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baltra
to baltra (galapagos)

Silversea Expeditions
Dec 26, 2015 7 Days
Silver Galapagos 8549
US$10,250
Date: Day: Port: Arrive: Depart:
December 26th, 2015 Saturday Baltra, Galapagos    
December 27th, 2015 Sunday Bartolome    
December 27th, 2015 Sunday Playa Espumilla, Santiago 12:00 PM  
December 28th, 2015 Monday Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela    
December 28th, 2015 Monday Punta Espinoza, Fernandina 12:00 PM  
December 29th, 2015 Tuesday Caleta Tagus, Isabela    
December 29th, 2015 Tuesday Bahia Elizabeth, Isabela 12:00 PM  
December 30th, 2015 Wednesday Post Office, Floreana    
December 30th, 2015 Wednesday Punta Cormorant, Floreana 12:00 PM  
December 31st, 2015 Thursday Galapaguera Cerro Colorado,San Cristobal    
December 31st, 2015 Thursday Wizard Hill, San Cristobal 12:00 PM  
January 01st, 2016 Friday Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz    
January 01st, 2016 Friday EstacionDarwin & Puerto Ayora,Santa Cruz 12:00 PM  
January 02nd, 2016 Saturday Baltra, Galapagos    
Included in this cruise
  • Personalised service – the best crew-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising
  • Butler service in every suite – all guests are pampered equally
  • Open-seating dining options – dine when and with whomever you please
  • Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship – select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored mini-bar
  • In-suite dining and room service – available 24 hours aboard Silver Explorer, and from 06:00 to 23:00 aboard Silver Galapagos and Silver Discoverer
  • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
  • Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
  • Gratuities always included in your fare

Pre-Post Cruise Hotel

Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, the three-story Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel harbours 31 rooms, a showcase of eye-catching style, contemporary design, antiques, fine furnishings, modern technologies and quintessential comforts.

Beautifully- and eclectically-appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and to relax, whether in the dining room, glassed-in patio, garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, wood-panelled library, or else atop its panoramic third-floor terrace.

Beyond its doors, the world heritage wonders of Quito, as well the vastly-different and diverse worlds of Ecuador itself, await. Sophisticated and eclectic, historic yet contemporary, at Casa Gangotena style, passion and service blend seamlessly and delightfully.

Pre-Post Cruise Hotel

The JW Marriott Hotel Quito, located in the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, attracts visitors from all countries to enjoy our churches and the 16th Century European architecture as well as natural sanctuary like rain forests and the highest active volcano of the world.

Land Programmes

Indulge your senses with the scenic splendour and unique history of Peru.  Travel via Peru Rail's Vistadome train for the journey up and back from the historic site.  Upon arrival, explore the 'Lost City of the Incas'.  Overnight nearby in Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly called Aguas Calientes).    



Please note: Participants in this program should schedule their arrival flight into Lima, Peru.


Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


DAY 1 - LIMA

Upon arrival in Lima, you are met and transferred from the airport to the Westin Hotel.   After check-in, the remainder of the day and evening are at your leisure. Lunch and dinner are on your own.


Overnight at the Westin Hotel - Lima, Peru


DAY 2 - LIMA / MACHU PICCHU

A very early departure from the hotel takes you to the airport for your flight to Cusco.  Once there, transfer directly to the train station in the Sacred Valley where the Vistadome train awaits.   As you make your way to Machu Picchu the train passes through villages and mountain gorges.  Along the way you get a glimpse of a snow-covered Andean peak.   As you approach the end of your journey, the outside temperature rises and jungle vegetation appears.  


Upon arrival at the site, commence a guided tour of the marvellous Citadel, then take a stroll through this impressive archaeological site on your own.   Explore the famous "Lost City of the Incas" and feel its pulse while visualizing the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who lived in this seemingly incredible site.  Excavations have only added to the mystery, revealing the skeletons of 173 people along with artifacts and woolen clothing, though no gold.    


A buffet lunch will be served at the famous Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge just outside the entrance to the ruins.  The afternoon is then free to continue your exploration of the citadel.  At the end of the afternoon, transfer to your hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly called Aguas Caliente).  Settle in for the evening in a room with a skylighted ceiling that provides much-needed light through the lush vegetation.  Dinner this evening is served at the hotel.  


Overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel


DAY 3 - MACHU PICCHU / CUSCO

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning, followed by some free time to explore the area on your own.  There's a local handicraft market near the train station, or join one of the hotel's staff for a guided nature walk.  


Later in the morning, transfer to the Aguas Calientes Station and board Peru Rail's Vistadome train for the return trip to Cusco.  A box lunch is provided.  


Transfer to the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Cusco.  This afternoon you are free to explore the area.  Dinner this evening is on your own account.


Overnight at the J.W. Marriott Hotel - Cusco, Peru


DAY 4 - CUSCO / QUITO

Depart for the airport this morning for the flights (via Lima) to Quito.   Arriving in the early afternoon, you can check in to your hotel.  The local Silversea representative will have several Optional Excursions on offer, or you are free to explore the area on your own.  Dinner this evening is on your own.


Overnight at the Hilton Quito (or similar) - Quito, Ecuador


DAY 5 - GALÁPAGOS

After breakfast at the hotel, return to the airport for the onward flight to the Galápagos.  Bon voyage!



Program Inclusions:

One-night stay in a Superior Room at the Westin Hotel - Lima, Peru

One-night stay in a Superior Room at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel - Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru

One night stay in a Superior Room at the J.W. Marriott Hotel - Cusco, Peru

One night stay in a Deluxe Room at the Hilton Quito (or similar) - Quito, Ecuador

Scheduled, Economy-Class flights: Lima /Cusco/Lima/Quito - upgrades to Business Class are available for an additional cost only on the Lima/Quito portion of this trip.

Meals:  Four breakfasts; two lunches and one dinner

Train: Roundtrip Vistadome service Cusco/Machu Picchu/Cusco

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Transfers between airports and hotels in air-conditioned vehicles


Upgrade to Machu Picchu Grande Explorer for a modest surcharge

Comparison of Machu Picchu Explorer vs. Machu Picchu Grande Explorer

The following are the highlights of the features for each level of service:


Machu Picchu Explorer                                             Machu Picchu Grande Explorer

*Lima: Superior room-Westin Hotel                               *Lima: Deluxe Ocean View room-Miraflores Park Hotel

*Roundtrip Vistadome train service                                *One-way service aboard the Hiram Bingham train,

  Cuzco & Machu Picchu                                                plus one-way service aboard the Vistadome train

*Overnight stay- Machu Picchu Pueblo                          *Overnight stay - Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

*Free time in Machu Picchu Pueblo & Cusco                 *Additional free time at Machu Picchu and Cusco

*Cusco: Superior room-J.W. Marriott                              *Cusco: Superior room-Monasterio Hotel

*Quito: Deluxe room -Hilton Quito                                   *Quito: Deluxe room-Hilton Quito


Flight Details:

Day 2 - Lima/Cusco - approximately one hour and 15 minutes

Day 4 - Cusco/Lima - approximately one hour and 15 minutes

         Lima/Quito - approximately two hours and 30 minutes

         Flight durations may vary due to changes in flight schedules


Luggage Information:

According to Peruvian law, only the following baggage will be allowed on the trains travelling between Cusco and Machu Picchu (Vistadome, Hiram Bingham, etc.):


1 personal item per person (such as a purse)

1 carry-on per person conforming to the following requirements:

·        Maximum 5kg/11lbs

·        Maximum 157cm/62 inches combined height, length, width


Luggage is restricted to a maximum of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) for domestic flights in Peru.  Weight restrictions are very strict on domestic Peruvian flights; at the time of printing, overweight charges are US $35.40 for overweight luggage/ $70.80 per extra piece of luggage. Guests are responsible for any charges imposed by the airlines for overweight luggage. Please pack a small overnight bag to travel to Machu Picchu on Day 3.  The remainder of your luggage will be held at the hotel in Cusco.

Visa Information:

Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


Accessibility:

The sights visited on this program are not well-equipped for mobility-impaired guests; therefore, this tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair.


Vaccinations:

Consult your physician for information regarding vaccinations or medications that may be appropriate for your state of health.


Please note: Gratuities to guides/drivers, meals and alcoholic drinks other than those noted in itinerary, and other personal expenses are not included in the price of this tour.  Silversea Air Programme guests may be provided flights on LAN Peru in order to participate in this program.   Flights are subject to availability, and any changes to the carrier will affect the selling price of the program.


All Land Adventures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate as described.  If this minimum number is not met, Silversea reserves the right to offer the programme at a different rate based on private arrangements, or to cancel the specific departure.  Silversea's published cruise cancellation policy will remain in effect.  All Land Adventure fares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is received in full by Silversea.   All Land Adventures are non-transferable and non-refundable for any reason, within 90 days of sailing.  This description is a general overview of this programme.  Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays and weather, require.  The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.

Land Programmes

Indulge your senses with the scenic splendour and unique history of Peru.  Board the legendary 'Hiram Bingham' for a picturesque train-ride to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, explore the 'Lost City of the Incas'.  Your overnight stay at the famed Sanctuary Lodge allows you to spend additional time at the historic site with fewer tourists.  


Please note: Participants in this program should schedule their arrival flight into Lima, Peru.


Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


DAY 1 - LIMA

Upon arrival in Lima, you are met and transferred from the airport to the Miraflores Park Hotel, which is renowned for its location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After check-in, the remainder of the day and evening are at your leisure. Lunch and dinner are on your own.


Overnight at the Miraflores Park Hotel - Lima, Peru


DAY 2 - LIMA / MACHU PICCHU

A very early departure from the hotel takes you to the airport for your flight to Cusco.  Once there, transfer directly to the train station in the Sacred Valley where the Hiram Bingham awaits.   Your rail journey celebrates the spirit of expedition and perseverance that is the hallmark of the railways of Peru, taking its name from the explorer Hiram Bingham who discovered the 'Lost City of the Incas'.


Brunch is served en route. Upon arrival at the site, commence a guided tour of the marvellous Citadel, then take a stroll through this impressive archaeological site on your own. Explore the famous "Lost City of the Incas" and feel its pulse while visualizing the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who lived in this seemingly incredible site.  Excavations have only added to the mystery, revealing the skeletons of 173 people along with artifacts and woolen clothing, though no gold.  


Afterward, relax with afternoon tea at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located within the very grounds of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary citadel.  Dinner is served at the Lodge.


Overnight at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge


DAY 3 - MACHU PICCHU / CUSCO

After an early-morning breakfast at the lodge, depart for an opportunity to witness an incomparable sight (weather permitting); the sun rising over Machu Picchu.  Due to the proximity of the hotel to the site, overnight guests have time in the morning to enjoy the citadel with very few other visitors around.  


Later in the morning, transfer to the Aguas Calientes Station and board Peru Rail's Vistadome train for the trip to Ollytaytambo station where transportation is waiting to continue on to Cusco.  A box lunch is provided.


Transfer to the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco.  This afternoon you are free to explore the area.  Dinner this evening is served at a local restaurant.  


Overnight at the Monasterio Hotel - Cusco, Peru


DAY 4 - CUSCO / QUITO

Depart for the airport early this morning for the flights to Quito.   A late lunch is served upon your arrival at the hotel.  The balance of the afternoon is at your leisure.  The local Silversea representative will have several Optional Excursions on offer, or you are free to explore the area on your own.


Overnight at the Hilton Colon - Quito, Ecuador


DAY 5 - GALÁPAGOS

After breakfast at the hotel, return to the airport for the onward flight to the Galápagos.  Bon voyage!


Program Inclusions:

One-night stay in an Deluxe Ocean View at the Miraflores Park Hotel

One-night stay in a Superior Room at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Hotel

One-night stay in a Superior Room at the Hotel Monasterio

One night stay in a Deluxe Room at the Hilton Colon

Scheduled, Economy-Class flights: Lima /Cusco/Lima/Quito

Meals:  Daily breakfast; one brunch; two lunches and two dinners

Train: Hiram Bingham - Cusco to Machu Picchu; Vistadome - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Transfers between airports and hotels in air-conditioned vehicles

Flight Details:

Day 2 - Lima/Cusco - approximately one hour and 15 minutes

Day 4 - Cusco/Lima - approximately one hour and 15 minutes

         Lima/Quito - approximately two hours and 30 minutes

         Flight durations may vary due to changes in flight schedules


Luggage Information:

According to Peruvian law, only the following baggage will be allowed on the trains travelling between Cusco and Machu Picchu (Vistadome, Hiram Bingham, etc.):


1 personal item per person (such as a purse)

1 carry-on per person conforming to the following requirements:

·        Maximum 5kg/11lbs

·        Maximum 157cm/62 inches combined height, length, width


Luggage is restricted to a maximum of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) for domestic flights in Peru.  Weight restrictions are very strict on domestic Peruvian flights; at the time of printing, overweight charges are US $35.40 for overweight luggage/ $70.80 per extra piece of luggage. Guests are responsible for any charges imposed by the airlines for overweight luggage. Please pack a small overnight bag to travel to Machu Picchu on Day 3.  The remainder of your luggage will be held at the hotel in Cusco.

Visa Information:

Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


Accessibility:

The sights visited on this program are not well-equipped for mobility-impaired guests; therefore, this tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair.


Vaccinations:

Consult your physician for information regarding vaccinations or medications that may be appropriate for your state of health.


Please note: Gratuities to guides/drivers, meals and alcoholic drinks other than those noted in itinerary, and other personal expenses are not included in the price of this tour.  Silversea Air Programme guests may be provided flights on LAN Peru in order to participate in this program.   Flights are subject to availability, and any changes to the carrier will affect the selling price of the program.


All Land Adventures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate as described.  If this minimum number is not met, Silversea reserves the right to offer the programme at a different rate based on private arrangements, or to cancel the specific departure.  Silversea's published cruise cancellation policy will remain in effect.  All Land Adventure fares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is received in full by Silversea.   All Land Adventures are non-transferable and non-refundable for any reason, within 90 days of sailing.  This description is a general overview of this programme.  Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays and weather, require.  The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.

Land Programmes

Enjoy a day exploring the highest navigable lake in the world.  Meet local villagers who make their homes on floating villages made of reeds. Visit the Sillustani tombs, whose construction has baffled experts for years .            



Please note: Participants in this program should schedule their arrival flight into Lima, Peru.


Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


DAY 1 - LIMA

Upon arrival in Lima, you are met and transferred from the airport to the Westin Hotel.   After check-in, the remainder of the day and evening are at your leisure. Lunch and dinner are on your own.


Overnight at the Westin Hotel - Lima, Peru


DAY 2 - LIMA / JULIACA / PUNO

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.  A short flight to Juliaca lands you in the Peruvian highlands.  En route to your hotel, stop and visit the Sillustani tombs.  Sillustani comes from a Quechua word that means "fingernail" and refers to the peninsula on which the site is situated.

The highlight of this site are the chulpas (burial towers) of the Colla, an Aymara-speaking civilization that pre-dated the Inca occupation. Simple though these circular stone towers seem to be, the engineering that went into building them was quite complicated. In fact, to date, archeologists have been unable to rebuild one of the damaged towers. The consensus amongst the experts is that the Collas had a more sophisticated mortarless construction style than the Incas who invaded them in the 15th century. The towers, some of which are 40 feet (~12 m) tall, were used as burial chambers for the nobility, who were entombed with not just their worldly goods, but with their entire families.

Continue on to your hotel, located on a private island on Lake Titicaca.  With a complete 360° view of the lake, this excellently located property connects you immediately to the stunning surroundings.  

Dinner this evening is served at the hotel.

Overnight at the Libertador Isla Esteves - Puno, Peru


DAY 3 - PUNO (LAKE TITICACA)

Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel this morning.  Then, head out for a full day of sailing on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Depart early in the morning for the floating islands of Uros, where the inhabitants still live as they did centuries ago. The artificial islands are made from the totora reeds that grow along the lake.  


The name Uros was used to name a very particular ethnic group that coexisted in Lake Titicaca with the Incas, Aymaras and possibly with older civilizations. In fact, it is believed that the Uros were one of the first ethnic groups populating the Andean region. These people were simple fishers and bird hunters and preferred to remain isolated from the more advanced civilizations. Their search for isolation may be one reason why they decided to live in mobile houses on the lake. When the Spanish chroniclers encountered the Uros by the end of the XVI century, the Uros were still living on the lake in small reed-boats that they used as floating houses. Only in the early 60, did the Uros start to build small artificial islands with reeds for their homes. Nowadays, the reeds are still very important material for the Uros. They eat the reeds, build boats and houses with it, feed their few animals with reeds, and they use the reeds to make fire and cook.


Following your visit, continue sailing towards Taquile Island for a 30 minute hike toward a small town inhabited by Quechua speaking natives who have, over the generations, developed both an efficient and original social system as well as a refined hand weaving technique.  In 2005, "Taquile and Its Textile Art" were honored by being proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.  Taquileños are known for their fine handwoven  textiles and clothing, which are regarded as among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. Knitting is exclusively performed by males, starting at age eight. The women exclusively make yarn and weave.


Lunch is served in a local house that serves as a restaurant. After lunch there's time to explore the island and appreciate the magnificent views of Lake Titicaca.  After this trek, return to the boat and make your way back to the hotel.  

Dinner this evening is on your own account.  

Overnight at the Libertador Isla Esteves - Puno, Peru


DAY 4 - QUITO

Depart for the airport this morning for the flights (via Lima) to Quito.  


Please note: LAN airlines made changes to their flight schedules after this program was published.  You will now have a lengthy layover in Lima before continuing on to Quito.  During this time, the local Silversea representative will provide you with a complimentary panoramic tour of the city, that will include a stop for dinner on your own.


Arriving in Quito very late this evening, you are met by Silversea's Ecuadorian representative and transferred to the hotel.  For your convenience we recommend that you have a small overnight case for your immediate needs and check the balance of your luggage with the bell staff at the hotel.  


Overnight at the J.W. Marriott Hotel - Quito, Ecuador


DAY5 - GALÁPAGOS

After breakfast at the hotel early this morning, return to the airport for the onward flight to the Galápagos.  


Program Inclusions:

v        One-night stay in a Superior Room at the Westin Hotel - Lima, Peru

v        Two-night stay in a Superior Room at the Libertador Isla Esteves - Puno, Peru

v        One night stay in a Deluxe Room at the J.W. Marriott Hotel - Quito, Ecuador

v        Scheduled, Economy-Class flights: Lima / Juliaca / Cusco / Lima / Quito

v        Meals:  Daily breakfast; two lunches (one is a boxed lunch) and one dinner

v        Transfers between airports and hotels in air-conditioned vehicles


Flight Details:

Day 2 - Lima/Juliaca - approximately 1 hour 40 minutes

Day 4 - Juliaca/Lima - approximately 1 hour 30 minutes

        Lima/Quito - approximately 2 hours

        Flight durations may vary due to changes in flight schedules


Luggage Information:

Luggage is restricted to a maximum of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) for domestic flights in Peru. Weight restrictions are very strict on domestic Peruvian flights; at the time of printing, overweight charges are US $35.40 for overweight luggage/ $70.80 per extra piece of luggage. Guests are responsible for any charges imposed by the airlines for excess or overweight luggage.


Visa Information:

Please check with your travel professional for details regarding Peruvian and Ecuadorian visas. It is the responsibility of each guest to obtain appropriate visa documents prior to cruising.


Accessibility:

This program requires participants to be physically fit and able to walk through uneven and/or slippery terrain. The sights visited on this program are not well-equipped for mobility-impaired guests; therefore, this tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair.


Vaccinations:

Consult your physician for information regarding vaccinations or medications that may be appropriate for your state of health.


Please note:

Gratuities to guides, drivers and meals other than those noted in itinerary, are not included in the price of this program.  Individual, personal expenses are not included in the price of this program.


This description is a general overview of this programme. Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays and weather, require. The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.



Updated 2.13.14

7 DAYS WESTERN GALAPAGOS

Baltra to Baltra

The Western Islands are home to the only active volcanoes in the archipelago and are known both for their spectacular volcanic landscapes as well as penguin spotting; over 95% of Galapágos Penguins live in these islands. It’s also the only area to see the endemic Flightless Cormorant. Other key sites include the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Post Office Bay with its human history and Champion Islet with some of the best snorkelling in the archipelago.

Expedition Highlights:

• Walk across spectacular lava fields

• Explore tidal pools, lush mangroves and Scalesia forests

• See pelicans and penguins along the rocky shores

• Swim with green sea turtles, sea lions and manta rays

• Hike through fragrant forests of Palo Santo “Incense” trees

• Encounter the largest colony of marine iguanas

• Watch for a unique species of Flightless Cormorant

• Visit one of the most volcanically active places on Earth

• Discover a saltwater lagoon within a volcanic tuff cone

• Read cave inscriptions from the 1800s

• Learn of the islands’ whaling history and early Norwegian settlers

• See wild flamingos (in season) and nesting sea turtles

• Observe giant tortoises and sea lion colonies

• Photograph iconic Pinnacle Rock

Day 1 — Baltra

Embark Silver Galapagos and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition – Western Galápagos.  After settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and enjoy the first of many memorable meals on board.

Day 2 — Bartolomé

Playa Espumilla, Santiago

Some of the most spectacular landscapes in the islands come into view. Just off the coast of Santiago, Bartolomé boasts some of the most magnificent landscapes in the islands including the famous Pinnacle Rock, a towering obelisk at the edge of the ocean. Go snorkelling or take a walk along the beach to look for the playful Galápagos Penguin, perched on a rock or zooming underwater.

Beautiful Espumilla Beach is an important nesting site for the East Pacific Green Sea Turtle. We’ll walk through the arid vegetation zone of the interior where we’ll see the largest Palo Santo trees in the Galápagos, the perfect habitat for several species of Darwin’s finches.

At times of year when conditions aren’t ideal at Espumilla, you’ll enjoy a visit to Buccaneer’s Cove.  This protected cove once served as a safe harbour for pirates as they repaired their ships and replenished their stores. Today, it offers a wealth of water-based activities, including snorkelling with a kaleidoscopic array of tropical fish, whitetip sharks, fur seals and even eagle rays.  You can embark on a kayak or Zodiac tour and spy some of the beautiful geologic features of the area—red cliffs, natural caves and unique rock formations—while perhaps spotting native sea birds (like the Brown Noddy Tern) that nest in the cliffs.

Day 3 — Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina

Five (originally six) majestic shield volcanoes up to half-a-million years old pierce the arid landscape of Isabela, the largest and youngest island in the Galápagos. Snorkelling is probably the best (and coldest) in the islands at Punta Vicente Roca, located at the base of Ecuador Volcano (North-West Isabela). Half of this volcano collapsed about 100,000 years ago—meaning that visitors now get a spectacular cutaway view of the caldera. Aboard a Zodiac, we’ll look for an array of seabirds including Flightless Cormorants and penguins.

The largest colony of marine iguanas in the Galápagos can be seen sunning on the black lava shores of Punta Espinoza at the north-eastern corner of Fernandina. One of the most pristine islands in the world, Fernandina hosts an impressive array of wildlife including sea lions, colourful Sally Light-Foot Crabs and the rare endemic Flightless Cormorant.

Day 4 — Caleta Tagus, Isabela

Bahía Elizabeth, Isabela

A short cruise across the Bolivar Strait brings us to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. Yellow Warblers and Galápagos Mockingbirds may escort our hike between Palo Santos and Yellow Cordias, passing the briny Darwin’s Crater Lake along the way. Join the snorkelling tour to look for penguins, cormorants and the shy Brown Noddy Tern along the sheltered cliffs. You may also explore the area on a kayak.

The tallest red mangrove trees in the Galápagos are found in Elizabeth Bay, an idyllic mangrove lagoon and a fascinating place to observe marine life. We’ll take a Zodiac through the mangroves where sea turtles swim close to the surface, and pelicans and herons stalk for fish or crab. Sea lions and penguins are also prevalent in this marine sanctuary. (No landings permitted.)

Day 5 — Post Office Bay, Floreana

Punta Cormorant; or Corona del Diablo; or Champion, Floreana

Floreana has been luring visitors since the 18th century when whalers hunted the island for tortoises and pirates sought shelter in its caves. Sailors established a rustic mailing system here: a barrel nailed to a pole where they would drop letters hoping they would be delivered by other mariners sailing home. You can continue the tradition if you choose. Then take a walk along the lovely beach, or go snorkelling in an underwater world as colourful as Floreana’s history.

You’ll have an opportunity to get to know the flora and fauna of this island. On the northern coast (between Punta Cormorantand Post Office Bay), a sea lion rockery has developed. Amid lava rocks that are dotted with Prickly Pear Cacti and Sesuvium, a small colony of the creatures thrives. Pups are particularly curious when visitors arrive—they love to go in the water and investigate Zodiacs as they pass through their waters.

As you travel along the coast, you may find many other creatures that shelter amid the red and white mangroves: eagle rays, marine turtles, Brown Pelicans and resting Cattle Egrets. Kayaking through the turquoise waters here is a true pleasure, inviting a sense of peaceful solitude and an invigorating feeling of connection to nature. Even if you prefer not to go into lava tunnels, there is so much to explore in Floreana.

Where in the world can you see an olivine beach, deciduous vegetation and pink flamingos all in one place? Only at Punta Cormorant, one of the most interesting sites in the islands. We’ll learn about the formation of beaches as we land on the olive-green sand and walk to Flour Beach, a favourite nesting site for Green Sea Turtles. Floreana also offers some of the best snorkelling sites in the Galápagos.

Day 6 — Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, San Cristóbal

Wizard Hill, San Cristóbal

The most emblematic animal in the archipelago is the Galápagos Giant Tortoise. Over-hunting and competition with introduced animals has left its numbers close to extinction. Nonetheless, since the late 1950s, the tenacious work of the Galápagos National Park Service park rangers and the scientists of the Charles Darwin Research Station has been bringing those numbers back. We’ll see these ancient reptiles and their babies, and learn more about current conservation efforts at the Galapaguera Cerro Colorado. Breeding and rearing endemic animals in captivity is part of a much broader conservation programme aimed at restoring and protecting the Galapagos Islands’ natural biodiversity.

This afternoon you can swim, snorkel or kayak with sea lions and marine iguanas right from Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach. It’s a haven for birdwatching, too.

Day 7 — Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz

Puerto Ayora and the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Santa Cruz

The second largest island in the archipelago is home to both the largest human settlement and the second largest wild tortoise population. We’ll visit Los Gemelos, two pit craters (similar to sink holes) in the midst of a forest of tall Scalesia trees that look like giant daisies and are endemic to the Galápagos. Here there’s a good chance to spot land birds, especially one of the rare and endemic Galápagos Martins.

If instead of going by bus to see tortoises in the wild you want some exercise, you have an array of options in the highlands of Santa Cruz: you can reach the farm where Giant Tortoises roam around free by mountain bike accompanied by one of our naturalists on the farm trails or side roads.

If you are not into biking you can visit “Trapiche”, a local farm with a coffee and sugar plantations to experience the social side of the islands. Here you can taste all the different forms of sugar and there will be an explanation of how alcohol is produced –you can even try some if you want. You will be offered fresh roasted coffee produced on this farm.

For those who would like to walk to enjoy an ecological reserve with the best view of the entire island and search for the second species of Giant Tortoise found in Santa Cruz you can visit Cerro Meza. The sink hole there can be accessed by both bus and walking.

After everyone has visited their main point of interest we will all meet for lunch at one of the local farms.

Tortoises in the Galápagos occur in two different morphotypes: dome-shaped and saddle-backed. The smaller saddle-back tortoise was hunted virtually to extinction and just a handful of survivors remain. The Fausto Llerena Breeding Center gives us the opportunity to see both the domed tortoise and the iconic saddleback tortoise after which the islands were named.

Day 8 — Baltra

Following breakfast, disembark Silver Galapagos for your return flight from Baltra Airport.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.