Sample cruise itinerary
Friday morning: Baltra airport, Galapagos
The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 2 ½ hours on a Boeing 727. Upon arrival at Baltra travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless prepaid). Guides will meet you, collect your luggage and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ will transport you to the M/C Galapagos Anahi and our crew will welcome you onboard. After departure and lunch, the first island visit is made.
Friday afternoon: Plaza Island
These are two small islets that were uplifted a short distance from the East Coast of Santa Cruz. The unusual vegetation and location of the island create an interesting landscape in which the fauna and flora of Galápagos are enhanced. Moreover despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the archipelago occur here. It is possible to guarantee the observation of land iguanas that often are in the shade of a cactus. Nesting on the rugged southern cliffs, are usually swallow –tailed gulls, which seen along with various other sea birds. The protected rocky seashore is a prime habitat for a large colony of noisy sea lions. The principal attraction of Plazas is the land iguanas, the sea lions and the swallow – tailed gulls. Also we can see yellow – tailed mullets, Audubon’s shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans gliding past the cliff.
Saturday morning: San Cristobal Island - Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill
The interpretation centre was built with the cooperation of the Spanish Cience Centre. It gives a very good introduction to the Galaagos islands, its marine and land life, fauna and flora. It is located in the outskirts of the small city of Pto. Baquerizo Moreno, which is the capital of the Galapagos Province.
The trip to the Hill takes approximately 20-40 minutes. Once there, visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the white beaches on one side and the roofs of Puerto Baquerizo on the other. The hill is often visited by Frigatebirds, giving it its name. Here it is possible to see Magnificent Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds in the same colony. This is the perfect place to compare and learn to distinguish them.
This site offers some safe snorkeling without strong currents. It is great for beginners. You can find sting rays, barber fish and butterfly fish.
Saturday afternoon: Isla Lobos (Sea Lion Islet)
This small islet, located only an hour by boat from Pto. Baquerizo Moreno is separated from the main Island by a narrow strecht of calm water. Upon its rocky shores blue-footed boobies nest and sea lions rest. The atmosphere is one of tranquility and primitive beauty. This shows a very typical Galapagos environment.
Sunday morning: Española island - Gardner Bay
Located on the northeastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming and an opportunity to observe sea lions. Here we can also observe sharks on the cristaline waters of the ocean
Sunday afternoon: Española Island -Punta Suarez
This rocky point of land sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galápagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole, where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
Monday morning: Floreana Island - Cormorant Point
This site probably, offers one of the largest and the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos. It is situated between two tuff cones that give the area a special athmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to be seen besides flamingoes, the mnost frecuent are common stilts, white-chceked pintail ducks and other migratories. This is a unique zone due to the high percentage of endemism in the plant life. Is also very interesting the two distinct beaches: the “grean beach (due to high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour sand beach” made up of coral.
Monday afternoon: Post Office Bay
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists.
Tuesday morning: Santa Cruz Island - Charles Darwin Station
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the principal attractions are National Park information center, Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (tortoise from Pinta), adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
Tuesday afternoon: Santa Cruz Island - Highlands
The trail to the highlands leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather (unpredictable) this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round.
((B), (L), (D))
Wednesday morning: Chinese Hat
Chinese hat is a tiny Island just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island is less than a quarter of 1 sq km in size. It is a fairly recent volcanic cone, which accounts for its descriptive name, it has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat. The hat shape is best appreciated from the northside. Opposite Sombrero Chino, on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen.
A 400 m..trail goes around the cove and through a sea lion colony - marine iguanas cover the landscape. The volcanic scenery is attractive, and there are good views of the cone. There are snorkeling and swimming opportunities in the cove.
Wednesday afternoon: Santiago Island - Puerto Egas
Wet Landing. James Bay at the western end. Puerto Egas with its black sand beaches was the site of small salt mining industry in the 1960s. A hike inland to the salt crater is an excellent opportunity to sight land birds such as finches, doves, and hawks. A walk down the rugged shoreline, especially at low tide, will turn up many marine species. Iguanas bask on the rocks and sea lions laze in the tide pools. At the end of the trail there is a series of grottoes or sea caves where fur seals and night herons are found resting on shady ledges.
The wet landing on the dark sands of Puerto Egas, James Bay leads to one of the more rewarding visits in the Galapagos. First, a trail leads inland to the remains of a salt mining operation, one of several largely unsuccessful attempts to commercialize the Galapagos. Some groups will make the 1 hour round trip to the Sugarloaf Volcano (about 1000 ft elevation). But it is the Fur Seal Grotto that produces the most pleasure for visitors. Here one can get very close views of both fur seals and sea lions in a series of rocky pools. For many, this is the only opportunity to see the Galapagos fur seal, once thought to be on the verge of extinction. In addition to the fur seals. James Bay offers the best opportunity for tide-pooling in the Galapagos.
Thursday morning: Santiago Island - Bahia Sullivan
This visitor site provides a unique opportunity to view a recent lava flow of approximately 100 years old. The East Side of James Island is known to have barren volcanic landscapes, dominated by black pahoehoe (ropy) lava flows of very young age. On the surface of the lava is possible to observe some tree that was carried down by the flow of the fresh lava. It is also interesting to see how some Mollugo plants are starting to colonize the small lava fissures.
Thursday afternoon: Bartolome Island
A small barren island, located across Sullivan Bay off James Island, Bartholomew has two visitors’ sites. At one of them it is possible to climb to the summit of the island, from where visitors can observe a variety of volcanic formations, spatter and tuff cones, lava flows and lava tubes. The moon like landscape provides the most scenic panorama in the archipelago. At the other site, the visitor may swim and snorkel from a beautiful beach or walk across the isthmus to another beach that faces south, where swimming is prohibited. Multi –coloured fish and occasionally penguins may be seen at the base of the tall pinnacle rock, which dominates Bartholomew’s landscape.
Friday morning: Santa Cruz Island - Bachas Beach
These two small beaches are found to the West of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favourite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.
After your visit to Bachas, transfer to the airport in Baltra. Flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.
Note: Itineraries are subject to variations due to weather conditions or Galapagos National Park regulations. B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner.