Arrive at the Baltra airport where a guide will be waiting to escort you to a bus that will take you to the waterfront. Once aboard the ship, you will check in and receive a short informative introduction before continuing on the first excursion. Bahia Ballena, or Whaler's Bay, was once a staging area for the tall ships that visited the Santa Cruz. There are still remnants of the settlers that used to live here. There is a beautiful olivine crystal beach at this location where sea lions prefer to bask in the sun. Take a hike inland for the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including frigatebirds. Have the opportunity to do some exploratory snorkeling in the beautiful waters.
Santa Fe offers an incredible turquoise lagoon that is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming the perfect anchorage. It is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. Enjoy interactions with the friendly sea lions that hang out on the beach here. An ascending trail that leads toward the cliffs allows for an opportunity to spot one of the largest species of land iguanas endemic to Santa Fe. Santa Fe offers some advance kayaking opportunities for those who are in the mood.
South Plazas Island likes just off the coast of Santa Cruz and is one of the smallest but richest islands in the archipelago. It is rich with lush and diverse flora including green prickly-pear cacti and red sesuvium. There is a very healthy population of sea lions making their home here as well as unique birdlife such as Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls.
Take a walk up the beach of Darwin Bay and witness the bustling activity of the great frigate birds. Farther along the trail there are a series of pools set in the rocky outcrop and marine iguanas, lava lizards, and Galapagos doves rest close to the trail. Across the bay at Prince Phillip's Steps, there is some amazing snorkeling to be had at this location with a variety of marine life. The stairway is a 25-meter stretch that opens out onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay. Have a chance to observe the red-footed boobies, the masked-booby, and, with luck, even get a glimpse at the short-eared owls.
Fernandina is the youngest and westernmost island of the Galapagos and is the home of Punta Espinosa at the northeast corner of the island. There are a number of unique species on this island including penguins, red and turquoise-blue zayapas crabs, blue and lava herons, marine iguanas, sea lions, etc. Down the shore from one of the most active volcanoes in the world, La Cumbre, is the location of one of the world's only species of flightless cormorants. The snorkeling here offers some amazing sites as well.
Urbina Bay is the next stop that is home to the giant land iguanas who have vivid yellow skin making them very colorful. There are also giant tortoises on the coastal plain during the wet season before migrating to the highlands.
Tagus Cove, named after a british warship, was used for an anchorage by pirates and whalers. You can still see the names of the ships carved into the ridge, a practice that is now prohibited. Take a panga ride to view where blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, pelicans, and noddy terns make their nests. Take a walk up a wooden stairway to Darwin Lake which is a round, saltwater crater.
At the northern part of Isabela lies Punta Vicente Roca. An ancient volcano formed two turquoise coves with a perfectly calm bay inside. This calmness makes it an ideal spot for diving. Snorkeling here offers the opportunity to see sea lions, turtles, spotted eagle rays, and manta rays.
Punta Albemarle is the location of an abandoned radar station from WWII that can still be seen. It is also a prime nesting location for the flightless cormorant, and the largest marine iguanas also make their homes here.
Charles Darwin spent several days exploring and collecting specimens from this island. Pirates and whalers also favored the cove here, Buccaneer Cove, because it offers fresh water and they used to kill the giant tortoises for food. Espumilla Beach is an excellent location for bird watching. Take a walk through the mangroves to a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wade in the water.
James Bay offers some unique sites for this tour. There is a black beach with amazing eroded rock formations and there is a trail that goes along the rim of an extinct volcanic crater. A path leading south takes visitors to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes which is home to sea lions and tropical fish. This is an excellent place for watching fur lions as they rest on the rocks by the grottos.
Puerto Ayora is the seaside economic center for fishing and tourism in the Galapagos. This is also the location for the Charles Darwin Research Station. Enjoy an education visit here and have the opportunity to see giant tortoises at the Breeding Center. Here they are working to restore the population of the giant tortoise by helping them to survive in their natural habitat. At the Tortoise Reserve, you will have a chance to track down these friendly creatures for a close encounter. There will also be a chance to visit the amazing lava tubes. These are underground tunnels that can be reached by a wooden stairway.
Kicker Rock is a spectacular formation that rises 152 meters out of the ocean. Explore the visitor center off Wreck Bay and have a chance to stroll through the quaint port town. From here a guide will accompany you to the airport to return to the mainland.
|Twin Cabin: C,3,4||Double Cabin: C1, 2, 5||Twin Cabin: A 2,3||Suite: A 1,4|