Lindblad’s 10-day trips in the Galapagos are made by three separate small ships that are uniquely equipped to actively experience the islands’ wildlife and wonders. Itinerary routing fluctuates depending upon the Galapagos National Park Service, but each experience is designed to bring you into intimate, up-close contact with the islands and their wildlife, touring the Galapagos as Charles Darwin did—aboard an expedition ship.
Day 1: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Begin our journey in Guayaquil, a vibrant city with a lively malecón
along the Rio Guayas. Settle in to the tranquil resort-style luxury of the Hotel Hilton Colón for an overnight before heading out to the islands.
Day 2: Guayaquil/Galapagos
A 1.5-hour flight lands us in the Galapagos Islands, where we immediately embark our small ship. A panoramic experience with an abundance of wildlife encounters maximizes your time and curiosity throughout the archipelago. Crossing between islands generally takes place overnight to maximize time for exploration. That means you’ll wake to fresh vistas and daily discoveries outside your cabin window.
Days 3-8: Galapagos Islands
Each day delivers a new island for discovery and exploration, with flexibility remaining a hallmark of our expedition style. What follows is a representative sample of the islands we may visit during your time in the Galapagos. Voyage from island to island for personal encounters with fascinating animals that won’t run in fear from you, and explore at the speed that suits you. Take a guided hike with our naturalists. Explore under water, with the chance to snorkel almost every day and sometimes twice a day, since upwelling currents in the Galapagos archipelago bathe the region in nutrient-rich waters that are incredibly rich in marine life. For those who prefer to stay dry, there’s the adventure of Endeavour
and Endeavour II's
glass bottom Zodiacs. Paddle a tandem or single kayak for personal, water-level exploration of the scenic coastlines. Step on to a stand-up paddleboard to explore quiet bays and idyllic beaches. Cruise the shore on a Zodiac, perfect for relaxed exploration with a naturalist’s narration, and ideal for photography.
In this enchanting landscape, lava, mangroves and golden sand converge. On the island, prime hikes and panoramic views abound. In the water, we have chance to snorkel with Galapagos penguins, rays and reef sharks.
Known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively recent lava flows and unique geological scenery, Santiago’s lava is the pahoehoe
type, which resembles smooth ropes. Few plants have been able to take root on the barren rock, and we admire the hardy pioneers that have, like the lava cactus. In the lava grottos, have a close encounter with Galapagos fur seals, one of the only places in the islands these endemic animals can be seen from land. In the countless tide pools, study the multitude of inhabitants, including sea urchins, octopus, sponges and sea stars. Birdlife abounds, with great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers, yellow-crowned night herons and seasonal shorebirds.
Home to the Charles Darwin Research station, which operates in tandem with Galapagos National Park, learn about the efforts of scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Galapagos. At the tortoise-rearing facility, see tiny babies bred to help increase the depleted tortoise population, a central part of the station's conservation mission. To date, more than 10,000 tortoises have been returned to the wild in Galapagos through the program.
Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos islands, created where six volcanoes flowed together. In addition to kayaking and deep water snorkeling, a small black sand beach offers glorious morning swimming, a more challenging hike ventures over rugged shoreline, and a short walk delivers us to an iguana colony.
The youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos, Fernandina is one of the most pristine tropical islands left on Earth. Hike over relatively recent lava flows and spot marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, soaring Galapagos hawks, sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
One of the Galapagos' few inhabited islands, Floreana's rich cultural history is filled with intrigue, including tales of pirates who once hid out here. A post office established by British whalers in 1793 is still a means for travelers to leave mail for personal delivery via visitors passing through. Snorkel among sea lions in the clear waters off Champion Islet, where we may also find flamingos, pintail ducks and various shorebirds. Hike to a pristine white-sand beach, a favorite nesting site for sea turtles.
The island of Española is one of the most prolific wildlife sites in the Galapagos. The exclusive seasonal home to waved albatross and particularly colorful marine iguanas, Española is also a paradise for Darwin’s finches, sea lions galore, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos doves and the famous blue-footed boobies. Snorkel and stroll along the island’s lovely beaches.
Days 9 & 10: Galapagos/Guayaquil/Depart
Disembark our small expedition ship and make the return flight to Guayaquil, where the late afternoon and evening are free for exploration before a flight home the next day.