Galapagos Cruise "Aida Maria" - Northern Route (5)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Cruise on the Aida Maria through the islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Bartolomé, Santiago and Daphne.

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the Aida Maria

After your arrival at Baltra Island Airport, transfer to your boat.

Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: On the north side of Santa Cruz, you will land on Bachas beach - one of the most important nesting sites for the Galapagos Island's sea turtle population.

Behind the beach, you will find two small flamingo ponds behind the bay. These ponds are a treasure trove of animal sightings - sunbathing iguanas, curious shorebirds, and Darwin finches, mockingbirds and seagulls frolic here. Native plant life is also interesting in this area. Red and black mangroves and salt bushes line the edges of the ponds.

In this heavenly place, you will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago when the US Navy operated a base on the island of Baltra during the Second World War. Local people changed the word Barges to "Bachas".

Day 2

Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island

Morning: Genovesa Island is secluded from the other main islands in the north of the archipelago and is well-known as the Bird Island.

Emerging from the narrow entrance, you'll reach Darwin Bay, surrounded by protective cliffs. Frigatebirds regularly patrol the skies here and petrels can be seen hunting coastal waters for smaller fish. The green water in the bay is evidence of a high plankton content which attracts fish and seabirds, making this wildlife-rich bay a wonderful site for snorkeling. With some luck, you may also encounter peaceful hammerheads and black spotted stingrays.

Prince Phillip's Steps, Genovesa Island

Afternoon: Prince Philip's Steps are a staircase sunken into the volcanic rock that leads to a plateau rich with vegetation and wildlife. Staying true to the nickname of Bird Island, this area is home to nesting masked and blue-footed boobies, Bahama ducks, petrels and gulls amongst a host of other local species. The Galápagos horned owls bask on the warm volcanic rocks here, paying no attention the tourists around them.

Day 3

Bartolomé Island

Morning: Bartolomé in the northern part of the archipelago was nominated for the World Travel Awards 2012 as the most beautiful beach of South America. Here, you will find a fascinating, lunar-like volcanic landscape. At its center, the famous landmark of Galapagos: Pinnacle Rock.

A climb to the highest point of the island offers a wonderful view of the landscape. Take a swim together with some of the penguins who play in the waters and on the shores of the bay here..

Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

Afternoon: Although this beach deserves its place in the highlights list, the day will surprise you with another highlight: the special pahoehoe lava flows.

Almost 100 years ago, lava flowed across the island and left behind various forms of soil: braided and stringy lava fields alternate with sharp-edged jagged formations. Feel the warm stones of the black, unreal lava landscape under your hands and move back to the time of origin, when volcanoes raged here, ultimately creating a paradise.

Day 4

Daphne Island and Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: Early in the morning, you’ll arrive at Daphne Island, a cone formed by the accumulation of volcanic ash. Daphne is home to thousands of birds, including blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, and tropic birds. You won't go ashore here, but you’ll navigate around the volcanic cone, so binoculars are recommended to get a good look at the birds. Daphne is a great research site on which many scientists have spent years studying the behavior of Darwin’s finches.

Black Turtle Cove is a red mangrove lagoon serving as a nursery for sharks and rays. Black Turtle Cove is a great location to observe mating sea turtles during nesting season. Travelers often see large groups of resting white-tip reef sharks, schools of golden rays and the incredibly beautiful spotted eagle rays. As the water is usually water very calm, this area can be navigated using paddles instead of the loud panga engines, increasing your chances of wildlife encounters.

Cerro Dragón, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: You won't find a more apt place name than Cerro Dragón, "Dragon Hill", located behind a flamingo lagoon.

Dragon-like land iguanas land iguanas roam across the sun-scorched, boulder-strewn island, grazing freely on the fruits and flowers of their favourite food, the Opuntia Cacti. Cerro Dragón is a great opportunity to get out your camera and capture some of what makes the Galapagos Islands so unique.

Day 5

Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: At Charles Darwin Station, scientists from around the world research the many tortoise subspecies that are endemic to the Galapagos islands. The highlight of the research center is the breeding station, Fausto Llerena, where baby tortoises take a training course over rocks, branches, and sandy stairs in preparation for their upcoming release into the wilderness.

Visitors leave the station with a stronger understanding of the tortoises, iguanas and much of the flora native to the islands. You'll be impressed by the tiny tortoises, often only the size of your hand, who will grow over the next 100 years to become as large as the adults you'll also meet!

Transfer to Baltra Airport

Transfer to Baltra Airport in time for your return flight to Guayaquil or Quito, or continue with your planned Galapagos itinerary.

Outdoor & Sports
Wildlife & Nature
Landscapes & Sceneries