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JGT’s Bucket List Trip
10 night trip departing 11 June ’20 from €5,300 pps
Greatly reduced price for a limited time only! Only 25% Single Supplement!
Prepare to be astounded. As you hike through otherworldly lava fields, snorkel in crystalline waters or set off on a Zodiac excursion, the creatures of the Galapagos will amaze you. Whether it is seeing lava Lizards on land, manta rays underwater or petrels in the sky, the experiences you have in the north central Galapagos will likely change your perspective— just as it did Darwin’s. Made famous by David Attenborough’s series, the Galapagos has enthralled viewers around the world for years. You can experience this incredible beauty for yourself in the lap of luxury aboard Silversea’s deluxe expedition ship “Silver Galapagos”. Even though you are on an expedition to one of the most remote parts of the world, you can enjoy 5-star service, cuisine and surroundings, aboard this beautiful ship.
15 Ports, 1 Country – Ecuador
Thursday 11 Jun – Dublin – Quito
Take an early morning flight with KLM via Amsterdam, Depart at 0555, arriving into Quito, Ecuador at 1440. You will be met and transferred to your hotel, where a room has been booked for you for the next two nights (B&B). The rest of the day will be at leisure.
Friday 12 Jun – Quito
Day free to explore Quito. This evening, enjoy the included “Quito by night” tour.
Saturday 13 Jun AM – Baltra
Transfer from your hotel to Quito Airport for your flight to Baltra.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is the gateway through which most people enter and depart the Galapagos Island. Upon arrival and once through immigration procedures, visitors are transferred directly to a nearby dock to join the ship by Zodiac. The runway was first constructed here during World War II when the island was used as a US Army Air Base. Located near the geographic center of the Galapagos, the island itself is small, flat and arid. Its dry environment hosts salt bushes, prickly pear cactus and palo santo trees, all of which support land iguanas that can occasionally be seen crossing the runway.
Saturday 13 Jun PM – Isla Daphne Grande
Daphne Major is a volcanic tuff crater island, located to the north of Santa Cruz Island not far from Baltra International Airport. Circumnavigating the island by ship will reveal the rocky outcropping from all angles as it rises approximately 120 meters (390 feet) above sea level. Usually only scientists are allowed to land on Daphne, so it will be a special event to come in close with the ship and watch for Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, frigate birds, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Noddies, Brown Pelicans, and Swallow-tailed Gulls riding the sea breezes swirling around this rugged landmass.
Sunday 14 Jun AM – Bahia Darwin (Genovesa)
At Genovesa Island the ship tucks into Darwin Bay, an ancient volcanic crater now flooded by the sea. Zodiacs land on a picturesque sandy beach where Galapagos sea lions often rest on the fine, white sand. Explorations along the shore may reveal marine iguanas looking like prehistoric dinosaurs in miniature. By heading inland a short distance visitors could encounter seabirds of all shapes and sizes nesting in the vegetation. Scores of immature Red-footed Boobies perch on branches within an arm’s reach of the path. In addition, watch for Great Frigatebirds and Yellow-crowned Night Herons along the walk. There is also fantastic snorkeling in the waters of Darwin Bay with the opportunity to see large schools of reef fish and brightly colored sea stars.
Sunday 14 Jun PM – El Barranco (Genovesa)
From Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island, explorers can access an area known as El Barranco or the “Prince Philip’s Steps”. A brief scramble up the stone steps brings you to the plateau of the island. From here, on flat ground, a small trail wanders past Red-footed Boobies, perching Frigate Birds, Galapagos Mockingbirds, Nazca Boobies, and Galapagos Finches. The highlight however, is arriving on the windward side of the island to see hundreds of Wedge-Rumped Storm Petrels flying around in a frenzy of activity above the lava field where they nest. In addition to the petrels, their predator, the Short-eared Owl can also be spotted here, perhaps even actively hunting its prey.
Monday 15 Jun AM – Seymour Norte
The landing at North Seymour Island is onto black lava rock. After a short climb, visitors arrive on the island’s flat plateau where a number of sea lions nurse pups and Frigate Birds nest. The island is dry, and so the predominant tree is the prickly pear cactus favored by the yellow Conolophus land iguanas that live here in number. The undulating terrain is littered with red-brown volcanic boulders and large male Magnificent Frigate Birds can be seen inflating their vivid red gular sacs in hopes of impressing females flying overhead. At certain times of the year, pairs of Blue-footed Boobies dance here in a ritualized mating dance that reinforces their pair bond and shows off their vivid blue feet. The snorkeling here is well-known for schools of colorful creole wrasses and parrot fish.
Monday 15 Jun PM – Santiago (Bahia Sullivan)
The lava fields of Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island will inevitably remind visitors of the surface of the moon. As brilliant red Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttle along the black volcanic shores, learn about the formation of the islands through geological forces from your guides. The lava flows here are just over one hundred years old and date back to 1897. The lava took on a rope-like appearance and geologists have adopted a Hawaiian word, pahoehoe, as the technical name for this kind of volcanic rock. After walking the exposed rocky terrain, it is a welcoming sensation to return to the sandy beach and get ready for a swim or a snorkel.
Tuesday 16 Jun AM – Rabida
Rabida Island has received accolades for being one of the most exotic spots on earth and while it is small in size, the island is dramatic in scale. Rugged red cliffs rise from the sea and zodiacs land onto a beach of dark red sand colored by iron ore. Ghost crabs and Galapagos sea lion pups often rest on the russet sands. Further inland, the rusty sand gives way to shrubby coastal vegetation dominated by prickly-pear cactus. Common Cactus Finches feed on the yellow flowers while Darwin Finches and Lava Lizards skitter across the path in search of food. Looking down from a high point, explorers will see the Silver Galapagos lying in a brilliant blue sea below skirted by yellow kayaks searching the cliffs of Rabida for swimming Galapagos sea lions and roosting Blue-footed Boobies. Snorkelers will find invertebrates including sea urchins and brilliant red sea stars, an abundance of reef fish, and perhaps even reef sharks in the deeper water.
Tuesday 16 Jun PM – Santa Cruz (El Eden)
Just off Santa Cruz, Eden Islet offers up a thick coastal mangrove forest growing on black volcanic boulders peppered with tall prickly pear cactus. Eden is a small, eroded tuff cone from an ancient volcano, and is an excellent example of the unique geology of the Galápagos. The shallow waters around the island are ideal for spotting Pacific green sea turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, sea lions, marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Explore by Zodiac or kayak, and watch for Brown Pelicans flying and diving to scoop up their prey, while Blue-footed Boobies enter the water like torpedoes to spear small fish. Great Blue Herons also wade in the shallows, and reflected in the water can be the subject of a perfect photo.
Wednesday 17 Jun AM – San Cristobal (Galapguera)
Giant tortoises are emblematic of the Galapagos Islands. To experience these ancient animals firsthand, the Silver Galapagos anchors off San Cristobal Island and Zodiacs take all ashore to the pretty little town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. From here we set out by bus for the Galapaguera Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve in the highlands of the island. The trails of the reserve lead to encounters with large, lumbering adult tortoises as well as small juveniles that could fit in the palm of a person’s hand. Back in town take time to wander the shops or photograph the Galapagos sea lions resting on local boats, lazing about under park benches, or lounging on rocks surrounding the working waterfront.
Wednesday 17 Jun PM – Punta Pitt (San Cristobal)
On the northern shore of San Cristobal Island is a peninsula known as Punta Pitt. The point is made up of two coalesced volcanoes and is much younger than the rest of the island. Some of the lava flows are only a few centuries old. From a sandy beach Zodiac landing leads a long walk following a twisting red gravel path that runs through black basalt lava rocks, and between craggy peaks. The vegetation along the way is low and scrubby, and attractive blue-gray lichen grows on the rocks. Gaining elevation along the narrow trail will open up views of the Silver Galapagos sitting in a sapphire blue sea far below. If the long walk is not your cup of tea, beachcomb at the landing beach looking for sea urchin skeletons and limpet shells washed up by the tide.
Thursday 18 Jun AM – Gardner Bay
Isla Champion is a small islet off Floreana Island’s northeast coast. To cruise by it reveals a bare, rocky island without much allure, but to enter the infinitely blue waters around this small landmass is to discover a spectacular underwater realm. The visibility is generally impressive and thanks to this water clarity snorkelers often spot reef sharks patrolling the reef wall, cruising Pacific green turtles, and playful Galapagos sea lions. Encounters in the blue with thousands of small silver minnows, large tuna fish, or oceanic sunfish are not unheard of either.
Thursday 18 Jun PM – Punta Suarez (Espanola Island)
Punta Suárez lies at the western point of Española, the oldest island in the Galápagos. Sheer cliffs provide superb thermals for seabirds and you may spot Swallow-tailed Gulls, Nazca Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies on the breeze. The largest seabird to nest in the Galapagos Islands is the Waved Albatross. These ocean wanderers can be seen seasonally here from April through December, when pairs reunite on Española, going through an elaborate pair-bonding display. Mockingbirds, doves, and occasional Galápagos Hawks can also be seen on the point, along with sea lions and colorful marine iguanas.
Friday 19 Jun AM – Estacion Darwin & Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz)
Silver Galapagos will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the center’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.
Friday 19 Jun PM – Plazas Sur
South Plaza is a serene island located close to the eastern coast of Santa Cruz. This small island is sprinkled with giant prickly pear cactus, carpeted with a reddish mat of ground-cover succulents, and is home to a large nesting colony of Swallow-tailed Gulls, along with Marine Iguanas and Galápagos Sea Lions. Seabirds crowd the island’s shores including Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Pelicans, and Frigate Birds. However, the birds, seals and marine iguanas share the spotlight with brilliant yellow land iguanas of the island. These plump terrestrial reptiles live well eating the plentiful prickly pear cactus fruits and pads found here. The variety of life on the island makes it a wonderful stop for the Silver Galapagos.
Saturday 20 Jun AM – San Cristobal
Like so many of the islands in the Galapagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galapagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Here, you will disembark the Silver Galapagos and head for the airport. Fly from here to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where you will pick up your KLM flight to Dublin, via Amsterdam. Depart at 1835, arriving in Dublin the following afternoon.
Sunday 21 Jun – Dublin
Arrive into Dublin at 1640.
Price: €5,300pp in Explorer Suite
€6,000pp in Terrace Suite
€7,100pp in Veranda Suite
€7,500pp in Deluxe Veranda Suite
€9,900pp in Silver Suite
Single Supplement only 25%
INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE FARE:
Fares shown are per guest. There are options to extend this trip to visit Machu Picchu in Peru or other exciting possibilities.
Silversea Cruises Luxury Expedition ship
A Galápagos expedition cruise, enjoyed aboard Silver Galapagos, brings you to one of the most isolated places in the world to encounter an abundant variety of wildlife species that is incredibly unique and found nowhere else on earth. Lying just off the western coast of South America, the Galápagos archipelago is inaccessible to most.
Sourced from volcanic rock and placed in an oven to reach an optimum temperature of 400˚C, The Grill invites guests to cook their food directly at their table. With the stone cooking available in the evenings only, The Grill becomes a daytime rotisserie, gourmet salad and burger bar.
Dine amid sparkling crystal, silver and sweeping ocean views in our main dining room. Enjoy Continental or regional specialities impeccably presented and graciously served. The Restaurant is an open-seating dining room, which means there are no assigned times, no assigned tables.
To book this Bucket List trip, call John Galligan Travel on
(01) 207 6555 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org