Arrive at Baltra Island Airport and transfer to the boat for where you will check-in and receive basic information.
Begin with your first excursion to Black Turtle Cove, which is situated in the northern part of Santa Cruz. This inlet is surrounded by mangroves and is only accessible by dinghy. The shallow cove here is a safe haven for young marine life including black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of rays.
Also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, El Barranco’s steep, rocky paths leads up to a high cliff-face. Delight in the spectacular view that can be seen from the cliff. This site is also home to palo santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.
The white sand coral beach of Darwin Bay heads a half mile trail that winds through mangroves packed with land birds. Have the opportunity to spot Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully in the pristine waters.
Land on a coral beach that leads you towards a lava field that extends as far as the eye can see. There are few signs of plant life that have managed to emerge over the past 100 years since the most recent volcanic explosion. This is a truly amazing volcanic experience.
Rabida Island is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes. Some of the rarest species of birds are in abundance here, such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. It is a birdwatcher’s delight. This is a great snorkeling site if you choose to indulge.
The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches when they are new hatchlings to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans stretching out their hands for some friendly interaction. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own. This facility prepares tortoises for reintroduction into their natural habitat.
The El Chato Tortoise Reserve is divided into two areas: Caseta and Chato. The reserve allows visitors to observe giant tortoises in the wild during the dry season. It is also a good place to spot short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, Galapagos rails, and paint-billed crakes.
Dragon Hill is situated on Santa Cruz Island and is one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. Follow a long walking trails that leads visitors along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted.
Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, Las Bachas is a wonderful swimming beach. There is a floating pier here that is one of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos. You may have the change to see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach at this location.
Post Office Bay is famous due to the whalers passing through the islands in the 18th century. They placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The ships would deliver the mail as they moved back and forth past the islands. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver when returning home.
Cormorant Point hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts and white-cheeked pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct with their incredible green color which is due to the high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” composed of white coral.
Suarez Point is a great location for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, and Nazca boobies. This is an incredibly beautiful site on the ocean front. The large waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad here. One of the more fun and famous attractions here is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air resembling a geyser. This site presents wonderful photographic opportunities.
Gardner Bay is located on the eastern side of the island and is the breeding site of nearly all of the world´s pairs of waved albatrosses. It has a relaxing white sandy beach with a myriad of sea lions and its rocky shores make this site a great place for exploring the ocean through diving and snorkeling.
The Interpretation Center was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Visitors enjoy expositions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts here represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment here through means of population and tourist control. Later in the day transfer to the San Cristobal Airport and return to the mainland.
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