Day 1 – Monday
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: Las Bachas (Santa Cruz)
These two small beaches are found to the West of Black Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.
Day 2 – Tuesday
AM: White Tipped Shark
Las Tintoreras is a small bay on an islet, located 5 minutes on a dinghy ride from Port of Villamil, which permits the visitor to observe the White tipped shark. There is a colony of skarks that can often be seen resting in the lava canal. In addition to the sharks there are sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and rays in the beautiful, calm turquoise waters. Volcano Alcedo is one of the five shield volcanoes that form Albemarle Island the famous “Geyser” or hot steam fumarole will be reached, while all around are Galapagos giant tortoises of the Alcedo race.
Nearby hundreds of marine iguanas can be observed, as ‘Las Tintoreras’ is one of their main breeding sites. On the nearby sandy beaches, sea lions play and relax in the sun. This is one of Isabela’s most beautiful visitor sites.
PM: Arnoldo tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center
This is where giant tortoises are reared on Isabela. It is located 1.5 kilometers from Pto. Villamil, this important center has a captive breeding program for tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela. Here you can learn about the processes of reproduction and breeding. In total there are about 300 tortoises of all size between juveniles and adults. Isabela Island is the only island in the world which has 5 different species of these giant reptiles.
DAY 3 – Wednesday
AM: Punta Cormorant, Devil´s Crown (Floreana)
This site offers probably the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral. After our visit of Cormorant Point we will continue with our yacht to the nearby islet known as Corona del Diablo (Devil’s Crown), where we can enjoy some great snorkeling.
PM: Post Office Bay (Floreana)
Historically, Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Since this time it has been used by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. We will continue to the north of the island and ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful view from the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her House. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
DAY 4 – Thursday
AM: Punta Suarez (Española)
This rocky land spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
PM: Gardner Bay (Española)
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here you may also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
Day 5 – Friday
AM: Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoises Farm
Santa Cruz also offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild tortoises, both roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the Tortoise Reserve, which is accessible from Santa Rosa or Salasaca. Several farms serve food and allow visitors to explore their grounds in search of tortoises. Descending through the agricultural zone into the Transition Zone where the Tortoise Reserve is located, the introduced vegetation of the farmlands is replaced by native vegetation. The pond at El Chato is surrounded by forest where short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes can be seen. As the visitor walks into the forests overgrown with lichens, ferns, and other epiphytes, it is time to listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and the sound of shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush.
Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.