PETREL CATAMARAN - ITINERARY F

6 DAYS

M/C PETREL
Itinerary F
6 day / 5-Night Cruise (Wednesday – Monday)

CENTRAL & SOUTHERN ISLANDS

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY DESCRIPTION

DAY 1: Wednesday
AM: Arrival to Baltra Island

Assistance will be provided upon your arrival by a Petrel representative after passing through immigration and baggage claim. When ready, you will be transferred to the yacht. You will then be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before the welcome briefing and lunch.

PM: Santa Cruz Island – Highlands

As part of your day, we will head towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz to visit the Twin Craters or Gemelos, meaning twins in Spanish, are two caved in magma chambers of a previous volcano. After years of erosion and extinction, the once full chambers caved in leaving two similar craters that can be seen on a short hike that passes by a Scalesia forest.

Then, be prepared to admire the famous giant tortoises in the wild. It is impressive to see these endemic animals that give the name to the archipelago, Galapagos. Birdwatching is also one of the activities in the highlands, since this area is home of finches and other Galapagos birds. Finally, we walk into lava caves to see the enormous lava flows that formed the islands before continuing back to the M/C Petrel.

Possible Activities: Hike
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of Landing: Dry Landing

 

Highlights: On the trail to the craters many different land birds can be seen in the Scalesia forest – finches, short eared owls, vermilion flycatchers, and Galapagos doves.

( -, L, D)

 

DAY 2: Thursday

AM: South Plaza Island

South Plaza is one of the smallest islands with a visitor site, but is home to an incredible amount of diverse flora and fauna. It has a large population of Sesuvium plants like the prickly pear cactus tree that is an important source of food for the land iguana. Just a few years ago mice were finally eradicated from the island, helping the population of land iguanas grow healthily once more.
Possible Activities: Hike
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet Landing
Highlights: Cacti native only to South Plaza, land iguana, finches, sea lions, swallow tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds.

 

PM: Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe Island is home to the unique Santa Fe land iguana and is the only place to find Opuntia cactus. Giant tortoises were once native to this island but after the many years of pirates and buccaneers visiting the island and taking the tortoises aboard as food, they became extinct. The Island is also called Barrington Island, named after British Admiral Samuel Barrington. Large numbers of sea lions can be found on the landing beach and Galapagos hawks can also sometimes be seen.

Possible Activities: Short hike, Dinghy Ride, Kayaking and snorkel
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet Landing
Highlights: Galapagos hawk, Santa Fe land iguana, Opuntia Cactus, sea lions, lava lizards.

(B, L, D)

DAY 3: Friday

AM: San Cristobal Island – Lobos Island

San Cristobal Island is the fifth largest island in the Galapagos and lies farthest East. It is where Darwin first landed back in 1835 and where the first permanent settlements were founded. Today the main port Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of Galapagos and houses many government offices, the Ecuadorian Navy, and an airport with daily flights to the mainland of Ecuador. Conservation challenges the island faces include invasive plants like blackberry and guayaba and insects like the blackfly.

Lobos Island is an islet about an hour away from San Cristobal. Blue-footed boobies will nest here seasonally. In recent years frigate birds have begun to nest here. Sea lions are abundant, as well as marine iguanas. It is a very calm and tranquil site with beautiful views, including Kicker Rock off in the distance.

Possible Activities: Hike Difficulty: Easy/Moderate Type of Landing: Dry Landing
Highlights: Frigate birds, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and nesting sites, views of Kicker Rock, marine iguanas. Snorkel – sea lions, sea turtles, rays.

 

PM: San Cristobal Island – David Rodriguez Giant Tortoise Breeding Center

This is the fifth largest island in the Galapagos and lies farthest East. It is where Darwin first landed back in 1835 and where the first permanent settlements were founded. Today the main port Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the Galapagos province and houses many government offices, the Ecuadorian Navy, and an airport with daily flights to the mainland of Ecuador. Conservation challenges the island faces include invasive plants like blackberry and guayaba and insects like the blackfly.
A visit to the David Rodriguez Breeding Center provides information about the origin and evolution of the giant tortoise and explains why the center is so vital in safeguarding the future of these incredible creatures.
Walking through the trails of the reserve, you can see baby tortoises being reared in semi- natural conditions - a brilliant demonstration of the commitment the local people have to preserving the wildlife that makes the Galapagos so special.

Possible Activities: Hike

Difficulty: Easy

 

Type of Landing: Dry Landing

Highlights: Giant tortoises up close and roaming freely, exhibits of various stages of tortoise breeding, learn more about their origin, evolution, natural habitat, and threats of introduced animals and plants.
( B, L, D)

DAY 4: Saturday

AM: Espanola Island – Gardner Bay/Osborn Islet/Gardner Islet

Here lies the southernmost island in the Galapagos, as well as the oldest. It is estimated to be about four million years old. Because it is so far away from the other islands it has the most endemic species. It is a wonderful opportunity for some great photography of endemic bird species that are found only on Espanola and awesome landscapes created by millions of years of erosion.
Gardner Bay/Osborn Islet/Gardner Islet: Visit one of the best beaches in the Galapagos. The white sandy beach is home to a large colony of friendly and playful sea lions. Three different types of finches can be seen. The Espanola Mockingbird is very friendly, but probably looking for food. At one point in time, tourists must have given it water or food, which taught them bad habits. The site is also where green sea turtles will come to nest their eggs between January and March.
Possible Activities: Hike, snorkel, Kayak and dinghy ride

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Type of Landing: Wet Landing

Highlights: Espanola Mockingbird, longest beach in Galapagos, three species of Darwin’s finches, large colony of sea lions, occasional green sea turtles. Snorkel – coral fish, sea lions, and other marine life.

 

PM: Suarez Point

This is a phenomenal site where you will get to see many of Espanola Island’s endemic species. The trail will pass by the only Waved Albatross breeding site. If you are lucky, you might see a young albatross, take off for its first flight for up to five years at sea. Older birds stay at sea for months at a time, only coming back to breed. They have the same mate for life and will meet each other each year, only here to reproduce.

 

Other species that can be seen are marine iguanas that stay brightly colored year-round, Galapagos doves, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds, and Darwin finches.
Possible Activities: Hike

Difficulty: Moderate

Type of Landing: Dry Landing

Highlights: Only Waved albatross breeding site, blow hole on the point, Nazca boobies, swallow tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds, three different species of finches, Galapagos doves, marine iguanas, sea lions

(B, L, D)

DAY 5: Sunday

AM: Floreana Island – Devil’s Crown/Cormorant Point

This Island is one of the most interesting when it comes to human history. The first Galapagos resident was an Irishman who lived on Floreana from 1807 to 1809. It is the site of the first post office within the islands created by whalers in the 1700’s. Later it became the first island to be colonized by Ecuadorians, but to this day is still very isolated. Surrounded by mystery, in the 1930’s various disappearances occurred and is thought to be because of tension between a baroness and her three servants who arrived after an already settled husband and wife, who gave birth to the first to be born in Galapagos and another couple of a doctor and female companion who lived of the land from their garden. The small population of today lives off the land with home grown farms and gets their water from rain filled ponds during the rainy season. There is one hotel with the only phone in the port of Velasco Ibarra where most residents live, the rest live up in the highlands. Transportation is limited and is only available every two weeks.

Devil’s Crown is a visitor site that boasts the best snorkeling opportunities. Below the surface are amazing volcanic structures that have submerged over time. Hundreds of different colorful fish species can be found here among the coral reefs. Sharks, rays, sea turtles, hammer head sharks and sea lions are also common visitors. It is an underwater spectacle that cannot be missed.

OR

Another fun and interesting visitor site is Cormorant Point. Two beaches can be visited and flamingoes can be seen wading through brackish lagoons looking for shrimp, which gives them their bright and vibrant colors. One of the beaches look green because of olivine crystals and the other is appropriately called Flour Beach a powdery white, made from fine pulverized coral.
Possible Activities: Snorkel, dinghy ride and hike

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Type of Landing: Wet Landing

Highlights: Devil’s Crown - a wide array of colorful fish species – king angel fish, balloon fish, yellow tail grunts, white-tipped sharks, hammerheads, eagle rays, sea turtles, sea lions and more. Cormorant Point – flamingoes, green olivine crystal beach, coral beach, pintail ducks, large-billed fly catchers, several finches, green turtle nesting area, and stilts.

 

PM: Post Office Bay/Baroness Lookout Point

A completely human influential site, Post Office Bay is the first official post office created by passing whalers in the 1700’s. To this day visitors continue the tradition as many leave addressed messages on post cards in the barrel to be sent by future visitors while picking up post cards left behind by previous visitors to send when they return home. It is a fun exchangeable activity many visitors enjoy.
OR

On the northern part of the island, Baroness Lookout Point has a beautiful landscape and historic view. It was named after the supposed Austrian Baroness that was the subject of many mysterious disappearances and well-known stories of loathing by those on Floreana.
Possible Activities: Hike, kayak, dinghy ride and snorkel

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Type of Landing: Wet Landing

Highlights: Barrel Post Office – leave/pick up post cards, remnants of Norwegian settlement, beach, sea turtles, amazing landscapes. Snorkel – Sea turtles, corals, rays, colorful assortment of fish species.
(B, L, D)

DAY 6: Monday
AM: Santa Cruz – Charles Darwin Research Station

Today Santa Cruz is one of the most popular tourist sites. With a population of about 12,000 Galapagos natives, it has the longest paved road in the entire archipelago. One of the biggest conservation efforts is to eliminate all non-native plants and animals that are destroying native and endemic species on the island. There is no longer any volcanic activity but that does not mean there is no evidence. Santa Cruz means holy cross, but its English name comes from the British vessel – Indefatigable.
The Charles Darwin Research Station conducts many different research projects and provides assistance to other researchers and governmental institutions and agencies, especially the Galapagos National Park. Many of the results are later published online, in magazines, and popular scientific journals. The research station also plays a big part in educating the community and public schools in Galapagos. There is also the longtime running Giant Tortoise restoration program that includes various stages of the giant tortoise from eggs, hatchlings and adults.
Possible Activities: Hike

Difficulty: Easy

Type of Landing: Dry

Highlights: See the latest advances in research at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Also see Giant Tortoises and land iguanas.

 

Transfer to Baltra Airport

Your cruise has officially come to an end. We hope you enjoyed your Galapagos Cruise! We will now transfer you to your scheduled departure from Baltra Airport to mainland Ecuador. Safe travels!

(B, -, - )

 

***End of cruise***

* Itineraries are subject to change without prior notice due to weather conditions, National Park regulations, emergencies on board or any unforeseen situation.
The wildlife described above is not guaranteed to be seen during your visit. Please remember to respect your distance between any and all wildlife.

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