Start your Galapagos adventure in San Cristobal with a visit to Cerro Colorado Tortoise Protection and Growing Center. Dedicated to the strengthening of island tortoise populations, the center is a great place to be introduced to the Galapagos. Explore the visitor center, corral, breeding center, and interpretive trail where you will see various native plants and bird species.
Enjoy the morning at Garnder Bay, a lovely spot on the northeastern coast of Española Island. Take advantage of the bay's crystalline waters with a snorkel, swim, or kayak tour. Observe playful sea lions, native sharks, and other fascinating marine creatures.
In the afternoon, head to Punta Suarez, a rocky area of Española that sustains one of the most impressive colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Admire the towering cliffs and watch these entertaining birds as the dive and soar through the surf and water spouts below.
Today you will visit Floreana, home to the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos, Punta Cormorant. Embark on Punta Cormorant's distinct beaches: the Green Beach and the Flour Sand Beach, made up of olivine crystals and decomposed coral, respectively. Observe a myriad of shorebirds and tuff lava cones as you explore the Punta.
In the afternoon, travel on to Post Office Bay. In the 18th century, whalers placed a wooden barrel at this site that has been utilized as the island's post office ever since. Trek up to nearby Baroness Lookout for a stunning view of the island below.
This morning head to Santa Fe Island. This island, reputed to be the oldest in the archipelago, was formed by a geological uplift and is mostly flat. Traverse Santa Fe, observing its many inhabitants including the Galapagos hawk, snake, and mockingbird, as well as sea lions and land iguanas.
Move on to South Plaza Island in the afternoon. Plaza, although comparatively diminutive, is home to some of the most unique species in the Galapagos. Because of the abundance of tuna in the area, Plaza is a popular site for land, marine, and the ever-fascinating hybrid iguanas.
Spend the morning touring North Seymour Island, whose flat, boulder-strewn terrain provides ideal nesting environments for frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Meander along the circular island trail, admiring the rocky shore and crashing surf.
In the afternoon, explore Bachas, a pair of stunning white sand beaches on Santa Cruz. Sea turtles can be found nesting in the soft sand, flamingos strut in the brackish lagoon, and abandoned barges sit just off shore, remnants of US military presence in the islands during WWII.
In the morning tour Mosquera Islet, swimming and snorkeling in the reef, and relaxing alongside sea lions on the white sand beach.
After Mosquera, head to Santa Cruz Island for a trek up Dragon Hill. Take a trail through the island, passing along a hyper-saline lagoon frequented by flamingos, pintail ducks, and other species of water birds. The trail terminates atop Dragon Hill, offering a rewarding view of the bay below.
Today begins with a visit to Black Turtle Cove, a small, exclusive destination nestled into the northern side of Santa Cruz. Surrounded by red mangroves, this quiet cove constitutes an ideal nursery for a variety of sharks and rays. No landing sites exist in the cove, so you can either paddle in with a kayak or a panga. Observe large groups of white and black-tip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, and schools of golden and spotted eagle rays. It is also possible to spot sea turtles, pelicans, and herons in this unique environment.
In the afternoon, journey on to Chinese Hat, a small islet off of Santiago. Named for its distinctive shape, Chinese Hat is a recent volcanic cone that exhibits fascinating lava formations. Admire its lava tubes and flows, and observe its entertaining colonies of sea lions and penguins.
This morning will find you at Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island. The bay originated when Genovesa's crater collapsed below sea level, leaving a beautiful white sand beach in its stead. A favorite destination for birdwatchers, Darwin Bay is home to a slew of species including red footed and masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels, yellow and black crowned herons, and yellow warblers. Take a trail through the area, climbing gradually to cliff's edge for an incredible view of the landscape below.
In the afternoon, head to El Barranco, a plateau on the southern edge of Darwin Bay. Climb up the ridge, passing nesting grounds and lava flows along the way, and earn yourself another stunning view of Genovesa.
Spend the morning on Bartolomé Island. Here you will see some of the most beautiful scenery in the Galapagos, complements of volcanic activity that resulted in cones, craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba pinnacle. Bartolomé is sparse in terms of vegetation, but features two breathtaking beaches and plenty of marine life.
Journey on to Santiago Island. Santiago, still an active volcano, is threaded with young lava flows that are visible from far reaches; most notably, outerspace!
Your last day in the Galapagos will begin with a visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz. Traverse across rolling hills and grassy volcanic cones, soaking in the beautiful scenery of Santa Cruz's various vegetative zones.
Bid farewell to the archipelago, as you return to Baltra for your departing flight.
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