Day 1 – Thursday
AM: Arrival at Baltra Airport
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will first pass through an airport inspection point where your TCT (Transit Control Card) will be checked and stamped (please keep this carefully with your passport as you will need to show it again when you leave Galapagos). Here you will also pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). To ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, your luggage will be inspected as well. At the arrival hall a naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra. By dinghy you will be taken to the yacht.
PM: Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. The Breeding and Rearing area of the scientific center are definitely a worthwhile visit.
Day 2 – Friday
AM: Punta Moreno (Isabela)
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and the Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons. Its main attractions are several species of birds which can be found around the lakes and mangroves.
PM: Elizabeth Bay, Isabela
This is a marine visitor site, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac and so there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where there is the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs. It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequently visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swim below.
Day 3 – Saturday
AM: Punta Espinosa (Fernandina)
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and the site Punta Espinosa is located at the northeastern tip of the island. Just across Tagus Cove, is a visitor’s site where various unique species of Galapagos can be seen. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and sometimes block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Comorant. A bird that, due to the lack of predators, evolved differently; it’s wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. To see these birds, is to witness evolution happening right in front of you. You can observe the flightless cormorants and penguins very closely.
PM: Urbina Bay, Isabela Island
Urbina Bay is located along the west coast of Isabela, between Elizabeth Bay and Tagus Cove. It is close to the base of the Alcedo Volcano. The coastline has undergone a major uplift in 1954, which caused the shore to expand three quarters of a mile out. Here you will be able to find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. Urbina Bay is home to large and colorful land iguanas and giant tortoises of the Alcedo Volcano population. A lot of Darwin finches can be seen as well.
DAY 4 – Sunday
AM: Puerto Egas (Santiago)
Its black beach is located at the west side of the island and is its main attraction. Volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of the company of Hector Egas to start the exploitation of salt. It failed, because the price
of salt in the continent was very low and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. Thus the project was abandoned.
PM: Espumilla Beach, Bucaneer Cove (Santiago)
Espumilla beach is located at the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the “El Niño phenomenon”, one of the two lagoons of this site underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attraction is the palo santo forest. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles. At the nearby Buccaneers Cove we have a great snorkeling opportunity.
Day 5 – Monday
AM: Daphne Major
Daphne Major is a volcanic island just north of Santa Cruz Island and just west of Baltra Island. It consists of a tuff crater rising 120 m. above the sea. An intensive study of Darwin’s finches has taken place here by the biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant. Their results have been supporting strongly Darwin’s theory of evolution. We are not allowed onto the island. Daphne offers a big variety of other birds including Galápagos Martins, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Short-eared Owls, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Magnificent Frigate birds.
Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.