Itinerary: In the Steps of Pirates & Darwin
Day 1:  Quito or Guayaquil / Baltra - Galapagos
Today we fly to Baltra Island in the Galapagos in the morning. Flight time is approximately 1½ hours. Upon arrival we board M/V Evolution where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en route to our first visitor sites: Whaler Bay, a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill and Eden Islet, home to a great variety of seabirds and marine iguanas and also a great snorkeling site.

After these visits we get ready for our welcome cocktail and first briefing before continuing to dinner. (Lunch, Dinner)
Day 2:  Isabela Island / Fernandina Island
AM: Isabela Island : Punta Vicente Roca
PM: Fernandina Island : Punta Espinosa
In the morning we visit Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. Snorkeling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that bathe the western side of the archipelago. We will have a chance to see colorful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. Afternoon visit to Fernandina Island, home to La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). We visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity. (B, L, D)
Day 3:  Isabela Island
AM: Isabela Island : Urbina Bay
PM: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove
Urbina Bay is directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, where we will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). We walk on a stretch of three miles (5 km) of the marine reef that has been uplifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) out of the water. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkeling amongst marine creatures, or just relaxing on shore. In the afternoon we visit Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of our anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes. (B, L, D)
Day 4:  Bartolome Island / Santiago Island
AM: Bartolome Island : Pinnacle Rock
PM: Santiago Island : Sullivan Bay
In the morning we visit Bartolome Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock, where we will see Galapagos Penguins and sea lions. We will also hike a trail to Bartolome’s summit where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle your yacht. Afternoon visit to Sullivan Bay, one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos. In the nearly 100 years since the Sullivan Bay Flow, only a few plants like Mollugo and Lava cacti have managed to take root in this harsh environment. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools of Sullivan Bay. After exploring the lava flow, there is swimming and snorkeling with playful sea lions off two small coraline beaches. (B, L, D)
Day 5:  Santa Cruz Island
AM: Santa Cruz Island: Las Bachas Beach
PM: Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill
In the morning we visit Las Bachas, a sandy white-coral beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. The name Bachas refers to the remains of landing craft left here at the end of WWII. Ashore marine iguanas mingle with flamingos and other wading birds in another of the many super saline lagoons found in the Galapagos. Afternoon visit to Dragon Hill, named for the large number of land iguanas that frequent the area, and an important nesting site for iguanas reintroduced by the Charles Darwin Research Center. A short walk from the beach leads to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon that is frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. From here, they will pass through a forest of the endemic Scalesia tree. There are only 400 specimens of the Scalesia tree left in the world. Past the forest, hike up Dragon Hill for impressive views of the bay. (B, L, D)
Day 6:  Santa Cruz Island
AM: Santa Cruz Island : Highlands, Pit Craters
PM: Santa Cruz: Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have a chance to see these animals in the wild walk through lava tubes and see the Gemelos, twin collapsed craters. In the afternoon our destination is the Charles Darwin Research Station, to see the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. The Fausto Llerena Center is located on the island of Santa Cruz and is part of the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Fausto Llerena Center receives about 7,800 visitors a month and currently houses 925 youth and 70 adult turtles. It has been the primary center for the Galapagos Tortoise Breeding Project. This project, which began in the 1970′s has been an incredible success in helping repopulate the Galapagos Giant Tortoise population.  (B, L, D).
Day 7:  Española Island
AM: Española Island (Hood): Punta Suarez
PM: Española Island (Hood): Gardner Bay
Hood is the southernmost island of the archipelago, and is one of the most popular due to the breathtaking variation and number of fauna that inhabit the island. In the morning we visit Punta Suarez where you will witness the largest variety of marine iguanas in the Galapagos, masked boobies and blue footed boobies nesting along the cliff’s edge, as well as the famous waved albatross. In the afternoon we visit Gardner Bay, a magnificent long white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals. (B, L, D)
Day 8:  San Cristobal Island / Quito or Guayaquil
AM: San Cristobal: Interpretation Centre
Late AM: Depart for mainland Ecuador
Today our Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Evolution and her crew we pay a visit to the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre on San Cristobal Island. The Centre presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna and your naturalist will use the exhibits to provide an illustrated overview of life on the Islands. A short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” can be seen in the same colony. Next we return to the airport where we began our journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland. (B)