With a destination as exotic and fascinating as the Galapagos Islands, the best tours are the ones that give you choices as to how you can take advantage of all that these islands have to offer.
PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
AM– Baltra Airport
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (2½-hour flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken in a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
PM – Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: flat & muddy (depending on season)
Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk
AM– Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island)
Vicente Roca point is a high peak of land created out of remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on both sides. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks. The dinghy ride along the coast will allow observing a great diversity of seabirds like noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once during the cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.
Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: none
Duration: 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride
PM – Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island)
Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally Lightfoot Crabs. Fernandina island displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites. The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 2-hours walk / 1-hour snorkeling
AM– Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
Wet landing (might be difficult due to the tide). Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is usual in May – December.
Type of terrain: flat & rocky
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling
PM – Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Difficulty level: intermediate/difficult
Type of terrain: steep/steep
Duration: 2-hour walk / 40-minutes dinghy ride / 1-hour deep water snorkeling
AM– Egas Port (Santiago Island)
Wet landing. Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Type of terrain: flat & semi-rocky
Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling
PM – Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
Wet landing. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.
Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: flat volcanic lava
Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time
AM– Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island)
Wet landing. On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling/ beach time
Baltra Island Airport
After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
M/V Galapagos Legend features 57 cabins: one balcony suite plus, eight balcony suites, four legend suites, 24 junior suites, 17 standard plus, and three standard suites. All cabins include twin beds or a double bed, a private bathroom, personalized air conditioning, a safety deposit box, an LCD-TV with multimedia system, and phone service for internal, local, and international calls.
The balcony suite plus, 245 sq. ft. in size, features a large bathroom, bathrobes and other amenities, two private balconies, a mini fridge with champagne, exclusive decorations, and the capacity to become a triple via an extra bed. Interconnecting cabins get the 471 sq. ft. Galapagos balcony.
Balcony suites, 226 sq. ft. in size, feature panoramic views, a private balcony, sliding doors, a mini fridge with champagne, and the capacity to become a triple via an extra bed.
Legend suites, 215 sq. ft. in size, and junior suites, 161 sq. ft. in size, feature two panoramic windows per cabin and the capacity for four and 20 suites, respectively, to become triples via an extra bed.
Standard plus suites, 118 sq. ft. in size, feature portholes and the capacity for four suites to become triples via an extra bed.
Standard suites, 111 sq. ft. in size, are interior cabins.
M/V Galapagos Legend also features a number of public areas for socialization, including numerous outdoor spaces, a pool, a stargazing terrace, multiple bars, a kid's corner, a sauna, jacuzzi, massage chairs, dining areas, and many more!
M/V Galapagos Legend has a multilingual crew of 56 members and seven certified, naturalist guides.
Naturalist guides speak English and Spanish, although guides who speak French, German, or Italian are available on request. Please indicate any preference at the time of booking.
Cabins aboard M/V Galapagos Legend use 110 V and 120 V electricity. Guests whose devices do not use this type of current should supply their own adapters.
Visa and Travel Documents
· As per international law, you must have a visa in order to enter Ecuador to begin your trip. While Palace Tours does not provide visas, we can help by providing you with all the necessary information you need to successfully obtain a visa to Ecuador.
Insurance (Personal and Otherwise)
· Palace Tours strongly recommends the purchase of adequate travel insurance in your country of origin prior to arrival to cover injury, illness, death, loss of luggage or effects, or cancellation.
· Ecuador does not require a yellow fever vaccination, and the nation has no yellow fever or malaria alerts at any location at this time.
· Palace Tours strongly recommends you consult your physician for any personal health advice based on your travel itinerary.
Pre- and Post-Tour Accommodations
Unless specifically mentioned, airfare (Domestic or international) to or from the Galapagos Islands and to or from Ecuador, accommodations before or after your tour, transfers to or from airports, and tour extensions are not included in the price of your journey, but can be arranged for an additional fee.
All itineraries include two daily excursions to visitor sites in the islands.
Transfers to and from the M/V Galapagos Legend to the islands will take place aboard dinghies; landings can be dry or wet and are indicated as such in the itinerary.
All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
· In the Galapagos Islands, the weather is relatively stable throughout the year.
· The cool, dry season lasts from July to December and brings overcast conditions and choppier waters. Temperatures range from 19° to 25° C, with an average sea temperature of 21° C.
· The warm, wet season lasts from January to June and brings sunny skies and the occasional heavy rain shower. Temperatures range from 22° to 27° C, with an average sea temperature of 24° C (Though it has been known to dip lower).
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?
· The Galapagos Islands are a perfect destination to visit at any time of year!
What should I pack with me on my trip to the Galapagos Islands?
· In terms of clothing, we recommend comfortable walking shoes or boots with strong traction, "Teva" style sandals for hiking on beaches or wet landings, a bathing suit, a light-to-medium fleece jacket for cool or breezy evenings, shorts (Quick-dry, if possible), T-shirts, sunglasses (Preferably polarized), and a hat or cap.
· We also recommend you pack your travel documents, such as your passport, a camera (With batteries and plenty of film/memory), a basic first-aid kit (Band-Aids, aspirin, seasickness pills, stomach-settling pills), and cash (Preferably in U.S. dollars). You should also pack a backpack for any off-board excursions so that you can carry any essentials you will need for the day.
· This list is by no means exhaustive, but merely a suggestion to get you started.
What is the currency?
Ecuador's national currency is the U.S. dollar, so it is legal tender for any transactions you may make.
What is the time difference in Ecuador?
· The Galapagos Islands are on GMT-6 (The same as Chicago). They do not observe Daylight Savings' Time, so during the months of April-October, they are on GMT-7 (The same as Denver). They are one hour behind mainland Ecuador.
How many airlines fly to the Galapagos Islands? How many airports are there?
· Only two airports in the Galapagos Islands receive flights from mainland Ecuador: Baltra Airport on the island of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Airport on the island of the same name. There is also a small airport on the island of Isabela in operation to receive the occasional small flight from Santa Cruz.
· The Galapagos Islands are serviced by LAN, TAME, and Aerogal (Now owned by Avianca).
Do I need to be in good physical condition to visit the Galapagos Islands?
· Guests on M/V Galapagos Legend itineraries can expect several hours of gentle walking each day on paths which may be unpaved and at varying slopes, so guests should have a level of fitness appropriate to participate. Please ask any questions you may have related to fitness as an impediment to participation at the time of booking.
· Certain treks or activities, like snorkeling, may require a greater degree of fitness.
Can my children accompany me?
Children under 12 years of age are allowed on board M/V Galapagos Legends excursions and pay 50% of the adult fare.
Interconnected cabins are available for families with children and there are a number of offerings designed specifically for children, such as our on-board playroom.
I have dietary restrictions. Can I be accommodated?
Guests with dietary restrictions are required to provide advance notice so that we can make special arrangements. Please ask any questions or indicate any dietary restrictions you may have at the time of booking.
Is M/V Galapagos Legend available for group or charter expeditions?
Yes. If interested, please inquire about group or charter details at the time of booking.
Should I leave a tip?
Tips are not included in the total price of your journey. We recommend guests leave a per person, per day tip of $15 for crew/$10 for guide.
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