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Elite Galapagos Cruise

Genovesa & Center Galápagos

5 Days Galápagos cruise on board the Elite

Length

5 Days

Ship category

Luxury

Ship type

Motor Catamaran

Capacity

16 Passengers

Genovesa & Center Galápagos

13 Reviews

Trip highlights

Snorkel with Hammerheads at Darwin Bay

Scientific insights at C. Darwin Research Station

A bird lover's paradise: Hiking on Genovesa

Green Turtles nesting at Espumilla Beach

The Galapatours experience

Super stable trimaran design

Sleek, luxurious catamaran

English-speaking guide for all activities

Lectures in the evening

Get to know the highlights of Galápagos with this Naturalist cruise on board the beautiful Elite! On this Expedition Cruise, you will discover the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos Islands: On Genovesa, breathtaking dinghy rides, stunning views and close encounters with the most iconic birds of the Archipelago await you. Blue-footed Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and many more species can be seen here. On San Cristóbal, you will be able to snorkel in crystal clear waters, relax with sea lions on pristine white sand beaches and learn more about the evolution of giant tortoises. During your time on Santa Cruz, you will have the chance to observe the famous Galápagos Giant Tortoises in the wild and learn more about the preservation and scientific study of these amazing animals. On Santiago, an island formerly inhabited by pirates, you will be able to enjoy hikes and dinghy rides.

Your ship: Elite

elite45
elite46
Elite Galapagos Cruise

The Galápagos Elite has taken her maiden Galápagos cruise in June 2019. This exciting luxury yacht has been completely custom-designed for sailing around Galápagos. Her twin-hull catamaran configuration provides guests with an extremely stable cruising experience, giving guests a far smoother ride than older single-hull boats can hope to offer. As well as increased stability, fuel efficiency and cruising speed, the twin hulls mean guests can enjoy more space, including larger, more comfortable social areas, luxurious suites, and opulent premium suites. Outdoor space is also increased, includin … Read more about Elite

Cabins

Double matrimonial
Golden Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Your itinerary below may vary, depending on the weather, wildlife breeding, and local conditions.

Flight to Baltra XL1411
Popular

1 Day

4.6

(63)

Flight from Mainland Ecuador to Galápagos

Important: Please do inquire with us for your flights to Galápagos! The timing of your flights is crucial for a smooth operation of your cruises. Together, we must ensure that you arrive well before the departure of the cruise - better even on the exact same flight as the other passengers on board your ship. Therefore: Should you chose to book your own flights from Mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil) to Galápagos (Baltra Airport or San Cristóbal Airport) and arrive late to Galápagos, then we will not assume any responsibility. The ship might not wait for you, in which case you will **miss your cruise without right to compensation**.

From

USD 299

Punta Moreno walk - Nemo i galapagos cruise - gal0087

3 Days

5.0

(1)

Day Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

Enjoy a 3-day cruise extension from Puerto Ayora, including a full-day land excursion to an exquisite uninhabited island in the Galápagos. Observe the remarkable biodiversity up close and snorkel in the tropical waters in the afternoon.

From

USD 680

Galapagos Green Turtle

3 Days

Diving Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This Mid-range 3-day cruise extension will take you from Puerto Ayora on a full-day diving trip to one of the most spectacular sites in the Galápagos Islands. Get up close to the amazing life, swim amongst sea turtles, sea lions and an endless array of colorful fish!

From

USD 490

Baltra Arrival at Baltra airport+transfer to ship
Baltra: Arrival at Baltra airportBaltra: Arrival at Baltra airport + transfer to ship - la pinta yacht galapagos cruise - gal0104 + transfer to ship - la pinta yacht galapagos cruise - gal0104

Welcome to Galápagos! Once your flight has landed and you went through the immigration process, you'll be met in the Arrivals lounge by our English-speaking guide who will take you to your transfer vehicle for the short journey to your waiting ship.

Baltra Island, where your arrival airport is, was used as an important Air Force base in the Second World War. This is the primary airport for the Galápagos Islands and you'll be rubbing shoulders with fellow tourists, international naturalists and conservationists, researchers and academics, and Galápagos residents alike. The airport has been built as a "green" airport, and as well as using recycled materials in its construction, it's special design keeps the buildings relatively cool without the need for any air conditioning.

Once on board your ship, you will be introduced to the crew and given a welcome briefing as well as an important safety drill. After this you'll be shown to your cabin. While you're served a well-deserved and delicious lunch, the captain will cast off and your adventure truly starts.

Note: If you plan to spend a few days prior to the cruise in Puerto Ayora and want to do the cruise later this is no problem at all. The transfer from Puerto Ayora to Baltra is very easy.

Santa Cruz Bachas Beach
Bachas Beach

The name "Bachas Beach" (or "Las Bachas" in Spanish) actually comes from a mispronunciation! After the second world war, American forces stationed on Santa Cruz abandoned some of their barges there - "bachas" was the nearest some of the locals could get to pronouncing the English word, and the name has stuck. You can still see the remains of one of the floating docks the soldiers set up on one of the two beaches that make up Las Bachas Beach.

This beach is covered in white coral sand, and it's a major nesting site for Galápagos green turtles. There's also a lagoon just behind the sand which often hosts flamingos, ducks and migratory birds. You can also often find marine iguanas feeding on the rocky outcrops near the tide line.

The main beach is perfect for swimming, being very sheltered from the ocean swells, and is a very pleasant spot to cool off and to indulge in some snorkeling.

Genovesa Prince Philip's Steps
Prince Philip's Steps

Named after Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the Galápagos Islands twice, the Prince Philip's Steps pier uses natural rock formations to allow you to land and admire the variety of seabirds that inhabit Genovesa. With careful steps on the wet and slippery lower rocks, you begin your hike near a small colony of Galápagos sea bears before reaching the beautiful vantage point further up with views of the lava plains.

The birdlife will surround you from all sides and you will enjoy the sight and sounds of many wonderful species, including blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies and Nazca boobies, but also small Galápagos owls and Galápagos pigeons.

Genovesa Darwin Bay
Darwin Bay

Darwin Bay is a must-visit site for birdwatchers. Starting with a landing on a beautiful white coral beach you are able to follow an easy half-mile trail that will take you through bird-filled mangroves. Species that can be seen on this part of the trail include Nazca Boobies, Galápagos red-footed Boobies, and Swallow-Tailed gulls.

As the path continues you will find tidal pools - favourite spots for Galápagos Sea Lions to lazily swim and play. At the path's end you will come to the top of a cliff which will reward you with a spectacular view.

Santiago Buccaneer Cove
Santiago - Buccaneer Cove - nemo i galapagos cruise - gal0087

Sited on the northwest coast of Santiago Island, Buccaneer Cove wasn't named as a romantic fancy, but because it actually was used extensively by pirates, privateers, buccaneers and whalers to set anchor and head ashore.

Of all the Galápagos Islands, Santiago was most frequently used as a stop over as it provided easy access to fresh water, wood, and meat. Used since the 1600s as a staging point, the easy-to-catch Giant Tortoises that lived here became a useful source of protein for the sailors. There was a more strenuous journey required up to the highlands in search of water, but the sheltered cove made this a better location than some of the more open coast elsewhere.

Today the steep cliffs above the cove are filled with nesting seabirds, wheeling in the air above the deep red sands of the beach. This is a good site for snorkeling or to stroll along the beach drinking in the sights and sounds of the Galápagos, and you will often find yourself sharing the sand and rocks with sea lions or Galápagos Fur Seals.

Santiago Espumilla Beach
Espumilla Beach

Espumilla Beach is located at the northern end of James Bay, a large bay on the northwestern coast of Santiago. This is a pretty beach that is fringed with lush green forests.

The beach itself is home to marine iguanas who feed among the rocks at either end of the beach, and it is a good place to snorkel, with visitors often reporting sightings of sharks, rays and octopus. This is also a nesting site for Galápagos green turtles.

There is an inland hiking trail here that takes visitors past a seasonal lagoon that's often bright green thanks to the algae in the water. Here you can find Galápagos flamingos and pin-tail ducks. The trail then loops through the arid zone, where you can see further bird species including Galápagos Hawks that often circle overhead.

Santiago Egas Port
Santiago - Egas Port - nemo i galapagos cruise - gal00

Puerto Egas (Port Egas) is a sheltered landing site at the southern end of James Bay on the northwestern coast of Santiago. This landing site is the trailhead for two hiking paths.

The first trail runs along the coast to visit the so-called "Fur Seal Grottos". The Galápagos Fur Seals like to seek shade from the equatorial sun, and they prefer rocky shores with caves or other nooks and crannies in which they can keep cool. The grottos here are perfect for them, and the tidal pools are also popular with Galápagos Marine Iguanas who can be seen feeding in and around them.

The second trail from Egas Port heads inland to the "Salt Mine Volcano". This hike is just under 2 miles long and takes you to the rim of a salt mine crater. This "mine" is actually a small volcanic cone that is filled with a salt water lagoon that dries up in the dry season. At several points in the 20th century individuals or companies attempted to mine salt from it, but without commercial success. The name of your landing site is after the owner of the last company to try salt mining here, Hector Egas.

The lagoon is often home to Galápagos flamingos and other birds, and the wonderful Galápagos Hawk can often be seen circling above this area.

Santa Cruz Black Turtle Cove
Black Turtle Cove

The only way into Black Turtle cove is by panga (motorised dinghy). This "secret" corner of the Galápagos feels like your own personal hideout, and once the panga motor is shut off you're surrounded only with the gentle sounds of nature as you drift through the mangroves.

Rich with wildlife, you'll often see Galápagos green turtles feeding, or even mating, in the calm water, as well as different shark species and Galápagos rays.

This is a very different visitor site, showing another side to the Galápagos away from the noise of surf on the beaches and barking sea lions.

Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Highlands
El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve

Santa Cruz is the only island on the Galápagos that allows you to travel through every habitat type that exists in the archipelago. This makes the journey north from the coast up into the highlands a fantastic opportunity to experience the breadth of life that exists on these islands.

Your bus journey starts from Puerto Ayora on the coast and you slowly start to climb through the agricultural zone where open fields begin to give way to lush, green, mist-covered forests. This is a marked contrast to many of the islands which are at much lower elevation and much more arid. This rich verdant landscape is predominantly made up of dense Scalesia forest.

Your expert Galapatours guide will stop several times along the route to allow you to explore various different sites. Among the stops will be a Giant Tortoise reserve, and also a visit to the famous lava tubes. Over half a mile long, a walk through these natural volcanic features is eerie and unforgettable.

Also along the way you will stop for refreshments, and you'll be able to try locally-grown Galápagos coffee - we think it's among the best we've ever tasted!

Santa Cruz Charles Darwin Research Station

The world famous Charles Darwin Research Center is just a 10 minute walk from downtown Puerto Ayora, and is the home of the non-profit Charles Darwin Foundation.

Inside, you'll find exhibits about the geography, geology and climate of the Galápagos, and the evolution of her unique species. There is also lots of information on the Foundation's current conservation and education programs.

As well as conducting it's own key research, the Charles Darwin Center also hosts international scientists, and supports the work of government agencies like the Galápagos National Park.

Next door is the site of the Galápagos' first giant tortoise breeding center, where pioneering work has been done since 1965 for the preservation of these species. Here you can see newly hatched babies, up to juveniles and full-grown adults ready to be released back into the wild.

San Cristóbal Lobos Island
Lobos Island

Lobos Island is named after the colony of Galápagos Sea Lions that live here, but they aren't the only native Galápagos species that calls this narrow island home. You can see Galápagos Fur Seals basking here, and there is a nesting colony of Blue-Footed Boobies that come to Lobos each year to raise their chicks.

There are one or two short hiking trails that lead into the center of the island, and this is always a peaceful place to visit. Galapatours visitors tell us it's one of their favorite visitor sites to just sit and soak up the Galápagos atmosphere.

Back on the beach, the swimming and snorkeling is wonderful, and thanks to the island's position close to the main shore of San Cristobal, the channel between them is sheltered and the turquoise water is crystal clear.  This is a Galapatours favorite spot, so speak to one of our Galápagos specialists if you want help choosing an itinerary that includes a visit to this special place.

San Cristóbal Transfer to San Cristóbal airport
Transfer from ship to San Cristóbal airport (organized)

It's sadly time to make the very short trip to the airport for your flight back to the Ecuador mainland. Your Galapatours guide, who will have been with you throughout your adventure, will accompany you back to the departures area, giving you one final chance to tap into their excellent local knowledge and unrivalled experience.

Note: If want to spend some time in Galápagos after your cruise, please let us know. This is no problem at all and the transfer from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to the airport and back couldn't be easier.

Flight to Baltra XL1411
Popular

1 Day

4.6

(59)

Flight from Galápagos to Mainland Ecuador

Please inquire with us for your flight from Galápagos (Baltra Airport or San Cristóbal Airport) to Mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil). Note: As Galápagos is a protected National Park, there are some regulations that airlines shall fulfill. For this reason, there are no direct international flights to and from Galápagos. Whether you're traveling from the United States, Europe or anywhere else, you should book an international flight to Guayaquil or Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and then travel on to Galápagos on a separate flight.

From

USD 299

Kicker Rock

3 Days

Snorkelling Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This Mid-range 3-day cruise extension will take you from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on a full-day land excursion to Kicker Rock or the legend of the sleeping lion. Explore this fascinating site of breathtaking beauty on land and at sea.

From

USD 410

ASAMOGAL Community Tour Galapagos Coffee Tour

1 Day

A day with locals: Coffee Tour (4h)

This is more than a typical day tour; it's a heartfelt invitation to immerse yourself in the local community and grasp the realities they face while residing in the enchanting Galapagos. In this 4-hour adventure through the highlands of San Cristóbal, you'll explore a coffee farm and a remarkable social project, a true beacon of hope and sustainability for the island. This experience offers more than just insights into coffee production; it's an odyssey beyond typical tourist paths. The tour sheds light on critical subjects like food sovereignty, female empowerment, youth employment, and community support through their impactful Solitaire Fund. Within this addon, you'll unravel the very essence of Galapagos living. Gain a deeper understanding of the islanders' challenges and witness ASAMOGAL's multifaceted economic efforts in action. From coffee cultivation to fruit pulp production predominantly driven by women, as well as engaging coffee tours and tasting experiences, you'll witness the seamless integration of agriculture and tourism, fundamental for a sustainable future. Seize this opportunity to invest a profound day alongside the locals, delving into their daily triumphs and tribulations. Peer beyond the idyllic postcard scenery and comprehend the unwavering resilience and determination ingrained in the daily life of this paradise. ASAMOGAL's inspiring journey epitomizes community unity and showcases their dedication to upholding the delicate harmony between humanity and nature in the Galapagos Islands.

From

USD 145

Ocean Spray Galapagos Cruise

3 Days

5.0

(1)

Diving Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This Mid-range 3-day extension of our cruise will take you from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on a full-day diving trip to one of the best diving spots in the Galápagos Islands and certainly around the world : Kicker Rock! Get up close to the amazing life, swim amongst sea turtles, sea lions and an endless array of colorful fish!

From

USD 590

espanola - la pinta yacht galapagos cruise - gal0104

3 Days

Day Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This comfort 3-day extension of our cruise will take you from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on a full-day land excursion to one of the most amazing and uninhabited islands of the Archipelago, either Pitt Point or Española island. In the afternoon, you’ll be invited to put on a mask and snorkel to explore the extraordinary world down there!

From

USD 630

Dates & Prices

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- Fall special - Get one more night free

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2024

Fall special - Get one more night free

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- Fall special - Get one more night free

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Fall special - Get one more night free

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2024

- Fall special - Get one more night free

Available

From

USD 4,690

USD 5,890

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2024

9

Nov

2024

Fall special - Get one more night free

Available

From

USD 4,690

USD 5,890

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

All meals onboard (International and Ecuadorian Cuisine). Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice - please ask us about your needs.

Snorkeling sessions - whenever possible and allowed by the National Park.

Extensive Zodiac Rides to explore the shorelines and mangrove forests from close up.

All transport to and from the ship: Pick-up by your guide directly from the airport (if you arrive at the first day) and drop-off by your guide directly to the airport (if you leave on the last day).

English-speaking naturalist guides with you at all times during the excursions.

Briefings in the evening, during which your guide will explain what you can expect from your next day.

Lectures in the evenings about a variety of topics, including Geology, Marine Biology, Natural History, Human History, and more.

Entry costs to museums, research stations, breeding stations, etc.

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project.

What's not included

Alcoholic beverages

International Flights

Local Flights

Gratuities

Some Optional Activities

Credit Card charges may apply

A fuel surcharge may apply at a later stage. More info

The ship operator may charge a fee if you don't book your flights to and from Galápagos through them. More info

Credit Card charges may apply

A fuel surcharge may apply at a later stage. More info

The ship operator may charge a fee if you don't book your flights to and from Galápagos through them. More info

Reviews

Jeffrey May

Elite Galapagos Cruise

Luxury

Perfectly managed Everything was fantastic in every way. Staff, boat,food, organization, excursions,etc. All wonderful and perfectly managed. Source: https://www.goldengalapagoscruises.com/reviews-galapagos-cruise

Odin Schon

Elite Galapagos Cruise

Luxury

Great trip! The trip was awesome and it was super fun and enjoyable the whole time Source: https://www.goldengalapagoscruises.com/reviews-galapagos-cruise

MELANIE RACHEL

Elite Galapagos Cruise

Luxury

Such a great guide! Ruly is so passionate about the galapagos an communicated it charmingly! He is a great ambassador for your Brand Source: https://www.goldengalapagoscruises.com/reviews-galapagos-cruise

FAQs

Under Ecuadorian law, if you are only temporarily visiting the Galápagos then you are exempted from the requirement to pay any customs charges on items that you are bringing in to the country. This includes new or used portable electronics such as cameras, laptops, music players, etc.

You MUST NOT bring any agricultural or plant materials or any unprocessed food products to the islands. To avoid problems at customs and bag check we suggest only traveling to Galápagos with pre-wrapped snack products such as chocolate bars, etc. Food is plentiful and freshly cooked on your Galapatours cruise, with a wide range of choice on offer to suit all tastes - you really don't need to bring anything with you!

As the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, and all flights to the Galapagos depart from mainland Ecuador, you will need to enter Ecuador first.

Entering Ecuador: Every traveler is responsible for checking the individual visa requirements for their nationality. We recommend using https://www.passportindex.org/ to find out if you need a visa for Ecuador. At the time of writing, U.S. citizens do not need to apply for a visa beforehand. Similarly, visitors from the UK, Germany, and most other European countries do not require a visa for the Galapagos Islands. Upon entering the country, you will be given a visa stamp that permits you to stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days. This also applies to many other countries, but please verify the current visa regulations yourself before booking any tickets. In any case, your passport must be valid for at least six more months from the date of entry into Ecuador. You will also need to show proof of onward or return travel out of Ecuador to customs and immigration officials upon arrival; this can be a return or onward airline ticket. If you do not meet these requirements, you may not be allowed to enter the country.

Entering Galapagos: To enter Galápagos, the first official requirement is a valid Ecuadorian tourist visa stamp in your passport - this should have been issued to you upon arrival to mainland Ecuador.

This is a multi-layered question, that we have tried to answer in various articles. Please click on the corresponding links to learn more about the different topics. To recap:

  • Passport & Visa: Tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands must have a valid passport and, in most cases, can obtain a visa upon arrival in Ecuador. Click here to read more.
  • Luggage Check: When leaving Ecuador's main land, tourists' luggage will be checked for restricted items by the Tourist Control and Certification (TCC) to ensure the preservation of the islands' unique environment and wildlife. This check costs 20USD and is done at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil, before checking in for your flight to Galapagos.
  • Entrance Fee: A Galapagos National Park entrance fee must be paid upon arriving in Galapagos.
  • Travel Insurance: A travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation and medical expenses. is highly recommended, and even obligatory on board of some ships.
  • Vaccinations: At the following link you can find out more about vaccinations for a Galápagos trip.

The Galápagos National Park Entrance fee is levied on all visitors to the islands. For foreign visitors, the entry fee is currently 100 USD per person (50 USD for children under 12 years old), but will be increased to 200 USD per person (100 USD for children) from 1 August 2024 onwards. If you are a citizen of a country in South America you might pay less, check here for more information.

Important: This fee must be paid, in cash, at the airport of arrival. If you do not pay, you will not be allowed to leave the terminal - so please make sure you have the means to pay the Galápagos entrance fee! Therefore, the payment of this entrance fee is indispensable to take part in a Galapagos cruise.

The entrance fees collected will be allocated to various local entities to support sustainability and community development in the Galápagos Islands. The proceeds are split between several important institutions as follows:

  • 40% to the Galápagos National Park
  • 20% to Galápagos Municipalities
  • 10% to the National Institute
  • 10% to Galápagos Province Local Government
  • 5% to the National Navy
  • 5% to the Ministry of Environment
  • 5% to Quarantine and Pest Control
  • 5% to the Galápagos Marine Reserve

For more information about the entrance fee structure and the distribution of funds, please visit the official website of the Galápagos National Park Administration.

Entrance Fee Galapagos National Park

To protect the vulnerable and unique Galapagos habitats and wildlife, no non-native plant or animal species must be allowed to arrive on the archipelago. SICGAL is the government department responsible for ensuring the islands are protected in this way.

After you have received your TCT/TCC card at the airport in Ecuador, you should proceed to the SICGAL booth. There you will be asked to fill out a form and may have your luggage examined.

To make sure you don't have any trouble here, please do not attempt to travel with any foods other than small quantities of pre-wrapped snack items like chocolate bars or similar, and certainly don't have any plants or plant materials in your bags. Once checked, you will receive an approval label to attach to your bags, and you can then make your way to your airline check in.

Arrival at Quito Airport: SICGAL Luggage Check and TCC Card for your flight to Galápagos