Grand Galapagos (Grand Queen Beatriz)

Climb aboard for a 17-day adventure cruise of the unforgettable Galapagos Islands. Sail from Santa Cruz to the islands of Isabella, Floreana, Espanola, North Seymour and more, taking in diverse landscapes that range from lava flows to sands of green, red and white. Spend days exploring the archipelago that a young Charles Darwin called ‘a little world within itself’, and evenings sipping cocktails on the deck while watching the sunset. This unique part of the world is full of beautiful surprises, and this tour gives you the time to see them all.

17 days, from


per person


16 people max


Trip code: GMQG
Style: Comfort
Theme: Adventure Cruising


Countries Visited:  Ecuador
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (14 nights)
Transportation: Minibus , Plane , Boat , Zodiac
Included Meals:

  • 16 breakfasts
  • 14 lunches
  • 15 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • This 17-day program is the ultimate Galapagos exploration and our most comprehensive voyage, taking in both popular destinations and lesser-known treats.

  • Encounter spectacular wildlife, both on land and underwater. You can expect to see giant tortoises, sea lions, sea turtles, plus a variety of iguanas, birds and sharks.

  • Scrambling over hardened lava, hiking through cacti forests, and snorkelling in an eroded volcanic cone – this trip is one for the explorers.

  • Discover otherworldly landscapes. From arid shrubbery decorated with technicolour iguanas to rich underwater ecosystems where turtles and sharks nest among colourful fish and crabs.

  • Enjoy the company and guidance of a passionate local naturalist during your excursions on land, gaining insight into the flora, fauna and history of the islands.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Quito

Welcome to Quito, one of South America’s most beautiful cities. On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (AKA Quito Airport), an Intrepid representative will greet you and assist with transfer to your hotel. A welcome meeting will be held in the evening at either 5 pm or 6 pm in the hotel, where you can meet your fellow travellers. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure. If you arrive with time to spare, why not visit the city's oldest street – Calle La Ronda – a cobblestone beauty that is vibrant both day and night.

Day 2: Isla Baltra/Punta Carrion

Rise and shine! Please note the pick-up time for your transfer to the airport can be as early as 4.30 am (a boxed breakfast will be provided), as the airport is a one-hour drive away and we must allow for delays and check-in times. An Intrepid will confirm the time at the welcome meeting on day 1.

The flight to the Galapagos will make one stop in Guayaquil to pick up other passengers. Total flight time is about 3.5 hours. On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met in the arrival hall of the airport and then transferred to your base for the next few weeks – the Grand Queen Beatriz, anchored a short distance off the coast. Climb aboard, settle in to your assigned cabin and meet the crew for a welcome meeting and safety drill.

With the formalities out of the way, sit down to lunch with your fellow travellers and your naturalist guide to get to know each other a little better.

Once you’re fed, refreshed and ready to explore, set out for Punta Carrion, located on the eastern side of the Itabaca Channel. This shallow and protected cove is the ideal place for your first snorkel and swim in the pristine waters of the Galapagos! Wildlife is plentiful both underwater and above, so keep your eyes peeled for of blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons, great blue herons and rays and white-tipped reef sharks beneath the surface.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail and crew presentation on board.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Baltra to Punta Carrion: 1.5 hours (10 nautical miles)
Punta Carrion to Isla Isabela (Puerto Villamil): 9 hours (64 nautical miles)

Day 3: Isla Isabela/Las Tintoreras/Giant Tortoise Breeding Center

Wake up on the south coast of Isla Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos archipelago. Isabela was formed by five giant volcanic craters, all of which are still considered active. The island sits in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having formed less than 1 million years ago.

Visit Las Tintoreras, where from the viewing walkway you can look down into this narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping, with the occasional sea lion among them! Blue-footed boobies and penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here.

Enjoy a long walk on a gravel path through aa lava flow (pronounced ‘ah-ah’) and look out for marine iguanas.

In the afternoon, visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center. Enjoy another leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon, during which it may be possible to spot flamingos. Follow the mangrove-lined path to the breeding centre, where you can observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. See the five sub-species of tortoises on Isla Isabela, some of which are bred in captivity.

Choose between cooling off with a swim at the beach, or shopping in Puerto Villamil.

Sail for Post Office Bay overnight.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Isabela (Puerto Villamil) to Post Office Bay: 6 hours (40 nautical miles)

Day 4: Isla Floreana/Post Office Bay/Devil's Crown/Punta Cormorant

The island of Floreana is a highlight of any Galapagos trip, rich as it is in natural wonders and wildlife. Enjoy a Zodiac ride to observe marine iguanas, sea lions and crabs before taking a leisurely walk to Post Office Bay, where 18th-century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. This custom continues to this day. Post one of your own or see if there are any you can deliver back home!

Choose your own adventure on this glorious island. You might want to snorkel with sea turtles, or perhaps you’d prefer to head to the lagoons in search of pink flamingos and other water birds. Just offshore, the Devil’s Crown (an eroded volcanic cone) is popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates and offers another fantastic snorkelling opportunity.

Later, head to Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral that gives the beach a distinct olive-green colour. This is the best place to see Galapagos sea lions, so get your camera ready.

Cruise to Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Post Office Bay to Punta Cormorant: 0.5 hours (3 nautical miles)
Punta Cormorant to Puerto Ayora (Isla Santa Cruz): 4 hours (32 nautical miles)

Day 5: Isla Santa Cruz/Charles Darwin Station/Santa Cruz Highlands

Welcome to the second-largest island in the Galapagos, Isla Santa Cruz. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. Coo over baby tortoises and check out some marine iguanas, then head into the highlands for a change of scenery.

Travel from the coasts into misty forests on a 45-minute drive. This is a lush, humid zone containing miconia bushes, scalesia and inactive volcanic cones. Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any of the other islands on the Galapagos, and there’s a great chance of seeing giant tortoises in their natural habitat among the shrubbery.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to Isla Santa Cruz Highlands: 45 minutes by bus
Puerto Ayora to Isla Santa Fe: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)

Day 6: Isla Santa Fe/Isla Plaza Sur

Spend some time today exploring gorgeous Isla Santa Fe, where the sea lions are especially eager for synchronised swimming partners! The island’s friendly furry inhabitants, plus the attractive coves and jade-green waters, make it ideal for snorkelling.

Santa Fe also has a dense concentration of other wildlife and it’s a fantastic place to see many of the stars of the Galapagos in a relatively small area. Expect to see Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards.

Hiking towards the cliffs will take you through a forest of prickly pear cacti, an unusual member of the cactus family that give the landscape a distinctive look. You might want to head out and explore one of the trails, spying iguana populations resting amid cacti. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are an excellent place to spot tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as the 'Gentlemen’s Club’, a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be beachmasters!

Visit the tiny islet of Plaza Sur, then sail overnight to Isla Espanola.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Santa Fe to Isla Plaza Sur: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Isla Plaza Sur to Isla Espanola (Punta Suarez): 7 hours (60 nautical miles)

Day 7: Isla Espanola/Bahia Gardner/Punta Suarez

Wake up on Isla Espanola, the southernmost island of the Galapagos. Because of its remote location, this island has a large population of endemic fauna. It is also the breeding site for nearly all the 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses on earth, plus home to colonies of blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

Trails from the golden beaches, where sea lions bathe and marine iguanas make their way towards the water, will lead you right through the middle of booby colonies. It’s also possible to spot Galapagos doves and mockingbirds along the way.

Pay a visit to Punta Suarez and take a trail walk to a clifftop viewpoint. From here you’ll gain a magical panorama, watching boobies line the rocky shoreline beneath you while frigate birds twirl overhead, and enormous male sea lions can be seen lounging in the distance. Depending on the season, albatross also use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, helped in becoming airborne by the gusts of southeast winds. If you’re lucky (and the season is right), you’ll see the elaborate courtship rituals performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate!

Visit the beautiful white sandy beaches at Bahia Gardner, perfect for swimming and relaxing. The rocks off the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities, with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish nesting here. The small white-tipped reef sharks are often spotted resting under the rocks too.

Sail overnight to Punta Pitt (Isla San Cristobal).

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Suarez to Bahia Gardener: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Bahia Gardener to Punta Pitt (Isla San Cristobal): 7 hours (50 nautical miles)

Day 8: Isla Cristobal/Leon Dormido/Isla Lobos/Punta Pitt

Make a morning visit to Punta Pitt on the eastern end of Isla San Cristobal. Walk to the top of the volcanic hill for expansive views of the sparsely vegetated area. A variety of seabirds nest here, including blue-footed boobies and frigates.

You will then navigate close by Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) the basalt remains of a crater in the middle of the sea, with the shape resembling a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 meters above the surface and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. Although there are no landing areas, you will circumnavigation the Rock where you will see tropic birds, marine iguanas in the water and many sea lions.

Later, visit Isla Lobos, a tiny island off the coast of San Cristobal. This is the perfect time to witness sea lions as they play in the shallow waters. Blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and marine iguanas can also be seen.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Pitt to Kicker Rock (Isla San Cristobal): 2.5 hours (27 nautical miles)
Kicker Rock to Isla Lobos: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Isla Lobos to Puerto Baquerizo (Isla San Cristobal): 1 hour (5 nautical miles)

Day 9: Isla San Cristobal

Visit San Cristobal Interpretation Center in the morning. This centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos, and the problems facing the island today.

Enjoy some free time for shopping before going on board for lunch.

This afternoon you will travel to the interior of San Cristobal (approximately 45 mins bus ride) to visit Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado, where the national park has established a breeding program for giant tortoises. Learn more about these behemoths, their evolution and their future.

Sail overnight to Isla Bartolome.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Baquerizo (Isla San Cristobal) to Isla Bartolome: 8 hours (70 nautical miles)

Day 10: Bartolome/Bahia Sullivan

Bartolome is one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the Galapagos, full of parasitic spatter cones, lava flows, Galapagos penguins and lava lizards.

This relatively new island (by the ancient standards of the archipelago) is home to Pinnacle Rock -- one of the most photographed sites in the Galapagos. Visit the abrupt jag of rock, which protrudes from the earth like a tooth.

Choose to partake in a difficult (but rewarding) hike to the top of a once-active volcano, or perhaps go snorkelling with plenty of tropical fish, starfish, white-tipped reef sharks, and rays to keep you company.

Visit Isla Santiago’s Bahia Sullivan for a guided walk on pahoehoe lava, left over from an eruption that occurred in 1897. You’ll likely see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins while you’re here too.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bartolome to Bahia Sullivan (Isla Santiago): 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Bahia Sullivan (Isla Santiago) to Espumilla Beach: 3 hours (25 nautical miles)

Day 11: Isla Santiago/Espumilla Beach/Buccaneer Cove/Puerto Egas

Visit Espumilla Beach, an important nesting site for marine turtles and great place to take a dip. Well known for its palo santo forest and some extraordinary lava formations, it’s also the ideal spot to see Galapagos hawks up close.

Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove), is also on the schedule today. This massive cove was once used by pirates to careen their ships and is now the source of plenty of local legends. It is also where Darwin camped for nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are favourable, enjoy some further snorkelling here.

Travel to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach located on the west side of Bahia Sullivan and northwest of Isla Santiago. A walk along the beach offers encounters with hundreds of marine iguanas and sea lions. Amazing tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow are home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. Snorkelling alongside the seals is an ever-thrilling option.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Espumilla Beach to Caleta Bucanero: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Caleta Bucanero to Puerto Egas: 0.5 hours (1 nautical mile)
Puerto Egas to Puerto Ayora: 7 hours (60 nautical miles)

Day 12: Isla Santa Cruz/Puerto Ayora

Today you will return to Isla Santa Cruz and get the chance to see the island from a different perspective on an exploration of love tunnels and hidden beaches. Take a short speed boat taxi, followed by a 15-minute walk, to Las Grietas (The Cracks). The clear water that fills this ‘crack’ in the earth offers a unique swimming opportunity.

This afternoon you can get active with some kayaking around the bay, or enjoy some free time to relax on the boat or wander about town.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to Isla North Seymour: 4 hours (35 nautical miles)

Day 13: North Seymour/Isla Mosquera

Take a morning excursion to North Seymour and follow a trail inland, emerging on rocky coast. Along the way pass colonies of frigate birds. Along with their long wingspan and hooked beak, frigates are extremely fast and have excellent vision. The males are easiest to spot, announced by the bulbous red pouch attached to their necks.

After the walk enjoy a spot of snorkelling, followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, visit the small sandy island of Mosquera, a relaxing, picturesque stop situated between Isla Baltra and Isla North Seymour. Along the rocks and in the tide pool, red Sally Lightfoot crabs scamper back and forth, skipping across small pools of water in search of food. These crabs with their bright red shell tops and blue under shells are stunning against the black lava. The island also has a very large colony of sea lions, as well as a sizeable resident brown pelican population. Depending on the tides and visibility, you may have a chance to go snorkelling here.

Estimated travel time/distance:
North Seymour to Isla Baltra: 4 hours (35 nautical miles)
Isla Baltra to Caleta Tortuga Negra: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)

Day 14: Caleta Tortuga Negra/Cerro Dragon

Take a Zodiac ride to Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) – a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. Paddle among the cove’s peaceful waters looking for green turtles, golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. There is also abundant birdlife, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron, to keep an eye out for.

In the afternoon, cruise over for a walk on Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) – one of the best places to see land iguanas in the Galapagos. After a dry landing, walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and, occasionally, flamingos. Follow the trail for a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. The arid-zone vegetation makes for a rewarding location for birdwatching. Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers are all regulars here. The path can be challenging but you will be well-rewarded with a spectacular views and wildlife spotting.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Caleta Tortuga Negra to Cerro Dragon: 2 hours (12 nautical miles)
Cerro Dragon to Sombrero Chino (Chinese hat): 1.5 hours (9 nautical miles)

Day 15: Isla Rabida/Sombrero Chino

Sombrero Chino is a small islet located near the south-east coast of Santiago, so named because it’s shaped like conical hats worn in some parts of Asia. Approach Sombrero Chino via a crescent-shaped, sandy beach that is home to sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Follow the trail that circles the cove and pass through a sea lion colony, maybe stopping to snorkel.

Visit Isla Rabida, also known as Jervis Island, a tiny land mass roughly five kilometres south of Isla Santiago. Introduced species were eradicated here in 1971, and indigenous wildlife has since returned to a state of splendid isolation. Additionally, volcanic activity here has produced vivid, fantastical colours in the landscapes, including red-sand beaches and scarlet cliffs.

From the shore, a trail leads through to what is one of the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. There is also an opportunity for snorkelling among sea stars, damsels, gobies and surgeon fish.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Sombrero Chino to Isla Rabida: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
Isla Rabida to Las Bachas: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)

Day 16: Las Bachas/Isla Baltra/Quito

Take an early morning excursion to Las Bachas, named after the barges abandoned on the beach by the American Navy in the 1940s. Made of decomposed coral, the sand here is white and soft, which makes it the perfect nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. A saltwater lagoon near the beach is home to flamingos and whimbrels, and you may be able to make a brief detour here (time depending).

Bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and board your return flight to Quito. The flight will stop en route in Guayaquil to drop off and pick up passengers.

Upon arrival at Quito Airport at approximately 4 pm, you will be transferred to your hotel. A local representative may stop by at your hotel this evening to get some feedback on your Galapagos experience.

Estimated travel times/distance:
Grand Queen Beatriz to Isla Baltra: 15 mins
Flight time Isla Baltra to Quito: approximately 3.5 hours (including transit in Guayaquil)
Transfer Quito Airport to hotel: 1 hour (depending on traffic)

Day 17: Quito

There are no activities planned for today, but if you plan on staying in Quito (and we highly recommend it) there are plenty of activities on offer in the charming city. Perhaps get a crash course in this lofty town with an Urban Adventure. See more.