Discover the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, where two species of giant tortoise are bred to increase the population of these incredible animals, plays an essential role in protecting the future of the Galapagos. Explore Moreno point and walk along one of the trails soon reveals a multitude of beautiful green lagoons and mangroves and is a fantastic place to see penguins, blue herons, and flamingos. Experience Fernandina, the youngest island in the Galapagos and Espinosa point is a wonderful area of natural beauty. Visit Bartholomew island an islet located in Sullivan Bay and its most famous landmark is a huge volcanic cone named Pinnacle Rock. A walking trail leads up to a viewpoint at the summit of the island where you can enjoy spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding lava flows.
Visit Junco Lagoon, an impressive crater lake located in San Cristobal
Observe a large variety of birds at the enchanting North Seymour Island
Snorkel, kayak & paddle board across the stunning Tintoreras
Discover Sierra Negra, one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos
Arrive at San Cristobal airport where you are transferred to the visitor site.
Walk up the rocky path surrounded by rich vegetation and wildlife to the rim of the El Junco Lagoon, an impressive crater lake located in the highlands of San Cristobal island. Here you will enjoy superb panoramic views of the island, and you can often catch frigate birds diving and bathing in the crystal clear water below, before embarking on your ship.
North Seymour Island is a small island named after Lord Hugh Seymour, a senior British Royal Navy officer. Walking amongst the low, bushy vegetation you will be able to observe a large variety of birds, including blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and a large population of frigate birds. Look out for the marvelous bright red chests of the male frigates used to attract a mate.
The name Dragon Hill refers to the large population of Galapagos land iguanas that have made their home here. As you walk along the rocky coastline and through the forests of cacti and Palo Santo trees, you will no doubt encounter a number of these incredible creatures that resemble miniature dragons. The high tide also makes this a fantastic place to snorkel as the coral attracts a plethora of colorful fish close to the shoreline.
Day 3: Tintoreras | Sierra Negra Volcanoe | Armando Tupiza Breeding Center | Isabela Wetlands
Las Tintoreras is a chain of islets off the coast of Isabela island that is characterized by dark lava formations and have created a unique habitat for a variety of wildlife. It is, therefore, a fantastic site for water activities such as a panga ride, snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding and visitors are often treated to close-up sightings of turtles, sharks, penguins and sea lions. The Sierra Negra is one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and has the second largest caldera in the world. As you walk up to the top of the caldera you will encounter forests of guava trees and on a clear day, you will be treated to spectacular views of the other five volcanoes on the island.
The Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, where two species of giant tortoise are bred to increase the population of these incredible animals, plays an essential role in protecting the future of the Galapagos. As you walk around the center you are able to enjoy the beautiful gardens that boast of a wide variety of native plants. Just outside Puerto Villamil, you can also take a walk around the Isabela wetlands, comprised of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves, which have become a paradise for migratory birds such as stilts and flamingos.
Moreno point is located on the west coast of Isabela Island and although it appears a barren lava flow at first, a walk along one of the trails soon reveals a multitude of beautiful green lagoons and mangroves and is a fantastic place to see penguins, blue herons and flamingos. Meanwhile, a panga ride or snorkel along the rocky shoreline is a wonderful way to spot green sea turtles and white-tip sharks.
Urbina Bay is located at the foot of the Alcedo Volcano and is the result of a major volcanic uplift that took place in 1954 and resulted in 6km of the coral reef being lifted out of the ocean. Walking along this new shore, you can observe the corals and remains of marine life that were stranded due to this event. However, it is now home to giant land iguanas and giant tortoises and it often a good spot to see Galapagos hawks and flightless cormorants. It is also ideal for snorkeling as turtles, rays and tropical fish frequent the coastline.
Fernandina is the youngest island in the Galapagos and Espinosa point is a wonderful area of natural beauty. Snorkeling and swimming from the zodiac allows you to see the marine iguanas feeding underwater. On the rocks, you can see large numbers of colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs. On land, the walking trails enable you to explore the fascinating mangrove plants, lava cacti and striking black lava formations where marine iguanas enjoy basking themselves in the sun.
Accessible by panga, Vicente Roca Point on the northwest coast of Isabela Island is a beautiful large bay with two coves that provide nesting sites for blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels and Brown Noddy Terns. Snorkeling is also a great activity here as the cooler waters result in an abundance of food for marine life, and it is common to see groups of whales, dolphins, sea lions and marine birds gorging themselves.
Rabida island is most known for its dark red sand beach surrounded by a backdrop of cliffs and steep volcanic hills full of Palo Santo trees and endemic cacti. A panga ride around the shoreline gives the chance to spot blue-footed and Nazca boobies and water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding are ideal for seeing white tipped sharks and rays. On the beach, you can find a large noisy colony of sea lions and the surrounding salt brush is home to a nesting colony of pelicans. Inland, bird watchers will delight in seeing mockingbirds, yellow warblers and Darwin finches - Rabida is the only site where all nine Darwin’s finches are found.
Bartholomew island is an islet located in Sullivan Bay and its most famous landmark is a huge volcanic cone named Pinnacle Rock. A walking trail leads up to a viewpoint at the summit of the island where you can enjoy spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding lava flows. The northern beach, a nesting site for green sea turtles, is perfect for snorkeling where sightings of spotted eagle rays, penguins and reef sharks are possible.
Day 7: Witch Hill | Giant Tortoise Reserve, San Cristobal
Witch Hill features an idyllic white sand beach which can be accessed by panga and is a superb vantage point for seeing Kicker Rock in the south of the island. The hill itself is an eroded tuff cone and the calm waters at the base of it offer a magnificent view. Meanwhile, a walk along the beach or on one of the inland paths, provides opportunities to see a variety of coral reef finches and mockingbirds.
A hike into the wilds of the Galapagos is an adventure all to itself! Visiting the Giant Tortoise Reserve, the longest hike on San Cristobal at about 5 km each way, will give visitors the opportunity to observe this iconic Galapagos species in its natural habitat.
Day 8: San Cristobal Interpretation Center | Disembark | San Cristobal Airport
A short distance from the center of San Cristobal is the San Cristobal Interpretation Center, which provides an overview of the fascinating history of the islands. The main areas of focus, which are addressed through a number of expositions are natural history, human history, and conservation for the future.
You can also take one of the trails behind the center that lead to some great viewpoints of the ocean and volcanic rocks below.
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Approximately 35 m2 the Golden Suites are spacious and comfortable. Each suite features an ocean view, sliding glass doors to an outdoor balcony, and rainforest-style showers in a private bathroom.
25% Discount applies when traveling with two adults. Children must be under 12 years old by the time they cruise. Child discounts are conditional and may not apply on certain departures. Please contact us for more information.
Children under 12 may receive discounts on Galapagos flight fares and entrance fees. Contact us for details.
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.