Discover the Islands on a Panoramic Ship-Based Adventure with Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad’s 10-day Galapagos journey on the National Geographic Islander
is uniquely equipped to provide an active immersion in the archipelago's wonders. While exact itineraries are subject to determination by the Galapagos National Park Service, each departure brings guests into intimate contact with the islands and their wildlife as you discover the Galapagos the way Charles Darwin did—aboard an expedition ship.
Day 1: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Your journey begins in Guayaquil, a vibrant coastal city with a lively waterfront malecon along the Rio Guayas. Settle in to the boutique hotel, Hotel del Parque, to spend the night before flying to the islands tomorrow.
Day 2: Guayaquil / Fly to Galapagos / Embark Ship
A 1.5 hour flight lands us in the Galapagos Islands, where we immediately embark the Islander
and set sail. A panoramic voyage with an abundance of wildlife encounters defines our experience of the archipelago. Crossings between islands generally take place overnight to maximize time for exploration during the day. Look forward to waking each morning to fresh vistas and daily discoveries just outside your cabin window.
Days 3–8: Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Each day delivers a new island for discovery and exploration, with flexibility a hallmark of Lindblad's expedition style. Below is a representative sample of the islands we may visit on your Galapagos voyage. Cruise from island to island for personal encounters with fascinating animals that won’t run in fear from you, and explore via the modes that suit you. Take a guided hike with your ship's naturalists. Swim with tropical fish, sea turtles and penguins on daily snorkeling excursions—sometimes twice a day—that showcase the rich marine life of the Galapagos. Paddle a tandem or single kayak for personal, water-level exploration of the scenic coastline. Step on to a stand-up paddleboard to peruse quiet bays. Cruise off rocky shores and idyllic beaches aboard a Zodiac, perfect for relaxed exploration with a naturalist’s narration, and ideal for photography.
Your Itinerary Will Include a Selection of These Islands:
Dramatic lava formations define the raw landscape of this tiny island best known for the sharp shard that is Pinnacle Rock. A hike to its volcanic summit offers 360-degree views of neighboring islands. In the waters around Pinnacle Rock, rich in marine life, we have the chance to snorkel with friendly sea lions, Galapagos penguins, rays and reef sharks.
Known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively recent lava flows and unique geological features, Santiago provides an excellent look at pahoehoe
lava, 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, enjoy close encounters with Galapagos fur seals, one of the only places in the islands these endemic animals are viewable from land. In the countless tide pools, study sea urchins, octopus, sponges and sea stars. Birdlife abounds, with great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers, yellow-crowned night herons and seasonal shorebirds on display.
At the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, which operates in tandem with Galapagos National Park, learn about the efforts of scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve the unique features of 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. Santa Cruz is also home to wild Galapagos tortoises, the islands' namesake, which dwell in the misty scalesia forests of the highlands.
Isabela, largest of the Galapagos islands, was created when six volcanoes flowed together. Today, its shape resembles a seahorse. In addition to kayaking and deep-water snorkeling, a small black sand beach offers glorious 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 among hundreds of placid marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, soaring Galapagos hawks, lazing sea lions and bright orange Sally Lightfoot crabs that speckle the black lava rocks.
One of the Galapagos' few islands inhabited by humans, 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 and schools of tropical fish 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 endemic red-and-green marine iguanas found only here, Española is also a paradise for Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos doves and the famous blue-footed boobies. A huge colony of sea lions lazes on the beach at Gardner Bay. The island entrances visitors with plenty of chances to snorkel and stroll along its tranquil beaches of fine, powdery white sand.
Days 9 & 10: Galapagos / Guayaquil / Depart
Disembark our 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.