March 18: 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.
March 19: Bartolomé
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 snorkeling 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 reef 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) that nest in the cliffs.
March 20: Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela
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. Snorkeling 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 Lightfoot crabs and the rare endemic Flightless Cormorant.
March 21: Caleta Tagus, 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 snorkeling tour to look for penguins, cormorants and the shy Brown Noddy 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.
March 22: Post Office Bay, 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 snorkeling 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.
March 23: Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, 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 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.
March 24: Los Gemelos, 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.
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.
Pricing starts at $7,550 per person for double occupancy (cost will vary based on date and room category selected)
Ship capacity: 100 passengers
All airport transfers
Airfare between Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands
Pre and post hotel
Suite accommodations onboard
All meals and in-suite dining or room service
Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities
National Park fees
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee.