Day 1: Tue Quito to Galapagos
Morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (Galapagos)
Assistance at the airport by the cruise representative for your Galapagos flight. You will arrive at Baltra Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by the Galaven staff and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing.
In the afternoon you will visit the Black Turtle Cove in the northern part of Santa Cruz. This inlet is surrounded by mangroves and is only accessible by dinghy. The shallow cove is a haven for young marine life. Black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of rays are often spotted here.
Day 2: Wed Genovesa
Genovesa: Barranco - Darwin Bay
Genovesa Island is located at the inner part of Darwin Bay. This area contains an abundance of frigatebirds and other interesting seabirds. Behind the small beach filled with nesting areas for frigates, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls are a number of tide pools. At high tide it is likely that the trail will be covered with water.
Your morning visit is to El Barranco which is also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, El Barranco’s steep and rocky path leads up to a high cliff-face. A marvelous view can be appreciated from here. This site is also home to palo santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.
In the afternoon, you will head to Darwin Bay. This white-sand coral beach heads a half mile trail (0.5 miles / 0.75km) that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallowtailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully and at the end there is a spectacular view off the cliff.
Day 3: Thu Santiago - Rabida
Santiago: Sullivan Bay - Rabida Island
The morning visit heads to Santiago Island – Sullivan Bay located on the southeast part of Santiago. This place is interesting for its geology because the area is covered by lava flows. This place has elevations in form of small volcanoes, formed by the lava flows.
In the afternoon you will visit Rabida Island (or Jervis) which is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago as well as a great snorkeling site. You will start on Rabida’s famous maroon sandy beach and after an easy hike you will arrive to a stunning lookout to enjoy the amazing landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.
Day 4: Fri Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz: Charles Darwin - El Chato
Today you will visit The Charles Darwin Research Station. This is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of tortoises interact with one another and many of the older tortoises are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept here until they are about four years-old and strong enough to survive on their own.
Afterwards you will enjoy the El Chato reserve, which is divided into two areas: Caseta and Chato. The trail begins at Santa Rosa (13.7 miles / 22 km) from Puerto Ayora, with the Caseta route being the most challenging. The reserve allows visitors to observe giant tortoises in the wild during the dry season and is also a good place to spot short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, Galapagos rails and paint-billed crakes.
Day 5: Sat Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz: Dragon Hill - Bachas beach
In the morning you will visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz. The visitors’ site at Dragon Hill is located in northwestern Santa Cruz Island and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments at just 1,600 m long. The beach is very rocky. At high tide it’s a nice place for snorkeling. At this visiting site you can find vegetation of the typical intertidal zone and dry zone.
The afternoon visit, Bachas Beach, located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, 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 on the beach.
Day 6: Sun Floreana
Floreana Island: Post Offcie & Cormorant Point or Devils crown
There are two visiting sites on Floreana Island. In the morning you will visit the famous Post Office Bay. You will land on the beach and head to a spot where 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The custom continues to this day with Galapagos visitors. So do not forget your postcards, and do not be surprised if the post card arrives to its destination before you even get home!
In the afternoon, you will head to Cormorant Point. Here you will enjoy a hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingos. You will also get to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Devil’s Crown. This extinct volcano peaks out of the waters just off of Floreana’s coast and offers a magnificent snorkeling experience.
Day 7: Mon Española
Española: Suarez Point & Gardner bay
Española Island is the southernmost island of the Galapagos and is the breeding site of nearly all of the waved albatrosses in the entire world. Española is densely populated with mockingbirds, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, hawks, red and green marine iguanas, and colonies of sea lions. The morning trip will start with Suarez Point and a trail where you will have the chance to see blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. It is the breeding site of nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. You will also visit a beautiful site on the ocean front where there is a cliff that the large albatrosses use as a launching pad! The landscape is great for photography and you will also have the chance
to see the famous blowhole.
In the afternoon, you will visit the spectacular Gardner Bay. After landing, you can walk across a lovely whitesand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. You can also see curious mockingbirds on the beach.
Day 8: Sun San Cristobal
San Cristobal: Interpretation Centre & Departure
In the morning you will visit The Interpretation Center which was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Visitors enjoy exhibitions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. The Interpretation Center has an outdoor stadium, audio-visual equipment, and meeting rooms.
After this final visit, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.