Day 1 Baltra | Embark | Highlands Tortoise Reserve, Santa Cruz
Arrive to the Galapagos and transfer to your ship, the Galapagos Legend. Today cruise to Santa Cruz Island and travel by bus to the Santa Cruz highlands. Here, visit a giant tortoise reserve where you can view tortoises in their natural habitat. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Day 2 El Barranco, Prince Philip's Steps | Darwin Bay, Genovesa
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning travel to Genovesa Island and be marveled at the variety of sea life that uses the crevices of the lava cliffs for shelter. Red-billed tropicbirds fly overhead, switching between their nests and the bay, and a small colony of fur seals may be found near the landing site. Be dropped off at a steep stairway that begins on rocks at the foot of a path that leads through a seabird colony full of Nazca and red-footed boobies. At the plateau, the trail continues inland allowing you to see more nesting booby colonies in the thin Palo Santo forest. Near the end of the trail, over a rocky lava plain, wedge-rumped storm-petrels can be observed flying in all directions. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a short-eared owl.
In the afternoon head to Darwin Bay and disembark onto a small sand and coral beach. A short trail heads west along a tidal lagoon and then up a rocky hill that leads to a point overlooking the cliffs and Darwin Bay. Along the trail near the tidal lagoon, you can see pairs of swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls, yellow-crowned and lava herons. The trail continues through Palo Santo trees, Opuntia cacti, and Saltbushes inhabited by great frigate birds and red-footed boobies. This is one of the few places in the islands where you are guaranteed to see red-footed boobies. It is estimated that more than 200,000 red-footed boobies live in the trees and bushes of Genovesa.
Day 3 Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz | Santa Fe
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning venture over to Santa Cruz Island and stop at Dragon Hill, an important nesting site for endemic land iguanas. Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, see an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
In the afternoon, visit Santa Fe's white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies. Through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Day 4 Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra
This morning cruise to Bachas Beach, home to two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. At this paradisiacal site, you can also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
After the visit, passengers transfer to the airport for your return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.