The Galapagos San Jose operates two 7-night itineraries on alternate weeks. You can see detailed itineraries of both options below.
Cruise Itinerary A
Day 1: Fly to the Galapagos, board the San Jose and begin the A itinerary cruise
Fly to the Galapagos Islands, famous as inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. This archipelago off Ecuador’s west coast is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world, as your cruise will help you discover. Board the Galapagos San Jose motor yacht, your home for the next seven nights. In the afternoon, set out for your first excursion to the beautiful Bachas Beach. The sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favourite nesting site for sea turtles. You can sometimes swim off the beach here.
Day 2: Visit Tintoreras and Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island
Start the morning with a visit to the Tintoreras, a group of small islands in front of Puerto Villamil, the capital of Isabela Island. Galapagos penguins and sea lions can often be seen on the shore and white-tipped reef sharks are common in the area. After lunch, explore the wetlands close to Puerto Villamil, known for swamps and mangroves which support migrant bird populations. End the day at the giant tortoise breeding centre in Puerto Villamil.
Day 3: Visit Punta Moreno and Tagus Cove on Isabela Island
Explore Punta Moreno, a desolate and pristine landscape of impressive black lava flows with great views of Alcedo and Sierra Azul volcanoes. You can sometimes swim and snorkel here. This area is home Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves, penguins, blue-footed boobies and mockingbirds and there is a lagoon with flamingos. In the afternoon, take a tour by zodiac along the cliffs at Tagus Cove, an old pirate hideaway where flightless cormorants and other sea birds are often present, before walking up to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking Darwin Lake and several volcanoes.
Day 4: Visit Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and Espinoza Point is located at the northeastern tip of the island. As you disembark on the dried lava, be careful not to step on the marine iguanas piled up together to retain body heat. This area is rich in wildlife with sea lions, flightless cormorants, penguins, herons and Sally Lightfoot crabs living side by side. After lunch, return to Isabela Island and take a panga ride to Punta Vicente Roca, during which you will see impressive geological formations including a large cave and volcanic tuff cones. The cliffs are home to a variety of nesting birds, including blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and noddy terns. The calmer waters near the cave are a popular area for sea turtles so this is a great place for snorkelling.
Day 5: Visit Espumilla Beach and Puerto Egas on Santiago Island
Visit Espumilla Beach, home to a palo santo forest and a popular site for nesting marine turtles. There is also a large population of Sally Lightfoot crabs, which attract hunting herons. There is a great place for snorkeling nearby with an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eels, and sharks. After lunch, continue to Puerto Egas, a long, flat, black shoreline where eroded shapes form caves, lava pools and inlets which are home to a large variety of wildlife. It is a great place to see colonies of basking marine iguanas and fur sea lions can often be seen in the inlets.
Day 6: Visit Rabida Island and Chinese Hat islets
Start the day with a visit to Rabida, a unique island with red rocks and sand. The beach is often full with sea lions, and there are good snorkelling opportunities. Follow a trail to a coastal lagoon which is home to a colony of flamingos. For your afternoon excursion, navigate to Chinese Hat, a little island shaped, as its name implies, like a Chinese hat with fascinating lava tunnels and flows. Sea lions, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins make their home here.
Day 7: Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Santa Cruz highlands
Morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos, to see the work done in the conservation of the islands. A series of walkways takes you through the captive breeding program where you will see juvenile and adult tortoises from different islands and also the final resting place of the late Lonesome George, the very last of his species. Land Iguanas are also bred here. Continue to the highlands of Santa Cruz, driving across the island past beautiful scenery of rolling hills, extinct volcanic and lush greenery. Visit the Gemelos Craters and a ranch where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat.
Day 8: A final Galapagos excursion to North Seymour Island before your flight to Guayaquil
Make the most of your last day in the magical isles with a visit to North Seymour, an unusually flat and boulder-strewn island that is home to a large colony of magnificent frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, noddy terns and land and marine iguanas, who can regularly be found lazing in the sun. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city located in tropical lowlands.
Day 9: Final day in Guayaquil. Fly overnight to the UK
Cruise Itinerary B
Day 1: Fly to the Galapagos, board the San Jose and visit Mosquera Islets
Fly to the Galapagos Islands, famous as inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. This archipelago off Ecuador’s west coast is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world, as your cruise will help you discover. Board the Galapagos San Jose motor yacht, your home for the next seven nights. In the afternoon, set out for your first Galapagos excursion to the beautiful Mosquera Islet, which has a reef of rock and coral, and a white sand beach. You can see several species of shorebirds and sea lions here.
Day 2: Visit Prince Phillip’s Step and Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island
Explore Genovesa Island, where you can see all three types of boobies – the Blue Footed, the Red Footed and the Nazca or Masked booby. In the morning, make a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a beautiful white, sandy, coral beach where you can see boobies, tropic birds, frigate birds, storm petrels and marine iguanas. You can swim from the beach here. After lunch, climb the fairly steep Prince Philip’s Steps, which lead up to a beautiful area of lava rock trails and Palo Santo forest, home to masked boobies and short-eared owls, who find the lava flows an ideal place for nesting.
Day 3: Visit Santa Fe and Plaza Sur Islets
Morning visit to Plaza Sur, one of the best spots in the archipelago to see land iguanas, whose nests are scattered all over the hill. Visit the sheer cliffs of the southern shore, a great place for spotting magnificent frigate birds, tropic birds and sea lions basking in the sun. After lunch, visit Santa Fe, one of the most beautiful coves in the Galapagos, with a sandy beach beautifully sheltered by a peninsula extending from the shore and the rocks here are covered in a forest of Opuntia cactus. See land iguanas, sea turtles and Galapagos hawks and enjoy a peaceful swim or snorkel in the clear turquoise sea.
Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.
Day 4: Visit Kicker Rock and the Interpretation Centre on San Cristobal
Sail to Kicker Rock, a huge rock which juts 500 feet out of the ocean and is said to resemble a sleeping lion. There is time to take in the view and snorkel before the boat navigates to San Cristobal for your afternoon excursion to the Interpretation Centre close to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where you learn about the fascinating origins of the island.
Day 5: Visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez on Española Island
Visit Gardner Bay, a beautiful beach with sea lions, which is excellent for swimming and snorkelling. After lunch, continue to Punta Suarez and walk amongst the blue-footed and Nazca boobies. This area is particularly rich in birdlife and you will also get a chance to see Galapagos hawks, Darwin finches, swallow-tailed gulls and Española mockingbirds. Waved albatrosses nest here from April to November.
Day 6: Visit Punta Cormorant and Champion Islet on Floreana Island
Begin the day with a morning visit to Punta Cormorant, known for its olive green sand beach and fantastic flamingo lagoon, exquisitely set between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. Before lunch, continue to the nearby Champion Islet, where there is great snorkelling. In the afternoon, visit Post Office Bay, home to brown pelicans, yellow warblers and warbler finches. Climb to Baroness Lookout for a view of the island’s coastline.
Day 7: Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island and Bartolome Island
Visit Sullivan Bay, where you can see lava lizards on the strange lava formations. Snorkelling is possible here. After lunch, climb to the summit of Bartolome and enjoy the great views before visiting the small rookery of Galapagos penguins near the beach. You can swim and snorkel around the beach or walk to the other side of the island to see sea turtles nesting (from January to March) and sharks and turtles swimming close to the shore.
Day 8: A final Galapagos excursion to Black turtle cove before your flight to Guayaquil
Make the most of your last day in the magical isles with a morning panga ride through mangrove swamps to Black Turtle Cove, where lagoons provide a refuge to rays, sharks, and sea turtles that are clearly visible alongside the boat. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city located in tropical lowlands.