Embark on this exciting 8-day tour of the western islands of this incredible archipelago. Highlights of the west include beautiful Santa Cruz, wildlife-rich Isabela, cliff-laden Fernandina, and the amazing black beaches of Santiago. Get ready to see an abundance of unique wildlife including flamingos, frigate birds, iguanas, and enjoy some friendly interaction with the islands playful sea lions. The wildlife here is abundant and the landscape is stunning to behold making this an incredible vacation.
Arrive in the Galapagos and transfer to Santa Cruz Island. Here, we will visit the highlands of Santa Cruz where you will have the opportunity to see giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.
In the afternoon, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and its giant tortoise breeding center. Here, you can learn about the various Galapagos conservation and research programs that have helped saved certain species of tortoises from becoming extinct.
Chinese Hat is a small volcanic island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. The name of the island describes the shape of the island. Fauna includes Sea lions, marine iguanas and the Galapagos penguin.
Rábida Island: Rábida is a small island with a dark red coral sand beach. Highlights include the lagoon with flamingoes, pelican nesting site, sea lion bachelor colony, and a snorkeling site at the end of the beach.
Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands formed by five active volcanoes fused together. Wolf Volcano is the highest point in the entire Galapagos at 1707m.
Sierra Negra : Volcan Sierra Negra has a caldera with a diameter of 10km. View recent lava flows, moist highland vegetation, and parasitic cones.
Puerto Villamil: Puerto Villamil is a charming small town on a white sand beach. Highlights include the Tortoise Breeding Station and the flamingo lagoon. Other visits (depending on conditions) are the Tintoreras or Los Humedales.
Elizabeth Bay: This spot is only accessible by dinghy. It is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay. The end of the bay is long and narrow surrounded by three species of mangroves. Galapagos Sea Turtles and rays can usually be seen in the water.
Punta Moreno: Punta Moreno is located in the central southwestern coast of Isabela Island. The site has spectacular views of volcanoes Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. Some highlights include impressive lava flows, desolate and pristine landscape, varied and unusual arid zone vegetation.
Urbina Bay: Urbina Bay is located at the central-west coast of Isabela Island at the foothills of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Highlights include the colourful land iguanas, Galapagos Giant tortoises and the coral uplifting from 1954.
Tagus Cove: Tagus Cove is a natural harbor where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship’s names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill to Darwin’s Crater salt-water lake will provide an excellent view.
Fernandina Island: Fernandina is the youngest volcanic island and is still active.
Punta Espinoza: Punta Espinoza is a place famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas and as the habitat of unique species like the flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, among others.
Punta Vicente Roca: This site is visited by dinghy rides along the cliffs or the partially sunken cave at the water’s edge. Nasca boobies, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.
James (Santiago) Island: This Island is located between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. This Island offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals.
Playa Espumilla: Espumilla Beach has a beautiful contrast between the golden beach and the green mangroves. It is also a great site to see flamingos, pintail ducks, green sea turtle nests and the Galapagos Hawk. It is also a good site to go for a cool off swim or a snorkel.
Buccaneers Cove: This site was Charles Darwin’s home for 9 days. As well as a resting site for many whalers and pirates. With this rich history Buccaneers Cove is a must see. Enjoy a panga ride or snorkel looking for Galapagos Fur Seals, Brown Noodies, Pelicans, and Swallow-tailed Gulls
Bartolome Island: A hike will take you to the highest point on Bartolome for a spectacular view. Sea lions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock. There is a sandy beach with great swimming and snorkeling.
Day 8: North Seymour | Baltra
This morning we travel to North Seymour Island, home one of the largest populations of frigatebirds. We may also see Blue-footed Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls.
After our visit to North Seymour, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!