Las Bachas is a beautiful white sand beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Go for a relaxing stroll or do some easy snorkeling in the gentle surf. Sea turtles lay their eggs at the edge of the vegetation here. Also look for a rusted pontoon, a relic of the Second World War. 'Las Bachas' is a poor pronunciation of 'barges,' two of which were wrecked offshore during WWII. The locals mispronounced the name and it has been used since. Las Bachas is considered one of the most important sites in the Galapagos for the Pacific green sea turtle nesting site. Back further behind the beach are some saline water lagoons where various wader birds can be observed such as flamingoes, lava gulls, wandering tattlers, plovers, great blue herons and more. This is also a great location for witnessing land iguanas.
Darwin Bay is a coarse white sandy beach that is the only one found in the caldera on Genovesa. Colonies of the Great Frigates are found along the beach here and first light in the morning allows us to see red-footed boobies displaying in their courtship rituals. The frigates show off their magnificent and spectacular red colored gular sacs totally inflated to attract any passing female. This is also a great location for observing three species of Darwin’s finches along with Galapagos ground doves, yellow warblers and Galapagos mocking birds. There well be an opportunity for some excellent snorkeling with the chance to see various colorful tropical fishes as well as the possibility of spotting sea turtles, Pacific mantas, or even a hammerhead. El Barranco, also know as Prince Philip’s Steps, is a stair carved out of stone that will lead to a wide plateau. Observe large colonies of Masked Boobies, frigatebirds, storm petrels and bahama ducks. During this easy walk cross a little Scalesia woodland and observe the Short-eared Owl.
The Samba is the only yacht that is authorized by the National Park's to explore the wonder of Marchena Island. This can only be done by panga, kayak, or snorkeling. The enormous lava flows have left this island with no fresh water and scarce vegetation making it an untouched and serene environment. Punta Mejia is one of the best snorkeling sites in the islands due to it's calm and deep blue waters and it's underwater lava flows. It is home to a plethora of marine life including rays, sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, and moray eels. Playa Negra (black beach), is a black color due to the black basaltic sands from the young lava flows this island has experienced.
Point Albemarle is the northern most point of Isabela and is the location of an abandoned radar staion used during World War II. There is a mangrove zone here and pahoe-hoe lava flows that serve as nesting sites for the only flightless cormorant in the world. Basking in the sun you will also find the largest marine iguanas of the archipelago. Punta Vicente Roca offers unique geological volcanic formations including tuff cones and cindery slopes. Have a chance to observe some of the wildlife that makes its home here including Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and brown noddies.
Enjoy a zodiac tour along the cliffs of Tangus Cove and get a good chance at seeing the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant, and other sea birds. From the landing dock, it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff. Several volcanoes and the Darwin Lake can be viewed from this point. Darwin lake is an uplifted ultra saline lake that is saltier than the sea. Espinoza point is one of Fernandina’s vista points. Espinoza is situated within a fascinating lava scenery filled with Lava-Cactus and mangroves. Enjoy seeing sea lions, penguins, the flightless cormorant as well as one of the biggest iguana colonies of the Galapagos. Snorkel and explore the hidden treasures of the underwater world.
In the afternoon, sail for Isabela and explore the beautiful Urbina Bay. A great place for snorkeling, Urbina is nestled at the base of Alcedo Volcano.
The mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay has little off-shore islands where dwarf penguins make their home. Schools of manta rays, turtles, and other giants of the ocean, such as whale-sharks are common inhabitant in this area. Take a panga excursion that starts with a visit to the Marielas islets which is home to the largest penguin colony in the Galapagos. Continue into the red mangrove covered cove where sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions are abundant. Here the still waters are disrupted by the heads of the Pacific Green Sea Turtle popping up for a breath of air. Punta Moreno has a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons.
Land on Puerto Velasco Ibarra and head out to the highlands and take a hike up Cerro Alieri. Take time to view this incredible landscape that is decorated by 48 know species of native and endemic plants. Peace Asylum is the location of an artisan spring. It is one of the few year-round sources of fresh water making it a past attractions of pirates, whalers and later settlers to Floreana. The original settlers landed at La Cueva de los Piratas (Pirate's Cave). La Lobería is a small beach with a sea lion colony that make their homes there and along the bay coast. Also observe marine iguanas and green sea turtles that nest on the beach. End the day with some relaxing swimming and snorkeling.
At the Charles Darwin Research Station, scientist can observe the different stages of the recuperation of giant tortoises. This facility helps prepare these incredible creature 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.