Highlights: Land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, flamingos, penguins, flightless cormorant, brown pelican, Darwin finches, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, Galapagos hawk, Darwin finches.
This itinerary focuses on the Central and Western Islands, including visits to Western Isabela and Fernandina Island, two of the highlights of the Galapagos Islands.
DAY 1: FRIDAY
Note: Passengers must transfer to Isabela via speed boat ferry or by small plane, ideally the day before. Day 1 activities depend on when the passengers arrive to Isabela
Isabela Island (Albemarle): 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.
DAY 2: SATURDAY
Isabela (Albemarle) Island
AM: 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.
PM: 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.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
Isabela (Albemarle) Island
AM: 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.
PM: 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.
DAY 4: MONDAY
Fernandina Island / Isabela Island
Fernandina Island: Fernandina is the youngest volcanic island and is still active.
AM: 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.
PM: Punta Vicente Roca: This site is visited by dinghy rides along the cliffs or the partially sunken cave at the water’s edge. Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.
DAY 5: TUESDAY
James (Santiago) Island / Bartolome Island
AM: 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
PM: Bartolome Island: Famous for its pinnacle rock and penguins
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 6: WEDNESDAY
North Seymour Island / Baltra for return flight to Quito
AM: North Seymour Island: This flat piece of land originated after an uplifting event thousands of years ago. The island is home to endemic Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, and magnificent frigate birds.
Baltra: Return flight to Quito.