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.
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.
El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock. This path leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. Some of the inhabitants include Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and petrels. With some luck, have a chance 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.
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