Arrive at the airport in Baltra and continue on to the boat for check-in and a brief introduction. After lunch, drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz. Here you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for incredible giant tortoises in their natural surroundings.
Genovesa, or Tower Island, is the northernmost island in the archipelago that is allowed to be visited by non-diving cruises. This island is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species. Amongst these species include the red-footed booby as well as frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and even endemic owls.
El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock. This path leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. Some of the inhabitants include Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and petrels. With some luck, have a chance to spot a short-eared lava owl.
Darwin Bay’s soft, coralline white sand is only the beginning of this next spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach immerses you into lush mangroves where red-footed boobies nest. Other locals inhabitants include sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigates, and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays and tortoises are common.
Bartolome is a small island with has two visitor sites. Snorkel around Pinnacle Rock at the first where penguins are usually seen. Then take a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a nice climb to the highest point on the island. Encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow, and lava tubes and your way up. At the summit there is a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. There is the option of enjoying a panga ride instead of taking the hike. This will include a chance to see sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish.
The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) comes from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a very large population of land iguanas were found. Take a hike to a salt water lagoon behind the beach that is frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks, and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site. Also enjoy breathtaking views of the bay. Have an opportunity to enjoy a nice swim after the walk.
Las Bachas Beach is located in the north of Santa Cruz Island and has incredible soft, white sand that is derived from decomposed coral. This makes this area a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind the beach there is a small slightly salty lagoon. Here it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. Disembark to the airport and head back to the mainland.