|Itinerary A: 2013
Day 1: Sat: Baltra - Santiago
AM: Baltra Island
Baltra played an important role in the history of these islandsIt was used by the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War; many U.S. Navy and crews of the submarines were stationed here to patrol the Pacific Ocean and protect the Panama Canal. Baltra is a flat and dry island surrounded by reefs and few beachesIt has some vegetation such as cacti Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus) and other small treesYou will have the opportunity to see some ground finches, pelicans, frigate birds and the sea lions "your Galapagos hosts" will be upon arrival at the dock to welcome you.
PM: Bahia Sullivan, Santiago Island
This site of great geological interest is located south-east of Santiago Island. Anyone interested in volcanology and geology is delighted with the incredible lava formations of Sullivan Bay. The area is covered by lava flows pahohoe type (lava solidified in a corrugated or accordion fashion). Sullivan lava formed in 1897, is geologically a very young flow. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places. One can observe marine and terrestrial birds, a colony of Galapagos fur seals and black marine iguanas adapted very well to this environment.
Day 2: Sun: Bartholomew - Santiago
AM: Bartholomew Island
In this island is located pinnacle rock, one of the most known landscapes of the Galapagos Islands. The island has an area of 1.2 km2 and is an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, green, black and bright soils, bright volcanic formations and recent volcanic cones Species to meet in the way include brown pelican, Galapagos penguins, tintorera sharks and sea turtles. Its landscape is unique, presents scenarios that could be compared with photographs taken on the moon. For this visit, you need a good physical condition as there is a stairway with 360 steps up to the top of the island and see this beautiful place. On this visit you can decide between hiking or stay on the beach for snorkeling.
PM: Playa Espumilla, Santiago Island
Espumilla is located on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions of this place are a palo santo (saint wood) forest, beach and landscape. The beach is an important site for sea turtles nesting; watch your step in the high dunes because those are favorite nesting places. It offers a beautiful white sand beach that has been popular with visitors since the time of the whalers and pirates, to carry fresh waterDuring the last El Niño one of the two lagoons in this site underwent a process of sedimentation, causing that an important colony of flamingos disappeared. This beautiful beach is a great place for swimming and snorkeling
Day 3: Mon: Isabela - Fernandina
AM: Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island
If you want an adventure in this marine reserve cannot miss snorkeling when visiting this area. In this privileged place is located a Galapagos fur seals colony, an endemic species to the islands. Punta Vicente Roca is on Isabela Island, the largest island of the archipelago and with more active volcanoesSwimming with sea turtles and see a variety of fish are activities that only this marine reserve can offer. Then we invite you to take a tour to enjoy a majestic landscape made of volcanic lava intrusions and a sheer cliff, accompanied by Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, masked boobies, blue footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds and flightless cormorants
PM: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island
Fernandina is the third largest island and one of the youngest in the archipelago. You can find different types of lava flows, being the pahoehoe lava the one that will call more your attention. You can see the first colonization of plants and animalsIt is a mangrove area where you can appreciate the geological differences that only Galapagos offers. The predominant species in this place is the endemic flightless cormorant. You will also find the largest colony of marine iguanas, as well as the Galapagos snake, Galapagos hawk, marine iguanas, lava lizards, Galapagos fur seals and Galapagos penguins. In this island is found the volcano. La Cumbre that erupted last time in 2009
Day 4: Tue: Isabela
AM: Caleta Tagus, Isabela Island
Tagus Cove is located west of Darwin volcano on Isabela Island. It was a favorite place for pirates and whalers and where a tradition has continued since that time: the registration of ships names. This is a place that records the history of the islands. Its name originated from a British warship that went through the islands in 1814 looking for Galapagos tortoises for food.
The trail leads inland; along Lake Darwin several terrestrial birds can be watched, as well as the characteristic vegetation of this arid zone. Finally, we observe the lava fields of the Darwin volcano. Darwin Lake contains salt water and its depth is approximately 9m. It has no fish or other special lifeThe lake lies within a cone of tuff.
PM: Bahia Elizabeth, Isabela Island
This is a bay formed by the union of volcanoes Sierra Negra and Alcedo in the narrowest part of Isabela Island. There is a small cove within the bay with protected and calm water and surrounded by high and colorful mangrove trees that contrast with the lava, creating an appropriate place for sea turtles. Landing is not allowed at this point, however, a trip around the bay in zodiac is possible where you can see the turtle’s pond. On the small islands of the bay it is possible to see penguins, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, masked boobies and gulls, rays, sharks, pelicans, boobies, many fish, sea lions, flightless cormorants, penguins, among other wildlife. From June to September you can see some whales.
Day 5: Wed: Floreana
AM: Post Office, Floreana Island
This island has an area of 170 km². During the early 20th century, the island became a kind of promised land for many Norwegians who arrived in search of better days. It has a colorful history of buccaneers, whalers and settlers. Post Office or Post Office Bay is a historic site that reminds us the days of the whalers, when they came to Galapagos for tortoises and fresh water. At Post Office Bay we found also remains of a Norwegians settlement. The visit lasts an hour. Besides the historic part you will see species such as yellow warbler, singer finch, Galapagos sea lion and brown pelican.
PM: options: a.Punta Cormorant, b.Corona del diablo, c.Champion, Floreana Island
On this visit you will have the opportunity to choose between walking to the pond to see one of the largest colony of flamingos in the Galapagos Islands or go snorkeling. In this island with volcanic craters there are reefs such as Devil is Crown or Champion, one of the best places for swimming or snorkeling. The site Punta Cormorant is on the north coast of FloreanaThe trail distance is approximate 720 meters and passes through a pond, gazebo, a fine sand beach of different colors and a sea turtles nesting area
Day 6: Thu: San Cristobal - Galapaguera
AM: Galapaguera - Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal Island
It is located in the South East of San Cristobal Island in the vicinity of Cerro Colorado, one of the few places where you can see Calandrinia galapagosa, an endemic plant to San Cristobal in danger of extinction. The access is by land. The site was built in 2002 to increase the population of the giant tortoise population also endemic to San Cristobal, one of the 11 populations of Galapagos land tortoises (Geochelone Chathamensi). It includes 12 hectares (120,000 square meters) of dry forest in the area of Cerro Verde. Because the fertility of captivity breeders, this program has yielded its first results in 2005-2006 after the arrival of 11 new members. These tortoises have their corrals at the entrance of the Galapaguera. There is also a small interpretation center where visitors learn about these reptiles and the conservation and breeding programs. Along the trail you can observe different birds such as mocking birds, yellow warblers and small ground finch, tree finch and flycatchers
PM: Wizard Hill, San Cristobal Island
Located north of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Wizard Hill is part of the volcanic area with small cones inside. Its main attraction is a coral sand beach and some flora and fauna as well. Although vegetation is not abundant, but two types of “lechoso” (endemic plant to the island) can be found. The beach is visited by many birds, sea lions and marine iguanasIn the lagoon located at Cerro Brujo, the people from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno mined salt for preserving cod, beef and turtle meat. It is now a place for watching coastal and aquatic birds. Cerro Brujo offers excellent view of the Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), the southern highlands of San Cristobal and the coast contiguous to Cerro Brujo.
Day 7: Fri: Santa Cruz
AM: The Twins, Santa Cruz Island
The Twins are, geologically speaking, considered as craters despite they were not directly formed due to volcanic activity. They are subsidence craters formed by a series of eruptions when the islands were still activeTwins craters are the only place on the island where the Scalesia forest growsSome species of Galapagos finches and often the beautiful vermilion flycatcher can be seen here. The vermilion flycatcher is the most prominent land bird in the upper parts of almost every island; the Twins is perhaps the best place for its observation since they occur in large numbers in the Scalesia forest. Flycatchers are curious and usually pretty tame. They feed on insects, often caught with the peak in mid-flight. Another plant that draws attention in the Twins is the guayabillo tree, which has a clean and smooth bark.
PM: Puerto Ayora and Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island
The “Charles Darwin Research Station” was inaugurated in 1964. It is located next to the Galapagos National Park administration. Both work together developing conservation programs for indigenous and endemic species to the archipelago. The Park Service is the state entity responsible for management and administration of both the land area of the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Park Service has to manage and implement programs of protection and conservation of endangered species and work to maintain the ecological integrity of the Park in general. There is a souvenir kiosk, the CDRS, the funds raised support conservation and research programs. Here you can see tortoises from different islands, these species are found in large semi natural pens for protection and easy to see - divided into four stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (at the age of being "repatriated"), and adultsIt is an excellent place to see finches of several species as well as some xerophytic vegetation.
Puerto Ayora, is the most populated village of the island and with the largest port in the archipelago. It offers different activities, restaurants and other amenities. The iguanas rest on the load at the dock, while boobies and pelicans dive into the turquoise waters of Academy Bay
Day 8: Sat: Bachas - Baltra
AM: Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island
It is a white sand beach where you can see some sea turtles nesting sites; you will also experience a small lagoon where some migratory birds, herons, pelicans, zayapas (crabs), among other species, can be seen. The name Bachas originates from the World War II, when the American army left two barges thrown away on the beachThe first settlers could not pronounce the name correctly in English which led on the beach of Las Bachas. Coastal vegetation predominates is this zone; one of the most representative sea turtles nesting sites of Santa Cruz Island. It is a good place also to watch flamingos, as well as aquatic and migratory birds
|Itinerary B: 2013
Day 1: Sat: Baltra - Santa Cruz
Arrival to Baltra airport. Passengers are welcome by our guides and transferred to the dock to embark the ship and enjoy the lunch at the restaurant.
PM: Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz Island
Dragon Hill, is located in the northwest of the island of Santa Cruz and is constituted by a path along three different environments in just 1,600 m long. It gets its name because in 1975, was one of the only places on Santa Cruz where were land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus) in healthy state. That same year, the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Foundation initiated a program of land iguanas conservation. Iguanas of North Seymour (Baltra originally), iguanas Cartago Bay (Isabela Island) and iguanas of Santa Cruz Island were studied and then transported to pens specially designed for these animals to reproduce in captivity. For 1979 the first iguanas were born. In the lagoons in this site, there is shrimp (Artemia salina), which is food for the flamingos, at certain times of year is more abundant and therefore the population of these birds is bigger. In the rainy season, the water of the laggons becomes very sweet and therefore the shellfish populations decrease, so shorebirds also scarce.
Day 2: Sun: Genovesa
AM: El Barranco, Genovesa Island
Known as the bird Island, Genovesa is a small island, just 14 square kilometers located northeast of the Galapagos Archipelago. It has a single volcano that emerged only 76 m above the sea surface. The crater located in the center of the island contains a lagoon. Some of the birds to see are: frigates, masked boobies, gulls, hawks, red-footed boobies and the exceptional herons and gulls of the lava. The visit to Barranco includes a walk along a beautiful white coral beach and a mangrove forest; a nesting site for red-footed boobies and frigates. In the afternoon we will take a bay trip in a panga and go up the stairs of Prince Philip, named in honor of Prince Philip who visited Genovesa Island during the 60s. Frigate birds are abundant. It is the best place to watch swallows, finches, red- footed and masked boobies, tropical birds and Galapagos gulls; the only nocturnal gulls in the world indeed. Marine fauna around this island include sea lions and the smallest marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.
PM: Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island Fauna :yellow warbler,Galapagos mockingbird,great frigate bird,yellow crowned night heron,swallow– tailed gull,barn owls,Galapagos sea lions,Galapagos dove,warbler finch, cactus large finch,large ground finch,vampire finch,red footed boobie,nazca boobies Flora: Galapagos carpetweed, Galapagos croton, scorpion weed, red mangrove, salt bush, yellow cordia, incense tree, pickly pear cactus.
Day 3: Mon: North Seymour - Santa Cruz
AM: Seymour Norte Island North Seymour Island is a spectacular place to hike, swim, enjoy snorkeling and diving. There is a circular path or trail that crosses the interior of the island and takes you to explore the rocky coast. This trail takes you through some of the largest colonies of seabirds. It was formed by the removal of underwater volcanic lavas. In 1932 and 1933, about 72 land iguanas from Baltra to North Seymour were brought by Captain Alan Hancock and his crew, with the intention that these animals could survive in better condition than in Baltra, where goats were introduced. The vegetation is shrub and hosts the largest nesting colony of the true Galapagos frigate. One of the best experiences is to look at frigate birds with their huge red gular sac hanging from their necks. They inflate their red gular sac when trying to attract or draw the attention of a female couple, These birds are also known to steal food from the blue-footed boobies.
PM: Punta Carrion - El Chato, Santa Cruz Island At the top of this island, giant tortoises can be seen roaming freely around the El Chato lagoon. They share the habitat with ducks and gallinules and sometimes with frigates bathing in the lagoon. Tortoises use to immerse themselves in water and mud. There are some theories about it: is believed to be for thermoregulation (for heating or cooling depending on conditions) or a mechanism to kill ticks and protect themselves against mosquitoes. Tortoises also walk through some farms in the area. Our tour includes a visit to the lava tubes that were the product of a lava flow when the lava cooled outside while the inside was still flowing. They are really impressive in size and length, and give the feeling of being inside a volcano. You can hike and visit the farm to see the lava tunnels and submerged craters. The main part of the tunnel is lit. The largest tunnel is 420m (1380 feet) in length and the smallest is 50m (165 feet). The road to the reserve is one of the best places to watch land birds. Tree and ground finches, vermilion flycatchers, cattle egrets and herons inhabit the area; and occasionally been Pachay (Galapagos rail) has been seen.
Day 4: Tue: Punta Pitt - San Cristobal
AM: Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island Punta Pitt is located at the east end of San Cristóbal Island. The trail includes an olivine beach approximately 90 meters and a trail that ascends to the top of a volcanic tuff hill passing through several natural viewpoint. Punta Pitt is composed of volcanic tuff substrate. High winds present there have led to natural erosion. The blue footed boobies nests in the interior (rare in the cliffs), red-footed boobies nest on bushes and masked boobies nest in the cliffs. Another added attraction is the presence of sea lion.
PM: El Junco, San Cristobal Island El Junco Lagoon has an area of 60,000 m2 and its volume is 360,000 m3, equivalent to 9 million gallons of water. Its diameter is 270 m. and its maximum depth is 6 m. The lagoon is located 19 kilometers from Port inside a small crater, which in turn lies within the caldera of a large volcano, now extinct and hard to distinguish without geological knowledge. The name of the lake comes from a type of plant that is common in the surrounding area, known as "junco". Eleocharis mutates and is member of the Cyperacea family. January to April, there are often heavy rains. During the rainy season there may be fog.
Day 5: Wed: San Cristobal Island
AM: Interpretation Center and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island
The Interpretation Center of San Cristobal is one of the components of the project Interpretation and Education Plan for the Galapagos Islands Environment, financed by the government of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECI), in coordination with the Galapagos National Park and the support of the Charles Darwin Foundation. It was opened by the Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbon, in August 1998 who enjoyed a cruise aboard the M/V Galapagos Explorer II. The tour offered by the facility takes us through the history of the islands, in their natural, human and conservation contexts. The Hall of Natural History explains a series of natural circumstances such as the origin of these volcanic islands, their remoteness from the continent, its currents, its special climate, the arrival of different species and their establishment, among others. The Hall of Human History tells in chronological order the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the Galapagos. In the second stage presents the reality of today is Galapagos: the problem and the struggle of several institutions and individuals to conserve Galapagos. The environmental education office of PNG is located on this site. Then have free time to stroll along the seaside in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, shopping in small stores, enjoy the local cuisine or simply relax and enjoy the surroundings.
|Itinerary C: 2013
Day 1: Wed: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - San Cristobal
The capital of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is archipelago is located in the southwest extreme of the island.
The biggest sweet water lake in the archipelago El Junco Lake is sited on a crater in San Cristobal is highlands, it is located in the middle - south of the island. There is a turtle farm and refugee of Giant Turtles La Galapaguera. A slept lion represents the remains of a lava cone.
PM: Frigatebird Hill (Tijeretas), San Cristobal Island
It is located within walking distance of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The circuit is 3.5 km and the estimated visit takes up to 2 hours. There are many places from where you can see beautiful scenery and there is a great place where you can snorkel. It is one of the only places where you can see the two frigates species nesting in the same colony. In one of the viewpoints there is American-made gun dating from World War II and was taken by the Ecuadorian Navy in the early 1970s for military practices. Another viewpoint provides a panoramic view of the north coast of the island from where you can see Kicker Rock. In the third viewpoint there is a statue of Charles Darwin in honor of his visit to San Cristobal.
Day 2: Thu: Española
AM: options: a. Bahía Gardner, b. Islote Gardners, c. Islote Osborn, Española Island
Prepare to experience one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In nowhere else you can see a beach of fine white sand combined with a sea lion colony to complement an extraordinary natural portrait. In the bay there are some islets ideal for snorkeling and a beautiful beach to relax and watch the sea lions. After a short walk accompanied by your guide, there will be time for snorkeling in the bay or next the Osborn and Gardners Islets, where you will find sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and a variety of tropical and subtropical fish for those looking for more daring adventures and discover this natural humanity heritage. We recommend keeping a safe distance from the sea lions, particularly adult males, they can be aggressive.
PM: Punta Suarez, Española Island
The Española Island is known for its natural beauty. It is considered a paradise for bird watchers, is where you are more likely to observe many seabird species including the Galapagos albatrosses. If you are lucky you can see the albatrosses mating dance. At this place animals live in complete peace and harmony so close to each other: marine iguanas, sea gulls, blue footed boobies, crabs and lava lizards. In the path is possible to see boobies in their nests with eggs or chicks, as well as marine iguanas in full activity digging their nests, fighting for their territory or in the process of thermoregulation. You can also see tropical birds in their caves, swallow-tailed gulls, nesting masked boobies and crabs of beautiful colors that cover the black lava. You will have the opportunity to walk off the cliff and see The Blower.
Day 3: Fri: Santa Cruz - South Plazas
AM: Charles Darwin Station and Puerto Ayora town, Santa Cruz Island
The Charles Darwin Research Station was inaugurated in 1964. It is located next to the Galapagos National Park administration. Both work together developing conservation programs for indigenous and endemic species to the archipelago. The Park Service is the state entity responsible for management and administration of both the land area of the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Park Service has to manage and implement programs of protection and conservation of endangered species and work to maintain the ecological integrity of the Park in general. There is a souvenir kiosk, the CDRS, the funds raised support conservation and research programs. Here you can see tortoises from different islands, these species are found in large semi natural pens for protection and easy to see - divided into four stages: eggs, neonates, juveniles (at the age of being repatriated), and adults. It is an excellent place to see finches of several species as well as some xerophytic vegetation.
Puerto Ayora, is the most populated village of the island and with the largest port in the archipelago. It offers different activities, restaurants and other amenities. The iguanas rest on the load at the dock, while boobies and pelicans dive into the turquoise waters of Academy Bay.
PM: South Plazas, Plazas Island
It is a small island off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island. It was named after a president of Ecuador, General Leonidas Plaza. Formed by a lava flow from the ocean floor. Despite its small size it is home to a large number of species and is famous for its extraordinary flora. On the steep banks, you may see a large number of birds such as swallow-tailed gulls, but mainly you can enjoy the beautiful view from atop the steep banks, or stroll along the cliff base. Depending on the season, the vegetation changes color from bright green in the rainy season, orange and purple in the dry season. The flora of South Plaza includes cactus of genus Opuntia and Sesuvium, forming a red carpet on the lava formations. Iguanas (land and sea, and even some hybrids of both species) are abundant.
Day 4: Sat: Baltra
AM: Baltra Island
Baltra played an important role in the history of these islands. It was used by the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War; many U.S. Navy and crews of the submarines were stationed here to patrol the Pacific Ocean and protect the Panama Canal. Baltra is a flat and dry island surrounded by reefs and few beaches. It has some vegetation such as cacti Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus) and other small trees. You will have the opportunity to see some ground finches, pelicans, frigate birds and the sea lions your Galapagos hosts will be upon arrival at the dock to welcome you.