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.
This morning take a zodiac ride through "Tintoreras," a group of small islands named for the white tipped reef sharks that inhabit the area. View all sorts of wildlife, including the reef sharks that rest in the shallow waters.
Take a trip up the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano this afternoon. The crater of the Sierra Negra is 5 miles wide, the second widest in the world. Enjoy fantastic views from the crater's rim and continue your hike up to nearby Chico Volcano to see striking lava formations.
Spend the morning exploring Punta Moreno, on Isabela's north coast. Take a trail along a Pahohoe lava flow into a complex of coastal lagoons, observing multifarious, entertaining bird species along the way.
In the afternoon, embark on a marine excursion to Elizabeth Bay. Boat through the Marielas Islets, home of the largest colony of penguins in the Galapagos. Continue into a secluded red mangrove cove for a front-row seat to the entertaining antics of sea turtles, rays, pelicans, and schools of pompano and dorado fish.
This morning 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.
Visit Isabela's Tagus Cove this afternoon, 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.
Spend the morning exploring Espumilla Beach on the northern coast of Santiago Island. Espumilla is an important nesting site for turtles and is famed for its beautiful palo santo forest.
In the afternoon, travel west to Puerto Egas. Volcanic tuff deposits have formed a black sand beach in this area, unique in the Galapagos.
This morning will find you at Isla Lobos, a small island made up of a dry vegetation zone, volcanic rock, and beautiful, sandy shorline. Lobos is also home to a particularly large colony of sea lions.
Venture on to San Cristobal this afternoon, and visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Center on the south east side of the island. Take this opportunity to learn about San Cristobal's tortoise population, as well as its other fascinating species of native flora and fauna.
Journey to Española Island this morning. Swim, snorkel, kayak, and relax in beautiful Gardner Bay. Spot sharks in the crystal clear waters and observe sea lions lounging on the shore.
In the afternoon head to Punta Suarez, a rocky outcropping sustaining one of the largest and most varied populations of sea birds in the archipelago. Watch these birds as they swoop and dive along the cliffs, dodging impressive water spouts and pounding surf.
Today begins with a visit to Punta Cormorant, home of the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos. Located on Floreana Island, the lagoon is uniquely situated between two tuff lava cones and is home to flamingos, common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and many others. The area features two distinct beaches: "The Green Beach," made up of olivine crystals, and "The Flour Sand Beach," formed by particles of coral.
This afternoon, pay a visit to historical Post Office Bay. In the 18th century whalers placed a barrel at this site to serve as a post office for mariners and inhabitants of the island, and it's been in use ever since. Ascend to nearby Baroness Lookout, along the north slope of Floreana. From here, enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Today you will 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 this 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.
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.
Begin your day with a visit to Mosquera Islet, situated between Baltra and North Seymour. Its stunning white sand beach is home to a large population of sea lions, shore birds, and colorful crustaceans. This site is ideal for snorkeling and swimming.
Travel back to Baltra in the afternoon for your departing flight.
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