Popular Santiago Island cruise ships Explore all cruise ships
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Sea Star JourneyGalapagos
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Adventure Cruises in Santiago Island
Santiago Island Cruises are a wonderful way to experience this vibrant island in the Galapagos. An adventure cruise Galapagos Islands style holds many wildlife encounters in store for you. Commonly seen animals include California Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Marine Iguanas, Whimbrels, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Plover, Mockingbirds, and Great Blue Herons. You could also catch a glimpse of a Galapagos Hawk or Flamingo on the unique volcanic landscape. Santiago has a major volcano on its western side but it’s not safe for the tourist trail. Small ship cruises allow travelers flexibility in their cruise itineraries so they can fit in a variety of adventure activities on Santiago Island, Galapagos.
Top things to do and see on Santiago Island
Popular activities on Santiago Island include a visit to James Bay, also known as Egas Port. After a wet landing at the Puerto Egas, there are plenty of opportunities for Santiago Island wildlife encounters with Galapagos hawks, iguana, and lava lizards. You’ll relate to Darwin’s experiences at Santiago Island and James Bay, which he wrote of in Voyage of the Beagle. A short hike down the trail exposes a stunning coastline view. Tide pools shimmer and grottos burst with local plant life. Photographers will certainly appreciate the view. Additionally, fur sea lions dot the landscape soaking up the sun. It’s a favorite spot for snorkeling while keeping a lookout for reef sharks, rays, and turtles. Santiago Island Cruises
Buccaneer Cove is another top thing to do in Santiago. It’s an easy wet landing and a trip back in history. The cove stands as testament to the pirates of yore, who anchored in the bay to repair their ships and fish for tortoise after long days at sea. Hundreds of seabirds perch on the steep cliffs that overlook the stunning red sand beach. Snorkeling at Buccaneer Cove is highly recommended and a walk on this beach is like none other. It’s a perfect spot for an adventurous marriage proposal or romantic moment.
Sullivan Bay is the crown jewel of all of the volcanic sights in the archipelago. Approximately one hundred years ago, a magnificent field of lava rolled from the island: the pahoehoe, or ‘rope-like’ in Hawaiian. As it hit the sea and cooled, it created impressive and intricate outcroppings of jet black stone, sometimes engulfing plants in its wake. They remain etched into the earth forever. It is a truly incredible view. In dramatic fashion, brightly colored lizards such as painted locusts and lava lizards sun themselves or dart across the dark earth and new plants have managed to gain a foothold. Pinnacle Rock is visible across the bay.
Top tips for Santiago Island
- Activities on Santiago Island focus around sightseeing, short hikes, and snorkeling, so having the proper equipment for these adventure activities is necessary.
- Be sure to bring sturdy walking shoes able to handle varied terrain, sunblock in the dry season, and plenty of water.
- A camera is another great idea to capture the red beach at Buccaneer Cove and the volcanic rock at Sullivan Bay- not to mention any Santiago Island wildlife encounters.
Best time to cruise Santiago Island
If you want to plan ahead and choose the best time to visit Santiago Island to see wildlife, snorkel, or hike, there are some general rules and guidelines about the weather in Galapagos.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead to choose the best time to visit Santiago Island to see wildlife. If you know the seasonal weather conditions, you can be sure your favorite adventure activities will correspond with the climate, including snorkeling and hiking while on your small ship cruise. Visiting Santiago in December through May you'll see the warm season. The sun shines daily and the skies are a brilliant blue, so it’s perfect for hiking. May to December is the dry season. Both seasons are lovely, but savvy travelers take everything into account when planning their trip. Snorkeling is best in June through November.
Most of the wildlife that lives on Santiago is visible year round. If you want to view the Waved Albatross, however, plan your visit for spring or summer.
Where do Santiago Island cruises depart from?
Guests will first fly into Ecuador and arrive either at the Andean capital city of Quito or Guayaquil on the coast. Quito is situated in the Andes Mountains and lies at 2,800 meters or 9,180 ft. above sea level. It’s known for its many markets and rustic feel. Guayaquil, on the other hand, is at sea level on the Ecuadorian coast. It’s a slightly larger and more modern city than Quito.
Once in Ecuador, fly domestic to either Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island, as determined by your Galapagos cruise itinerary or proximity to your hotel. At this time, most of our small ship cruises to the Galapagos Islands depart from Baltra.
Flights between Quito and Guayaquil last around 35 minutes and it is an additional 1 hour 45 minutes from Guayaquil to Baltra or San Cristobal is under two hours.
Our reservations team will help to make your next booking for an adventure cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Contact us today.