Experience an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime. Learn about Darwin, geology, and unique wildlife and enjoy snorkeling, excursions by glass-bottom boat, and nature walks as you visit six of the Galapágos Islands.

Starting at: $7,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Mother and baby seal  Two Nazca Boobies  Sally Lightfoot Crab  Blue-footed Boobies  Travelers snapping a photo of seals   A tortoise and a traveler   Swallow-tailed Gull  Bright Frigate bird  Green sea turtle in the Galápagos  Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals basking on the beach  Colorful iguana

Galápagos Islands Cruise

Aboard the 48-guest La Pinta, with optional Machu Picchu extension

9 days from $7,995

Experience an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime. Learn about Darwin, geology, and unique wildlife and enjoy snorkeling, excursions by glass-bottom boat, and nature walks as you visit six of the Galapágos Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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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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Overview

Quito Pre-Program Option – 4 days, 3 nights

Surrounded by snowcapped peaks, yet only miles from the Equator, Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its magnificent Spanish colonial architecture and lively street life. On the walking tour, visit the noble, 16th-century Iglesia de San Francisco, 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. Stroll along La Ronda for a glimpse into its Spanish heritage and enjoy Ecuadorian chocolate at Chez Tiff.

Stand in the “middle of the world” with one foot in each hemisphere at the Equator and see the hundred-foot-tall monument where an 18th-century multinational expedition located zero degrees latitude, accurately establishing the earth’s size for the first time. Admire panoramic views of the surrounding mountains from El Panecillo and tour the Ethnographic Museum, illustrating the diversity of Ecuador’s indigenous peoples. In the Old Town, enjoy the contrast of open-air markets steps away from skyscrapers. Accommodations are for three nights in the five-star JW Marriott Hotel Quito.

Tour extensions available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

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.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S./ Arrive in Ecuador

Fly to Guyaquil, once a favored haven for 17th- and 18th-century English and French buccaneers, aand transfer to the deluxe Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel.  

Day 2 — Guayaquil, Ecuador/Galapagos Islands

Fly to the small island of Baltra and embark the M.V. La Pinta in time for lunch. Attend your first briefing by the ship’s English‑speaking Ecuadorian naturalists. 

Explore the shores of beautiful mangrove-lined islets and seek out charming blue‑ and red-footed boobies, brown pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds, the males of which inflate their bright red throat pouches to impress potential mates. Observe land iguanas and sea lions. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board the ship this evening. (B,L,R,D) 

Day 3 — Punta Vicente, Isabela Island/Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island

Cruise through the Bolivar Channel, which showcases the stunning volcanic peaks of Isabela and Fernandina. Spend the morning at seahorse‑shaped Isabela, a newer island formed by six shield volcanoes. On the arid shore, you may encounter the largest land iguanas in the Galápagos, as well as giant tortoises and flightless cormorants. Snorkel off Punta Vicente Roca or search the northern shores for Nazca boobies, Darwin’s finches and penguins.  

Dominated by the sweeping slopes of La Cumbre Volcano, the moon‑like landscapes of Fernandina—home to flightless cormorants, sea lions, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas and pelicans—are the most untouched of all the Galápagos Islands. Explore how recent volcanic activity has reshaped the island’s topography, creating an ever-changing environment for thriving species found nowhere else. (B,L,D) 

Day 4 — Urbina Bay, Isabela Island

After breakfast, disembark at Urbina Bay, on the western side of Isabela Island. Here you can see corals, shells, and large colorful Galapagos land iguanas.  Later, explore Tagus Cove, a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries.  An uphill hike to the back of Darwin Crater provides opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking, or hiking. (B,L,D) 

Day 5 — Rabida & Santa Cruz Islands

Stroll along the red-colored beach on Rabida Island to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin’s finches.  Ride a glass-bottom boat for an exploration of life underneath the waves.  

Explore the fascinating landscapes of Dragon Hill.  Circle the lagoon favored by elegant pink flamingos and ascend the trail for spectacular views of the bay and western islands as well as the chance to observe land iguanas. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island for Charles Darwin Research Station

Learn more about efforts to protect the island’s rare giant tortoises in the Charles Darwin Research Station, then transfer to Santa Cruz’s cool, lush highlands for lunch amid an endemic Scalesia cloud forest. 

The highlands are great for exploring the exuberant vegetation where giant tortoises roam. (B,L,D)

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

Floreana was one of the first islands in the archipelago to be settled by European whalers and buccaneers. At Post Office Bay, peruse the mail in the wooden barrel “post office” established by whalers to transport letters home on passing ships. Discover a piece of mail to hand-deliver to its final destination or leave your own message to be delivered by a future visitor.  

Cruise via inflatable watercraft or glass-bottom boat in the clear waters surrounding pristine Champion Islet, encountering seahorses, 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. Walk along the brackish lagoons and mangroves near Cormorant Point, famous for flamingos and pelicans.  

Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception on board the ship this evening. (B,L,R,D) 

Day 8 — Baltra Island/Guayaquil

Anchor at Baltra, disembark the ship and board your late-morning flight to Guayaquil. Continue on the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Post-Program Option or overnight in the Hilton Colón Hotel. (B) 

Day 9 — Guayaquil, Ecuador/U.S.

Depart flights for the U.S.

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