Ecuador & Galapagos Holidays
Samba Explorer Cruise
9 Night Itinerary from £5,574
Samba Explorer Cruise Tour
Explore the Galapagos Islands, including flights from the UK, one day exploring Quito and 7 nights cruising aboard the friendly M/V Samba with all meals, guided walks and excursions.
Select your Preferred Departure Date OR Default to Today's Date
- Departing Mondays from the UK
- Places still available departing 18 and 25 December 2022
- The easiest and lowest cost way to visit the Galapagos
- Optional guided tour of Quito's World Heritage centre
- Discover the friendly wildlife of the Galapagos
- Included meals in a friendly small ship environment
- Enjoy daily excursions and walks through the islands with expert naturalist guides
- Nightly lectures and talks with special insights on the Galapagos Islands
- Snorkel with sea lions and colourful marine life
This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.
Quito - 2 Nights
Day 1 - Fly from the UK to Quito
Day 2 - Optional guided tour of Quito
- Full Description
Saturday, 09 December 2023
Fly from the UK to Quito
Depart the UK on a daytime flight to Quito, arriving the same evening. You will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel for 2 nights. Our guide will provide you with expert local advice, explain your programme and answer any questions you may have.
Sunday, 10 December 2023
Optional Guided Tour of Quito
Today is at leisure to rest and adjust to the high altitude and explore Quito at your own pace. Or you take an optional guided tour of Quito in the afternoon, including the historic old part of the city with its fabulous colonial architecture, many convents, churches and small streets to explore. We will visit the three main squares including impressive San Francisco square as well as the Presidential Palace and the Gold Museum.
Quito - Tourist Hotel
The Rincon de Puembo is located 20 minutes from Quito's new airport, in the small town of Puembo, making it ideal for travellers having to overnight in between flights. The accommodation is all found in a replica colonial-style street, with wonderful traditional touches. Perfect for relaxing by the pool and taking a rest stop from your Ecuadorean itinerary.
Galapagos Cruise - 7 Nights
Day 3 - Fly to the Galapagos & embark M/V Samba
Day 4 - Floreana
Day 5 - Espanola
Day 6 - San Cristobal
Day 7 - Santa Fe and South Plaza
Day 8 - Santiago and Bartolome
Day 9 - Rabida and James Bay
Day 10 - North Seymour and return to the UK
Day 11 - Arrive in the UK
- Full Description
Monday, 11 December 2023
Fly to the Galapagos & embark M/V Samba
Fly to Balta Airport, the Galapagos Islands transfer to the M/S Samba. IN the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you will learn how the magic is done behind the scenes. This NGO celebrates 50 years of scientific work, and it is responsible, in a great deal, for the conservation status and the restoration of the Galapagos. An important partner in the duty of preservation of this pristine archipelago is the National Park Service and they run the tortoise breeding centre.
Tuesday, 12 December 2023
Following a four-hour navigation from Puerto Ayora, we will do a wet landing on a volcanic olivine beach. Punta Cormorant lies on the northern shore of Floreana and is home to greater flamingos and sea turtles. On one side, the point is partially flooded with a brackish lagoon, where flamingos nest and feed. Whimbrels, herons and stilts are other common shore and migratory birds of the wetlands. On the other side, sea turtles use every corner of a white sand beach to deliver their eggs. You often see stingrays and reef sharks from the shore and, if you are lucky, turtles basking. Around mid-morning we sail for 25 minutes to do a dinghy ride and snorkel at Champion Islet. This small piece of land is one of two places were the Floreana mocking bird survives after its extinction on the big Island. While trying to find the rare bird from our dinghies, we will enjoy a beautiful landscape full of fairytale cactus and terracotta rock formations. The snorkeling around the island is extraordinary, lots of fish, rays, sharks and the playfulness of the Galapagos sea lions.
In the afternoon, adventure, survival, mystery and murder are the main ingredients for our next stop. Post Office Bay has a legacy of pirates, whalers and scientific expeditions. After a wet landing, we walk a very short distance to learn about Post Office Bay and this important Galapagos tradition. Later we will Kayak or ride our dinghies to the west, going through a small set of islets with a sea lion colony, boobies and mangroves. Finally, following our ride, we will land at the Baroness lookout. On top of this eroded spatter cone we will embrace the vivid obscurity of the human history of "Las Encantadas".
Wednesday, 13 December 2023
AM: Española is the oldest Galapagos Island. This morning we land on Punta Suárez, one of its most attractive parts of the island and home to waved albatrosses fiery marine iguanas, playful sea lions, colourful Sally Lighfoot Crabs and charming blue-footed boobies. A long walk here will give you the opportunity to see the wildlife up close, whilst its powerful cliffs provide a home for an array of sea birds, including the sallow tailed gull and Nazca booby.
PM: Located on the north coast of Española, Gardner Bay has a tranquil white sand beach. The fine grains of sand make perfect terrain for a soft walk and a relaxing late in the afternoon, where sea lions and mocking birds will keep you company. Depending on weather conditions, either at the end of the morning or early in the afternoon, we will snorkel or kayak around Gardner Island. Its calm waters and attractive landscape give you a great experience above and below water.
Thursday, 14 December 2023
AM: You will wake up to the barking of Galapagos sea lions, the animals after which the Island was named. After a dry landing on Isla Lobos, we walk over very rocky terrain, where Frigate birds, with their magenta and green iridescent feathers, decorate the saltbushes. The island is also the nesting ground of blue-footed boobies. Don't miss the chance to swim with sea lions; few sea creatures are as playful as these marine mammals. Before lunch we navigate past a dramatic tuff cone formation - Kicker Rock. The eroded structure has vertical walls of over 450 feet and has a great numbers of sea birds nesting and resting on it. We will circumnavigate the rock to admire its magnitude, soon after that we will jump in the water to swim with harmless Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, and eagle rays and drop offs full of colorful fish and invertebrates.
PM: On Punta Pitt, we do a wet landing late in the afternoon to climb a tuff cone and enjoy the sunset. This point is closest to mainland South America. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, frigate birds and storm petrel nest in the area. The ochre color beach is perfect for a relaxing plunge after the walk.
Friday, 15 December 2023
Sante Fe & South Plaza
AM: Barrington Bay is one of the most picturesque inlets of all visitor sites of the Galapagos. The white sand on the seabed reflects the light to turn the calm waters turquoise. A small forest of gigantic prickly pear cactus grows on a peninsula, keeping the bay sheltered, creating ideal conditions for a large sea lion colony. Santa Fe is an ancient extinct volcano and it has been isolated from other islands long enough to have an endemic land dragon. Paler in color than its relatives, the Barrington terrestrial iguana has a primitive morphology. Galapagos Hawks, mocking birds and finches also inhabit the island.
PM: A two-hour navigation north will take us to South Plaza. The dry landing takes you to a brilliant combination of wildlife and colour. Land iguanas wander through bright red carpet weed, Swallow tailed gulls nest around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds and shearwaters perform acrobatic flying displays. The South Plaza is also one of the best spots in the archipelago to see land iguanas and swallow-tailed gulls, both indigenous to the Galapagos. There are iguana nests scattered all over the hill and the sheer cliffs of the southern shore provide the perfect bird habitat, making it an unparalleled observatory for swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds. If we have enough time and good weather we will swim or snorkel in Punta Carrion - a great way to end an active day!
Saturday, 16 December 2023
Santiago & Bartolome
AM: The genesis of the islands is vividly demonstrated at Sullivan Bay, with its coiled shiny structures of the pahoe-hoe lava, which appear as if they were formed only yesterday. The contrast of colours and shapes of the basalt, and the distinction of rust and shine of its surface create a bizarre, almost Mars-like landscape.
PM: Bartolome Island offers an explosive volcanic landscape, offering perhaps the finest vista in all the Galapagos at Pinnacle Rock. Later, we take a walk on magical golden beaches, where sea turtle nest (December to March), with time to swim near penguins, harmless sharks and lava tubes.
Sunday, 17 December 2023
Rabida & James Bay
AM: The island of Rábida has lavas rich in iron and, after millions of years of exposure to air, they have turned red. The rusted volcanic material has eroded to form a beautiful crimson sand beach, perfect for a walk. The protected shore provides excellent conditions for a Galapagos sea lions nursery and brown pelicans also use the nearby saltbushes as a resting and nesting area. Hawks and mocking birds are common visitors and sknorkeling here offers encounters with harmless sharks, rays and many colorful fish varities.
PM: Following a two-hour sail northwest, we will make a wet landing at Puerto Egas (also known as James Bay). The magical shorelines here are a combination of tuff cone, lava flows and organic sand. A rocky coast with a very gentle slope is used by a great number of shore birds and reptiles. Oystercatchers, whimbrels, sanderlings, turnstones, tattlers and other waders are mixed with marine iguanas and brightly-painted crabs to feed by the rich littoral zone. Large lava tunnels, that are partially collapsed, are the homes of the Galapagos fur sea lions. The snorkeling here is amongst the best in the archipelago, with sea turtles, parrot fishes, damsel fishes, harmless white tipped reef sharks and many more frequently encountered.
Monday, 18 December 2023
North Seymour and return to the UK
A visit to North Seymour is the best way to say goodbye to the Galapagos. Following a dry landing at sunrise, we will walk amongst the largest blue-footed booby colony of the Islands. If visiting around April and May, you could be treated to their bizarre and animated mating dance. Not far from the dancers we have both great and magnificent frigatebirds nesting. The males inflate their bright red pouches to attract the females that fly above them, whilst swallow tailed gulls and tropicbirds decorate the large basaltic walls of the island. We will be back on board for breakfast, ready for check out at 9:00. Your guide will accompany you to Baltra airport for the flight back to the mainland and onward overnight flight back to the UK.
Transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil and onward overnight flight back to the UK..
Tuesday, 19 December 2023
Arrive in the UK
Arrive in the UK in the morning.
Galapagos Islands - Tourist Motor Yacht
The Samba offers a friendly and intimate experience exploring the Enchanted Islands. With carefully designed itineraries and activities, the Samba makes the most of your time to witness how the islands and wildlife differ within the archipelago.
Enjoy fabulous al fresco lunches on the sun deck.
The Samba has only 7 classic cabins for a maximum of 14 guests. Yet the yacht is a good size, with spacious sun decks and comfortable lounge areas. Enjoy the top decks, sunbathe and gaze at the star in the night sky. The vessels sails add an extra charm and elegance, another reason this vessel is a popular choice.
For more information visit Samba More Information
|Season||Low Season||High Season|
|Travel Dates||Year round, except Xmas & New Year and Easter||Xmas, New Year and Easter|
|Multiple Travellers - Twin Room||£5,574||£5,969|
Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.
- 11 Days / 9 Nights
- International flights (1 overnight)
- Internal flights to/from The Galapagos Islands
- 2 nights in Quito on a bed and breakfast basis
- 7 night cruise on the M/V Samba on a full board basis
- 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
- All transfers
- Excursions with English-speaking guides
Speak with a Specialist
Contact an Advisor
Stay in touch
Infuse your travels, with inspiration from our monthly newsletter.
READY - 4 December 2023
ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS: Friendly Wildlife & Culture
LANDMARK TOURS: Multi-Country & Cross Continent
COSTA RICA TOURS & LODGES: Rainforest Habitats
GUIDES by Veloso Tours, are the best Local Hosts
TRAVEL INSURANCE with extensive COVID-19 cover