ITINERARY “D” (B+A) (FRI - FRI) - 8DAYS / 7NIGHTS
FRIDAY to FRIDAY
8 days / 7 nights
Day 1: FRIDAY: Baltra airport – Sombrero Chino
Day 2: SATUDAY: Fernandina Is. (Espinosa Point) – Isabela Is. (Urbina bay)
Day 3: SUNDAY: Isabela Is. (Moreno point – Tagus Cove)
Day 4: MONDAY: Puerto Egas – Santiago Is. (Playa Espumilla – Bucanero Cove)
Day 5: TUESDAY: Santa Cruz Is. (Charles Darwin station – El Chato twins)
Day 6: WEDNESDAY: Isabela Island: (Wetlands – Wall of tears - Breeding center Arnaldo Tupiza – Sierra Negra)
Day 7: THURSDAY: Santa Cruz Island (Bahía Ballena – Edén - Dragón hill)
Day 8: FRIDAY: Black Turtle Cove – Baltra airport
DAY 1: Friday: BALTRA – SOMBRERO CHINO
Depart from Guayaquil to Galápagos (Baltra Island) (1½ hours of flight time). Arrival to Baltra Airport, where the naturalist English speaking guide assists you. Transfer by bus to the dock (5 mins.) to board the yacht. Welcome and briefing.
BALTRA ISLAND.- This island was a strategic point during the Second World War. It is the main airport for the Galapagos Islands where tourists and colonists arrive and depart. Baltra is also called South Seymour and its dock. The Itabaca Channel is only 5 minutes from the air terminal.
SOMBRERO CHINO.- After lunch, disembark (wet landing) for a short walk of 200m. (30mins. round trip, flat and rocky), observing lava tunnels, lava cactus, Galápagos Sesuvium. Time to swim and snorkel. Return to the yacht. Dinner and briefing for next day.
DAY 2: Saturday: FERNANDINA ISLAND – ISABELA ISLAND
FERNANDINA ISLAND (ESPINOZA POINT).- In the morning disembarkation (dry landing). Walk (600m. round trip, 1½h, flat, sandy and rocky path) to see lava flows, a colony of marine iguanas (nesting time: January to June), penguins, pelicans and colonies of cormorants, lava cactus. Time for snorkeling. Lunch on board.
ISABELA (URBINA BAY).- After lunch, disembarkation at Urbina Bay (wet landing), located in the west of Isabela Island, at the food of the Alcedo volcano. Walk on a sandy and rocky defined path (1 km. round trip. 2h, flat), observing calcareous organisms (shells, corals) exposed above water. In this area we see a large colony of land iguanas, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises (between June – September) and flightless cormorants. After the hike, time for snorkeling along the shoreline where guests may observe penguins and flightless cormorants. Briefing and dinner on board.
DAY 3: Sunday: ISABELA ISLAND
MORENO POINT.- It is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes. Disembark (dry landing). Hike along a lava flow Pahohoe (lava solidified with corrugated shapes as an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons. (2kms. Round trip, 1½h, rocky, starts at 0m and ascend 10m). The vegetation found in the area is small and concentrated mainly in the mangrove area and around the lakes. (Note.- Wear comfortable and appropriate shoes for this hike). Time for snorkeling.
TAGUS COVE (Caleta Tagus).- This was a port where whaling ships arrived and left their ships’ names in a cave in 1800. In the high part is the Darwin Lake, a round salt water crater. Disembark (dry landing). Walk begins from the shore by a wooden stairway that rises to the dusty trail passing through Palo Santo Forest to reach the Darwin Lake. Continue on the trail around the lake through the dry vegetation zone. Panoramic views to the Darwin and Wolf volcanoes. (2kms round trip, 2h / starts at 0m, ascending to 50mts). Later, panga ride through the cliffs to observe the historical graffiti, penguins, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Snorkeling time in the cove.
DAY 4: Monday: SANTIAGO ISLAND
EGAS PORT.- The visit to Puerto Egas begins with a wet landing on the dark sand beach of James Bay. Walk along a rocky trail to the salt crater (1.7km. round trip, 1½ h, start at 0m, ascend 30m), observing Darwin Finches, the endemic Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, sally light root crabs and fur seals and sea lions. Time for swimming and snorkeling.
ESPUMILLA BEACH.- This site is located in the north coast of Santiago Island, in the James Bay. The main attractions at Espumilla Beach are a palo santo forest, the large coffee-coloured sand beach (an important site for nesting marine turtles) and the landscape. The landing is very wet, short walk by the beach (30mins), observing Darwin finches and vermilion fly catchers.
BUCCANEER’S COVE.- After Espumilla beach, embark again at the yacht to continue the navigation for about 15mins to the Bucaneers’ cove, with scenic steep cliffs made of tuff formations (hundreds of seabirds perched atop the cliffs) and the dark reddish-purple sand beach. This observation is just from the yacht.
DAY 5: Tuesday: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND – BALTRA
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION).- After breakfast, walk for about 20 mins. to the Charles Darwin Station, to observe the Galapagos turtles breading and have a look at famous Lonesome George. The Darwin Station is part of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands, an international non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research in the Galápagos Islands since 1959.
HACIENDA PRIMICIAS.- After lunch, visit to Hacienda Primicias to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around eating grass and leaves and wallowing. Some highland birds, like cattle egrets, mockingbirds, finches or flycatchers can be seen here. After the hike return to the yacht. Dinner and briefing for next day.
DAY 6: Wednesday: ISABELA ISLAND
HUMEDALES. - Disembark (dry landing), walk for about 30 mins. This area is characterized by sandy beaches, rocky shores, and mangroves. The area has a number of trails where you can see all four species of mangroves found in Galapagos and also migratory birds: whimbrel, short-billed dowitcher, wilson’s phalarope, common tern, blue-winged teal, osprey, black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, greater and lesser yellowlegs to name a few.
WALL OF TEARS. - By bus to Wall of tears a sad reminder of the history of Isabela. The wall was constructed between 1946 and 1959 while Isabela was a penal colony. As punishment the prisoners were forced to build the wall from huge blocks of lava. The wall is named for the many convicts that died while building the wall.
BREEDING CENTER ARNALDO TUPIZA. - This center has a captive breeding program for tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela. Lunch.
*LAS TINTORERAS.- After lunch, Las Tintoreras is located south of Puerto Villamil. It has a small bay of completely calm turquoise waters, where you can appreciate sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, etc. The bay is connected to a crevice of crystal clear water, that's shallow and when the tide is low, the entrance closes. In this crevice, you can see how reef sharks swim along with other small fish and sea lions.
Dinner and briefing for next day.
DAY 7: Thursday: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
BAHIA BALLENA.- After breakfast disembarkation at Bahia Ballena (wet landing). Sandy beach and with a short walk you can observe Galapagos Sea Lions lounging and unique marine Iguanas basking in the sun, sometimes resting on the succulent Sesubium plant, which is commonly known as carpet weed, and lava rocks. Here, different species of mangroves such as Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, and White Mangrove grow among the lava fields providing nutrients into the water that attract colorful tropical fish that can be observed as you snorkel .
EDEN.- Islet located further to the west of the main island of Santa Cruz. Panga ride to observe Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and marine iguanas. Snorkeling to observe octopus, sharks and large schools of the endemic salemas. Lunch on board.
CERRO DRAGON.- After lunch, dry landing at a dock, the walk takes you to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon behind the beach, often frequented by flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. There is a short walk to the hill, which rewards with a great view of the bay and a nesting site of land iguanas. Many of the Iguanas that nest here have been repatriated by the Charles Darwin Research Station.
DAY 8: Friday: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
BLACK TURTLE COVE.- After breakfast a dinghy (panga) visit to Black Turtle Bay (Caleta Tortuga Negra). This is very close to Baltra. It is very special due to its lovely beach with sea lions and its clear, calm water. Black (Pacific Green) Turtles and many different types of birds can be seen feeding here as you are paddled around the beautiful lagoons hidden in the mangroves. After this visit transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to Guayaquil/Quito
This is the end of the trip.
Note.- The captain reserves the right to change the itinerary if circumstances are beyond of this control as weather conditions or Galapagos National Park regulations.