This Galapagos cruise highlights the best of the western islands with 8 days of exploration and adventure! This cruise features the most sought after destinations in this region including beautiful Santa Cruz, wildlife-rich Isabela, cliff-laden Fernandina, and volcanic Santiago. Enjoy the company of friendly sea lions while snorkeling and make friends with the gentle giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station. There is an endless list of activities to make this the most memorable trip ever.
Day 1 : San Cristobal Day 2 : South Plaza Island - Santa Fe Day 3 : Floreana Day 4 : Santa Cruz Island - Charles Darwin Center Day 5 : Isabela Day 6 : Isabela - Punta Moreno Day 7 : Isabela - Fernandina Day 8 : Bachas Beach - Baltra
Our guide will be waiting for you at San Cristobal Airport and will accompany you to the Archipell at Baquerizo Moreno harbor. After arrival on board, you will check in and receive general information. You will have lunch followed by an excursion to the Galapaguera, which is located in the northeast part of San Cristobal Island. This was created to conserve the San Cristobal tortoise species. The center has the goal to lead and guide the tourists in conservation topics and protection of the environment. This area contains native plants and giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
South Plaza has unique Sesuvium plants and Opuntia cactuses scattered across the landscape which provide some of the most interesting wildlife observations available in Galapagos. Land iguanas are easily seen from the trail hiding under the shade of cactuses. Santa Fe is one of the most entertaining destinations for shore excursions at Galapagos Islands. There will be two trail choices for visitors here. Hike to the tallest Opuntia cactus in the Galapagos or to the highlands where land iguanas can be found. Swim in calm waters or snorkel with playful sea lions.
An artisan spring is located at the Peace Asylum. Being one of the few year-round sources of fresh water, this spring attracted pirates, whalers and later settlers to Floreana. The original settlers landed at La Cueva de los Piratas (Pirate's Cave) is a location where pirates carved temporary shelter out of soft stone. La Loberia is a small beach, which is home to a colony of sea lions, as well as some marine iguanas. Walk there from town for some recreational snorkeling. Fortunate snorkelers may spot a ray or a shark.
Charles Darwin Research Station contains an information center, a museum, a library and a tortoise breeding station. Encounter tortoises of different subspecies. These tortoises are prepared here for reintroduction to their natural habitats. The Highlands of Santa Cruz have incredible zones of vegetation. Visit the private farm Las Primicias that offers one of the best possibilities to see the huge turtles of Santa Cruz Island up close.
Isabela Island is the largest of the archipelago with a surface of 4588 square kilometers. It engages more than the half of the land area of whole Galapagos. Take an easy walk through the unique lava landscape with its huge colonies of sea lizard and sea lion colonies on the island of Tintoreras. Have a chance to observe white tip sharks resting in the flat water near the shore. The wetlands of this area are located south of Isabela Island. They have a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as a spectacular scenery of the bay, the town of Puerto Villamil, volcanoes, islets and rocks.
Punta Moreno has a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools and lagoons. This is a great habitat for flamingos, bahama ducks and other birds. Travel to the mangrove area of Elizabeth Bay with little off-shore islands where dwarf penguins make their home. Schools of manta rays, turtles and other giants of the ocean such as whale-sharks are also common. Take an excursion around Elizabeth Bay in a zodiac. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets which is home to the largest penguin colony in the Galapagos. Continue into the red mangrove covered cove where sea turtles, Flightless Cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions run free.
Take a tour along the cliffs of Tangus Cove in a zodiac to get a good chance at seeing the Galapagos penguin, the Flightless Cormorant and other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where several volcanoes and the Darwin Lake can be viewed. This is an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea. Espinoza point is one of Fernandina’s visit points. This is situated within a fascinating lava scenery filled with Lava-Cacti and mangroves. Enjoy seeing sea lions, penguins, the Flightless Cormorant as well as one of the biggest iguana colonies of the Galapagos. Snorkel and explore the hidden beauty of the ocean floor.
Day 8 Bachas Beach - Baltra
Las Bachas is a beautiful white-sand beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Go for a stroll or do some easy snorkeling in the gentle surf. Sea turtles lay their eggs at the edge of the vegetation here. There is a rusted pontoon, a relic of the Second World War also at this location. Two barges were wrecked offshore at that time. Then be transferred to the Baltra’s Airport to fly back to the mainland of Ecuador.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.