|Day 1||Tuesday||Flight to San Cristobal Airport||L D|
|Cerro Colorado (San Cristobal)|
|Day 2||Wednesday||Punta Suarez (Espanola)||B L D|
|Gardner Bay (Espanola)|
|Day 3||Thursday||Punta Cormorant / Devil's Crown (Floreana)||B L D|
|Baroness Lookout / Post Office Bay (Floreana)|
|Day 4||Friday||Santa Fe||B L D|
|Day 5||Saturday||North Seymour||B L D|
|Bachas (Santa Cruz)|
|Transfer to Baltra Airport|
At San Cristobal Airport you have to pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee and your luggage is inspected. In front of the arrival hall you will meet your naturalist guide and fellow passengers, and you will be transferred to the harbor of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Our inflatable dinghy brings you the last stretch to the yacht.
The giant tortoise breeding center on Colorado Hill bears the official name Galapaguero Jacinto Gordillo, but in daily use it is simply called after the red hill on which it is located. This and similar breeding centers on Santa Cruz and Isabela are the most comfortable places where you can see Galapagos giant tortoises. All are created to rescue these endangered giants by collecting their eggs in the wild, reproduction in captivity and re-population once the hatchlings are big enough and less vulnerable for predators. This center works with the local subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoises.
Huge Ocean waves bang onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays meters high into the air (depending on the season, the tide and how strong the sea breeze pushes the waves). Take your time for a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment in a lifetime experience.
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. But without doubt its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years, although these start to learn fishing already after 5 months. During the breeding- and mating season the colony becomes even more populous. The strongest bachelors and elder males return from their secluded bases and start again to conquer and defend a part of the 1300 m / 4250 ft. long beach. Pregnant females choose the best territory to give birth, and will mate again with their landlord within a month.
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which is pockmarked by numbers of smaller volcanic cones and covered by tropical dry forest (predominantly 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 glassy olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The ‘flour sand’ sand beach on the southern side of the peninsula is formed of even finer white coral sand that feels very smooth to your feet.
Post Office Bay is one out of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s northern coast. Bring your postcards and post them in the peculiar traditional barrel on this historic site. These might arrive home quicker than you! The barrel commemorates an improvised mail service that was set-up for communication between British 16th century whalers and poachers. Proceeding by inflatable dinghy to Baroness Lookout you will follow the graceful arm around the sheltered bay to the entrance of a submerged tuff cone. After landing you can climb the miniature basaltic cone of Baroness Lookout, and dream away, admiring one of the most striking panoramas of Galapagos. The turquoise and ocean blue waters merge with all year lushly red mangroves and basaltic rocks. This viewpoint was the favorite spot of one of the first colonists, Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet.
Practically every animal on the extraordinary island of Santa Fe is unique; endemic to Galapagos, or even to this island alone and therefore extremely vulnerable! Apparently evolution has had enough time and isolation to create the wonders that will surprise you nowadays. And indeed, geologists have determined that Santa Fe is the remnant of probably the most ancient volcano of Galapagos; the 259 m / 850 ft high hill is all that remains from its former cone. Evidences of volcanism, such as 3,9 million old sub-areal volcanic rocks, debunk theories that this would be another tectonic uplift around Santa Cruz.
Although in line of sight of the main island Santa Cruz, the southern of both Plaza islets is quite different and diverges even from all other sites in the National Park. At the same time it is so typical Galapagos, with its sharp contrasts, amazing diversity and high concentration of wildlife. It is one of most popular, not to be missed islands, and definitely another highlight of your cruise.
There are several large Galapagos sea lion colonies, and this islet is best place to encounter the endemic Galapagos land iguana. Watch your step and don’t stumble over one of them when the equally bizarre giant prickly pear cactus-trees distract you! These reptiles are not only ugly: as nobody less than Charles Darwin pronounced: but also extreme photogenic with strikingly yellowish or saffron-colors, and very patient models.
The former seabed of the uplifted tabletop of North Seymour is strewn with boulders and overgrown by dry shrubs. Nevertheless this islet is one of most visited sites, and overloaded with bird life. An easy circular path takes you through the archipelago’s most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds.
This is one of the few spots (besides Genovesa and Pitt Point) where you can compare the magnificent and the rarer great frigate bird breeding next to each other. Frigate birds rather attack returning boobies and conduct aerial battles than fishing themselves and get a wet suit. The even more popular blue-footed boobies show their cute courtship rituals, in which their remarkable feet play an important role.
Strolling along its coastline, the blinding white Bachas Beach appears full of natural life. But both the turquoise bay and the symmetrical tuff cone-islet of Daphne Major pull your eyes to the horizon as well. Much closer, in the inter-tidal zone at your feet, run impressive sparkling orange colored and heavy-armed sally light foot crabs around the dark basaltic rocks. Beware of a Galapagos sea lion, a marine iguana, a shark fin or (seasonally) mating Pacific green turtles in the surf!
Mosquera stands out as a home to one of the largest concentrations of Galapagos sea lions in the entire archipelago. It’s also one of the few spots inside the National Park where you can stroll around freely, without being restricted to a trail. During a beach walk you can also expect shorebirds and waders, such as groups of sanderling that steadily have to interrupt their foraging efforts and run to escape each next breaker. Between the rocks wait lots of other inter-tidal hunters such as striking orange sally light foot crabs, ready to play seek and hide with you when you want to picture them.
Assisted by the guide and some crew-members the zodiac will bring you and your luggage to Baltra, where we take the airport shuttle. Your guide will accompany you to the check-in counters in the departure hall.