www.cruisewest.com), the world's leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, has added three additional Galápagos Island departures in 2011 for total of five voyages. Discover the natural paradise that inspired Darwin to rock the scientific world and discover new wonders everyday. Take advantage of the savings -- pay in full by April 30, 2010 and save up to $600 per person.
In the company of naturalist guides, aboard the gracious 50-suite Galápagos Explorer II, sister to ship to the lines Spirit of Oceanus, guests will scout for breaching whales, pink flamingos, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, tiny penguins and flightless cormorants, to name just a few of the many species that call the Galápagos home. Much of this extraordinary wildlife has never developed a fear of man. The stunning wildlife viewing combined with exploring the volcanic shores of the remote islands and relaxing at pristine beaches makes the journey remarkable.
The 9-night journey starts at Latin America's best-preserved colonial historic center, Quito, with a city tour, welcome dinner at the Theatrum Restaurant & Wine Bar in the National Theater and two included overnights at the centrally located Hilton Colon Quito. Guests continue via plane to San Cristobal Island to board the Galápagos Explorer II for the next 7-nights, where the island adventure begins.
Guests will visit all the 'hot spots' to search for the wonderful creatures that Galápagos is known including: the southernmost island Española (Hood) that offers an amazing assortment of wildlife; Santa Cruz to visit the renowned Darwin Station and Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the islands; Rabida island with its startling red sand; desolate yet breathtaking Bartolomé Island that features a tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock; Santiago (James) Island, the only island where fur seals can be found in the Galápagos; and Fernandina Island, where marine iguanas bask on every plausible surface and penguins can be found diving into the water.
Continue onto Isabela Island with its massive volcanoes and where intrepid sea-goers can snorkel at a cave that boasts a dazzling array of marine wildlife; ending the journey back at Santa Cruz Island to search for the 40 giant tortoises that live in the highlands.
Guests have the option to add a fully guided, post-cruise 5-night Land Tour of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Spend one night in Lima en route to Cusco for two nights to explore the lively markets and significant monuments of the Inca Fortress, Citadel of Ollantaytambo and the Pisac ruins in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Then it's onto a scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Machu Picchu. Guests will be welcomed to the charming Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel for a two-night stay.
Galápagos cruises depart March 14, 21; August 15, 22; and October 10, 2011. Prices begin at $4,999 per person, double occupancy. Save up to $600 per person by paying in full by April 30, 2010. For further details, visit www.CruiseWest.com, call 800-296-8307 or a travel professional.