Santa Cruz II

The M/V Santa Cruz is ideally designed and outfitted for exploration of the unique environment of the Galápagos Islands, with a faithful and eminently professional crew. The three decks of the Santa Cruz offer a wide range of cabin accommodations – Standard, Standard Plus, Superior, Junior Suite, Master Suite. Additionally, the Sun Deck provides dining, lounge, Jacuzzi and relaxation areas. 

The M/V Santa Cruz is a 237-foot ship with a capacity of 90 passengers. She carries a crew of 52, including 6 naturalist guides and a medical officer. Facilities include dining/bar/lounge area, boutique/gift shop, Internet access, reading room/natural history library, glass-bottom Boston Whaler, snorkeling equipment and wet suits.

Facilities & Amenities include:

  • Bar and Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Outdoor terrace with BBQ
  • Gift shop
  • Fitness Room
  • Reading room and natural history library
  • Hot tubs (2)
  • Air conditioned throughout
  • Satellite telephone
  • Wi-Fi hotspot (intermittent/ low bandwidth connection)
  • 24/7 coffee station (free coffee, tea, and water)
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Wetsuit rental
  • Glass bottom boat
  • Kayaks
  • Pangas (inflatable dinghies for coastal exploration)

2017 ITINERARIES:

4 NIGHTS NORTHERN GALAPAGOS - Monday to Friday:

On this journey you will discover the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, Santiago Island (Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas), Rabida, Bartolome Island, and the sunken crater of Genovesa Island, Galapagos' best natural aviary. We finish at the Tortoise Centre near Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Galapagos Province.

Highlight Sites

  • Bartolome's Pinnacle Rock
  • Darwin's Bay Crater Anchorage
  • Buccaneer Cove
  • Giant Tortoise Reserve at Cerro Colorado

Map Santa Cruz II Northern - Monday to Friday

MONDAY

Baltra Island

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

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, including stilts and flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.

TUESDAY

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 snorkelling or a panga ride along the coast.

Puerto Egas (Santiago Island)

Once we disembark at the beach, we can enjoy a swim or snorkel along 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 a 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.

WEDNESDAY

Rabida Island

After breakfast, we land on Rabida Island's red-coloured beach, coloured 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 American flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners and 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 often spotted!

Bartolome Island

We land at Bartolome 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 with handrails and rest platforms. The view from the top is worth the effort! Following our walk, we take to the pangas and the glass-bottom boat for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, and then land at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing (possibly with Galapagos penguins in attendance).

THURSDAY

Prince Philip's Steps (Genovesa Island)

The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by a landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat 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). After the walk, we can snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting a huge variety of fish, and possibly Galapagos fur seals.

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 frigatebirds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There's an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else we can return to the beach or enjoy a panga ride.

FRIDAY

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno & Tortoise Breeding Centre (San Cristobal Island)

After breakfast, there's an optional departure to see the giant tortoise breeding programme at Cerro Colorado. Here, we learn about this endangered species and its promising recovery. Following the visit, we return to town and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

 

4 NIGHTS EASTERN GALAPAGOS - SATURDAY TO WEDNESDAY:

A journey from the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island, through to Santa Fe, South Plaza, the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, and then on to Española Island voted guide´s number 1 island in Galapagos, with its remarkable visitor site of Punta Suarez and its lovely beach at Gardner Bay. A journey to remember!

Highlight Sites

  • Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Kicker Rock
  • Española Blowhole

Map Santa Cruz II Eastern - Saturday to Wednesday

SATURDAY

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island)

Arrival by plane to San Cristobal Island and transfer to the Santa Cruz, anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital of the Galapagos Islands. Cabin assignment, introductory talk, boat drill and lunch.

Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island)

In the afternoon, Punta Pitt, on the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island awaits! An eroded tuff cone whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline, this is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. We can enjoy a panga ride along the coast and some time for snorkelling or swimming.

SUNDAY

Santa Fe Island

After breakfast, we take the panga over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions. 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 provides an incredible view for non-snorkelers.

South Plaza Island

Following lunch and a rest, we disembark 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 prickly-pears to drop. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide.

MONDAY

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. This station is the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park's 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 midday and afternoon (hiking, mountain biking or kayaking in Tortuga Bay), 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 Santa Cruz II.

TUESDAY

Punta Suarez (Española Island)

An exciting walk awaits at this site, where we enjoy its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tail gulls as well as a view of the Galapagos' famous "blow-hole". Also, look out for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.

Gardner Bay (Española Island)

In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, finches as we relax. We can expect great snorkelling in this area.

WEDNESDAY

Baltra Island

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

 

5 NIGHTS WESTERN GALAPAGOS - WEDNESDAY TO MONDAY

Explore North Seymour Island, Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Roca, Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay), as well as Fernandina Island, the pristine jewel of the national park, the Charles Darwin Research Station, Floreana Island's Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant. An amazing odyssey round this magical archipelago!

Highlight Sites

  • Post Office Bay
  • Darwin Lake
  • Urbina´s Upheaval
  • Charles Darwin Research Station

Map Santa Cruz II Western - Wednesday to Monday

WEDNESDAY

Baltra Island/North Seymour Island

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, boat drill and lunch.

North Seymour Island

This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas.

THURSDAY

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

After breakfast, we take the panga over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions. 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 provides an incredible view for non-snorkelers.

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina Island, 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.

FRIDAY

Tagus Cove/Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)

After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. It provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, where we can observe Darwin Lake, filled with salt water, and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkelling.

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)

After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galapagos land iguanas, and occasionally to Galapagos giant tortoises. We return back on board for our expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.

SATURDAY

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.

Santa Cruz Island

We have several midday and afternoon options available (mountain biking, kayaking in Tortuga Bay, hiking), 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 Santa Cruz II.

SUNDAY

Post Office Bay / Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)

A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana Island along narrow channels teeming with life. We then head back on board for lunch.

Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)

Following lunch and a siesta, we take to 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 Cormorant Point, 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 to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

MONDAY

Baltra Island

We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

The Santa Cruz Il's Swedish-design cabins reflect the latest in cruise trends. Comfortable spaces and large picture windows illuminate the interior spaces and allow guests to take in the views, offering elegant relaxation areas after a day of active exploring. The ship has 50 cabins for 90 guests, 36 of which can be interconnected, offering flexibility for guests from single travelers to families. All cabins are air-conditioned and equipped with in-room safe, hair dryer.

Cabin categories:

Explorer Cabins - The 43 Explorer Cabins are located as follows: 23 on the Horizon Deck, 17 on the Expedition Deck and 3 on the Panorama Deck. All are the same size (163 sq. ft.), have the same size large windows, and beds that can convert from double to single.

 

Explorer Family Cabins (2) - 192 sq. ft.

Voyager Cabins (2) - 127 sq. ft.

Darwin Suites - The 3 Darwin Suites on the Panorama Deck, each measuring 325 sq. ft. and featuring double picture windows, will provide superb comfort and deluxe amenities for more discerning guests. Available in double or separate beds. If more space is desired, they can be interconnected with an Explorer cabin to expand by another 163 sq ft.

 

 

 

 

Santa Cruz II - Decks

Be on your own schedule. Activities or day tours can be private or shared. Join a scheduled, multi-day group tour. All-inclusive travel by cruise ship.

Including accommodations, transportation, and activities/tours.

Any specific destinations or interests (e.g. culture, food, wine, romance, adventure, wildlife, etc.)? Special occasion? Relaxing vs. fast-paced trip? What would make this your dream trip?

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