Experience the Central Islands and abundant wildlife of the Galapagos on this 4-day journey aboard the Darwin. Explore pit craters, Scalesia forests, tidal pools, and underwater formations while snorkeling, swimming, hiking, and dinghy cruising on this Galapagos Discovery tour.
Day 1 : Embark on Baltra / Santa Cruz Island - Twin Pit Craters Day 2 : Santiago - Port Egas & Espumilla Beach Day 3 : Bartolome / Santiago - Sullivan Bay Day 4 : North Seymour / Disembark on Baltra
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, meet your guide and transfer via a short bus ride to the port of Seymour. Please note: A park entrance fee of $100 is charged at the airport inspection point.
Embark the Darwin Yacht and meet the Captain and crew. In the afternoon, visit the high part of Santa Cruz Island, “Los Gemelos” or “The Twin Pit Craters”. They are, geologically speaking, seen as craters but their formation is not directly due to volcanic action. Rather they were created as a result of the collapse or sinking of surface materials into cracks or manholes. In 1989 a circular path around the largest crater was opened, which passes through the interior of the Scalesia forest, an excellent place to observe land birds, especially the woodpecker finch and the vermillion flycatcher. Another plant that draws attention is the Galapagos guava or guayabillo tree, Psidium galapageium, which has a clean and smooth bark and branches covered with epiphytes and brown liverworts.
Spend the day exploring Santiago Island. Port Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island. South of the beach is Sugarloaf Volcano, which has deposits of volcanic tuff, the same that has formed the black sand beach. The Crater is just north of this site. It has a saltwater lagoon, which during the summer dry season becomes a salt mine.
Next head to Espumilla Beach on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a palo santo forest, beach, and the landscape. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles (Chelonia midas agassizi).
In the morning go to Bartolome Beach, a flagship site in the Galapagos Islands due to its beauty. Possessing masterful landscapes, its main attractions are the beaches, the dunes, and Pinnacle Rock (a tuff cone or volcanic ash sediment). Among the species present are the sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), which choose this place as a nesting site, and the Galapagos penguins. This site has two beaches: North Beach and South Beach. At North Beach you can practice swimming and snorkeling; South Beach is accessed by a small path along the mangroves and over the great sand dune.
In the afternoon go to Sullivan Bay, located southeast of Santiago Island. This site is of great geological interest. The landing can be performed either on the rocky shore (dry landing) or the white sand beach (wet landing). The length of the trail is approximately 1.5 km; travel time is one hour and a half. The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows (solidified lava in corrugated or accordion form). It was very active in the last 25 years of the nineteenth century - the Sullivan lava formed in 1897 and is geologically very young. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places.
Day 4 North Seymour / Disembark on Baltra
In the morning go to North Seymour (located north of Baltra), where you can walk along a 2 mile trail. This site, in addition to South Plaza and North Plaza, Baltra, northeastern Santa Cruz, Santa Fe and part of Española, was formed by uprisings of underwater volcanic lavas. They were part of a volcanic lava table deposited in sheet form along cracks located on the ocean floor. The uprisings occurred sporadically and lasted more than a million years to reach current levels. The largest nesting colony of great frigatebirds in the Galapagos is found here, at its westernmost range. The common frigatebird is also present.
Transfer to the Baltra airport for your flight back to the mainland.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.