Galapagos Cruise Alya: Southern Route (5)

Tour from Baltra Island to San Cristóbal Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Travel to the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Genovesa, Santiago und Bartolomé onboard Alya

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer from Baltra airport to the harbour

You will arrive on the island of Baltra in the morning at the airport and transfer to the harbor to board the ship. The briefing will be conducted onboard.

Black Turtle Cove in Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: This will be your first excursion after lunch. 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 very calm, this area can be navigated using paddles instead of the loud panga engines, increasing your chances of wildlife encounters

Day 2

Darwin Bay at 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 eagle rays.

El Barranco / Prince Philip'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. 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 in the warm volcanic rocks here, paying no attention the tourists around them.

Day 3

Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

Morning: Although this beautiful 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.

Bartolomé Island

Afternoon: 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.

Day 4

Dragon Hill / Chinese Hat at Santa Cruz Island

Morning: Dragon hill - You won't find a more fitting place name than Cerro Dragón, "Dragon Hill", located behind a flamingo lagoon. Dragon-like land iguanas roam across the sun-scorched, boulder-strewn island, grazing freely on the fruits and flowers, one of their favorite 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.

Chinese Hat - One of the most recognizable of the Galapagos Islands, Sombrero Chino's name means "Chinese Hat" and it's easy to see why: this islet off of Santiago is shaped like an old-fashioned Chinese hat, with its gently sloping cone rising out of the clear Galapagos water. It's one of the smallest Galapagos Islands but do not be fooled - it has a terrific visitor site with an unforgettable view!

There is a short hiking trail on Chinese Hat that runs along the western coast of the islet. This is a harsh landscape of volcanic rubble and lava formations, a very atmospheric reminder of the fiery origins of the Galapagos. Along the coast of both Chinese Hat and the opposite Santiago shore, you are likely to see Galapagos Sea Lions and Galapagos Penguins, either basking in the sun or seeking shade to avoid the hottest time of the day. Overhead you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Galapagos Hawk. The stand-out reason for a visit to Chinese Hat, however, is to snorkel in that turquoise channel. Here you can see various species of sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. Not all Galapagos boats can visit, and permits are only given to a select few boats and guides.

Mosquera Island

Afternoon; Between the two islands, North Seymour and Baltra, lies the small island, Mosquera. The narrow island's coastline stretches out with white sand beaches, lava rocks, and tide pools. Created by Geological uplift, the island has a relatively flat landscape. Mosquera is a great place for snorkeling, strolling on the beach, and enjoying the animal life without the tourist crowds that are common on many of the more popular islands. This islet is home to a huge colony of resident sea lions and is also home to many shorebirds.

Day 5

Charles Darwin Station and the end of the cruise

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 turtles 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 400kg!

Upon reaching Baltra island, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight back to the mainland, or continue with the remaining itinerary in the Galapagos.

Outdoor & Sports
Beach
Landscapes & Sceneries
Wildlife & Nature