Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

18 days
from
£6,499
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 22 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WAWA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife
Min age:
16
Group size:
2–16

The best of the Galapagos islands' scenery and wildlife

For those with a serious wildlife interest, this 14-night cruise allows for a full exploration of the entire archipelago as we combine the week-long A and B itineraries of the ‘Galapagos Islands’ trip, enabling us to visit both the eastern and western islands. Sailing to the less visited western islands is sure to be a highlight as we spend time at Isabela, the largest and most volcanically active place in the Galapagos, with a rich variety of marine life. The extraordinary archipelago of the Galapagos left a lasting impression on Darwin and is likely to do the same for you. An enchanted world characterised by stark lava fields, cactus forests, volcanic craters, mangrove lagoons and turquoise waters. Step over snoozing Sea lions, watch the courting rituals of Blue‐footed boobies or snorkel with turtles, sharks and rays.

Highlights

  • 14 nights aboard a First-Class Boat exploring the Galapagos Islands
  • Incredible wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities with near-tame animals
  • Snorkel with iridescent fish, playful sea lions and turtles 
  • Fantastic on-board service with experienced naturalist guide 
  • Small group - a maximum of 16 clients on board 

Key information

  • Travel by internal flight, motor yacht and minibus
  • 14 nights on board a First Class Boat in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, 2 nights comfortable hotel
  • Napo Wildlife Centre extension available after Galapagos Cruise

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 14 lunches, 14 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) available free of charge on board

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Compulsory Galapagos taxes USD120, paid locally
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Quito.

    The group flight usually arrives into Quito this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. A local guide will welcome you to Quito and explain the schedule for the next few days.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Discover Quito at your leisure.

    Today is free to relax, recover from the flight and explore the fascinating city of Quito. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, standing at 2,850m on the western cordillera of the Andes. It is one of the smaller and more attractive of the colonial capitals of South America. Because of the altitude visitors to Quito are advised to take it easy at first.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Galapagos; visit Santa Cruz highlands and Charles Darwin Centre. Embarkation.

    Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. We take a short ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island where we drive to the highlands to look for Galapagos giant tortoises. This afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Centre to learn about the ecology of the islands and visit the centre's tortoise hatchery. After this we board our boat at Puerto Ayora, the island's main town. For today's excursion it's a good idea to have access to your camera, sun cream and appropriate clothing: comfortable footwear for some short walks (possibly amongst grass), light clothes, a hat/cap and a light waterproof in case of a shower or mist.

    The Galapagos Wildlife Cruise does both of our two seven-night cruising itineraries back-to-back. Whether the cruise does Itinerary A (eastern islands) or B (western islands) first depends on the departure date of your trip (please ask your sales consultant if unsure). Below we list the schedules for the cruise itineraries A and B for each day.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Galapagos Cruise Day 2

    Itinerary A:

    Walk on tiny Plaza Island to see a cactus forest, land iguanas and seabirds, then cruise to the white sand beaches of Santa Fe.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    A short walk on the small island of Chinese Hat before snorkelling with Sea lions (and penguins if lucky!); on to the dark red beach of Isla Rabida to walk amongst spatter cones, pelicans, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Galapagos Cruise Day 3

    Itinerary A:

    A day at San Cristobal Island: the white sand beach, Blue-footed boobies and old cone of Cerro Brujo, Galapagos giant tortoise at Galapaguera and crystal clear waters around the striking spear of Kicker Rock.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    We start three days exploring the largest island of Isabela and walk to the huge 5-mile wide caldera on Sierra Negra volcano. In the afternoon it's possible to visit the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre on Isabela island.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Galapagos Cruise Day 4

    Itinerary A:

    Swim with Sea lions and Marine iguanas at Gardener Bay on Espanola Island. In the afternoon, walk amongst Nazca and Blue-footed boobies and nesting Waved Albatross (in season) next to pounding surf at Punta Suarez.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Cruising round Isabela's west side, we hope to see whales and dolphins. We land at Punta Moreno's swirling fresh lava flows and also explore the islets of Elizabeth Bay with the largest colony of penguins in the Galapagos.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Galapagos Cruise Day 5

    Itinerary A:

    At Floreana Island snorkel in the spectacular sunken crater of Devil's Crown amongst thousands of fish. Visit the lagoon at Punta Cormorant (often with flamingos) and Post Office Bay, the mailbox used by 18th Century whalers.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    In 1954 Urbina Bay was uplifted 4 metres. We walk here amongst exposed coral heads, wandering Galapagos giant tortoises and huge land iguanas. This afternoon we visit Tagus Cove and Darwin Lake, directly opposite recently active Fernandina Volcano.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Galapagos Cruise Day 6

    Itinerary A:

    To Dragon Hill, a nesting site for land iguanas with a large lagoon; dramatic Sullivan Bay with a walk on a huge lava flow only 100 years old before swimming from the beach in crystal clear waters.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Land at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina in the midst of a huge colony of Marine iguanas; the sea life is very rich here and supports a large Sea lion and Fur seal colony. Cross the straights and explore the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Galapagos Cruise Day 7

    Itinerary A:

    Less-visited Genovesa Island is home to an abundance of Red-footed boobies, Fur seals, Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls. Here, we look for tropicbirds at Prince Philip Steps before snorkelling, whilst at Darwin Bay, Galapagos mockingbirds can usually be seen.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Excellent birding on Santiago Island at Puerto Egas followed by an afternoon snorkel and a walk amongst incredible volcanic scenery at Bartolome Island - cones, lava tubes and Pinnacle Rock.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Galapagos Cruise Day 8

    Today we return to Baltra via Turtle Cove (Itinerary A) or North Seymour Island (Itinerary B), restock and start the second cruise itinerary of your trip. This is a changeover day, where clients taking shorter itineraries may leave or join the boat. We usually arrive in Puerto Ayora around 15:30 and and can have some free time here, where there are many shops, cafes and restaurants. This is your only chance for some shopping before we return to the islands! Alternatively, you could visit Finch Bay to observe birds in the lagoon or walk 2.5km along a paved trail to Tortuga Bay this afternoon, where it's possible to see Marine iguanas, shore birds and sea turtles on this stunning 1km beach.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Galapagos Cruise Day 9

    Itinerary A:

    Walk on tiny Plazas Islands to see a cactus forest, land iguanas and seabirds, then cruise to the white sand beaches of Santa Fe.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    A short walk on the small island of Chinese Hat before snorkelling with Sea lions (and penguins if lucky!); on to the dark red beach of Isla Rabida to walk amongst spatter cones, pelicans, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies. In the afternoon its possible to visit the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre on Isabela Island.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Galapagos Cruise Day 10

    Itinerary A:

    A day at San Cristobal Island: the white sand beach, Blue-footed boobies and old cone of Cerro Brujo, Galapagos giant tortoise at Galapaguera and crystal clear waters around the striking spear of Kicker Rock.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    We start three days exploring the largest island of Isabela and walk to the huge 5-mile wide caldera on Sierra Negra volcano. In the afternoon it's possible to visit the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre on Isabela island.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Galapagos Cruise Day 11

    Itinerary A:

    Swim with Sea lions and Marine iguanas at Gardener Bay on Espanola Island. In the afternoon, walk amongst Nazca and Blue-footed boobies and nesting Waved Albatross (in season) next to pounding surf at Punta Suarez.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Cruising round Isabela's west side, we hope to see whales and dolphins. We land at Punta Moreno's swirling fresh lava flows and also explore the islets of Elizabeth Bay with the largest colony of penguins in the Galapagos.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Galapagos Cruise Day 12

    Itinerary A:

    At Floreana Island snorkel in the spectacular sunken crater of Devil's Crown amongst thousands of fish. We visit the lagoon at Punta Cormorant (often with flamingos) and Post Office Bay, the mailbox used by 18th Century whalers.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    In 1954 Urbina Bay was uplifted 4 metres. We walk here amongst exposed coral heads, wandering Galapagos giant tortoises and huge land iguanas. In the afternoon we visit to Tagus Cove and Darwin Lake, directly opposite recently active Fernandina Volcano.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    Galapagos Cruise Day 13

    Itinerary A:

    To Dragon Hill, a nesting site for land iguanas with a large lagoon; dramatic Sullivan Bay with a walk on a huge lava flow only 100 years old before swimming from the white-sand beach in crystal clear waters.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Land at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina in the midst of a huge colony of Marine iguanas; the sea life is very rich here and supports a large Sea lion and Fur seal colony. Cross the straights and explore the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Galapagos Cruise Day 14

    Itinerary A:

    Less-visited Genovesa Island is home to an abundance of Red-footed boobies, Fur seals, Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls. Here, we look for tropicbirds at Prince Philip Steps before snorkelling, whilst at Darwin Bay, Galapagos mockingbirds can usually be seen. 

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Itinerary B:

    Excellent birding on Santiago Island at Puerto Egas followed by an afternoon snorkel and a walk amongst incredible volcanic scenery at Bartolome Island - cones, lava tubes and Pinnacle Rock.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 17

    Fly to Guayaquil; depart Guayaquil.

    Itinerary A:

    We explore the mangroves of Turtle Cove at dawn watching turtles rising for air as herons can be seen fishing from the trees.

    Itinerary B:

    An early morning walk on North Seymour amidst Palo Santo trees and colonies of Blue-footed boobies.

    Both itineraries:

    After a late breakfast we disembark for the journey back to Baltra to transfer to the airport and fly back to the mainland. We fly to Guayaquil airport where it's possible to connect with international flights this evening from 6pm onwards. Alternatively, you can extend your stay for a few extra nights or join the Napo Wildlife Centre Extension (which starts in Quito). Land only clients may prefer to organise post-tour accommodation for the night in Guayaquil and organise their international flights for the following day. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Arrive London.

    Flight inclusive clients will arrive back into London today.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Napo Wildlife Centre Extension (XAG)

Code: XAG

Spend three nights in a luxurious eco-lodge overlooking Anangucocha Lake, and experience one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet - the Amazon Rainforest. The Napo Wildlife Centre is one of the best eco-lodges in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. Located deep within Yasuni National Park, Napo Wildlife Centre is perched on a hillside in the heart of the forest. Its small number of rooms and large private reserve means that visitors have excellent chances of spotting some of the many mammals living in the forest. In this region over 500 species of bird have been recorded, as well as numerous monkey species, tamarins, tapirs, sloths, jaguars (rarely seen), caimans and lizards. The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details. 

Price from: £1699 (compulsory supplement of £730 for single travellers)

Essential Info

Visas

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 14 lunches and 14 dinners included.

On board meals are plentiful with a wide choice of international and local cuisine. Breakfasts will usually consist of cheese, meats, eggs, cereal, toasts, yoghurts and fruits. Snacks are provided mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and for lunches and dinner soup usually precedes the main course.

Alcoholic drinks are available on board (approx. US$4 per beer, US$32.50 for a bottle of wine, around US$10 for selected cocktails) and the crew request that you do not bring your own alcohol with you. Drinking water, tea, coffee and juice is freely available at no additional charge.

The chef can prepare meals for vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements provided advance notice is given - please inform us at the time of booking.

Weather

In Quito and the highlands it should be warm by day and generally dry. Maximum daytime temperatures are almost constant throughout the year at 20ºC, nights 8ºC. Some rain can be expected in February to May and October to November but storms, though heavy, are generally short, and Quito is considered to have quite a pleasant climate.

It is possible to visit the Galapagos at any time of year, but seasonal variations do affect what you see and there are climatic changes to be aware of. The weather is controlled by the two main ocean currents of the region, the Humboldt, bringing cold water from the Antarctic, and El Nino, which brings tropical water from the Gulf of Panama. How close to Galapagos they converge (which varies from year to year) is the key to the weather.

'Dry season'

Generally speaking, late May to early December is the cooler 'dry' season. In this period it is not necessarily dry, as there is a persistent light mist (garua) and often light drizzle, and the higher mountain slopes are covered in cloud and fog or rain. At this time the winds are in the southeast and are higher than at other times, so seas can sometimes be choppy and anyone worried about seasickness might be better advised to avoid it. Daytime maximum temperatures lie between 27ºC and 31ºC, the cooler months being July to November. In July and August the fairly strong winds introduce a chill factor, and it can feel quite cold at nights, though throughout the year the official night temperatures vary between 19ºC and 24ºC.

'Wet season'

Depending on how close the convergence of the two currents comes to Galapagos, there may or may not be a wet season from January to April or May. Approximately every seven years the El Nino current actually hits the islands and there will be heavy rains in these months. In other years rain usually falls sporadically from otherwise clear skies. The ocean temperatures are higher, with generally calm seas and strong sunshine: pleasant, but potentially very hot. Apart from an El Nino year, the weather is usually better from December/January to April/May than at other times even if there is some rain, and most people would regard these months as the best time to go.

There are plenty of wildlife highlights throughout the year:

January: Nesting land birds; Green sea turtles arrive to lay eggs on the islands beaches; land iguana’s start breeding on Isabela.
February: Nesting Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz; Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana.
March: The bright red throat pouches of frigatebirds are inflated during mating season on Genovesa and San Cristobal.
April: Huge numbers of Waved albatross on Española displaying courtship rituals; eggs of Green sea turtles begin to hatch; land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela.
May: Courtship of Blue-footed boobies begins on North Seymour; Waved albatross on Española start laying eggs.
June: Giant tortoises migrate to the lowlands and start nesting; migrating birds stop in the Galapagos to rest; migrating Humpback whales can often by seen around the western islands.
July: Dolphins and whales are more likely to be seen around the western islands; Blue-footed boobies on Española start breeding.
August: Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa Island; Sea lions start giving birth to pups.
September: Penguins seen in the water when snorkelling around Bartoleme.
October: Galapagos Fur seals start mating; Blue-footed boobies start raising chicks.
November: Curious Sea lion pups found in the water amongst snorkelers.
December: Mating Green sea turtles; Waved albatross chicks fledge.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 5.

It is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history or geology. Though you do not need to be particularly fit, you should note that due to the volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands there will be some walking on rough ground and sharp volcanic rocks. The ability to withstand high temperatures and to swim will maximize your enjoyment. Due to local regulations in the Galapagos we have specific time slots for making our landings and site visits. There is usually very little disruption to the schedule, but this can mean little room for deviation in the event of poor weather or other circumstances.

Each day will feature a mixture of walking, snorkelling and exploring the islands by boat. To get closer to the designated landing sites on each of the islands we disembark into small pangas (motorised dinghys). Landings on the islands are divided into two types - wet and dry. For dry landings, the panga will take you right up to a landing stage or rocky outcrop where you can disembark without getting wet. However in some places where there is no landing stage the panga will stop close to a beach and you will be expected to walk through shallow water (generally no more than ankle-deep) to the shore. The leader will always advise conditions prior to leaving and it is possible to skip any particular excursion if you would rather relax on board the boat.

There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling in the Galapagos and this is one of the best ways to experience the marine life. A mask and snorkel will reveal an exciting underwater world with sea lions, rays, turtles, marine iguanas and a colourful array of fish. On most days of the itinerary there will be one or two snorkelling sessions. 

Snorkelling in the Galapagos does not require any special skills, however, at times you will be snorkelling in open water where there are fairly strong currents. Before going into the water, the guide will evaluate the strength of the currents and the general condition of the sea to make sure they are right for this to be a safe and enjoyable activity. The dinghy will remain very close at all times; if you get tired or feel like coming out of the water you only have to raise your arm and they will come to pick you up so you can rest for a while before going back in or stay in the dinghy until it is time to return to the boat. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, fins and masks) is provided, however, is advisable to wear a wetsuit which not only protects you from the cold but also makes floating much easier without as much effort.

We offer this Galapagos cruise in conjunction with our Ecuadorian partners, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than Exodus' minimum age for this trip.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & First-Class Boat

14 nights on board a First Class Boat, the Cachalote Explorer, in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, and 2 nights comfortable hotel.

Cachalote Explorer: A 16-passenger Motor-Sailer with 8 comfortable double/twin cabins, each with en suite facilities. All cabins are air conditioned and have the following: shower with hot water, toilet, amenities and towels, porthole windows. Max speed 8 knots, size 88ft. Renovated in 2018.  

Optional single supplement available in Quito hotel only. 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed May 2018
    Jakki Foote

    Fabulous holiday, shame about the boat!

    The two-week wildlife cruise was the holiday of a lifetime. We both enjoy science and wildlife, we are also sailors and have our own boat. Most days the itinerary was full on and wonderful, and we were delighted with the amazing wildlife both on land and in the sea. The crew were very friendly and worked amazingly hard. There was a generous amount of good food for every meal, including much fruit, vegetables and salads. Unfortunately several of us had stomach upsets for 1 or 2 days. The boat was the main cause for concern. The A/C in the dining room failed for a couple of days, and dripped water on the seating so we had several wet seats for a few days. The Dining room ceiling also dripped water on several occasions. Our A/C also dripped on the carpet, or anything that was on the carpet nearby, and also on the shelves under it. Many things were wet or smelled musty. We had room 1 and our toilet was often malfunctioning from the start, and then blocked completely for a whole day (happily the crew worked very hard and managed to repair it by bedtime). There were no other toilets except the ones in other guests cabins. Exodus gave us only 24 hours to decide whether to abort the holiday as the original boat the Cachalot was out of commission but we were told that the substitute boat was also a “first class boat”. We now discover that according to Galapagos Islands.com the ‘Astrea’ or ‘Pinguino Explorer’ is down as a “mid-priced boat” and costs 650 dollars per week less that the ‘Catchalot’ did, so we are not amused as no refund was offered for this cheaper accommodation. Exodus were unable to give us useful information regarding laundry (they said there was none) or the ability to wash things ourselves and hang them out. Also, they were unable to answer queries about the flight from Quito to the islands or the baggage allowance for that flight. We therefore took far too much luggage! We were only told about the need for US dollars to pay the bar bill within the last week when we had already ordered and collected our dollars.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So hard to decide as most days exceeded our expectations. I loved the seals, so amusing and entertaining, as were the Penguins but the Hammerhead sharks took my breath away. We saw about 100 Mola mola (sunfish) I also was blown away by the Siera Negra Volcano – so huge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable about so many things, but not easy to get a straight answer from, and also rather creepy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Find out who the local agent is and check their website, it answered many of our outstanding questions. You can wash for yourself, a plug is useful, and hang out clothes on the rail outside.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Jakki for her feedback. We are pleased that she enjoyed her trip overall, but we regret the disappointment that the Astrea caused. We were very sorry to learn that Jakki experienced issues with the air-conditioning and plumbing, as we appreciate the frustration and disappointment this caused. Following the feedback we have received, I can confirm that we will not be using the Astrea for any future departures and we have been in touch with Jakki on an individual basis.

    Sarah Ahern – Product Manager for the Galapagos

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Julie Sutton

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    I thought long and hard about booking a this trip as it is not cheap! However it proved to be the best holiday that I have ever taken and well worth the money. We snorkelled twice a day on most days, with the turtles, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and great shoals of multicoloured fish. Every island that we visited was different and the naturalist guide that accompanied us was a fount of information. On land we saw the giant Galapagos tortoises, land iguanas and a myriad of different birds. The boat that we were based on was first class with excellent food and attentive and friendly crew

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming with sealions

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, could not have been bettered, Gandy was efficient, knowledgible, kind and fun

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have your own full length wetsuit, then take it with you if you are travelling, as I did in November as the water is fairly cold then and the wet suits provided on board are short ones. On the other hand I understand the sea is much warmer in Feb/Mar.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Petrus Van Dongen

    Galapagos Wildlife Trip

    An amazing trip, full of exciting excursions, beautiful landscapes, astounding wildlife encounters, amazing weather, good co-travellers and a very informative and easy going leader! What more could you want of this once-in-a-lifetime-trip?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with turtles, sea lions, sharks, rays, penguins and marine iguanas. OK, this wasn't one moment, but the whole snorkelling experience was awesome!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, informative, knowledgeable, easy-going, funny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of sun cream; bring sandals and flip-flops, as well as good walking shoes; make sure you can stand constant movement of the ship, or take drugs; be prepared to spend time in small spaces. Bring binoculars (for birds mainly) as well as a decent camera, zoom not so important, as the animals are very close! Other that that: just do it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was plentiful and varied, although 'surprising' in many ways. Good healthy stuff always available though. Cabins are VERY small and there is VERY limited storage space.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Kathleen Gray

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    Non stop wildlife experience with so many different islands that it felt much more than just too weeks. Lovely breaks cruising between the islands relaxing in the warm sea breeze. Very helpful friendly passengers and crew. Great food. Snorkelling is a must. Essential to have a small boat 16 max to enjoy the islands in peace. The Western Islands were quieter than the eastern Islands. A trip to be repeated!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fun with the wildlife especially the inquisitive, friendly sea lions brushing their whiskers across my face and the little bird dancing on my head as I was sitting on the rocks at the sea edge trying to take photos of diving boobies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was excellent. Very friendly and a mass of knowledge about the wildlife and the islands. Everything there is to know he knows it. At the end he gave us a very useful digital copy of photos he took of the wildlife we saw on each walk. So helpful when you get back home to identify the wildlife and also a record of your trip. Take a 16GB SD card or stick to store the info.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light as cabin space limited in the Cachalote. Take old or dark clothes as you might getting 'rust' stains because your washing gets hung out on the metal rails at the back of the yacht. Take ear plugs for sleeping at night as engines are noisy. Head-torch useful as cabin quite dim. Snorkelling a must and get prescription snorkelling mask,if you need to, and a waterproof camera before you go. Wear shortie wet suit to stay in water as long as possible. Either take your own or hire on board. I found strong waterproof sandals good for most walks but lightweight boots useful for other walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy!!Enjoy!! You'll have a fabby time. PS Kids waterproof suntan lotion will keep you well protected from the sun. Factor 50 then 30.
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Cornell Grierson

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    Galapagos 14 night cruise around the islands a once in a lifetime holiday.... Thinking about it? Just book it truly amazing!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing and swimming with penguins, turtles, sea lions, sting rays, sharks, hammerhead sharks, dolphins. Seeing a huge group of dolphins swimming when we were sailing was also a huge highlight. Blue footed boobies courting ritual. Wandering albatross as well was wonderfull.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darwin was excellent really fun and knowledgeable about the history of the islands and the animals that inhabit it a wonderful your leader can't fault one bit.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Small cabins don't take to much also very formal at dinner times so no need to worry about taking all smart clothes.
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    A fantastic experience aboard the Cachalote visiting so many of the Islands and coves;  seeing all the wildlife for real that I had seen on the David Attenbrough programme. The most amazing thing was the wildlife's attitude to us. It was so 'laid back' about us being there that they just ignored our presence. We were told to not go too close but nobody told the wildlife that! It was as f we were invisible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but here are 3. Seeing the Nazca Boobies and Waved Albatrosses still displaying to each other and sparring with their beaks when we visited Suarez Point on Espanola Island. Also the time a Blue Footed Booby decided that it was going to come close to us and investigate - or did it just want to make it's way along the path we were on? Thirdly, the event that was the 'icing on the cake', so to speak, was on our last day, on Seymour Island when we saw Frigate birds with their red pouches inflated. It was not their normal breeding season but 1 or 2 can be seen at most times of the year, we were told.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, called Darwin, was brilliant. He knows all about the geology as well as the wildlife. He is passionate about conservation, spending some time doing voluntary work for the National Park ,and was able to answer all our questions about it, the wildlife and life in general on the islands. He was caring and helpful and gave us a good idea of what to expect to see and do each day

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are couple of long navigations that can be a bit rough so be prepared. If you're a particularly poor sailor try the ear patches - like nicotine patches - available from your Dr. Also, if your nervous about snorkelling have a couple of lessons before you go, because, like us, you may have many more opportunities than what is listed in the trip notes!.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go! A real holiday of a lifetime!
  • Reviewed July 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    What a wonderful experience.  Quito city on the mainland and the Galapagos islands are such a contrast to each other but both extremely interesting. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three most memorable moments for me were when we visited - North Seymour Island where the blue-footed boobies were performing their most entertaining mating dance- Espanola (Hood) Island where we saw nesting Waved Albatross- Early morning explorations of the mangroves where turtles, rays and white headed sharks were seen when the paddle was used to sail the panga.  These were breath taking experiences. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Juan Tapia.  Juan was brilliant guide.  He was extremely personable and looked after every need for each member of the group. His enthusiasm / passion was second to none and he was very knowledgeable about all the flora, fauna, marine life and geology of the islands.  His English is first class and I understand he also speaks four other languages.  He is a multi talented guy and was most entertaining when we were enjoying our "Crossing the Equator Party" and the Captain's Party at the end of our journey.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the Trip Notes thoroughly as they contain excellent advice with regard to the packing requirements, money matters and altitude warnings. They also include factual, relevant information about the Cachelote so there should not be any surprises with regard to cabin size and particularly the noise of the engine. Do not be frightened by all the information about Quito.  Heed the information and treat the city with respect as you would with any other city in the world.  By doing this you and your belongings will be safe and you will enjoy this fascinating city and it's people. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Shuttle to and from the Airport to the Hotel were well organised and much appreciated. The Ground Staff were very helpful and kept us well informed at all times.  The Veja Cuba hotel in Quito is more than adequate - clean, comfortable, decent sized rooms with private facilities.  Breakfast could be improved, mainly the service and choice of menu, however you will not starve.The Cachelote Capitan and his crew members added value to our journey around the Galapagos Islands.  They were all lovely people, very helpful and most respectful to the clients. Nothing was too much trouble.My advice to all is if wildlife, marine life, geology, photography, swimming / snorkelling are your interests / passions, this trip has got to be on your Bucket List to be enjoyed at sometime in the future. I truly would recommend the 14 day itinerary to allow sufficient time investigate as many islands as possible in the time allowed.       
  • Reviewed May 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    Wonderful experience, exceeded my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Cachalotte is a superb boat and the staff are exceptional, the chef needs a medal the food presented was far superior to any hotel I have stayed in.  Nothing was too much trouble , especially  helpful getting into the panga's!!  Juon was a very knowledgeable guide, friendly and socialable.The wildlife exceeded all expectations we saw it all as per itinerary, I had never snorkelled but managed to and saw fabulous fish , inquisitive seals and penguins darting round me, turtles and much more.  Weather was perfect, no rain, sun protection is a must, only one suffered sea sickness (mildly) Land wildlife, flowers, scenery superb tooLong journey to destination, Iberia OK but boy was it worth it.  Quito - go to old town lovely, Cuba hotel was excellent.Highly recommended.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was so knowledgeable really showed his 25 years experience, very friendly and efficient. Sat with us in the evenings to discuss with us what we had seen that day. All transport, transfers went like clockwork

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sea sickness was not a problem on our trip, but there are tablets available.  Altitude in Quito not a great problem just keep drinking water .  Bellavista was a nice trip from Quito but only if not raining, it can be very cold and damp there and not a lot to do/see if wet. Must go to the Palace in Quito old town, free guided tour and photo.Be aware that despite transferring from one plane to another @ Madrid your alcohol will be taken away, insist shops put it in sealed bag, mine was treble wrapped in bubblewrap and they still took it , I lost $52.If poss take a pillow for the boat, mattress and pillow on hard side!! You can use it on the plane too .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have never attempted to snorkel here is the perfect chance, all the equipment and superb opportunities almost every day- twice a day.  I cannot swim but still had a go with a life jacket, had one beach and the mammal's/fish to myself last day !! Superb experience
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    This trip whole heartedly exceeded my expectations. For those of you who love animals this is certainly the right trip for you. Being able to go around all the islands and be there for two weeks was breath taking and definately worth going for the two weeks, there is so much to see and the west islands were personally better for me. Getting so close to all the animals without feeling as though you were invading their space was so special, nothing was bothered you were around them it really was magical and my idea of heaven.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being on the islands was such as awe inspiring feeling, knowing how much they are doing to keep the islands and animals protected and knowing that tourists and local communtities are only allowed to be on 1% of the islands and the rest is restricted is wonderful to know.Swimming with 11 turtles with one falling asleep right beside me and floating into me was magical! The trip has certainly changed me and I feel very lucky and priveledged to have been able to go!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader (Juan Tapia) was fantastic. So enthusiastic and knowledgable, he really added to the trip and we felt lkucky to have him as our guide. You felt safe with him and as he had grown up on the islands and was so passionate about sharing them with others you felt even more enthused. He knew everything about all the different species and could never not answer a question about the islands/species!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, as we were walking and swimming/snorkelling a lot we really didnt need much as things could be washed and hung up on the boat to dry. Take clothes that you dont mind getting dirty or ruined. Take strong suncream factor 50 if possible as i was caught out with factor 30. Certainly wear a top whilst snorkelling, the water was lovely and warm but your back is protected from sun burn.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    The cruise we went on was March 2012,it was a once in a life time holiday.Wonderful memories and I would advise any one who is thinking of going to just do it.I went with my husband and we had planned to go for a couple of years.We very much wanted to see as many islands as possible and of course wildlife.What a fantastic trip we had and found it difficult to fault anything about the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was inspirational and I find it difficult to say what was the most inspirational moment.Even after all these months I can remember lots of wonderful images .Both my self and husband read all the reviews written from fellow travellers and we identified all the points.The Cachalote was fantastic ,we had a wonderful crew and fellow passengers,which is a key factor on this type of holiday. The wild life experience ,on the land and in the sea exceeded all our expectations,swimming with those turtles,sharks and seeing the rays glide past was unreal .The playful sea lions just seem to be there for the sheer love of folks. Snorkelling is a must we had not done it before,such a wonderful feeling once you get the hang of it. Every island had different surprise's to offer,well worth the walks and climbs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader in Quito was excellent and gave us lots of advice.As a group we did the suggested itinerary and that worked very well and we saw lots .See other reviews from travellers who went on this holiday in March2012. The Group leader in the Galapagos was excellent ,the information she provided was of a very high standard.The briefings each day were brilliant,I would advise travellers to take a photo each day of the briefing board for your future travel log.The Group leader was very realistic and offered sensible advice throughout the trip.We found if you listened and followed instructions you would get more out of the holiday. Just master that getting on and off Cachalote and the islands/beaches on to the zodiac and you will be fine. Crew members were also an excellent source of information and always ready to be of assistance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do your research read the notes provided,ensure this is the holiday for you.Boat can be bit rough at times, however you do get use to it.This is not a relaxing holiday remember it is an adventure.Cabins are small you do need to be organised, but it is Great! we would advise any one to go. If possible watch the BBC Richard Attenborough films before you go....and yes it is just like that in real life. We took our own snorkelling gear and thought that was a good idea,although there is enough on board. My view is that I would have liked my own shortie wet suit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The very fact you are reading this review means you are interested ,as mentioned above do your research. Make sure you take things you have been advised to take,read all the reviews about this holiday. Just doing this review brings back wonderful memories of sailing along in the pitch black evening ,we will never forget the wonderful sight of the sky and stars and the gentle sway of Cachalote .Just sitting on the front of the boat ,you will have to pinch yourself to make sure it is real.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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