Arrive on Baltra. Travel to the highlands, located in the northern part of the island and with elevations up to 1500 meters. On a journey into the higher elevations of Santa Cruz you can experience all seven different vegetation zones. The vegetation here is abundant and lush and the weather moist.
Continue to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The CDRS is an international not-for-profit organization that provides scientific research, technical information, and assistance to ensure the proper preservation of the Galapagos Islands. Visitors can learn about natural history, issues concerning the islands, and see the tortoise breeding and rearing project at work.
Noted for the volcanic green olivine crystals found in the beach, Cormorant Point offers a trail overlooking a saltwater lagoon that is a favorite of flamingos. Beyond the lagoon the trail leads to a magnificent white-sand beach. Green sea turtles lay their eggs in the sands here during the night and their tracks leading to and from the sea mark the beach.
The best known site on Floreana is Post Office Bay, a white-sand beach where in the past sailors used to leave and receive their letters in a barrel. The tradition continues - leave your postcard in the barrel and see how long it takes to be delivered, and at the same time if there is a postcard with an address close to your home, please take it with you.
Elizabeth Bay is a marine visitor site. As enter you the bay Galapagos hawks soar overhead and schools of pompanos and dorados can be seen swimming underneath you. Las Marielas, the small islets just outside the bay, are home to the largest concentration of Galapagos penguins living in the Islands. You can also see a red mangrove cove, passing through the red root and green leaf breeding ground for fish.
At Moreno Point see beautiful rocky shores where penguins and shore birds, including great blue herons, are usually spotted. You can also enter a grove of mangroves, where oysters can be seen at the base of the trees. A trek traverses the sharpest lava rocks in the Islands where dry lava is interspersed with lagoons and small ponds containing abundant wildlife.
The waters of Urbina Bay at Isabela are a good place to see turtles and rays and ashore is a short trail leading to a coral reef, which is evidence of an uplift from the sea which occurred in 1954. This provides the rare experience of walking in the middle of a bed of coral. Marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and pelicans can be seen at this site.
Punta Espinosa on the island of Fernandina is a narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather largely on black lava rocks. The famous flightless cormorant inhabits this island and Galápagos penguins, pelicans, and sea lions are also abundant. Different types of lava flows can be compared and the mangrove forests can be observed.
Named after a British warship which anchored here in 1814, Tagus Cove is located to the west of the island of Isabela where you can take a panga (zodiac) trip below the high cliffs. Here there is an opportunity to see penguins as well as marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and sea lions. Blue-footed boobies are also in abundance.
At Vicente Roca Point the remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves with a bay well protected from the ocean swells. The spot is a popular anchorage from which to explore the cliffs, where masked and blue-footed boobies perch while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of coldwater currents in this part of the Galapagos give rise to an abundance of marine life, which make Punta Vicente Roca one of the archipelago’s sough after dive spots.
Espumilla Beach is a large coffee-colored sand beach just north of the prized fresh water supply that once attracted pirates and whalers. A short walk inland takes you through a mangrove forest normally inhabited by the common stilt. Sea turtles also visit these mangroves to nest. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white-cheeked pintails can be seen. Sea turtles often lay their eggs on Espumilla Beach.
Buccaneer Cove is a testament to the fact that Santiago Island was once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach, are a magnificent site.
Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, Las Bachas is a swimming beach. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach.
Explore North Seymour Island on the 2km trail which crosses the inland of the island and explores the rocky coast, passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. Daphne Major and Minor can be spotted in the distance and body surfing sea lions play close to the shore. Along the shoreline marine iguanas, white coral and black lava rocks complete the visit to North Seymour.
Return to the Baltra airport this morning for your flights back to the mainland.