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Santa Cruz: Las Bachas Beach

Western & South Islands

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard M/Y Monserrat
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Take a 12-day trip on the M/Y Monserrat through the Galapagos Islands, which includes some of the most stunning islands in the world, including Santa Cruz, North Seymour, and Santa Fe. The Galapagos Islands, teeming with wildlife, volcanic wonders, and magnificent landscapes, are a perfect destination to spend a holiday! Immerse yourself in the abundance of unique animals on the island, including frigatebirds and iguanas, and interact with the island's lively sea lions.
Tortoise tracksSunrise in the GalapagosWildlife viewing and tours of the Galapagos islandsWildlife on a Galapagos islands tourGalapagosExploring the Galapagos
Highlights
  • Spot sorts of marine wildlife at Bachas Beach.
  • Discover the spectacular views of the Alcedo volcano.
  • Visit Espinosa Point, one of the most pristine islands in the world.
  • Cruise alongside high cliffs and rock formations to Buccaneer.
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Baltra | Embark | Bachas Beach

Flight to Baltra Island. You will be met by your guide and transferred to the Monserrat. You will then sail to Bachas Beach where your first exploration of the Galapagos begins. Bachas is a great introduction to the Galapagos. Here you can relax and swim in its crystalline waters. This site also gives visitors the opportunity to see frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.

Head to Bachas Beach where the sand is made of decomposed coral, making it soft and white, and a favorite site for nesting sea turtles. Spot abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs on the lava rocks along the water's edge -- these crabs will eat anything they can get their claws on! Trek to see a wide range of wildlife, including flamingos, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and sea lions. Go snorkeling or swimming right off the white sand beach of Las Bachas. Spot all sorts of marine wildlife in its shallow waters and tidal pools. Bachas is also one of the most important beaches for the green turtle as a nesting site.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Day 2: Tagus Cove | Urbina Bay

After a long journey from the central part of the Galapagos, you will arrive at the pristine and remote West of the archipelago. Your visits today are Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay on the west of Isabela Island, where you will have your first encounters with flightless cormorants, penguins, giant tortoises and beautiful landscapes, and amazing snorkeling opportunities.

Tagus Cove is located on the Northwestern coast of Isabela. It is a historical site visited by Charles Darwin in 1835, where graffiti has been carved into the rock walls by visitors over the past centuries. This spot has been frequented by whalers and pirates since the 1800s that used the area as anchorage. The name of the site dates back to 1814 when it was visited by a British ship, The Tagus, which had anchored there in search of giant tortoises to be used as a food supply on the boat. Here, you will admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, the flightless cormorant, and Galapagos penguins depending on the season. Occasionally you might see woodpecker finches, the Galapagos hawk, the yellow warbler, or a large-billed flycatcher. After a dry landing, you can climb up the trail to visit Darwin's Lake. The lake is located on the slopes of Darwin Volcano and is, surprisingly, a saltwater lake above sea level. The naturalist guide will tell you what are the different scientific theories for this occurrence. Meanwhile, in your snorkeling, there are chances to see sharks, turtles, and sea stars. You may also see various different types of colorful fish.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Urbina Bay is a fascinating visitor site that came to be as the shallow sea bottom uplifted in 1954 showing a large coral reef sticking up above sea level. Because of this, Urbina Bay is one of the newest features in the Galapagos. This visitor site is located west of Isabela and provides spectacular views of the Alcedo volcano. The long trail starts on the beach where a wet landing is made. In this location, you will likely see wild Galapagos Giant Tortoises and Galapagos Land Iguanas. As the trail circles back towards the shoreline, you'll come across colonies of the unique Galapagos Flightless Cormorant which lost its ability to fly. This is also a great spot for snorkeling, as you can come close to a Galapagos Penguin Colony and see Galapagos Marine Iguanas feeding underwater.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Day 3: Espinoza Point | Vicente Roca Point

Today you visit the most western visitor site of the Galapagos, Espinoza Point in Fernandina Island. This island is also one the most pristine on the archipelago as no foreign species have been introduced. In the afternoon, you will visit Vicente Roca Point, on Isabela Island, famous for its rich underwater sea life thanks to its location on the Bolivar Channel.

Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine islands in the world, with none of man’s introduced species to date. From here you can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Fernandina is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands and a visitor favorite. When landing, check out the tidal pools where there is an abundance of sea life, including small fish and mollusks. If you are lucky, a sea turtle or ray may be trapped in the pools. A little further ahead you will pass through some marine iguana burrows and sea lion colonies. The trail continues to where several flightless cormorants have their nests. This remarkable bird is only found in the western Galapagos, and experts estimate that they may only be a few hundred individuals in total.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Vicente Roca Point has great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolivar Channel). Vicente Roca Point is renowned for its Galápagos green turtles, which are very numerous on the bay. Although the spot is known for its high concentration of green turtles, sharks, and rays can also be observed when underwater visibility is good. You take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life. Your snorkeling will take you along the cliffs and offers the chance of exploring two shallow underwater caves with rich marine wildlife.
Activities: Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 4: Puerto Egas | Espumilla Beach & Bucaneer Cove

Morning excursion to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools. Continue to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which boasts thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Head to Buccaneer Cove to witness the towering cliff wall rock formations. Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, and land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water.

Explore the spectacular shoreline of Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay. Spot a great number of shore birds and reptiles – the beach area is home to a plethora of wildlife. Grab a snorkel and jump into the water right off the beach to explore Puerto Egas' interesting underwater world. Keep your eyes peeled for rays, turtles, and reef sharks while snorkeling. After, visit the large tidal pool area – marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs are everywhere.
Activities: Hike, Snorkeling

Head to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and sea turtle nesting sites.
Jump into the panga and cruise alongside high cliffs and rock formations on this visit to Buccaneer Cove, which was a favorite hideout for pirates looking to stock up their boats with food and water. Spot sea lions relaxing on the beach and sea birds nesting in the cove – there are lots to see at this site.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 5: North Seymour | Santa Cruz Highlands

Visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies. In the afternoon, enjoy the highlands. Visit a tortoise ranch and see some of the amazing volcanic formations in Santa Cruz.

Have an amazing wildlife experience visiting North Seymour Island – this island is teeming with life! Follow trails to see all the action (you may need to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana while walking). See blue-footed booby nests where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Head to a rocky shore to see flocks of pelicans having lunch in a dive bomb-feeding frenzy, then turn inland to a large nesting site of magnificent frigate birds. These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6.5 ft) wingspans, and males, with their puffed-up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. Top off the excursion with a snorkel among sea lions and rays.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz and see the Galápagos giant tortoise in its natural surroundings. Explore the area and its incredible underground lava tunnels – some are more than 1km (.6 mi) long! Wander along the volcanic tubes and keep an eye out for the (mainly) nocturnal barn owls that sometimes roost here.
Activities: Hike

Day 6: Rábida Island | Bartolomé Island

This morning you will have an excursion to Rábida its unique reddish landscape, to see a lagoon and a sea lion colony. Continue to Bartolomé for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint.

Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes – it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters. Take a panga ride from the beach to a cliff wall that drops off into the water to find one of the best deep-water snorkeling spots on the islands.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Hike to Bartolomé's summit for a stronger perspective of the islands' not-too-distant volcanic origins, and enjoy a panoramic view – it’s one of the best among the islands! See other Galápagos Islands in the distance as well as Pinnacle Rock, the island’s famous towering landmark. Take the opportunity to swim and snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, one of the most iconic volcanic rock formations on the islands. Home to Galápagos penguins, friendly sea lions, sea turtles, and a huge variety of fish, Bartolomé and its surrounding waters are a fantastic place to explore the natural wonders of the Galápagos.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 7: South Plaza Island | Santa Fé Island

Land at South Plaza in the morning for wildlife spotting opportunities and a walk through the cactus forest. In the afternoon, take a guided walk around Santa Fé to observe wildlife and plentiful marine iguanas.

Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.
Activities: Hike

Lace up your hiking boats to explore the island's flora and fauna. Trek toward the cliffs along the island's northern shore to see a forest of giant prickly pear cacti (Opuntia). See endemic land iguanas lounging in their favorite forest, and feasting on Opuntia pads and fruit.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 8: Punta Pitt | Cerro Brujo

Morning landing at Punta Pitt on San Cristóbal Island to observe the marine iguanas and seabirds along the beach and enjoy a snorkeling excursion. On the afternoon, you land at Cerro Brujo to observe the sea lions, marine iguanas, and seabirds along the beach.

Enjoy amazing wildlife watching and interesting geological formations on this fascinating expedition. Arrive at a quiet cove on the eastern tip of San Cristóbal to explore Punta Pitt. Made up of volcanic tuff substrate, it's the only site in the Galápagos where it's possible to see three species of boobies and two species of frigatebirds. Snorkel around Punta Pitt Island and spot schools of fish swimming below. On the shore admire the nesting birds and sunbathing sea lions.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Visit Cerro Brujo to explore its coastline, and look for wildlife on the beach, in the water, and in the air. Learn about the human and natural history of the area from the Galápagos CEO. Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise water, and head out on a short walk to a freshwater lagoon – a great place to see flamingos.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Panga Ride, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Day 9: Lobos Island | Interpretation Center | Tijeretas Hill

In the morning, visit Isla Lobos and be greeted by sea lions frolicking in the waves before and a small colony of blue-footed boobies. In the afternoon, visit Tijeretas, a great viewpoint and your first wildlife encounter. Learn about the origins of the Galapagos at the Interpretation Center.

Explore this tiny island by foot and boat for some great wildlife encounters. Take a panga ride to view the sea and shore birds nesting and feeding. Spot a small colony of blue-footed boobies as well as two species of sea lions. Snorkel right off the beach at peaceful Isla Lobos, amid the families of sea lions and their inquisitive pups looking to play. Spot nesting frigate birds and the famous blue-footed boobies resting on the shore. Be sure to bring your camera to catch some snaps at this prime wildlife-watching haven.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Learn about the history of the Galápagos Islands from the very beginning of their volcanic origins through to today’s conservation efforts. Tour the Human History exhibit to learn about the islands’ discovery and colonization, and discover the natural history and variety of flora and fauna that make the Galápagos so fascinating.

This hill bears its name thanks to the frigate birds as “Tijeretas” is what people locally call them. Here you will enjoy a great view of beautiful landscapes at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 10: Gardner Bay | Punta Suárez

Enjoy the day on Española Island, one of the oldest in the archipelago. Visit the white sandy beach of Gardner Bay and the bird colonies of Punta Suárez. Arriving at Gardner Bay in the morning, spend the day exploring on shore and snorkeling at Gardner Island in the bay. After lunch, sail to the western side of the islands to Punta Suárez, known for its amazing bird colonies and home to the waved albatross (April and December).

Visit Gardner Bay's magnificent white sandy beach, home to sea lions and sea birds. Be sure to explore the beautiful turquoise water and its incredible sea life. Spot young sea lions and large schools of surprisingly big tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrot fish. Head to Tortuga Rock and Gardner Bay for a spectacular snorkeling experience. Spot playful young sea lions and large schools of tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrot fish. Look for white-tipped reef sharks napping on the bottom.
Activities: Hike, Kayak, Snorkeling, Standup Paddleboard

Visit Punta Suárez, one of the richest wildlife landing sites in the Galápagos. Be greeted by surfing young sea lions on arrival. Head to the trail to find many
species of nesting sea birds, and, if lucky, see the waved albatross. Follow the path up to a cliff for great views over the ocean, and watch sea birds gliding in the wind. 
Activities: Hike

Day 11: Punta Cormorant | Post Office Bay

Land at Punta Cormorant on Floreana. Guided walks to observe the bird and wildlife and learn about the natural history. Snorkeling excursion at Champion Islet. Visit Post Office Bay.

Visit Punta Cormorant, the only landing site on Floreana Island, and discover two amazingly different beaches: one with green sand, colored by olivine crystals, and another with white sand particles known as 'Flour Beach'. Spend the afternoon observing flamingos and other shore birds feeding in the lagoon. Spot penguins and marine iguanas at the water’s edge, and explore the lava tubes with the Galápagos CEO.
Champion Islet: Jump on in and get up close and personal with the playful sea lion colony that resides in the waters off this tiny island. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, rays, and colorful fish swimming by. There can be currents in this area, this activity should be done by strong swimmers only.
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Visit Post Office Bay and learn about its unique history. In the late 18th century, English whaling vessels placed a barrel here to be used as a post office. Today, the box is used mainly by tourists, who may drop off and pick up unstamped letters to be carried to far destinations. Continue the tradition – leave a letter and take one to deliver (be sure it makes it to the correct location)
Activities: Hike, Panga Ride, Snorkeling

Day 12: Disembark | Charles Darwin Station | Baltra Airport

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the giant Galápagos tortoises

Visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close – a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened. This area also houses the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos' ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. While the offices themselves are not open to visitors, the research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community.
Activities: Hike

Fly back to the mainland from Baltra airport.

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M/Y Monserrat

The Monserrat
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• LOWER DECK CABINS – TWIN Cabin size: 3.21m x 2.32m Bathroom: 2.32m x 0.96m Total: 4.17m x 2.32m • LOWER DECK CABINS – MATRIMONIAL Cabin size: 3.40m x 2.02m Bathroom: 2.02m x 1.03m Total: 4.43m x 2.02m
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Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • Wetsuits - Available on board
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide 
  • Gear Rental: Kayaking Gear
  • Adventure Life Pre-departure Services and In-Country Assistance (Quito Representative)
  • Shore Excursions, Swimming and Snorkeling 
  • Transfers and Baggage Handling in the Galapagos
  • Coffee, Tea & Water
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  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Galapagos Park Entrance Fee: $200 per adult, $100 per child under 12 (fees of $100 per adult and $50 per child valid on arrivals through Aug 1, 2024). Payable upon arrival to the Galapagos, only in cash dollars. Subject to increase by Galapagos Park Service.
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675
  • Alcohol and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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