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. With a cruise aboard M/V Coral I or M/V Coral II, that's exactly what you'll get. You can choose which of these two luxurious yachts you'll take on your trip throughout the Galapagos. You can choose what you'll do when you arrive--snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, or simply relaxing in these serene landscapes surrounded by beautiful views and wildlife. So the choice of how you want to experience the Galapagos Islands on your next vacation is all yours--but, with options like M/V Coral I and M/V Coral II, it's not a hard decision to make.
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 (2 ½-hour flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our natural guides and taken to a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
PM – Charles Darwin Research Station and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: flat
Duration: 1½-hour walk
AM- Mosquera Islet
Wet Landing, Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, the visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk & snorkeling
PM – North Seymour Island
Dry landing. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora. An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies*, magnificent and great frigatebirds,* and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.
Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: rocky ground
Duration: 2-hour walk / 30-minute snorkeling
AM – Santa Fe Island
Wet landing. Santa Fe shows white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour deep-water snorkeling
PM – South Plaza Islet
Dry landing on the northern part of the Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest* surrounded by land and marine iguanas; as we reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls.?In South Plaza there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. Approximately, there is a population of 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where we will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.
Difficulty level: intermediate.
Duration: 2-hour walk
AM – Kicker Rock Circumnavigation & Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve (San Cristobal Island)
Kicker Rock can be seen directly from the vessel. In the sea northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is this ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava named Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock it is formed by two rocks approximately 148 m, named for its resemblance of a sleeping lion.
It serves as home to many of the typical Galapagos sea animals, such as birds, sea lions, blue and Nazca boobies and frigate. With rare sightings of swallow turtle gulls, tropic birds, and pelicans.
Type of Terrain: water
Duration: 1-hour circumnavigation
Cerro Colorado is a dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
Type of Terrain: sandy
Duration: 40-minute bus drive to the Reserve / 1-hour visit
San Cristobal Airport
After the visit, you will go to San Cristobal Airport for the return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
*Please note that while airfare from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands is not included in the price of your journey listed above, all guests are required to arrange airfare, at an extra fee, through Palace Tours: $490 per adult and $350 per child under 12 (These rates are subject to change). This fee also includes transfers for both passengers and luggage to and from the ship at the beginning and end of the tour. Any passengers who do not arrange their airfare through Palace Tours will be charged a flat fee of $90 per person and will be responsible for their own transfers to and from the airport to the dock. Palace Tours is not responsible if passengers miss their cruise because of delays resulting from independent airfare or transfer arrangements.
Optional services onboard (net per person in US$ subject to change)
If a customer wishes to change their tour dates and their original departure date between 125 and 68 days away, then they will be charged a $200 fee per person.
If a customer wishes to change their tour dates and their original departure date is less than 68 days away, then relevant cancellation fees will apply.
i) More than 68 days prior to the date of departure: 15% as a cancellation fee of the total tour cost or the amount already paid, if the service is cancelled.
ii) Less than 68 days from the date of departure: Palace Tours will not issue a refund if the service is cancelled and customers will still be required to pay 100% of their original total tour cost.
The above times are based on local time of the destination where the tour is provided. In order to provide enough time for processing cancellation, guests need to add 3 business days to the above timeframes. An administration fees of 15% on any monies to be refunded to the client will be charged prior to refund.
All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover the losses incurred in case of cancellation. For more information on travel insurance, please visit www.palacetours.com/insurance.
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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