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M/V Santa Cruz II

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Cruise Overview

The 50-cabin Santa Cruz II will bring with it a chic new way to explore the wonders of the Galápagos Islands in style and comfort. The new boat will offer guests the unrivalled guiding Metropolitan Touring is famous for while ensuring the utmost care is taken to preserve the islands’ delicate ecosystem via the latest in sustainable sailing technologies.

The Santa Cruz II will boast five spacious decks, with modern interiors designed by renowned ship designer, Richard Nilsson. Created with the ethos of stylish simplicity at its heart, the new boat will ensure sumptuous surroundings from which to take in the magnificent vistas of the enchanted islands.

The new boat will sleep 90 guests in 50 contemporary designed cabins across three decks. Guests can choose from luxuriously appointed single, double and triple cabins, or opt for one of the three even more exclusive Darwin Suites, an exceptional standard of accommodation on the Panorama Deck, where guests will receive elevated service and carefully refined extras such as a take-home Galápagos coffee table book, a tablet loan for each cabin.

While aboard the new Santa Cruz II, guests can relax in the beautifully designed communal areas and viewing platforms, including indoor and outdoor dining options, two lounge bars, a well-stocked library, two indulgent ocean view hot tubs and a state of the art gym.

Creative Ecuadorian and international cuisine will be prepared under the watchful eye of the Santa Cruz II’s Cordon-Bleu trained gastronomic director, Byron Rivera. Freshly caught fish and seafood and locally grown organic fruit and vegetables will feature heavily on menus served in the colourful Beagle Dining Room and al fresco on the Panorama Deck.

The Santa Cruz II will take guests on four, five and nine night itineraries in the Northern, Eastern and Western Galápagos Islands and each expedition will be accompanied by seven of Metropolitan Touring’s exceptionally knowledgeable guides plus an expedition leader in charge of making the most of each day’s outings. Activities can be tailored to each guest’s personal interests and range from daily land expeditions to a host of aquatic activities, including ocean kayaking, snorkelling with sea lions and glass bottom boat expeditions – all of the options permitted by the Galápagos National Park.

Cabins
Voyager Cabin
Explorer Cabin
Darwin Suite

Western Itinerary

Departs Thursdays

Please note: The itineraries and program are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galapagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.

DAY 1
Baltra Island/Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)

You will arrive by plane to Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where you will receive a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.

Afternoon Excursion: Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The first part of your walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.

Lunch, Dinner
DAY 2
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)/Punta Espinoza

Morning Excursion: Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)

After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, boobies, etc. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola)

Afternoon Excursion: Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station

Morning Excursion: Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)

In the morning, we disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

Santa Cruz Island

We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
Post Office Bay / Champion Islet and Cormorant Point

Morning Excursion: Baroness Tower – Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)

After breakfast, panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. We follow this visit by continuing to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. We land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkelling off the beach. We then head back on board for lunch.

Afternoon Excursion: Champion Islet – Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)

Following lunch and a siesta, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Departure

Baltra Island

On our last day, we disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent.

Breakfast

Northern Itinerary

Departs Mondays

Please note: The itineraries and program are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galapagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.

DAY 1
Baltra Island/Las Bachas( (Santa Cruz Island)

We land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz, where we receive a welcome introductory briefing and lunch.

Afternoon Excursion: Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.

Lunch, Dinner
DAY 2
Buccaneer Cove / Puerto Egas

Morning Excursion: Buccaneer Cove (Santiago Island)
After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling or panga ride.

Afternoon Excursion: Puerto Egas (Santiago Island)
Once we disembark at the beach, we can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Non-snorkelers can enjoy a longer walk.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
Rábida Island/Bartolomé Island

Morning Excursion: Rábida Island (Jervis)/Bartolomé Island

Some groups will go for a fascinating panga ride along the shores while others will disembark on Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat or a panga ride. During navigation to our next island, dolphins are sometimes spotted!

Afternoon Excursion: Bartolomé Island
Today’s activities begin with a wet landing on the golden beach of this famous island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkelling and swimming from the beach plus the chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship, we then split into two groups, the first lands for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! The second takes to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline. The groups then swap over.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
Prince Philip Steps/Darwin Bay

Morning Excursion: Prince Philip Steps/Darwin Bay (Tower/Genovesa Island)
The morning starts with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat rocky plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions).

Afternoon Excursion: Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
In the afternoon, we land at this beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling. Following our dip, we take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Tortoise Reserve – Baltra airport

Tortoise Reserve – Baltra airport

We start our last morning at the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, your luggage will be taken to the airport, while you visit the Tortoise Reserve. A dry landing at a passenger’s wharf and a bus ride to the loftier region of the island will provide the last highlight of the cruise: giant tortoises in the wild. The windward slopes of the island are home to two species of giant tortoises. These lush highlands include dense forests of Galapagos daisies, orchids and bromeliads, and several endemic land birds. After this visit we will transfer directly to Baltra airport. Farewell to Galapagos

 

Breakfast

Eastern Itinerary

Departs Fridays

Please note: The itineraries and program are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galapagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.

DAY 1
Baltra Island / Mosquera

We arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II where we receive our welcome introductory briefing and lunch.

Afternoon Excursion: Mosquera
After lunch and your introductory briefing on board, Santa Cruz II will relocate only four nautical miles from Baltra, next to Mosquera Islet, a small volcanic uplift between Baltra and North Seymour.
The island is a long and narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs. Our groups will approach the island from its western shore, a long shallow reef, the perfect rookery for young sea lions.
After a wet landing, our guides will lead you past the sea lion colonies, where you will learn more about the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos. The walk is easy as it is restricted to a few hundred metres of flat sandy dunes. This will also be a great opportunity for an introduction to snorkelling.

Lunch, Dinner
DAY 2
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno(San Cristobal Island) Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island)

Morning Excursion: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island)

After breakfast, we disembark (dry landing) at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the island’s capital, and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we visit the breeding centre for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island endemics.

Afternoon Excursion: Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island)

In the afternoon, we disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. We can walk or enjoy a panga ride along the coast. Opportunity for snorkelling, swimming and kayaking.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3
Santa Fe Island / South Plaza

Morning Excursion: Santa Fe Island

After breakfast, we take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions (wet landing). The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Snorkelling and swimming from the panga rounds off our rewarding experience, or if guests prefer, the glass bottom boat is available for non-snorkellers. Opportunity for kayaking.

Afternoon Excursion: South Plaza Island

Following lunch and a rest, we disembark (dry landing) in this channel, whose turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide, playing with the thermals.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4
Puerto Ayora / Santa Cruz Island

Morning Excursion: Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)

In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

Afternoon Excursion: Santa Cruz Island

We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the M/V Santa Cruz II.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
Punta Suares / Garden Bay - Osborn Islet

Morning Excursion: Punta Suarez (Española Island)

(Dry landing) – An exciting walk awaits at this site, where we enjoy its unique sea bird colonies, including Galápagos albatross (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls as well as a view of the Galápagos’ famous “blow-hole”. Also, look out for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.

Afternoon Excursion: Gardner Bay – Osborn Islet (Española Island)

(Wet landing) In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby islet of Osborn provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches as we relax. We can expect great snorkelling in this area. Opportunity for swimming and kayaking as well.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6
Eden Islet / North Seymour

Morning Excursion: Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island)

After breakfast, a panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, a small islet located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where we can observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel and, if weather condition permits, ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayak.

Afternoon Excursion: North Seymour Island

North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing (dry landing), usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 7
Baltra Island

On our last day, we disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to mainland Ecuador.

Breakfast

Tour Inclusions

  • Shore excursions led by Expedition Team
  • Fleet of zodiacs for adventures ashore
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Conferences and lectures
  • Visits to the islands mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation to / from the airport in Galápagos
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Water

Tour Exclusions

  • Flights to/from Galapagos
  • Galapagos National Park admission fee US $100 approx.
  • Transit Control Card US $20 approx. per person
  • Tips

Tour Pricing

M/V Santa Cruz
Single
Twin
North Galapagos 5 Days / 4 Nights - Departs Monday
$6,260
$5,445 / person
West Galápagos 5 Days / 4 Nights - Departs Thursday
$6,260
$5,445 / person
East Galapagos 7 Days / 6 Nights - Departs Friday
$9,150
$7,957 / person

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