Begin your Galapagos adventure on Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour. Formed by geological uplift, Baltra is flat, arid, and rich in wildlife. Fly into the Baltra airport and board your vessel.
Cruise across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island, home of the Charles Darwin Station. Here you will have the opportunity to learn about Galapagos protection and conservation efforts before exploring the archipelago. Visit the National Park information center, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, and the Breeding and Research Center for Galapagos tortoises.
Travel by zodiac to the Tintoreras, a group of small islands just off the coast of Isabela Island. These islands acquired their name from the white-tipped reef sharks that find respite in their shallow waters. Keep a lookout for Galapagos penguins and sea lions who often sun themselves on the Tintoreras' rocky shores.
In the afternoon, disembark in Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. Venture up the highlands along Sierra Negra's volcanic slope. Arrive eventually at its impressive 5-mile-wide crater, the widest of its kind in the world. From here, admire the fantastic view of the surrounding volcanoes and the island below. Hike on to Chico Volcano for an up-close look at lava formations, the building blocks of the archipelago.
Start your morning at Punta Moreno on Isabela's north coast. Embark on a trail that runs along a Pahohoe lava flow, leading to a series of coastal lagoons. Enjoy watching the various, entertaining species of birds that call this picturesque region home.
Spend the afternoon on a zodiac excursion in and around Elizabeth Bay. Begin with a tour through the Marielas islets, home to the most prominent penguin colony in the Galapagos. Cruise into a nearby cove, uniquely surrounded by red mangroves and populated by sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle and golden rays, and schools of pompano and dorado fish.
Cruise over to Fernandina Island. Some of the most unique species in the Galapagos are found at Punta Espinoza on the northeastern tip of the island. A favorite resident of Punta Espinoza is the flightless cormorant. This fascinating creature has adapted to its predator-less, island existence, evolving into a marine species capable of finding food in the ocean.
In the afternoon, visit Isabela's Tagus Cove, beginning with a zodiac tour of the impressive shoreline cliffs. Land nearby and hike about 30 minutes to a cliff-top that offers views of stunning Darwin Lake, the cove below, and historic cliff-side pirate graffiti.
Journey to Santiago Island, hitting Espumilla beach in the morning. This beach provides an important nesting site for marine turtles and is abutted by the beautiful Palo Santo forest.
After Esupmilla, head to the west side of the island for a visit to Puerto Egas. This black sand beach was formed by volcanic tuff deposits and is considered Santiago's main attraction.
Begin your day at Isla Lobos, a small, rocky island rich in shorebirds and home to nesting blue-footed boobies and frigate birds.
In the afternoon, head to San Cristobal for a visit to Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Center. Built to support the island's tortoise population, the center features a large corral, breeding area, and interpretive trail. In addition to tortoises, enjoy viewing various species of endemic flora and fauna including the San Cristobal mockingbird, Galapagos flycatcher, yellow warbler, and a spectrum of finches.
Cruise to Gardner Bay on the northeastern coast of Española Island. Swim snorkel, kayak, and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the bay.
Move on to Punta Suarez in the afternoon, a rocky outcropping on Española's southern shore. This site provides habitat for the largest, most varied populations of sea birds in the Galapagos. Watch as birds soar along the cliffs, dodging the spectacular water spouts and pounding surf.
In the morning, visit Punta Cormorant on Floreana. Situated between two tuff lava cones, this site is home to one of the archipelago's best flamingo lagoons. It also features two distinct beaches: the Green Beach, made up of olivine crystals, and the white coral Flour Sand Beach.
In the afternoon, visit historic Post Office Bay. 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel here that has been used as a post office by mariners and tourists ever since. Continue on to Baroness Lookout, a point on Floreana's north shore known for its beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
Journey to Santa Fe, a distinctly flat island formed by a geological uplift rather than a volcano. Some theories identify Santa Fe as the oldest island in the Galapagos. Walk along the island trail, winding through salt bushes and giant cactus while viewing unique species such as the Galapagos hawk, snake, and mockingbird. Take advantage of the crystalline waters, snorkeling with tropical fish and playful sea lions.
Venture to South Plaza Island in the afternoon. Diminutive in size, but rich in wildlife, Plaza houses some of the Galapagos' most fascinating creatures. Most notably, the island boasts a large population of hybrid iguanas, a cross between their land and marine counterparts.
Visit uplifted North Seymour Island. Seymour's flat terrain provides excellent nesting sites for frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Observe the antics of these iconic birds, keeping an eye out for bodysurfing sea lions as well.
In the afternoon, head for Bachas Beach, a site made up of two small beaches on Santa Cruz Island. The soft, white sands of Bachas provide ideal nesting habitat for sea turtles. Abandoned barges can be spotted along the beach, relics of the military's occupancy during WWII.
Before departure, explore Mosquera, a small islet boasting an impressive reef and beautiful white sand beach, ideal for snorkeling and swimming.
Journey back to Baltra for your departing flight.
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