This incredible 8-day cruise through the eastern islands of the Galapagos covers some of the most beautiful islands including Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Bartolome, Rabida, South Plaza, Santa Fe and Española. Overflowing with wildlife, volcanic wonders, and breathtaking landscapes, this is the perfect vacation choice. The wildlife here is abundant and the landscape is stunning to behold. Fill your days with opportunities to snorkel, swim, kayak, and wander through the islands of this archipelago.
Reach the summit of Bartolome for a breathtaking panorama of the islands
Discover Rabida's deep-red beaches and visit a saltwater lagoon
Visit Santa Cruz Island's most famous highlights
Explore Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center and meet giant turtles
Arrive at Baltra Island Airport and transfer to the Mary Anne. After lunch, navigate a short distance to Black Turtle Cove, a large mangrove lagoon on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island. Pelicans and herons roost on the branches, while marine dwellers such as green sea turtles or golden rays may cruise right next to the panga as it makes its way through the mangroves.
Travel to Genovesa Island and reach Darwin Bay (wet landing), a unique site lined with red mangroves and softhaired prickly pear cacti where red‐footed boobies and great frigatebirds perch tamely.
In the afternoon visit El Barranco (dry landing), climb the edge of a cliff where frigatebirds, masked boobies, and red‐footed boobies nest. Seek out for the impressive red‐billed tropicbird amidst Galapagos storm petrels.
This morning land at Bartolome to climb up the wooden steps and reach the summit of this spatter cone for a most breathtaking panorama of the island’s well photographed Pinnacle Rock and views of neighbouring Santiago and many other central islands in the distance.
In the afternoon, sail for Chinese Hat. Less than a quarter of one square kilometer in size, this island gets its name from being shaped like a Chinese Hat. The hat shape is best appreciated from the north side. Lava formations can be seen on the western side of the island, formed under the sea and raised upward and for this reason it is possible to observe coral heads on the lava. Be amazed by the landscapes covered by sea lions colonies, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.
In the morning, landi onto Rabida’s deep‐red beaches to explore the red island’s fascinating interior and saltwater lagoon. Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds and yellow warblers feed off the vegetation. Given the right time of the year we may see brown pelicans nesting on salt bushes that fringe the beach.
Later, head across to Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz’s northwest shore (dry landing) to visit a saltwater lagoon, home to greater flamingos, black‐necked stilts and white‐cheeked pintails. Further inland we find a fantastic land iguana nesting site.
Day 5: Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, Santa Cruz
Spend this day visiting Santa Cruz Island´s most famous highlights. Land at the dock of Puerto Ayora to then board our transportation and head to the island’s highlands. This area, in contrast to the coastal region, has lush vegetation and forest due to the humidity in the higher regions. Visit one of the ranches of the area where it is possible to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. As these animals migrate from the coastal area to the highlands and back, the chosen ranch depends on the presence of the tortoises since they roam free and change locations. This is also a good place to see the Galapagos hawk and barn owl of this island and the surrounding forests are filled of birds such as the vermilion flycatcher or the yellow warbler.
Enjoy lunch at the ranch to then head back to Puerto Ayora for our second visit of the day, the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center. Here, see tortoises from different islands. The animals are found in large semi‐natural pens for their protection, but also to ensure an easy view for the visitors. The pens are divided according to four different stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (held here until they are mature enough to be "repatriated"), and adults.
Today land on one of the oldest docks of the archipelago, colorful Plaza Sur is home to vibrant green prickly pears, deep red Sesuvium and coppery‐orange land iguanas. Impressive seaward cliffs are excellent for a variety of coastal birds. This is also a great place to observe the adult and pup sea lions swimming along the shores.
In the afternoon, land on a white beach of Santa Fe, where sea lions are usually resting. Look for the endemic species of land iguana, larger and yellower than land iguanas on other islands. The largest prickly pear cacti in the Galapagos are also found here.
In the morning head to Suarez Point The trail is about 4 km (2 miles) long and the walk takes about 2 hours. A geyser near the trail sprays water some 25 m (75 feet) into the air. This is one of the most popular landing sites in Galapagos. The highlights include: sea lions near the landing place, sometimes to be seen body‐surfing in the large breakers; large marine iguanas, with red‐coloured males in the breeding season; oystercatchers; blue‐footed and Nazca boobies; Galapagos hawk; Galapagos dove; swallow‐tailed gull; red billed tropicbirds in flight; and three species endemic to Española – waved albatross (present only from April to December), Española mockingbird, and Española lava lizard.
In the afternoon travel to Gardner Bay, an outstanding beach with sea lions, marine iguanas, and the intrepid Española mockingbird. Close to Española there is a good spot for snorkeling called Gardner Islet. While snorkeling, there is a good chance playful sea lions join you. Get ready for more snorkeling at Osborn islet, a great place to observe great quantities of marine life.
Day 8: Twin Craters, Santa Cruz | Disembark | Baltra
This is your last day in the islands. After breakfast disembark in Puerto Ayora to take your transport to the Baltra airport, making a short stop to visit the Twin Craters. The Gemelos (twins) are two deep craters located to the side of the road that leads to Puerto Ayora from the other side of the island. These huge holes were probably created in a volcanic explosion or by magma chambers underneath the island´s surface. This is also a good place to see the Galapagos hawk and barn owl of this island and the surrounding forests are filled of birds such as the vermilion flycatcher or the yellow warbler. Something worth mentioning is the contrast of the vegetation of the highlands with the arid coastal zones.
After this visit make your way to the Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador.
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