5-Day Bonita Galapagos Cruise: A Journey Through Pristine Nature
Join us as we share our extraordinary adventure, revealing the pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking volcanoes on board the Bonita cruise. This is not just a travel story; it’s an invitation to experience the raw beauty and remarkable biodiversity that make the Galapagos a destination like no other. From our departure from Quito’s airport to our exploration of the unique islands, each day unfolds with awe-inspiring moments that promise an adventure beyond the ordinary.
I’m Sofia Ayala, Travel Advisor at Expedition Ecuador. Discover an amazing journey as we share our experience of Bonita’s 5-day Galapagos cruise. This isn’t your average expedition; it’s a deep dive into the heart of one of nature’s most incredible wonders. Explore pristine landscapes, encounter fascinating wildlife, and marvel at the awe-inspiring volcanoes that make the Galapagos so special. Join Expedition Ecuador on this thrilling voyage and prepare yourself for an exhilarating experience filled with breathtaking moments, from magical sunsets to up-close encounters with iconic animals.
Setting Sail from Quito’s Airport
Our adventure kicked off at Quito’s airport, two hours before our flight. Thanks to some help at the airport, we quickly found Gabriela, our cruise guide, who already had our tickets and travel cards ready. The flight was fantastic! We were lucky to have a clear day, and we got to see the stunning snowy mountains of the Andes. Remember that the Transit Control Card costs $20! Then, we had a stop in Guayaquil to pick up more people before heading to the Galapagos Islands. At the Baltra airport, we waited a bit to pay the entrance fee for the national parks. Remember, they only accept cash, so it’s good to have it ready. The entrance fee costs $100 per person.
Once we were inside the Galapagos National Park, we spotted guides holding signs with the names of different cruises. We found Fernanda, our guide, and Eduardo, one of our drivers, holding a sign for the Bonita cruise. With our group complete, we hopped on the Lobito bus that took us from Baltra airport to the Itabaca channel pier, where our cruise was waiting!
The staff welcomed us warmly, showing us around the boat before we went to our cabins. It was nice to see our suitcases already there. This was the start of our exciting journey, filled with new discoveries and incredible natural sights.
Day 1: Colors of South Plazas
We enjoyed a delicious lunch before embarking on our first adventure to South Plazas Island. This island is known for its picturesque landscapes of vibrant red and green vegetation, opuntia cactus and cliffs. Witnessing numerous land iguanas, characterized by their striking yellow skin, and observing sea lions at ease on the cliffs, displaying their impressive climbing abilities, added to the beauty of the island.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting an otherworldly glow, we returned to the boat and were greeted with snacks and refreshing drinks. After a brief period of relaxation and a shower, we reassembled in the living room for a preview of the exciting activities planned for the next day. After dinner, drawn by the allure of the night sky, we went to the sundeck where the brilliance of the Milky Way and constellations unfolded before our eyes.
Day 2: Turtle Day Thrills
The next day was all about turtles! We started with a quiet boat ride through Black Turtle Cove. It’s a special place where four types of mangroves meet, making it perfect for spotting turtles and rays. We even saw a group of blue-footed boobies chilling on the rocks nearby!
After a delicious lunch on the boat, we boarded a bus to explore Santa Cruz Island and arrive at Rancho Primicias. This place was a hangout for giant Galapagos tortoises, who were just wandering around, relaxing, and munching on their meals. We also walked through lava tunnels formed by volcanic eruptions. Read more about the wonders of Santa Cruz here!
Back on the boat, we rested a bit before heading to the dining room for the next day’s plans and dinner. The staff had a sweet surprise for a passenger celebrating her birthday – we sang, enjoyed cake, and later sailed to Genovesa Island, accessible only by cruise.
Day 3: Genovesa’s Bird Party
On our third day, we woke up to a beautiful view of Genovesa’s crater and had a delicious breakfast. We took a walk around the island and saw different species of birds like Nazca and red-footed boobies, frigate birds and swallow-tailed gulls. Since it was September, there were many bird mothers with their chicks, making Genovesa known as “Bird Island”. It was amazing to see how comfortable the birds were with people walking by.
After our walk, we spent some relaxing time on the beach, swimming in the beautiful turquoise water and hanging out with the sea lions. Next up was our first snorkel at Darwin Bay. Even though the sea was a bit choppy, we were able to see some sea turtles, colorful reef fish and playful sea lions. Back on the boat, we enjoyed some tasty snacks and drinks and had some free time before lunch.
In the afternoon we had a fun cooking lesson! The chef showed us how to make Ecuadorian ceviche and let us see how the traditional food is prepared. There was also a delicious vegetarian ceviche option. After lunch, we had the opportunity to go kayaking and paddleboarding, and we took full advantage. Kayaking near the cliffs, we saw fur seals and lots of birds.
Later we visited Prince Phillip’s Steps and El Barranco, a beautiful set of steep rock stairs between the cliffs. Our goal was to find a short-eared owl, and after a short walk we succeeded! The owl was perfectly hidden in a rock crevice. My favorite part was seeing the red-footed boobies with their cute red feet and blue beaks. We returned to the boat for dinner and then sailed back to the central islands.
Day 4: Santiago’s Volcanic Tale and Bartolome’s Stunning View
On our fourth day, we explored Santiago Island, a place that helped us understand how the Galapagos Islands were formed by volcanoes. We walked on recent lava flows and saw a unique type of lava called ‘pahoehoe’, known for its ropey shape. After our walk, we took a break on the beach and guess what? A penguin was swimming towards us! We couldn’t believe our eyes. On the boat ride back, our driver pointed to the side and there was a huge manta ray right next to us. We also went snorkeling in Sullivan Bay where we saw sharks, turtles, and colorful fish.
After lunch we went snorkeling again, starting at Sullivan Bay and going to Pinnacle Rock. The water was calmer, so we swam with sea lions, saw more fish and sharks, and even some penguins! They were swimming right next to us and it was an incredible experience. Exploring the underwater world and interacting with all the different marine life was amazing.
Later we visited the famous Bartolome viewpoint, which gave us a fantastic 360° view of the volcanic landscape, including the stunning Pinnacle Rock. This is one of the most photographed sites in the Galapagos. As we sailed back, some of us went to the sundeck to watch the sunset. A group of frigate birds joined us and flew over us for almost two and a half hours. This is among the top 10 things to do in the Galapagos Islands!
Day 5: Farewell Symphony at North Seymour
On the very last day of our Galapagos adventure, we enjoyed our farewell breakfast on the cruise, savoring the tastes and memories of our journey. Full of excitement, we headed to North Seymour Island for an exciting hike. Here, the famous blue-footed boobies treated us to their famous mating dance, adding a delightful touch to our experience. As we explored the island, we were treated to more wonders, from magnificent frigate birds flying overhead to adorable baby sea lions basking in the sun. This final day was the perfect conclusion to our incredible adventure, leaving us with lasting memories of the special wonders of the Galapagos. Check out all the information about the Bonita cruise here!
As our extraordinary adventure in the Galapagos Islands came to an end, we made our way to the airport. While some of our companions decided to extend their island explorations, we said our heartfelt goodbyes and prepared to board our flight back to Quito. Are you planning Galapagos tours from Quito? Whether you’re considering day trips to the Galapagos or dreaming of a 5 day Galapagos tour, we are here to turn your dream into reality. The memories we made in the Galapagos will stay with us forever. Ready to live your own Galapagos adventure on board the Bonita? Contact us, and let’s create the trip of your dreams!
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