DAY 1 - FRIDAY
AM: Arrival at San Cristobal Airport
Upon arrival at San Cristobal airport, you will pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbour. Here you will climb aboard the yacht Solaris. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch aboard.
PM: Colorado Hill (San Cristobal)
Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Centre is located approximately 40 minutes by bus to the southeast of the island. This centre was built to improve the status of the population of the island tortoises. It includes a large corral, a visitor centre, a breeding centre and an interpretive trail. Along this trail, it is possible to see different species of native and endemic plants as well as birds including the San Cristobal mockingbird, yellow warblers, many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.
DAY 2 - SATURDAY
AM: Gardner Bay (Española)
On the north-eastern coast of the island of Española, Gardner Bay offers a wonderful place to refresh in the turquoise sea and to admire a large number of colourful reef fish. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel side by side with green sea turtles, or to enjoy the proximity of playful Galapagos sea lions. The white sand beach is also an important breeding ground for the green sea turtles. In the crystal-clear ocean, sometimes whales can be sighted under certain circumstances.
PM: Suarez Point (Española)
Huge ocean waves crash onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays metres high into the air (depending on the season, the tide
and how strongly the sea breeze pushes the waves). Take your time for a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment into a lifetime
This rocky area is home to the most impressive and diverse seabirds of the archipelago. Depending on the season, you can admire the endangered Galapagos albatross, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds, and more. Along the sou- thern coast, high cliffs allow spectacular views of ascending birds and the seawater shot through blow holes.
DAY 3 - SUNDAY
AM: Cormorant Point and Champion Islet (Floreana)
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which exists out of smaller volcanic cones, covered by a tropical dry forest of palo santo. At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals which have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The “flour sand” beach on the southern side of the peninsula is made up of even finer white coral sand which feels very smooth on the feet. Parrotfish have pulverised it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral. You can spot schools of stingrays who love the sandy bottom to hide. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs. Devil’s Crown offers one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos due to the coral reef in its centre, which attracts a lot of marine life. Here you can spot Galapagos penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, many different colourful fish and even some dolphins. The current can be a bit strong sometimes, so it should not be attempted by novice swimmers.
PM: Post Office Bay and Baroness Viewpoint (Floreana)
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Letters found inside the barrel were collected and delivered by sailors returning home. There was no postage fee and, surprisingly, this mailbox and its honour system are still in use today. Although letters are no longer important messages from sailors to their loved ones, tourists leave thousands of them today and many still reach their destination. You can also relax on the beach, where in addition to Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden rays, you may see Galapagos penguins. This is the only place in the southeastern archipelago where penguins reside.
You can also climb the small basaltic cone of the Baroness Lookout and enjoy the coastline’s paradisiacal views. This viewpoint was the favourite spot of one of Floreana's first settlers, the eccentric baroness and self-proclaimed “Empress of the Galapagos”, Eloisa von Wagner, who even built her house a few metres further back. There will be a long navigation waiting at the end of the day, so we recommend that you take medication for seasicknes.
DAY 4: MONDAY
AM - Sullivan Bay (Santiago)
The arrival in Sullivan Bay is like a moon landing. The desolate, sprawling fields seem to be mostly lifeless, but this island, which is particularly popular among photographers, still offers a lot to see. There is even some life! Green sea turtles burrow in the small white sand beach, where you can also find crabs, blue herons and oystercatchers.
The beautiful volcanic islet of Bartholomew is among the youngest of the islands and, on a geological scale, was just recently born out of the fire. Although it looks lifeless at first sight, Bartholomew offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramas of the entire archipelago. To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic “Pinnacle Bay” you will have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114 m/375 ft). Enter a dramatic world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The summit trail is also ideal for witnessing how scanty pioneer vegetation, such as lava cactus, struggles to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.
DAY 5: TUESDAY
AM - Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz)
This small bay is located on the north side of the island of Santa Cruz and offers a unique backdrop for unique adventures. The landscape makes you feel as if you're in the Amazon rainforest rather than near the sea. Explore the quiet emerald lagoon and surrounding shallow bays with the inflatable dinghy. The crystal clear water allows you to spot groups of whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, gold rays and spotted eagle rays.
After that, it is time to say goodbye to the Galapagos! It has been a pleasure accompanying you on this unique trip and we hope to see you again very soon. Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to Baltra airport. In case you have booked your trip for a longer stay with us, we would be welcoming any potential new fellow passengers to the yacht, and continue our trip to the next visiting site!
- Transfer to Baltra Airport