The island of Santa Fe was formed by uplifting, rather than by a volcano. Some of the island’s endemic species include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, different types of finches, and the Galapagos Mockingbird. This visit includes a nice hike past salt bushes where Galapagos hawks and Santa Fe land iguanas tend to wander. Friendly and playful sea lions may accompany you during your snorkeling activities.
Disembark at Cerro Brujo for an excursion, kayaking, snorkeling & panga ride. This area has a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming, snorkeling and panga ride experiences. Cerro Brujo’s breathtaking beach is also home to an abundance of sea lions. This is also the first coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on the Archipelago!
Enjoy snorkeling or a panga ride at Champion Islet followed by an excursion to Punta Cormorant. A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where an array of species including flamingos, stilts, and pintail ducks tend to wander. Bring binoculars so you can see these incredible creatures up close. Prior to the excursions, you will also have an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing snorkeling trip at Champion Islet.
Moreno Point is located just southwest of Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. Surround yourself by some of the most magnificent scenery whole observing and learning about different types of lava and pioneer plants. In the tide pools, have a chance to spot green sea turtles and possibly white-tip sharks. Afterwards, head out on a panga ride along the striking rocky shores. Have an opportunity to observe penguins, sea lions, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas.
After the visit we drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve. Take some time and search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. This is a leisurely afternoon.
One of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos is Punta Suarez. Espanola is very isolated from the other islands allowing it to have a high proportion of endemic fauna. Right off the landing site, view groups of Española marine iguanas basking in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail. Watch as Galapagos doves peck around and finches go about their day to day business unaware of visitors. Further down the trail there is a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air resembling a geyser. Swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds find their homes in the cracks of the cliffs. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find a nesting site for the albatross. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. Have a chance to see them perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.
Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations surrounding it. The trail crosses the dry interior where you will pass the remains of a salt mining enterprise and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to an abandant variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus, and starfish. Have the chance to also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers, and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. There is a trail that leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where the Fur Sea Lion can be viewed.
After the walk, take some time to swim or snorkel. This will allow you the chance to see sea lions, various fish, and possibly turtles, rays, and reef sharks.
The early morning activity is followed by kayaking or a panga ride. This will give you the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs. Also enjoy the chance to see marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, and swallow-tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, an encounter with dolphins and whales is sometimes possible.
Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine and dynamic ecosystems in the entire world. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009 and its lava flows dominate the landscape here all the way to the ocean. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen. These include the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk.
Punta Vicente Roca is a fantastic snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as several varieties of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area
El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock leading up to a plateau. There is a Palo Santo forest here that is home to an abundance of bird life. Have the chance to see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, and petrels. With some luck, you may even have the opportunity to spot a short-eared lava owl.
Darwin Bay’s soft, coralline white sand is only the beginning of this next spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach immerses you into lush mangroves where red-footed boobies nest. Other locals inhabitants include sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigates, and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays and tortoises are common.
The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) comes from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a very large population of land iguanas were found. Take a hike to a salt water lagoon behind the beach that is frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks, and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site. Also enjoy breathtaking views of the bay. Have an opportunity to enjoy a nice swim after the walk.