After arriving at the Baltra airport, there will be a guide to accompany you to the boat for check-in. This adventure begins with a trip to Las Bachas Beach which is located in the north of Santa Cruz Island and has incredible soft, white sand that is derived from decomposed coral. This fine grain sand makes this area a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Wander behind the beach and discover a small brackish lagoon where it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels.
Genovesa, or Tower Island, is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species It is the northernmost island in the archipelago that is allowed to be visited by non-diving cruises. Amongst these species include the red-footed booby as well as frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and even endemic owls. Darwin Bay is home to a stunning coralline beach that is perfect for a blissful stroll. A trail from the beach immerses you into lush mangroves where red-footed boobies nest, and there are multiple opportunities to enjoy the other local inhabitants that roam this area including sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigates, and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays, and tortoises are common.
El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock that leads to a plateau with an abundance of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. The inhabitants are abundant and amongst there species the Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, and petrels are included. With some luck, have a chance to spot a short-eared lava owl.
South Plaza Island happens to be quite small, but it is actually home to a large Opuntia cacti forest, land iguanas, and one of the largest sea lion colonies in the central region of the archipelago. Sesuvium is an endemic plant that inhabits this island and is a great climate indicator. Its color is a greenish-yellowish during the rainy season and a bright red during the dry season. There will also be opportunities to see Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and other kinds of sea birds as well as various types of finches.
Rather than by a volcano, Santa Fe was formed by uplifting. Some of the island’s endemic species include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, different types of finches, and the Galapagos Mockingbird. Wander around the island to see salt bushes where Galapagos hawks and Santa Fe land iguanas tend to wander and have a chance to witness friendly and playful sea lions accompany you during your snorkeling activities.
Enjoy an excursion to Punta Pitt which is located on the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. Take a hike up to a plateau to view the spectacular landscape which is so unique and beautiful it is definitely worth the effort. Watch out for the Red-Footed Boobies nesting in the cliffs. The water is great here so enjoy the opportunity for kayaking, snorkeling or swimming. Cerro Brujo’s breathtaking beach is also home to an abundance of sea lions. They are curious and extremely friendly creature that make for an awesome up close and personal experience.
The Galapagos Turtles Breeding Center was created to conserve the San Cristobal tortoise species. The center has the goal to educate the tourists on conservation topics and protection of the environment. This area contains native plants and giant tortoises living in their natural habitat. This is a great location to see these amazing creatures in all stages of life. The Interpretive Center is a scientific research and environmental education facility that helps with conserving the natural beauty of the Galapagos. Tortoises range in size from three inches as a hatchling to a grown adult at four feet.
Espanola is very isolated from the other islands which allows it to have a large quantity of endemic fauna. Punta Suarez is a unique landscape that is brimming with eye-opening lava beds where you can observe unique colonies of marine birds, including albatross. Take the time to make friends with the sea lions that inhabit the beach while touring Gardner Bay. This location is also an important nesting area for sea turtles. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail and Galapagos doves peck around and finches go about their day to day business unaware of visitors. Further down the trail there is a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air resembling a geyser.
Floreana, is one of the more famous islands of the Galapagos due to many unique stories about past settlers. Post Office Bay is home a wooden barrel used by the whalers as an unofficial mail box in the 18th century and other frequenters of the island. Continue the tradition by leaving addressed postcards in the barrel and grabbing a different postcard to mail when you return home. Floreana is also a magnificent site for swimming and kayaking or even crawling around the inside of a lava tunnel. Watch your step because this tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural over these many years.
Arrive at the airport in Baltra and be escorted to the port where you will board the Yacht. The first excursion of your trip will take you to the highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlands of are usually shrouded in mist which helps plant life to flourish, making this an idea environment for various animals. The giant tortoise thrives here due to the cool temperatures of this area. There are also incredible volcanic features in the highlands including lava tunnels and two gigantic craters from collapsed tunnels.
Isabela Island is the largest of the archipelago, formed by five volcanoes, as well as the youngest of the islands. Puerto Villamil is a friendly port and will be your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound. Visit the Tortoise Breeding Center where visitors and locals are educated on the importance of the giant tortoise. This is also a facility that helps protect the giant tortoise in its first years and prepare them for survival in their natural environment. Located south of Isabela Island are the Wetlands which consists of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves. There are paths that wind through the swamps and are excellent for viewing various bird species including common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails, and gallinules.
Elizabeth Bay consists of several islets and is on the western side of Isabela. This is a wonderful mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge for sea turtles, rays, blue-footed boobies, penguins, herons, and more. Moreno Point is located just southwest of Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. Surround yourself by some of the most magnificent scenery while observing different types of lava and pioneer plants. This area is made of up rocky shores that are great for observing penguins, sea lions, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas. In the tide pools, have a chance to spot green sea turtles and possibly white-tip sharks.
Urbina bay is located in Western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano. Have the opportunity to observe sea turtle nesting sites as well as penguins and flightless cormorants. It is also one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches and large land iguanas. With some luck, you might spot the giant tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.
Tangus Cove as a main anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers, and whalers. They would mark the ships presents by painting it's name on the high ridges. These names area proof that hundreds of ships came to the island. This is a practice that is now forbidden. Take a hike on a trail that goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. Once the top has been reached, enjoy the incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake.
Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine and dynamic ecosystems in the entire world. The volcano here, La Cumbre, last erupted in April 2009. The lava fields from this event stretch towards the ocean from its base and dominate the landscape. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique species of the Galapagos can be seen. Amongst these are the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins, and the Galapagos hawk. A wonderful snorkeling site that would be tested out is Punta Vicente Roca. Here you can usually see turtles and various types of fish. A panga ride allows for the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. In this area you can see Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and penguins.
The island of Rábida is covered with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach. At this location there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. Follow the trail thats leads to a salt water lagoon where you can view various types of shore birds. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, so enjoy the opportunity to go snorkel.
Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island and is home to a black sand beach with eroded rock formations surrounding it. The trail crosses the dry interior where you will pass the remnants of a salt mine and tidal pools that are home to an abundant variety of invertebrate organisms including sea urchins, octopus, and starfish. Have the chance to also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers, and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The Fur Sea Lion Grottos is one of the only places in the islands where the Fur Sea Lion can be viewed and is definitely worth the walk.
Start the day with a trip to Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino), a small island off the coast of Santiago Island. It got its name from its unique shape that resembles traditional Chinese hat. Here you can observe Galapagos penguins, eagle rays, sea lions, and marine iguanas on the rocky shoreline. This is an excellent snorkeling site so enjoy some time for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Bartolome is a small island with has two visitor sites. Snorkel around Pinnacle Rock at the first where penguins are usually seen. From the highest point on the island, encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow, and lava tubes on your way up. At the summit there is a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. There are opportunities to see sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish while touring the island.
North Seymour is located slightly in the north of Baltra. This is a low, flat island, formed as a result of submarine lava formation uplift. It is covered with low, bushy vegetation that contains the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos. The males have a red gular pouch that they will inflate when trying to attract a mate. There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies in this area that perform an amusing courtship dance when nesting conditions are right. Then transfer to Baltra airport for departure back to the mainland.