Grand Majestic Itinerary B
Islands you will visit:
- - San Cristobal
- - North Seymour
- - South Plaza
- - Bartholomew
- - Santiago
- - Fernandina
- - Isabela
- - Santa Cruz
- - Santiago
AM: Arrival in San Cristobal Airport and Transfer to the boat
PM: “Jacinto Gordillo” Breeding Center
This is a new visitor site in the northeast part of San Cristobal Island and can now be reached in roughly one hour by road from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. In the Breeding Center, you will be able to admire the hatchling turtles from their birth until the are 120 days old when the grown turtles are taken to their natural habit.
AM: North Seymour Island
Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds are abundant on North Seymour Island. The island was formed by a series of submarine lava containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.
PM: South Plaza Island
In the morning, you will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.
AM: Bartholomew Island
Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.
PM: Egas Port
Also known as James Bay, Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur sea lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.
AM: Tagus Cove
Tagus Cove is located across from Fernandina Island near the Bolivar Channel dividing the two islands. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge display wonderful views. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another lovely beach surrounded by mangroves.
PM: Urbina Bay
Urbina Bay is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954 causing the land to rise over 16 feet. The coast expanded half a mile out leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling.
AM: Espinoza Point
No foreign species have ever invaded Fernandina Island, and therefore it is one of the world's most pristine island ecosystems. The volcano “La Cumbre” dominates the landspace with lava fields reaching the ocean. The island's highlight features the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk
PM: Vicente Roca Point
Located on the northwestern coast of the island and comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (sunfish) may be spotted here. This bay is great for diving and snorkeling
AM: Buccaneer Cove
Buccaneer Cove is a testament to the fact that Santiago Island was once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach, are a magnificent site.
Espumilla Beach is a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eels, and sharks, snorkeling is highly recommended.
PM: Sullivan Bay
A coral beach landing leads you towards a lava field as far as the eye can see. Hunt and peck over the two distinguished types of lava, pahoehoe and 'a'a, for signs of plant life that have managed to emerge over the past 100 years since the most recent volcanic explosion. A truly amazing volcanic experience…up close and personal!
AM: Bachas Beach
Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, Las Bachas is a swimming beach. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach
PM: Charles Darwin Station / Fausto Llerena Breeding Center
The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.
AM: Kicker Rock
This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and scuba diving allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life.
PM: Transfer to the San Cristobal Airport