Home » Daphne Galapagos 8 Days: Northern & Southern Islands
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Discover the Galapagos Eastern and Southern Islands in depth with this 8 day cruise on the Daphne vessel. Travellers will learn the most of the volcanic origins and history of these islands all while surrounded by 360-degree picturesque scenery. There are plenty of opportunities to meet sea lions, flamingos, sting rays, tortoises and a variety of tropical birds
Discover the volcanic origins and its history surrounding these islands
Encounter sea lions, flamingos, sting rays, tortoises and a variety of unique sea and tropical birds
Enjoy from a range of different activities such as hiking and snorkelling to experience the Islands' natural beauty
Opportunities to swim with sea lions, reef sharks, turtles and galapagos penguins
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Baltra / Santa Cruz
Day 2: Floreana Island
Day 3: Española Island
Day 4: San Cristobal-Kicker Rock and Interpretation Center
Day 5: Santa Fe / Plazas
Day 6: Genovesa Island
Day 7: Santiago Island / Rabida Island
Day 8: Black Turtle Cove / Baltra
Day 1: Arrive in Baltra - Santa Cruz highlands
arrival to the Galapagos, we collect our luggage and meet our local
guide in the arrivals hall. We then head to the Highlands of Santa Cruz
for our first Galapagos adventure.
Beginning at the coast we travel across Santa Cruz through the
agricultural region and into the misty forests where we can see the
unique scalesia cloud forest, dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild,
different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous
woodpecker and warbler finches, as well as vermillion flycatchers. Today
we will enjoy lunch in the highlands.
Day 2: Post Office Bay & Cormorant Point, Floreana Island
This custom continues today with Galapagos visitors leaving letters
and postcards to be collected by the next passing boat. Send one of
your own and check if there are any you can deliver back home.
Snorkelling and enjoying a panga ride are activities also included in
We go ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine
olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral, giving the beach an
olive-green colour. It is the best place to see Galapagos sea lions.
Today is also one of our finest opportunities to see pink flamingos and
other water birds wading in the lagoons, including pintails and stilts.
The walk continues to a white flour sandy beach to an Eastern Pacific
green turtle nesting site. Young diamond stingrays are commonly found in
the shore line and enjoy the view of the turquoise crystalline ocean.
Just offshore, the famous Devil’s Crown is an old eroded volcanic
cone and a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans
and frigates. Red-billed tropicbirds can also be seen nesting in the
rocky crevices. The centre of the cone is an outstanding snorkelling
spot and many people find this one of the best snorkelling experiences
of their trip. We might see rays, sharks, sea lions and turtles.
Day 3: Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay, Espanola Island
Today we cruise to the island of Española - the southernmost island
of the Galapagos and one of the most spectacular. Because of its remote
location this island has a large population of endemic fauna. It is the
breeding site for nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved
albatrosses and also home to colonies of blue-footed and masked boobies.
Trails from the golden beaches, where sea lions bathe and marine
iguanas make their way towards the water, lead us right through the
middle of booby colonies, and Galapagos doves and mockingbirds are also
We land at Punta Suarez, one of the most attractive locations in
the Galapagos and home to large and varied wildlife population - a walk
along its trails takes us to a cliff top viewpoint, where we gain a
magical panorama. Boobies line the rocky shoreline beneath us, while
frigate birds may be seen overhead; nearby enormous male sea lions can
be seen lounging and albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, helping
become airborne by the southeast winds that blow across this part of
the island. If we’re lucky we’ll see the elaborate courtship rituals
performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate.
We head to Gardner Bay which is considered by many as one of the most
beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands and full of sea lions and
hood mockingbirds. Enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling which could
be great for playing with sea lion pups and lots of fish. The rocks off
the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities, with reef sharks,
turtles and many species of tropical fish, including surgeon and
angelfish, often seen. The small white-tipped reef sharks are also often
spotted resting under the rocks.
Day 4: Kicker Rock - Interpretation Centre
Rock (Leon Dormido) is the magnificent basalt remains of a crater in
the middle of the sea, the shape resembling a sleeping lion. The rock
rises 150 metres above the surface and is divided into two parts by a
narrow channel. We cruise through the channel, with nesting seabirds on
either side of the boat, tropic birds overhead, marine iguanas in the
water and resting on the rocks and many sea lions also present.
Snorkelling gives us the opportunity to see Galapagos sharks, and
possibly a hammer head shark among sea turtles and an incredible
biodiversity of invertebrates on the wall.
We visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre. The centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos and the issue of problems the islands face today is also explored. This is a great place to get a complete overview of the Galapagos.
Day 5: Santa Fe & South Plaza Islands
Santa Fe is home to more sea lions, and these ones are very eager
for swimming partners! It’s a lovely place to take a dip, offers a dense
concentration of wildlife, and is a fantastic place to see many of the
stars of the Galapagos in one relatively small area. Expect to see
Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos
mockingbirds, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves
and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island as well with one of
the most attractive coves in the archipelago and the jade-green waters
are ideal for snorkelling. Our trail follows the coast into the opuntia
forest, where we see Santa Fe's trees - the largest in the Galapagos.
Hiking into the island you can see a forest of giant cacti and palo
santo trees. Once back at the beach we have free time to snorkel in the
jade green water. Playful sea lion pups and fluorescent fish make for
A small island, Plaza Sur (or South Plaza) is nonetheless a place of
great beauty where we get close to sea lions and on to trails past one
of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, resting amid cacti
and volcanic landscapes coloured bright red and green by sea-purslanes.
The island’s rugged southern cliffs are excellent places to spot
tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the Gentlemen’s Club’ -
a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be ‘beach
Day 6: Darwin Bay & Prince Philip's Steps, Genovesa Island
It takes us an overnight sail to reach Genovesa Island, the
archipelago's north-eastern outpost, but it is undeniably worth the
voyage. Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while
the island itself is one of abundant beauty, with varying landscapes and
wonderful wildlife. It is also a twitcher's paradise with all three
kinds of boobies, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous
other species such as tropicbirds and frigate birds. Walking the steep
path known as Prince Philip's Steps get us into the heart of the seabird
rookeries, with birds overhead and nesting among the cliffs. On the
island's rocky plains we look out for storm petrels. Genovesa is the
only place in the world where they can be seen flying during the day.
Afterwards, cool off with a snorkel!
Darwin Beach is another superb site with large breeding colonies of
seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons,
swallow-tailed gulls, mockingbirds and, hopefully, vampire finches.
During the walk we will pass by tide pools with playful sea lions and
diamond stingrays. The island's magnificent marine life also makes for
spectacular snorkelling and with the chance of encountering manta rays,
sharks, turtles and moray eels along with many types of fishes.
Day 7: Sullivan Bay, Santiago - Rabida Island
On Santiago Island's eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan, also known
as James Island. Here, we take a walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava that was created
by an eruption that occurred in 1897, and witness the plants that have
grown on the site since that last eruption. Hopefully we may see some
marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles,
sharks and penguins. On our walk here, our guide will recount to us the
geological history of the islands.
Isla Rabida is known for its gorgeous red sandy beach (due to the
rusting of iron) and is one of the most striking islands of the
archipelago. From the shore, the trail leads through to what is one of
the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is
also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. Elsewhere, pintail
ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions are all present. Here we will find
great opuntia cactus forest which suggests previous existence of land
iguanas as well as possibly Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves,
finches and lava lizards. There is also an opportunity for snorkelling
in a place where sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish are
Day 8: Black Turtle Cove - Transfer to Baltra airport
As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, it is
an early start for our last morning on the islands. Depending on the
time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be
We take a panga ride to explore Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove)
- a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. We
paddle among the cove’s peaceful waters to experience the underwater
riches of these waters. It’s a breeding area for green turtles, so it is
not uncommon to see them mating. There is also abundant bird life, such
as the yellow warbler and lava heron. It is also a nursery for golden
cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we say farewell to the
Galapagos Islands. We head to the airport for our mid-morning flight
back to Quito or Guayaquil.
Departs - Fortnightly (Wednesdays)
The Daphne offers three types of accommodation: double, twin beds, twin bunk beds, which are all equipped with:
Accommodation: 16 passengers.
Snorkeling equipment: 25 sets
Wet Suits-long: XL / L /M /S - 22 long sets to rent for $5 USD/day
Voltage and plugs: 110V with North American flat plugs.
Crew: 1 expert naturalist guide, 7 crew.
Year Built: 1997
Year Refurbished: 2015
Length: 21m Width 7m
Life jackets: 25
Speed in knots: 10
English-speaking tour guide(s)
Activities/shore excursions as specified
All meals during the voyage
What's not included?
International and internal airfares
Arrival/departure taxes or reciprocity fees, visa fees where applicable