After an initial briefing and a safety drill, we will take you on your first excursion to the beautiful
white, sandy beach, where you will have your first contact with the Galapagos wildlife.
Las Bachas Beach is located in the north of Santa Cruz Island. Its soft, white sand is derived
from decomposed coral, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind the beach there
is a small brackish lagoon, where it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds,
such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels.
Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry
interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea
urchins, octopus and starfish. The trail leads to the Fur SealsGrottos, one of the only places in the islands where they can be seen. After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles and reef sharks.
Bartolomé is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Back on board for a quick change of clothes
and then it is a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride.
The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you
to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after the walk.
Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or on a panga ride.
Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now
forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake.
The early morning activity is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls.
While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the furthest points of the Galapagos that we will visit on our cruise. We will enter a sheltered cove –a wonderful mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge for sea turtles and rays.
Fernandina last erupted in 1995. La Cumbre Volcano dominates the landscape, with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins and the Galapagos hawk.
Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity
to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often
seen in the area.
On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station you will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO
World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake. After the visit you will have some free time to explore the town of Puerto Ayora.
Should you choose to go to the lush, green highlands of Santa Cruz, you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. You will have the opportunity to walk through lava tunnels so take a flashlight if you have one.
Gardner Bay offers the chance to enjoy a wonderful white sandy beach. It is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions, and it is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Throughout the morning there are opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Punta Suárez is one of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos. Due to its isolation from other islands, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. A few steps inland from the landing site, groups of Española marine iguanas bask in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest almost on the trail, Galapagos doves peck around unaware of visitors and finches go about their business. The trail continues towards a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air like a geyser. The cracks in the cliffs are home to swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find waved albatrosses nesting. The 10,000 to 12,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent the entire population of this species on the planet. They perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.
Black Turtle Cove is one of the most beautiful marine sites in the Galapagos. It is a complex maze of tranquil salt-water inlets, surrounded by three different species of mangrove. Its waters are a resting site for sea turtles, rays and sharks. This site is only accessible by panga.