Small Ship Cruises
Ecuador | Galapagos Islands Holiday Charter | Family
Join Austin Adventures on an exclusive Galapagos charter over the holidays
8 days / 7 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Introducing Austin Adventures’ first-ever exclusive Holiday Charter in the Galapagos Islands! Venture each day from your 16-passenger first-class catamaran with a skilled naturalist to a new island and get up close and personal with the stunning terrain and fearless exotic creatures that make Galápagos their home. Walk along soft, sandy beaches and protected highlands and marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones, cinder cones, and lava tubes on hikes around volcanic islands. Get up-close-and-personal with a 600-pound, 150-year-old tortoise, snorkel alongside warm-water penguins, and watch as a blue-footed booby dances in courtship. Return each night to a delectable meal and a restful night’s sleep in the comfort of your expeditionary catamaran. The rugged volcanic landscape of the Galápagos Islands offers truly exceptional encounters with wildlife. Venture out each day with a skilled naturalist by boat, foot, or snorkel to witness an astounding variety of exotic creatures that have never learned to fear human contact.
- Come nose to nose with a 600-pound, 150-year-old tortoise
- Snorkel alongside warm-water penguins fishing off a rocky shore
- Play hide and seek with a doe-eyed sea lion pup off the nose of your kayak
- Marvel at the lava bombs, spatter cones, cinder cones, and lava tubes on a hike to the top of an inactive volcano
- Watch as a blue-footed booby dances in courtship
- Explore wind and sea-swept volcanic rock, stepping carefully so as not to disturb the sunning iguanas
- Raise a glass over the rail of the 16-passenger first class catamaran, perfectly suited to navigate the islands pristine water
Austin Adventures is proudly offering this trip in conjunction with our Ecuadorian partner Latin Trails. Latin Trails’ Ecuadorian, well-traveled team is passionate about sharing their beautiful continent with travelers from around the globe. The company is a melting pot composed of tourism professionals, business graduates, and world explorers who strive to reach excellence every day and deliver memorable trips that visitors from around the world enjoy. Latin Trails is a business group formed by friends with a common dream of “wanting to create a better world through travel.”
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
This is Austin Adventures' first ever EXCLUSIVE holiday charter - 16 guests spread cross 8 cabins, all who share a passion for adventure travel!
The fearless wildlife: Without any natural predators, the raptors, reptiles and marine mammals of the Galapagos are clearly as interested in you as you are in them.
The giant tortoise: For a true definition of longevity, come face-to-face with the world's most enduring creature (whose average life span is 150-175 years!).
Quito, Ecuador UIO
Quito, Ecuador UIO
Quito or Guayaquil / Galápagos – Santa Cruz Island
Morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands. Meet your guide and take a short bus ride to the dock for a brief ferry transfer across the Itabaca Channel. A bus then brings you to Ranch Manzanillo where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and a lovely walk before continuing your journey to explore more of Santa Cruz. Leaving Puerto Ayora behind, you’ll travel across the island beginning at the coast and climbing through agricultural lands and into mist-covered forests. Santa Cruz possesses all of the various life zones present in the archipelago which gives us many opportunities for viewing our first wildlife of the trip, including the famed wild Galapagos Tortoises. Eventually, we make our way to our first class catamaran, the Seaman Journey, where you’ll sit down to a brief safety demonstration and get introduced to your cabin for the week. Enjoy a delightful welcome dinner this evening prepared by your onboard chef.
About the M/C Seaman Journey
M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey is a first-class catamaran that began sailing the Galapagos Islands in January 2008. With a maximum capacity of 16 guests spread across 8 cabins, the Seaman Journey allows both intimacy and camaraderie for its passengers. Between the Sun Deck, the Dining Room, the Saloon, and your comfortable cabin, plenty of quiet social areas abound for you to connect with your fellow passengers or enjoy a quiet place to relax after an exciting day swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or walking around one of the Galapagos Islands.
The air-conditioned cabins are either located on the main deck (6 twin cabins) or the upper deck (2 matrimonial cabins) and offer great comfort with private bathrooms and panoramic windows with beautiful views of the Galapagos landscape.
Mangle Point / Punta Moreno – Fernandina Island / Isabela Island
This morning, we anchor off the eastern coast of Fernandina Island. Here, we’ll take advantage of the superior snorkeling opportunities and will also ride by panga through a grove of mangrove trees. On our zodiac ride, we’ll likely spot sea lions, tortoises, rays, and too many birds to name! There will also be a chance for a short exploratory hike. Upon landing back at the catamaran, we dine on a freshly prepared lunch while we cruise over to Isabela Island.
In the afternoon, we explore Punta Moreno located between several volcanos on the north coast of Isabela Island. The trail we explore runs along a lava flow called a Pahohoe: solidified lava that appears quite accordion-like! We eventually wind up at a complex of coastal lagoons where we find several species of birds around the lakes and mangroves. Head back to the Seaman Journey late afternoon for some downtime and dinner on the deck if you wish.
Urbina Bay / Tagus Cove – Isabela Island
After breakfast, we anchor off the west coast of Isabela Island to explore Urbina Bay. By zodiac, we cruise close to the island and experience our first “wet landing” in which we disembark in up to knee-deep water to wade to the beach. The path we follow on our island hike gives us the opportunity to observe land iguanas, red and blue lobster, Galapagos tortoises, and Darwin’s finches. We also immerse ourselves in the beauty of Galapagos vegetation, walking amongst plant species like chamomile and Rosewood, but the beautiful flowers of cotton Darwin, endemic to the Galapagos, are sure to stand out above the rest!
During lunch back on board the Seaman, we cruise a short distance to Tagus Cove. Here, we zodiac to the beach for a chance to discover this favorite spot of pirates and whalers once upon a time. At the beginning of our trail, we find a small cave with inscriptions of the names of different boats visiting this area dating back to the 1800s. We’ll also examine the fascinating geology of the area’s substrate made up of volcanic rocks of different sizes. Among the most common are little spherical ball shapes known as lapilli or “petrified rain.” After we’ve had our fill of exploration, we head back to the catamaran for dinner and overnight.
Espinoza Point / Punta Vicente Roca – Fernandina Island
After a relaxing morning spent on board, we zodiac around Espinoza Point known for its large colonies of marine iguanas as well as unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, and Galapagos snake. Lunch back on board.
This afternoon, we visit one of the most impressive and spectacular sights of the enchanted Galapagos Islands: Punta Vicente Roca. Located on the northwestern coast of Fernandina, the high cliffs and tuff stone, ash, and lava formations give this area a majestic feel. The large bay features spectacular marine life including seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange, yet fascinating Mola-mola or sunfish. We’ll be sure to take advantage of amazing snorkeling opportunities here keeping an eye out for penguins, sea lions, stingrays, and pufferfish. Back to the boat for dinner and relaxation late afternoon.
Espumilla Beach / Puerto Egas – Santiago Island
A zodiac ride brings us to Espumilla Beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. Here, we’ll explore the Palo Santo forest and look for turtle nests and if the timing is right, baby turtles hatching and crawling down to the beach. Back to the catamaran for lunch.
Next, we’ll discover the beautiful, black sand beach of Puerto Egas on the west side of the island. The history of this area is quite fascinating as there was once the idea of creating a salt mine on the island. Since the price of salt in South America was so inexpensive at the time, the enterprise failed and the infrastructure was abandoned. After learning about this interesting project of the past and getting our fill of black sand, we head back to the Seaman Journey for dinner in the dining room or out on the deck.
Rábida Island / Chinese Hat – Santiago Island
Today’s explorations bring us to Rábida Island, unique due to the red coloring of its rocks and sand. A short walk via trail brings us to a coastal lagoon behind the beach where we can observe land birds such as finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mockingbirds. We’ll also be able to observe a colony of flamingos that call this place home. Back to the catamaran for lunch with the group.
Next, we visit a small islet located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. Coming from the north, this volcanic cone appears to look like a Chinese hat. On the west side, we can spot lava formations formed under the sea and raised upward over time. Chinese Hat is covered by sea lion colonies, marine iguanas, and Galapagos penguins, giving us very good photo opportunities of wildlife.
Sullivan Bay – Santiago Island / Bartolome Island
After breakfast, we explore the volcanic island of Santiago where many young flows and cones can be seen. This fascinating island actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end. Lunch back on board the Seaman Journey.
Next, we visit Bartolome Island situated across Sullivan Bay. We hike to a high point on the island where we can observe some of the most incredible scenery of the Galapagos Islands. Your guide will help you identify volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba-formed pinnacle, eroded by the sea. The two breathtaking beaches showcase marine turtles and at the base of the pinnacle, we can find a small colony of Galapagos penguins. Tonight, we enjoy one last farewell dinner with the group as we relive our wildlife sightings of the week!
Bachas Beach – Santa Cruz Island / Guayaquil / Quito
One last excursion brings us to two small beaches found to the west of Turtle Cove. The sand here, made of decomposed coral, is white and soft making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one beach, a small brackish water lagoon brings possible sightings of flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach houses two abandoned barges which were utilized when the United States used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Canal during WWII.
After your morning excursion, you’ll be taken back to the airport for your flight to the mainland. From Guayaquil or Quito, continue your South America explorations or your journey home.
Note: Additional options for pre-and post-tour packages are available, including Ecuadorian highlands and jungle extensions as well as a basic add-on that includes airport transfers, pre-cruise lodging in Quito, and post-cruise lodging in Quito or Guayaquil. Please call your Austin Adventures trip consultant (800.575.1540) for complete details.
* This trip is operated in partnership with Latin Trails.
** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, ocean, weather, trail, and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and/or Latin Trails.
Arrival & Departure
- Please arrive in Quito no later than the evening prior to your trip (we recommend arriving a minimum of two nights to allow for potential flight delays and misconnection).
- You will fly from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, arriving between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm at the Baltra Airport on Santa Cruz, depending on your flight schedule.
- Upon arrival at the Baltra Airport, you will be greeted and escorted by a Latin Trails representative.
- Your trip ends with a drop-off at the Baltra airport, on time for your flight back to the mainland.
- From Quito or Guayaquil, you can make your post-trip connections.
- If you would like assistance in arranging your pre or post-cruise details, please contact your Austin Adventures trip consultant (800.575.1540).
- Hiking: 1 to 2 miles per hike, easy to moderate terrain.
- Snorkeling: Equipment provided, no experience necessary.
- Boating: Inflatable Zodiac touring with a naturalist guide.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Most alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire, and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Twin or Matrimonial cabin accommodation on board with private facilities.
- All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, snacks, and refreshments.
- Water, coffee, and tea.
- Fully trained, bilingual professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Guided shore excursions.
- Use of snorkeling equipment & kayaks.
- Transports between the airport and dock in Galapagos.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt & luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to guides & crew.
- Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
- Transfer to Quito airport from your pre-trip hotel.
- Airfare to/from Galapagos and airfare fuel surcharge ($575 per person*).
- Galapagos Entrance Fee ($105 per person*) & Transit Card ($24 per person*).
- Wet suits (optional $85 per person for the week).
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses & purchases onboard / from the boutique.
*Fares subject to change at the time of booking
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.