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, cruise to six of the Galápagos Islands, and learn about this fascinating World Heritage site. 

Starting at: $5,995 * Price includes special offer 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

Wonders of the Galápagos Islands

A Voyage Aboard the Santa Cruz II

9 days from $5,995

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, cruise to six of the Galápagos Islands, and learn about this fascinating World Heritage site. 

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

Colonial Quito Pre-Tour Option

Begin your family adventure in captivating Quito—a UNESCO World Heritage-designated city. Near the edge of the Equator, the whole family can enjoy the amazing experience of standing in the “middle of the world,” with one foot in each hemisphere, and visit the Ethnographic Museum, illustrating the diversity of Ecuador’s indigenous peoples. Admire the panoramic views from El Panecillo, a lofty overlook of sprawling Quito, and in the old city, see the incredible architectural contrasts of quaint family-owned shops and open-air markets juxtaposed only a few steps away from modern, gleaming skyscrapers and 16th-century ornate Spanish-Baroque-style cathedrals. Stroll La Ronda, a central, enchanting street full of art, culture and tradition—stop at Chez Tiff, a pastelería, for a chocolate tasting and to learn about the making of their rich artisanal creations. Accommodations are for three nights in the ideally located, Five-Star JW Marriott.

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Post-Tour Option

Enjoy this extraordinary opportunity for your family to experience Machu Picchu, the majestic “lost city of the Incas;” the lush Sacred Valley; and the colonial and Inca traditions of Cuzco—a family adventure of a lifetime.

Perched on an awe-inspiring mountain range above the Urubamba Valley in the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu was obscured from humankind for 400 years until Yale Professor Hiram Bingham literally stumbled upon it in 1911. A century of extensive research and study still has not revealed the secrets of its purpose, its residents or its abandonment; nevertheless, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been carefully excavated and preserved.

Explorers of all ages will delight in the spectacular archaeological sites of the beautiful Sacred Valley, where ancient engineering marvels, such as the fortress of Ollantaytambo, stand as lasting testimony to the powerful and far‑reaching Inca Empire. Here, village craftsmen employ age-old techniques to weave intricate tapestries and sculpt colorful pottery.

In the historic Inca capital of Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, marvel at the Inca stone fortress of Sacsayhuamán and grand Baroque- and Renaissance-style architecture that provides a fascinating mix of pre-Columbian and colonial influences.

The Pre-Tour and Post-Tour Options are 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. for Guayaquil, Ecuador

Fly to Guayaquil, once a favored haven for 17th- and 18th-century English and Dutch buccaneers. Known for colorful neighborhoods and great views of the river and city. Check into the Hilton Colon Hotel.

Day 2 — Guayaquil/ Galápagos Islands

Fly to the small Galápagos Island of Baltra and embark the Santa Cruz II in time for lunch.

Attend your first briefing by the ship’s English speaking Ecuadorian naturalists as you cruise toward the Mosquera Islet—a small, volcanic uplift surrounded by lava reefs between Baltra and North Seymour islands while you are briefed on the exciting week ahead, filled with activities and the wonders of nature in the Galápagos. Make a wet landing by Zodiac and wade to shore along a shallow reef as your naturalist guides point out sea lion colonies.

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

*Please note that the itinerary and cruise pattern is dependent on weather, sea conditions and Galápagos National Park Service regulations.

Day 3 — San Cristóbal Island

In the midst of an abundant deciduous forest on San Cristóbal Island, visit a conservation and breeding center for endangered giant tortoises and see these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for dozens of bird species and two endemic species, the San Cristóbal mockingbird and lava lizard! 

This afternoon, explore Punta Pitt and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the San Cristóbal shoreline. Be greeted by hundreds of barking sea lions as you make your way to the only site in all of the Galápagos Islands where all three species of boobies congregate in one place—the blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies. Look for two species of frigate birds, plus swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Santa Fe Island/ South Plaza Island

Pristine white beaches, prickly pear cacti, droves of sea lions and prehistoric looking endemic iguanas make Santa Fe Island an essential stop for explorers of all ages! Enjoy snorkeling and swimming, glass-bottom boat rides or even kayaking in the lagoon’s crystal clear waters.

On South Plaza Island, watch as gray and yellow land iguanas wait patiently for sweet pear fruit to drop from the cactus grove among a landscape of crimson succulents. Join your naturalist guides for an evening of stargazing (weather permitting) and learn more about how explorers once used the night sky to navigate. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Santa Cruz Island

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about efforts to protect the island’s rare giant tortoises. Continue to Santa Cruz’s cool, lush highlands for lunch amid mist-covered forests. 

This afternoon, choose from a variety of leisure activities for the whole family. Swim in the clear blue waters of secluded Tortuga Bay, home to black turtles, colorful reef fish, marine iguanas, and lava gulls. Hike the island’s wilderness trails or walk the sparkling white sandy beaches and look out for seashells, Galápagos crabs and brown pelicans in search of their prey. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Española Island

This morning, visit Punta Suarez on Española Island for a look at the unique wildlife during a nature walk guided by your expert naturalists. This island is known for its unique seabird colonies, including the Galápagos albatross, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Watch the geyser-like spray of the famous Punta Suarez blowhole, and see the island’s red and green marine iguanas up close. 

Cruise to Gardner Bay and the pristine Osborn Islet while scanning the skies and shorelines for sightings of endemic mockingbirds, yellow warblers and Darwin’s finches. In the islet’s turquoise waters, snorkel, swim or kayak and keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, sea lions, coral hawkfish and other fantastic aquatic wonders. (B,L,D) 

Day 7 — Eden Islet/North Seymour Island

Visit Eden Islet off the coast of Santa Cruz Island for more encounters with the incredible Galápagos wildlife. From a Zodiac, watch as blue-footed boobies dive into the lagoon, frigate birds flit about and reef sharks glide smoothly along the ocean floor. 

Enjoy a walk through the natural wonders of North Seymour Island, with more chances to encounter blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, and marine iguanas. 

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

Day 8 — Baltra/Guayaquil, Ecuador

Dock at Baltra to disembark the ship. Fly to Guayaquil and transfer to the deluxe Hilton Colòn Hotel, where we have arranged for day rooms until travelers’ late-evening departure to the U.S., or continue on the optional Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley post-tour extension. (B)​

Day 9 — Arrival

Arrive in the U.S.

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