting at: $4,995 * Price includes special offer 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

Wonders of the Galápagos Islands Voyage

A Voyage Aboard the 90-guest Santa Cruz II

9 days from $4,995

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

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

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.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save $1,000 per person when you book by June 16, 2017!

Overview

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 five 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 through the Bolivar Channel, offering stunning views of the volcanic peaks of Isabela and Fernandina Islands. Your time at seahorse-shaped Isabela features snorkeling along the cliffs and searching the northern shores for wildlife. Then continue to the moon-like landscapes of Fernandina, which showcases one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in the archipelago. 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: Sail for four nights 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 three 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.

Itinerary

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 traditions are interwoven with imported Catholicism, the Spanish language and European culture. Quaint family-owned shops and open-air markets are steps away from gleaming skyscrapers and ornate Spanish Baroque-style cathedrals favored by the Conquistadors. The city tour features a visit to the noble, 16th-century church, Iglesia de San Francisco. In the heart of Quito, a World Heritage site, see the Moorish-influenced Catedral Metropolitana and Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesus, renowned for its lavish interiors decorated with an estimated seven tons of gold leaf.  End the tour with a visit to the Casa del Alabado Museum, a private museum of Pre-Columbian art housed in a 17th-century colonial mansion

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

Day 3 — Quito

Journey to the Equator and stand with one foot in each hemisphere in the “middle of the world,” where an 18th-century multinational expedition located zero degrees latitude and established an accurate measurement of the earth’s size for the first time. Step inside the hundred-foot-tall monument to this endeavor for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and tour the Ethnographic Museum, illustrating the diversity of Ecuador’s indigenous peoples. (B)

Day 4 — Quito, Baltra Island, Galápagos Islands, Santa Cruz Island

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

The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Walk past a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and flamingos while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as a chance to observe land iguanas.

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 — The Western Galapagos Islands: Isabela Island, Fernandina Island

Enjoy a day of introduction to an area of the Galápagos Islands that are rarely visited: the Western Galápagos Islands. Cruise through the Bolivar Channel, offering stunning views of the volcanic peaks of Isabela and Fernandina. Spend the morning at seahorse-shaped Isabela Island, snorkeling along the cliffs in the waters off Punta Vicente Roca and searching the northern shores for blue-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches and penguins that inhabit the area. This area is the nesting place for a Galápagos highlight: flightless cormorants.

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, including the famous flightless cormorant, sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans and penguins. Explore how recent volcanic activity has reshaped the island’s topography, creating an ever-changing environment for the thriving species found only in the Galápagos. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz’s pristine white beaches, prickly pear cacti, vibrantly colored flamingos and prehistoric-looking iguanas make it an essential stop during a cruise around the archipelago. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about efforts to protect the island’s rare giant tortoises. Transfer to Santa Cruz’s cool, lush highlands for lunch amidst mist-covered forests.

This afternoon, choose from a variety of leisure activities. Swim in the clear blue waters of secluded Tortuga Bay, home to black turtles, colorful reef fish, marine iguanas and lava gulls. Walk through the island’s trails or simply stroll along the sparkling white sandy beaches, the perfect avenues to experience Santa Cruz. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Floreana Island: Post Office Bay, Champion Islet, Cormorant Point

A short walk leads you to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guest from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkel or cruise via Zodiac 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.

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

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

Day 8 — Baltra Island, Disembark, Fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador

Dock at Baltra to disembark the ship. Fly to Guayaquil and enjoy dinner in the deluxe Hilton Colon Quito, with late-evening departure to the U.S., or continue on the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley post-program option. (B,D)

Day 9 — Arrival

Arrive in the U.S.

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