April 29: San Cristobal
Embark Silver Galapagos for your exciting Silversea Expedition – Western Galápagos. After settling in and attending a mandatory safety drill we will be setting sail. This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
During the late afternoon Silver Galapagos will circumnavigate Kicker Rock. We will be looking for frigatebirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls and Nazca Boobies. The geological formation and its impressive height can best be seen from the ship and conditions permitting we will be able to observe one of the most beautiful sunsets of the Galapagos Islands.
In the evening you will enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
April 30: Bartolomé and Playa Espumilla, Santiago
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.
May 1: Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela and Punta Espinoza, Fernandina
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.
May 2: Caleta Tagus and Bahia Elizabeth, 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.
May 3: 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.
May 4: Cerro Dragón and Las Bachas, Santa Cruz
Cerro Dragon’s land iguanas have played an important part in the conservation program by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When their numbers declined in the 1970s some animals were taken to breed in captivity, others were put onto the neighbouring islet Venecia. As these programs were successful, we will be heading inland on a trail leading past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos to see the reintroduced animals. Once at the hill, we will circle Cerro Dragon, looking for the land iguanas and their burrows.
There might also be the possibility to snorkel near the landing site if time and tides permit.
Silver Galapagos will relocate to the northern shore of Santa Cruz during the early afternoon. At Las Bachas there will be the chance to swim from one of the two beaches, see White-cheeked Pintails and flamingos at a lagoon behind the beach and look for sea turtles -Las Bachas is one of the major nesting sites for them.
May 5: 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.
May 6: 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
Two-night pre-cruise hotel stay with breakfast at the Quito JW Marriott
Evening Quito tour
Post-cruise hotel day room in Guayaquil for guests with flights after 10 PM
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.