This 8-day North & West Islands Galapagos cruise on the Nemo II explores the wildlife-rich shores of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Santiago, Rabida, and more! Enjoy opportunities to hike, snorkel, kayak, or cruise on a panga boat while exploring volcanic landscapes, unique flora and fauna, research sites, and breathtaking underwater beauty on your incomparable adventure.
Ride a zodiac in Tagus Cove and see pirate graffiti
Explore the cliffs and coves of Isabela
Climb Prince Phillip's Steps and observe Nazca boobies
Take a trail to a flamingo lagoon and snorkel along the rocks
Take a morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, be transferred to the yacht and take some time to settle in your cabin before lunch and a welcome briefing.
In the afternoon, visit Bachas Beach, a swimming beach located on the north shore of Santa Cruz. See one of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest on Bachas Beach. Afternoon activities: Navigation to Bachas Beach in Santa Cruz. Wet landing, Nature walk and Snorkeling.
In the morning, visit the white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay with a half-mile trail (0,75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path, find tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view of a cliff. Morning activities: Wet landing, Nature walk and Shallow water snorkeling.
In the afternoon, visit El Barranco, which is also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps. There is a steep, rocky path that leads up to a high cliff-face with a marvelous view. This site is also home to palo santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves. Afternoon activities: Dry landing, Nature walk, Prince Phillip´s Steps and Deep water snorkeling.
Sullivan Bay is a site of great geological interest, as it is covered by solidified and wave-shaped lava flows from 1897. The amazing lava formations attract the attention of thousands of students and scientists. Sullivan Bay is located at the Southeast side of Santiago Island. The landing can be made both on the rocky shore (dry landing)on the white sand beach (wet landing). Enjoy the walking path at this site which takes approximately an hour and a half to complete. At the beginning of the walk, find the molds of some trees and see interesting vegetation in the volcano surroundings. At the end of the walk, take a nice swim or snorkel in the clear blue water and white sandy beach located at the edge of the lava stream. Morning activities: Panga boat ride to Sullivan Bay, Wet landing, Nature walk and Snorkeling from the beach.
In the afternoon, visit one of the special features of Rabida Island is its remarkable red color, which is a result of the high percentage of oxidized iron in the composition of lava. Here we will witness the nine varieties of finches, as well as the large-billed flycatchers and brown pelicans. There is also a small salt-water lagoon where greater Flamingos can be seen and a beautiful colony of sea lions. Afternoon activities: Wet landing, Nature walk and Deep water snorkeling.
The highlands of Santa Cruz have incredible zones of vegetation. This reserve offers you one of the best possibilities to see the huge turtles of Santa Cruz Island in their natural habitat. You can observe them from very close. Morning activities: Visit to Santa Cruz Highland, Dry landing.
In the afternoon, visit in Puerto Ayora is to Charles Darwin Station. An excellent way to begin learning about the islands, their origin and formation. Learn about how the Galapagos turtles are raised and meet Jorge, the famous solitary turtle. The Scientific Station has its own beach that receives many visitors on weekends. Afternoon activities: Visit to Charles Darwin Scientific Station and Breeding Center. Dry landing.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the few places from Galapagos Archipelago in which landing is forbidden. This happens because there is not a single place to stay in, and also to preserve the natural species of plants and animals living there. However, you can swim and play some water sports as a gift. Animals will be happy to welcome you to this water paradise. Morning activities: Dry landing, Visit to Elizabeth Bay and Deep water snorkeling.
Lying at the foot of Alcedo Volcano, south of Tagus Cove, is Urbina Bay, one of the best and the most recent example of geological uplift in the Galapagos. Uplifts occur when the molten materials beneath the surface shifts. In 1954 the shoreline was uplifted by nearly 15 feet (4 meters). The coastline was driven 3/4 of a mile further out to sea, exposing giant coral heads and stranding marine organisms on what was now on shore.
Begin with a wet landing on the white sand beach. Difficulty of the route varies by season. The trail ranges from stark and easily passable during the dry season to mildly challenging requiring wading to pass during the rainy season. Visitors cross the uplifted region learning about this geological wonder. Then reach the sandy area that was once the beach. Shorter visits return to the landing point on the same path, while longer visits continue past the coral heads and new beach. Afternoon activities: Wet landing, Nature walk and more wildlife watching and Shallow water snorkeling.
Tagus cove (Isabela Island) is situated directly east of Fernandina Island on the west coast of Isabela Island. It is a beautiful, well-protected cove sheltered by the shoulders of two volcanic craters and has been used as an anchorage for over 300 years. A nature trail here ascends through the typical dry vegetation zone and offers spectacular views of Darwin Lake, a saltwater crater lake and the long narrow inlet that appears to connect with it. At the top of the trail it is possible to observe the different vegetation zones, catch a glimpse of Darwin and Wolf volcanoes, and observe Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and Pelicans. Morning activities: Dry landing, Nature walk, Panga boat ride and Deep water snorkeling.
In the afternoon, visit fernandina Island, the youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos, with eruptions taking place every few years. The flat lava of Punta Espinosa offers a stark and barren landscape, but here flightless cormorants build their nests on the point, sea lions sprawl on the beach or play in the tide pools and large numbers of marine iguanas dot the sand. We also will have the opportunity to compare the Aa and Pahoehoe lava types here. Afternoon activities: Wet landing, Nature walk on Espinoza Point and Deep water snorkeling.
Day 7: Espumilla Beach | Bucaneer Cove | Egas Port
The excursion begins just a short distance beyond the tide pools and heads to the fur seal grotto. Fur seals and sea lions can be seen swimming in the rocky lava ringed pools. This may be the only opportunity visitors have to see and swim with fur seals. The crystal clear water, volcanic bridges, fur seals and sea lions make this a magnificent place for swimming and snorkeling. Next stop, visit Espumilla Beach mostly do so in search of birds rather than water. A short walk inland takes visitors 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. The trail makes a loop heading over a knob into a sparely forested area then back to the beach. Stop at Buccaneer Cove today. Though many cruise by at a slow speed giving visitors the opportunity to view the steep cliffs made of tuff formations and the dark reddish-purple sand beach. This dramatic landscape is made all the more impressive by the hundreds of seabirds perched atop the cliffs. Two of the more recognizable rock formations are known as the "monk" and "elephant rock". Morning activities: Wet landing Espumilla Beach, Panga boat ride to Buccaneer Cove and Deep water snorkeling.
In the afternoon, visit to Puerto Egas begins with a wet landing on the dark sand beaches of James Bay. Taking a walk along the rocky coast offers visitors the opportunity to view some of the Galapagos Island's best tide pools. Sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish including the endemic four-eyed blenny can be seen. The walk also presents visitors with a variety of shore birds, marine iguanas, sally light foot crabs and sea lions. Afternoon activities: Visit Puerto Egas, nature walk, Visit salt mines and fur seal grotto and Shallow water snorkeling.
Day 8: Daphne Island | Disembark | Baltra
The Daphne Islands (Major and Minor) are two little volcanic islands. Daphne Major is made of a tuff crater, and does not have any trees on its surface. It is elevated 120 meters above sea level. It is one of the most famous Galapagos Islands due to the fact that scientists from Princeton University (The Grants) have been going to the island for 30 years now to study the birds, especially the boobies. As a result, they have been able to observe evolutionary processes. This gained them and the location worldwide recognition. Palo santo trees, blue footed bobbies, masked boobies, and Darwin finches are also main attractions here.
Return to Baltra and disembark the Nemo II and continue your independent travels.
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