Galapagos Cruise Archipel I: North South Route (8)

Tour from Baltra Galapagos (GPS) to San Cristóbal (SCY), Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Genovesa, Santiago, San Cristóbal, Floreana, Española, Bartolomé, Seymour and Santa Cruz

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival in Baltra

After arrival in Baltra Airport, transfer to the harbour to board the Archipel I.

Islet Mosquera

Afternoon: Like many islands in the archipelago, Mosquera was formed due to an eruption of a submarine volcano. Rocks and coral colonised the island and supported you against the current that flows between Baltra and Seymour to collect sand. Now it is home to one of the largest colonies of sea lions and offers them a large beach to rest, sunbathe and play. In addition, orcas (killer whales) can sometimes be seen from here, as sea lions are part of their diet and there are many cavorting here. Mosquera can also surprise some rare species. The endemic and rare Lava Gull nests on this island, but is one of the rarest gull species in the world with its few hundred pairs. With a bit of luck, you may stalk a crabeater heron or catch a glimpse of a rare red-footed booby.

Day 2

Prince Philip's Steps, Genovesa

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

Prince Philip's Steps are a staircase sunken into 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 on the warm volcanic rocks here, paying no attention the tourists around them.

Darwin Bay, Genovesa

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.

Day 3

Bartolomé Island

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

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.

Day 4

Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz

The Twin Craters are not craters at all, they were formed when underlying magma chambers collapsed and the earth caved in. This makes them no less impressive to see. They are easily accessible via a path from Puerto Ayora and offer a fantastic view. In addition to the avoidable craters, some of the endemic bird species also cavort here. The path leads you through the Scalesia forest, past Galapagos doves, Darwin's finches, Galapagos flycatchers, Galapagos owls and many other inhabitants of the air. And once you reach the crater rim, a view awaits you that you will never forget!

Fausto Llerena, Santa Cruz

Visit the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguana breeding programme, where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen from Pinta Island) lived for decades. The centre is managed by Galapagos National Park (GNP) staff in collaboration with scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the risk of introduced species. After artificial incubation, the "galapaguitos" (newborn turtles) are bred until they are 5 years old so that when they are released in their original habitats, they have enough skills to survive on their own. Since the 1970s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, Darwin Station works on several scientific projects, botanical research and provides environmental education for local communities, schools and tourists. If there is still time, you can take a stroll through the small town of Puerto Ayora.

Day 5

Punta Cormorant, Floreana

Punta Cormorant is home to two stunning natural beaches. You'll make a wet landing in the first bay, where you'll find a special black sand beach that twinkles green in the sunlight. The shimmering sand is made of olivine crystals, remnants of a long-gone violent volcanic eruption.

Following the short trail along the beach, you'll come to a second little bay. Visitors will be delighted by the soft, white powdery sand that feels like walking in fine baking flour. This gorgeous beach certainly earned the name "Flour Beach". In the bay you will likely spot green sea turtles, and if you wander back from the sandy stretch, you can find a salt water lagoon that attracts vibrant flamingos and the adorable white cheeked pintails.

Post Office Bay, Floreana

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.

At Post Office Bay you can 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 6

Gardner Bay, Española

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.

Punta Suarez, Española

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.

Day 7

Punta Pitt, San Cristóbal

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 constantly foggy morning give Punta Pitt an eerie atmosphere. The point's location has also made it a favourite nesting site for many sea birds. Here you can observe the three different species of boobies and great frigate birds nesting in the same area. The walking trail covers 1400m and takes roughly 2 hours, including an olivine beach approximately 90 meters long, and a trail that ascends to the top of a volcanic tuff hill passing through several natural viewpoints. This is the only site in the Galapagos Islands, where you can watch the three species of boobies and 2 species of frigates nesting in the same area. There are also plenty of curious sea lions in the area.

Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal

Cerro Brujo is a volcanic cone that looks over a beautiful white sandy beach which has plenty of sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and marine iguanas. From atop the hill you also have a great view over to Leon Dormido. After the hike, cool off with a dip in the perfect aquamarine waters.

Day 8

Lobos Island

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.

Conclude in San Cristóbal

The cruise will conclude in the harbour of San Cristóbal. From there, transfer to the airport in time for your return flight to the mainland, or continue with your planned route through the Galapagos.

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