Galapagos Cruise Anahi - Eastern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Cruise through Floreana, Genovesa, Española, San Cristóbal, Santa Fé, Santa Cruz and Plaza Sur

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the yacht

After arriving at Baltra Airport, a guide will help you transfer to the yacht for your welcome briefing.

Las Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: On the north side of Santa Cruz, you will land on Las 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. Eventually, the locals changed the word Barges to "Bachas".

After your afternoon of exploration, you'll arrive back on the boat at 7pm for the official welcome drink, followed by a delicious dinner and a briefing about the tomorrow's activities.

Day 2

Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island

Morning: The white-sandy coral beach of Darwin Bay stretches out over 750 meters, meandering through mangrove forests where a variety of land birds can be found. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies and fork-tailed gulls are especially common. A short trail leads you past a tidal lagoon and then up a rocky hill that leads to a point, overlooking the impressive cliffs and Darwin Bay.

Genovesa has earned the nickname "Bird Island" for obvious reasons. Along the trail, visitors often see pairs of swallow-tailed- and lava gulls, as well as yellow-crowned- and lava herons. The shores of Genovesa are the best place in the archipelago to see red-footed boobies. The island is also home to an abundance of frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, storm petrels, tropicbirds, Darwin's finches, Galápagos Mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos Dove and the short-eared owls.

Prince Philip's Steps, Genovesa Island

Afternoon: Marvel at the variety of sea life sheltering in the crevices of the lava cliffs as you make the dinghy ride in to El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip's Steps. A small colony of fur seals may greet you upon your arrival on the shore and red-billed tropicbirds circle overhead as you make your way to the start of the steps. Along the rocky path, nazca and red-footed boobies are often found minding their business.

Day 3

Plaza Sur Island

Morning: One of the smallest and most colourful islands in the archipelago, Plaza Sur, or 'South Plaza' in English, is just a short sail from Santa Cruz. Reaching dry land, you will come across some of the islands friendly sea lions, one of the many types of animals in South Plaza for you to discover.

Wander with your small group by the nesting places of swallow-tailed gulls, audubon shearwaters, red-tailed tropicbirds, masked boobies and frigatebirds.The entire island is covered with dense sesuvium plants. From June to November, during the colder and drier season, the plants turn a deep red color which gives the island a dramatic, fascinating atmosphere. Watch the iguanas searching high up in the opuntia trees for fruit - a sight you'll never see anywhere else in the world.

Plazas 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 you can see yellow tailed mullets, Audubon’s shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans gliding past the cliff. Return to the yacht for lunch and a well-deserved rest.

Santa Fé Island

Afternoon: This expedition takes you to one of the oldest islands in the archipelago: Santa Fé. The small island is situated within sight of Puerto Ayora and is mainly known for its endemic species of land iguanas (Santa Fe iguana).

Upon arrival at the white sand beach you will be greeted by a large colony of sea lions. A trail leads you from the beach into a forest of prickly pears and Palo Santo trees. It is not rare to spot Galapagos hawks and even owls in the salt bushes. Arguably the most special, however, is the Santa Fé iguana. This species differs from its peers due to its significantly lighter color and distinct dorsal spines.

Please note: The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé. Rest assured, your tour operator will substitute it with something equally fantastic!

Day 4

Punta Pitt, San Cristóbal Island

Morning: Punta Pitt is considered one of the most beautiful and impressive sites of the whole archipelago of Galapagos. The erosion of the high cliffs and the almost constant foggy morning gives to Punta Pitt an Erie atmosphere. Being the northeastern most point in Galapagos, it has become one of the favorite nesting sites for sea birds. Here you can observe the three different species of boobies and great frigate birds nesting in the same area. Swimming, snorkeling and kayaking are a great way to enjoy the special scenery, and a panga ride or long walk along the beach also offer a an opportunity to really relax.

Lobos Island and León Dormido

Afternoon: Isla Lobos is sometimes known as Sea Lion Island, for the huge colony of resident sea lions. Fire engine red Sally lightfoot crabs strike a strong contrast against the black volcanic rocks during your hike on Isla Lobos. Other curious creatures living on the otherwise uninhabited island include land iguanas and pelicans. Bring your snorkeling gear and treat yourself to a refreshing dip.

An impressive rock formation towering 150 meters above the Pacific Ocean, León Dormido (aka Kicker Rock) hosts a tropical underwater playground in the narrow channel between the two rocks. From a distance, locals thought they saw a sleeping lion in the rock formation, while, from the other direction, the British saw a boot. Whether a lion or a boot, the tropical birds at home on León Dormido don't seem to mind. Blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and frigatebirds regularly enchant visitors with their daring flight maneuvers, as they hunt and socialise around this ancient volcanic cone. In the 19 meters between the surface and the seabed, León Dormido offers snorkelers and divers a dazzling array of sealife. White tip reef sharks, Galapagos sharks and even hammerhead sharks are often seen darting between spotted eagle rays and sea turtles.

Day 5

La Galapaguera, San Cristóbal Island

Morning: The green highlands of San Cristóbal are the agricultural heart of the island. Here livestock and organic fruit cultivation farming are the backbone of the local communities.

In the middle of this area is the only freshwater lake in the entire archipelago. El Junco is filled solely by rainwater and has a capacity of 360,000 m³ of water. The lake has a diameter of around 270 m and measures 6 metres at its deepest point. In the dry season, the level drops to 1 metre and in the rainy season, the lake often overflows, forming a small stream.

A variety of endemic ferns and perennials grow around the lake, as well as the Miconia robinsoniana - an endemic species only found in San Christobal.

In the highland plains of the island of San Cristóbal lies the reserve La Galapaguera - a breeding ground for giant tortoises. The leisurely giants move freely in their natural habitat, seek out cooling mud pots, slowly munching a few blades of grass, or leisurely ambling on their way without taking any notice of the tourists. The dry and tropic climate attracts not only giant tortoises but also scarlet flycatchers and mockingbirds.

Interpretation Center of San Cristobal

Afternoon: The National Park Interpretation Center, located on San Cristóbal, was built in collaboration with the Spanish Science Center. The tour offered by the Center for Interpretation's staff gives guests a good overview of the Galapagos Islands. The tour takes us through the history of the islands in the context of nature, humankind, and conservation. It also tells the story of the first settlers on the islands.

Day 6

Punta Suárez on Española Island

Morning: Española is a geologically interesting island where you can explore the volcanic formations and spot a lot more of the Galapagos's unique fauna. Regular sightings include large sea lion colonies and flocks of seabirds, such as the Española mockingbird, the nazca booby and the spectacular red-beaked tropicbird. There are also marine iguanas, lizards and Sally lightfoot crabs.

A long hike will take you past the world's largest colony of Galapagos albatrosses! During mating season (May to December) you will have the opportunity to see the nesting area of the albatrosses and if you're lucky, you'll even get to witness their courting dance. The courting dance of the albatross is extra special as it is the start of a life-long bond for these birds who mate for life. Other interesting birds include Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks, whip-tailed gulls.

Make a final stop to admire the dramatic topography of the famous Blow Hole, catapulting seawater an impressive 23 meters into the air.

Gardner Bay on Española Island

Afternoon: Join the colony of sea lions on the beautiful white coral beach. From the shoreline, you can observe the Galapagos hawks, American oystercatchers, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, gold-warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas and three different types of Darwin finch! When snorkeling or diving, you have the opportunity to see the diverse underwater world of Gardner Island. Californian angelfish, neon fish, parrotfish, manta rays and white-tip reef sharks all call these waters home.

Afterwards, visit Osborn Island for a stroll along a beautiful, white sand beach, again covered in sunbathing sea lions. If you choose not to sunbathe with the locals, you might prefer to swim or snorkel here.

Day 7

Punta Cormorant and Devil's Crown, Floreana Island

Morning: After breakfast, dip your toes in to the soft white sand at Punta Cormorant. In the evenings, green turtles come out to nest on this beach. A short stroll brings you to another beach, where the carpet of olivine crystals shimmers green in the sunlight. Behind Punta Cormorant, you will discover a salt water lagoon that often attracts a flamboyance of wild flamingos.

Return to the yacht to grab your snorkeling equipment and head for Corona del Diablo (Devils Crown). This is a submerged eroded volcanic crater. The interior of the crater forms an ideal coral reef habitat, making it one of the most fascinating places to snorkel in the Galapagos. Here you can observe beautiful corals, sea lions, reef fish, hammerhead sharks, and several other species of fish. Return to the yacht for lunch.

Post Office Bay, Floreana Island

Afternoon: Floreana offers wonderful testament to the fascinating human history of the Archipelago. Although paling in comparison to the geological history, the human history extends far beyond the island's first residents.

Here at Post Office Bay, learn about the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Lonely sailors, away from home for years at a time, would stop at Floreana to restock their supplies of food and water. The homesick sailors devised a clever solution - they left letters in a makeshift 'post box' on Floreana, and when passing ships stopped on the way back to their home port, they would pick up all the letters destined for that place and deliver them.

To this day, the system is alive and well - each year thousands of visitors continue to leave letters for loved ones, and search for letters to bring home and deliver. To keep the tradition alive, hunt for a letter destined for a town near you and hand deliver it.

Day 8

Charles Darwin Station on 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 turtles take a training course over rocks, branches and sandy stairs in prepareation for their upcoming release in to 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 have likely met during your Galapagos journey!

Transfer to Baltra Island

Your cruise will end in the harbour of Baltra. You will either have a transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to the mainland or continue your Galapagos journey.

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