|Day 1||Thursday||Flight to Baltra Airport (GPS)||L D|
|Highlands (Santa Cruz)|
|Day 2||Friday||Cormorant Point (Floreana)||B L D|
|Baroness Lookout & Post Office Bay (Floreana)|
|Day 3||Saturday||Gardner Bay (Espanola)||B L D|
|Punta Suarez (Espanola)|
|Day 4||Sunday||Pitt Point (San Cristobal)||B L D|
|Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal)|
|Day 5||Monday||Isla Lobos||B|
|Transfer to San Cristobal Airport|
Upon arrival at Seymour Ecological Airport, a check-up is carried out first, to ensure that no foreign plant or animal species are introduced on the islands. Furthermore, your TCT (Transit Control Card / Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito) is stamped; this must be kept safe during your trip, as it has to be presented again on your return flight.In addition, entrance to the Galapagos National Park is due for entry (US $ 100), if this has not yet been paid. Your guide will meet you at the airport, assist you with the luggage and accompany you on the short bus ride to the harbor of Puerto Ayora. Here you will climb aboard the yacht Archipel I. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch on-board.
Because wild Galapagos giant tortoises don’t stop at official National Park boundaries, dozens of them also roam on the adjacent woodlands in the populated agricultural zone of Santa Cruz. Thanks to their concentrations around their favorite muddy pools, these semi-open pastures and moist Scalesia woodlands are the best place for a quick visit. After this excursion you will have some time to visit the surroundings.
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which was formed by a number of smaller volcanic cones, covered with tropical dry forest (palo santo). At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion-colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The ‘flour sand’ beach on the southern side of the peninsula is made up of even finer white coral sand that feels very smooth on your feet. Parrotfish have pulverized it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral. You can spot schools of stingrays who love burying themselves in the sandy bottom. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs.
While having lunch we will navigate back to Post Office Bay (about 1hr). Post your holiday greetings in the historical barrel, one of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s north coast (short displacement, wet landing) and relax. Besides Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden cownose rays, you might spot Galapagos penguins! This is the only place in the south-eastern archipelago where penguins reside. Explore by inflatable dinghy – or in your own pace by sea-kayak – another submerged crater rim around the bay of Baroness Lookout. Climb the miniature basaltic cone of Baroness Lookout and take in the panoramic views. This viewpoint was the favorite spot of one of Floreana’s first colonists, the eccentric Baroness and self-proclaimed ‘Empress of Galapagos’ Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet, who even built her house a few meters behind. She and one of her lovers were the first in a series of mysterious disappearings and deaths in the 1930s.
On the north-eastern coast of the island of Española, Gardner Bay offers a wonderful place to refresh in the turquoise sea and to admire the large number of colorful reef fish. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel side by side with green sea turtles, or to enjoy the proximity of the playful Galapagos sea lion. The white sand beach is also an important breeding ground for the green sea turtles. In the crystal-clear ocean, sometimes whales can be sighted under certain circumstances.
Two wind sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point make up the extreme eastern end of San Cristóbal, and thus, the archipelago as well.These cliffs were the first sight of land when HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrived on the 15th of September 1835. On the small green sand beach, you will be welcomed by a group of barking Galapagos sea lions.This is a bachelor colony, where males usually relax and prepare themselves for fighting and mating.
The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach, an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Witch Hill is the remains of a tuff cone and one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls; as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times, the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt can be found at the bottom.The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine.
The Lobos Islets beach harbors a colony of Galapagos sea lions. As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few meters. In the breeding season this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating the harem on their part of the beach.This low islet is home to more than just Galapagos sea lions.Two other emblematic species breed here: male blue-footed boobies and great frigate birds who try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances, heaving their striking blue feet or blowing up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. During the breeding season, the fluffy and hungry chicks cry for food, and when their wings get strong enough, they will learn to fly.
Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the San Cristobal pier, where we will take the shuttle back to the airport.