This 4-day eastern route heads first to the Charles Darwin Research Station and sails to the little-frequented Pitt Point, San Cristobal, the easternmost point of the archipelago and the only site where blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies gather together. It returns through extraordinary Santa Fe and the popular, not-to-be-missed highlight South Plaza, with land iguanas and giant cactus trees. Finish your expedition in the evergreen mangles of Black Turtle Cove on the north coast of Santa Cruz.
Day 1 : Baltra | Santa Cruz | Embark Day 2 : San Cristobal Day 3 : Santa Fe | South Plaza Day 4 : Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra
Meet Pitt Point´s barking sea lions and look for three species of boobies
Walk, swim, and snorkel Witch Hill´s coral sand beach
Explore Black Turtle Cove, an ideal nursery for many sharks and rays
Upon arrival in Baltra, a naturalist guide from the Nemo I greets you and transfers you to the harbor. Then, take a dinghy to the yacht. In the afternoon, visit Charles Darwin Station and learn about the biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago. The complex houses a bunch of interpretation and information centers about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
Get your camera ready, as today is filled with lots of opportunities to see amazing wildlife in San Cristobal! Start your morning with a visit to Punta Pitt to hang out with sea lions and many different bird species including red-footed, blue-footed, and Nazca boobies. On the small green sand beach a cacophony of barking Galapagos sea lions greets you. This is a bachelor colony, where males usually recuperate from and prepare themselves for fighting and mating.
In the afternoon visit Witch Hill and let your eyes travel from the volcanic cone, over the turquoise bay to the razor-sharp contours of Kicker Rock at the horizon, one of the photogenic landmarks of Galapagos. Walk along the romantic, crescent-shaped beach and feel with your feet the soft and powdery white coral sand (in fact it is pulverized by parrot fishes that destruct living coral reefs). Enjoy the Galapagos sea lion rookery with its cute babies, or study the rich intertidal and bird life (mainly brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls).
The day begins in Santa Fe, where you can find a number of endemic species such as the Galapagos hummingbird, the Galapagos snake, and the Galapagos hawk. You can also see lots of different tropical fish and sea lions as you snorkel in the clear and beautiful water. As you walk along the trail, you may also see many salt bushes and giant prickly pear cacti. While snorkelling in the azure-colored Barrington Bay between tropical reef fish, maybe a curious Galapagos sea lion is willing to play with you!
Then head to South Plaza, the best place to encounter endemic Galapagos land iguanas. Watch your step and don’t stumble over one of them whilst distracted by equally bizarre giant prickly pear cactus trees! These iguanas are not only ugly as Darwin pronounced, but also very patient and photogenic models with strikingly saffron colors. Take your binoculars and don’t miss the red-billed tropicbird with its graceful long tail and spectacular mating fights. These cliffs are also a nesting place for the endemic swallow-tailed gull, the most beautiful gull in the world. Its neatly lined eyes are perfectly adapted for its exceptional nightly fishing habits.
Day 4 Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra
Enjoy your last morning in the beautiful little Black Turtle Cove, a red mangrove lagoon. Explore by zodiac the calm emerald lagoon and enter the surrounding shallow creeks of these salt-water marshes. Spot silently hunting lava herons on the banks and brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves. Various species of ray and shark come to this nutritious cradle to give birth; scalloped hammerhead sharks come back to the place where they’ve been born and their babies tend to be close to the surface. Pacific green turtles visit this cove during their breeding season (November-January).
After returning from your zodiac excursion around Black Turtle Cove, transfer to the Baltra airport for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.