Thu, Nov 2: Depart Indianapolis and fly to Quito, Ecuador. Flight will arrive in Quito late evening. Spend two nights at a Quito area hotel.
Fri, Nov 3: See Quito on a city tour.
Sat, Nov 4: Baltra & Isla Daphne Grande, Galapagos Islands. Baltra Island is the gateway for the Galapagos Islands. Board the Silver Galapagos and set sail to circumnavigate Isla Daphne Grande, a volcanic tuff crater island where usually only scientists are allowed to land. From the ship, watch for Blue-footed Boobies, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Pelicans and other birds riding the sea breezes swirling around this rugged landmass.
Sun, Nov 5: Bahia Darwin & El Barranco, Genovesa. At Bahia Darwin (Darwin Bay), at Genovesa Island, take a Zodiac to land on a picturesque sandy beach where Galapagos sea lions often rest. Genovesa is known as “Bird Island,” a name it lives up to in a spectacular way. Huge colonies of seabirds create a birdwatcher’s paradise. A walk along the beach may revel marine iguanas and scores of Red-footed Boobies, which nest on the island. Climb the steep path of El Barranco (known as “Prince Philip’s Steps”) to see Red-footed Boobies, Nazea Boobies, and hundreds of Storm Petrels. If you’re lucky, you may see the elusive Short-eared Lava Owl as it hunts for Storm Petrels. After a morning walk, enjoy a snorkeling excursion to experience the diverse underwater wonderland that surrounds the island. There will also be an opportunity to kayak around Darwin Bay – which is actually a flooded caldera – and admire the island’s craggy landscape.
Mon, Nov 6: Seymour Norte & Bahia Sullivan, Santiago. Land on Seymour Norte Island, a small island close to Baltra, where you’ll step on black lava rock. The undulating terrain is littered with red-brown volcanic boulders with an occasional prickly pear cactus. The island’s spectacular profusion of wildlife includes Galapagos sea lions, yellow Conolophus land iguanas, Blue-footed Boobies and Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds. You may see frigatebird males displaying their bright-red gular pouch to attract females or the boobies perform their courtship dance. Walk through this rocky terrain before a snorkeling opportunity, where you might spot the impressive whitetip reef shark. Sail to Bahia Sullivan on Santiago Island. The smooth lava fields will remind you of the surface of the moon. Turtles may be seen on the beaches, where they come to lay their eggs. Return to the sandy beach to swim or snorkel before heading back to your ship.
Tue, Nov 7: Rábida & El Eden, Santa Cruz. Rábida Island is a small, picturesque island considered one of the most exotic spots on earth. Its dramatic red cliffs rise from the sea, and Zodiacs land on a beach of dark red sand, where ghost crabs and sea lion pups often rest. Watch for Common Cactus and Darwin Finches and lava lizards. After a short hike, swim or stroll along the beach to admire snoozing sea lions. The shallow waters are ideal for spotting Pacific green sea turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, sea lions and marine iguanas. You can also choose to go on a snorkel excursion to see reef sharks, marine iguanas, colorful anemones and parrotfish, or kayak along Rábida’s cliffs. Just off of Santa Cruz Island is El Eden, an islet that is an excellent example of the unique geology of the Galapagos. Snorkel, kayak or take a Zodiac ride to see Great Blue Herons, sea lions and boobies; the small tidal areas are good places to spot reef sharks, eagle rays and green turtles.
Wed, Nov 8: Galapaguera Cerro Colorado & Punta Pitt, San Cristóbal. After a visit to the pretty little town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, set out by bus to see the giant tortoises in the Galpaguera Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve in the highlands of the island. See these ancient reptiles and their young, and learn more about current conservation effort to restore and protect the Galapagos Islands’ natural biodiversity. Back in town, take time to wander the shops before heading to the northern shore to the Punta Pitt peninsula. A long walk follows a twisting red gravel path the opens up views of the shore and the Silver Galapagos sitting in a sapphire blue sea far below. Watch for all three booby species here, as well as frigatebirds and San Cristóbal or Chatham lava lizards along the way.
Thu, Nov 9: Gardner Bay & Punta Suarez, Española. Snorkel in Gardner Bay on Española in the infinitely blue waters around Isla Champion. Encounters with the small silver minnows, large tuna fish or oceanic sunfish will not be forgotten. Española is the oldest island in the Galapagos, and at Punta Suarez on the western point, noisy sea lions welcome your arrival. The island has a large number of endemic species, including the Española mockingbird, the Española lava lizard and the waved albatross.
Fri, Nov 10: Estacion Darwin & Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. Your ship anchors in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas. After your tour of the station, enjoy free time in town at the charming art galleries and corner cafés. Visit the small island of Plazas Sur (“South Island”), a serene island that is home to a large nesting colony of Swallow-tailed gulls. Birds, seals and marine iguanas share the spotlight with brilliant yellow land iguanas.
Sat, Nov 11-Sun, Nov 12: Disembark in San Cristobal and fly to Guayaquil, where a day room is provided. Fly home and arrive the next day.
An intimate, luxury ship that accommodates only a 100 guests, the Silver Galapagos caters to every need. Highlights: all-suite accommodations with marble-accented baths • butler service • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • two restaurants with open-seating • in-suite dining • room service available 24 hours • lounge • fitness area • outdoor Jacuzzi • library • piano bar • massage area • beauty salon • expedition guides certified by the National Park of the Galapagos.