Arrive at the airport in Baltra and be escorted to the boat for check-in and a quick introductory briefing. Then continue on to North Seymour for the rest of the day. North Seymour is a perfect introduction to the Galapagos Islands. Fauna abounds and you will soon find yourself surrounded by frigates and blue footed boobies. Keep an eye out for land iguanas and sea lions too.
Head out to South Plaza Island which although it is quite small, 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 as its color is a greenish-yellowish during the rainy season and a bright red during the dry season. Also have the chance to see Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and other kinds of sea birds as well as various types of finches.
The island of Santa Fe was formed by uplifting, rather than by a volcano. Some of the island’s endemic species include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, different types of finches, and the Galapagos Mockingbird. This visit includes a nice hike past salt bushes where Galapagos hawks and Santa Fe land iguanas tend to wander. Friendly and playful sea lions may 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. It is so unique and beautiful it is definitely worth the effort. Watch out for the Red-Footed Boobies nesting in the cliffs. After this power hike, enjoy the opportunity to kayaking, snorkeling or take a panga ride.
Disembark at Cerro Brujo for an excursion, kayaking, snorkeling & panga ride. This area has a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming, snorkeling and panga ride experiences. Cerro Brujo’s breathtaking beach is also home to an abundance of sea lions. This is also the first coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on in the Archipelago!
Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous islands due to many unique stories about past settlers. Post Office Bay is home to a unique “post office” influenced by 18th century pirates and buccaneers who used a wooden barrel as an unofficial mail box. Continue the tradition by leaving addressed postcards in the barrel and sorting through left mail to deliver at home. Floreana is also a magnificent site for swimming and kayaking. For the more adventurous guests, there is an option to visit the inside of a lava tunnel. Watch your step because this tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural over these many years.
Enjoy snorkeling or a panga ride at Champion Islet followed by an excursion to Punta Cormorant. A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where an array of species including flamingos, stilts, and pintail ducks tend to wander. Bring binoculars so you can see these incredible creatures up close. Prior to the excursions, you will also have an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing snorkeling trip at Champion Islet.
One of the furthest points of the Galapagos that will be visited on this cruise is Elizabeth Bay. Enter a sheltered cove accessible by panga only. 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 whole observing and learning about different types of lava and pioneer plants. In the tide pools, have a chance to spot green sea turtles and possibly white-tip sharks. Afterwards, head out on a panga ride along the striking rocky shores. Have an opportunity to observe penguins, sea lions, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas.
On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station you will gain insight into the great efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can view the tortoises at many stages of life. Newly hatched tortoises average 3 inches long, while the adults can reach over 4 feet. This research station helps prepare these incredible creatures for reintroduction into their natural environment.
After the visit we drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve. Take some time and search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. This is a leisurely afternoon.
Gardner Bay offers the chance to enjoy a breathtaking white sandy beach. This is the home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions as well as a nesting site for sea turtles. Throughout the morning there are many opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
One of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos is Punta Suarez. Espanola is very isolated from the other islands allowing it to have a high proportion of endemic fauna. Right off the landing site, view groups of Española marine iguanas basking in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail. Watch as 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. Swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds find their homes in the cracks of the cliffs. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find a nesting site for the albatross. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. Have a chance to see them perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.
Mosquera Islet is a tiny islet, which is actually home to a huge population of sea lions. Here you will also have the chance to view many different types of shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Disembark for the airport and return to the mainland.
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