Arrive at the airport and transfer to Santa Cruz to visit the highlands before boarding. Please note: Dress appropriately for a hike. Long sleeved shirts, long pants, appropriate hiking shoes, and sun protection is recommended for this visit.
At the Santa Cruz Highlands, walk along the path and observe the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, white-cheeked pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. Explore the underground lava tubes, which are more than one kilometer (half a mile) long, with your local guides.
After the visit, have a box lunch before transfering to the main deck to embark onboard the M/C Cormorant and start the cruise.
Journey to Tintoreras Islet, located a short distance from Puerto Villamil, home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches, surrounded by mangroves, is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully.
Visit the Sierra Negra Volcano, boasting the largest basaltic caldera in Galapagos at 9 x 10km. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to 7 species of finch and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.
Next arrive at the Tortoise Breeding Station (Puerto Villamil), created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys. Giant tortoise eggs are collected and brought to the center where they are hatched and kept for five years before being released to their natural environment.
Conclude the day by visiting the Wetlands of Isabela Island, located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails, and gallinules. The Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path that winds through the swamps.
Moreno Point is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. The plethora of birds seen during a dinghy ride along the striking rocky shores or a hike along path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves create a birdwatcher’s delight. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted.
Sail for Elizabeth Bay, located on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and blue-footed boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and viewing schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.
A visit to Mangle Point allows visitors to witness the amazing views and wildlife on the coast of Fernandina Island. This is a small inlet on Fernandina’s coast where you can snorkel to your heart's delight and watch playful sea lions, curious penguins, and also catch a glimpse of where flightless cormorants reside.
Later in the day, travel to Urbina Bay located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954, causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling.
Crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, reach the island's highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.
Arrive at Isabela Island, the largest in the archipelago and also one of the youngest and most volcanically active. The morning visit is to Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola-mola (sunfish).
Also known as James Bay, visit Egas Port, home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur sea lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.
Explore Buccaneer Cove, a safe haven where pirates in the 1600 and 1700’s would stake out on the Northwestern side of Santiago Island. Sea turtles now take the pirate's place and dig their nests for their eggs near the mangrove trees. It is a great location for snorkeling and many marine birds and sea lions can be found here.
Visit Espumilla Beach, a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons, performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eel, and shark, snorkeling is highly recommended.
Head to El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip's Steps. Hike up the steep rocky face to the top of a cliff where you can see red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.
Set sail for Darwin Bay and land on its white-sand coral beach. Take a half-mile trail through the mangroves and view Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Tidal pools are teeming with young sea lions and reef fish, and the occasional hammerhead shark can be found among the rocks. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff.
Sail for North Seymour Island to view Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds. The island was formed by a series of submarine lavas containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.
Transfer to the airport and connect back to the mainland.