At the Charles Darwin Research Station, scientists can observe the different stages of the recuperation of giant tortoises. This facility helps prepare these incredible creatures for reintroduction back into their natural environment. A giant tortoise can range from as little as three inches as a hatchling up to four feet.
Floreana is one of the Galapagos' most famous islands due to many unique stories about past settlers.
First, visit Cormorant Point and explore a large lagoon where an array of birdlide, including flamingos, stilts, and pintail ducks gather in the water. In the afternoon, sail for Post Office Bay. Home to a unique "post office" which was influenced by 18th century pirates, travelers may leave an addressed postcard or letter in the barrel, then sort through it to find mail which they may bring home and deliver in person.
Begin your morning in Punta Suarez, one of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos. 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.
In the afternoon, sail for Gardner Bay, a breathtaking white sand beach where you may roam freely. The bay is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions in the archipelago, as well as a nesting site for sea turtles.
Kicker Rock is a large rock that emerges straight out of the water. This is a very ancient formation of volcanic tuff that has consolidated throughout the years into a very hard rock. Take a panga ride around this formation and have the opportunity to snorkel around it as well. This will allow you the chance to witness Galapagos sharks, eagle rays, turtles, and several colorful fish. Next travel to Punta Pitt where a beautiful green beach is home to a colony of friendly sea lions. The green color of the beach is due to the large quantities of olivine in the sand. Punta Pitt is the only location in the Galapagos where all three boobies can be seen.
This is possible the most picturesque cove in the Galapagos. Filled with crystal white sands and surrounded by tranquil turquoise waters, it is certainly a sight to behold. The rice rat is a very unique species that can be found on the island of Santa Fe. This is an excellent location for enjoying a nice swim with some playful sea lions. South Plaza has some amazingly vivid ground cover, perfect for photographing. The sesuvium purple-red and the yellow flowers of the portulaca, combined with the different tones of grey of the lava and the greens of the prickly pears leads to some fantastic shots.
Sullivan Bay which is an excellent place to get a feel of the volcanic origin of these islands. Observe the beauty of the landscape and wildlife that make their homes here. Feel free to continue exploring with some relaxing snorkeling or just take a nice swim. Snorkeling, penguins, rays, sharks, turtles, Pinnacle Rock, panoramic views, moon-like landscape, pioneer plants, lava cactus are just some of the highlights Bartolomé has to offer. Hike to the summit where there will be many chances to observe colonies of marine iguanas and lava lizards. After the climb to the summit, head to a crescent shape beach with golden sands for snorkeling among this beautiful creatures depicted above.
James Bay (Puerto Egas) will be the first stop of the day where there are opportunities to observe sponges, snails, hermit crabs, a variety of shore birds, barnacles. There are also other interesting creatures on this island including the endemic four-eyed blenny, marine iguanas, and sea lions. Take a walk along the rocky coast to get the opportunity to view some of the Galapagos Island's best tide pools. They are filled with sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles, and fish. Take a walk to the Grottos for a chance to view the fur sea lions and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos.
Rabida has soils of a surprisingly red color due to the oxidized iron from past eruptions. The beaches here are a red soft sand where you can walk and enjoy watching sea lions relaxing in the sun. The salt bushes on the shore are a nesting location for pelicans there. There is also a salt water lagoon further inland that has several black and white mangroves and pintail ducks, black neck stilts, and on a rare occasion, flamingos can be spotted.
At dawn, take a stroll through the island landscape and walk by one of the largest colonies of blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos. There are also two species of frigates on this island as well as swallow-tail gulls and marine and land iguanas. Later you will be escorted to the Baltra airport and will return back to the mainland.