Your bilingual naturalist guide greets you at the airport and assists you through customs. During lunch he/she introduces you to the islands and specifically the flora and fauna you can expect to encounter at your first destination: Las Bachas Beach.
On the sandy white beaches of Las Bachas get a close look at a sea turtle nesting area and a lake frequented by leggy pink flamingos and other migratory birds. Afterward, cool yourself off with a dip in the deliciously blue Pacific Ocean (snorkeling). As this is your first evening on board, the crew invites you to a pre-dinner cocktail on the yacht before the welcome dinner. If the night is clear, as it usually is, the stars above are sure to dazzle - look for the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper (turned up-side down!) and Orion.
Early in the morning enjoy breakfast before disembarking at Genovesa or Tower Island, which is located in the northeastern part of the Galapagos.
Anchor at Darwin Bay, located on the southern part of the island, which is actually the caldera of an extinct partially-eroded volcano. While the origin of the name Tower is not known, one can imagine it had something to do with the towering cliffs that encircle it. The tour is a long, fairly-easy walk, but it is usually hot and dry here, so you may want to carry some water. After a wet landing on a coral beach the trail begins in an area where there are several swallow-tailed gulls. As you walk back from the beach, look out for a variety of Opuntia cactus and mangroves, following the walk there is time for snorkeling. Visit El Barranco during the afternoon then return to the boat for dinner.
Bartolome Island, which at its highest point is 114 meters, is one of the most photographed vistas in the archipelago. This island is quite young and quite volcanic, therefore it's relatively unpopulated; only a small handful of die-hard plant and animal species have survived long enough to call this lava-land home.
After the visit to Bartolome Island you can go snorkeling off its golden sand beach - and you may even swim with penguins. In the afternoon visit nearby Sullivan Bay. At the turn of the century a huge lava flow spilled right down to the sea and today you can stroll across this black volcanic expanse, admiring its time-frozen ripples, bubbles and ropes.
Early in the morning arrive on Daphne Island, a cone formed by the accumulation of volcanic ash, which is home to thousands of birds such as blue footed boobies, frigate birds, tropic birds, and many more. Your ship navigates around this volcanic cone, so binoculars are recommended to get a good look at the birds. Daphne has been a great research site on which many scientists have spent years studying the behavior of Darwin’s finches.
After this visit move on to the next site, Black Turtle Cove, which is a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz and is a nursery for many sharks and rays. It’s also a great location to observe mating sea turtles during nesting season. Expect to see large groups of resting White-Tip Reef Sharks, schools of Golden Rays and Spotted Eagle Rays, and a few marine bird like blue footed boobies and pelicans. The water very calm so we often used paddles instead of the loud panga engines to move around the area.
After lunch navigate for a couple of hours to Cerro Dragon, where as soon as the ship arrives - weather permitting - you can go snorkeling and shortly after that make a dry landing on lava rocks. Cerro Dragon is a small bay on the west coast of Santa Cruz and got its name from the many land iguanas that live in the area. Land iguanas are endemic to the Galapagos Islands where they have found good mating and nesting areas.
Following breakfast on board, disembark the Aida Maria and transfer to the Baltra airport for your independent flights home.