Galapagos Cruise Beluga - Southern Route (5)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands Santa Fé, San Cristóbal, Española, Plaza Sur and Santa Cruz

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer at Baltra Airport

After arrival at Baltra Airport, transfer to the harbour to board your ship.

Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: 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 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 2

Santa Fe Island

Morning: 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. Even harmless snakes and the endemic rice rat can be discovered with a little luck while exploring the island. 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. Snorkeling and swimming on the beach, kayaking or a tour with the glass bottom boat make this trip unforgettable.

Please Note: The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé.

Plaza Sur Island

Afternoon: 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 by the nesting places of swallow-tailed gulls, audubon shearwaters, red-tailed tropicbirds, masked boobies and frigatebirds. The entire island is carpeted 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.

Day 3

Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal

Morning: 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.

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal

Depending on the weather conditions, you will visit either El Junco Lagoon or Frigatebird rock depending on conditions. El Junco is on of the only natural sources of freshwater in the islands - the lagoon sparkles deep blue at an altitude of 700m, with great views over the reserve. The lagoon is surrounded by ferns, miconias, pintails and gallinules.

The alternative for your first stop of the afternoon is Cerro Tijeretas, also known as Frigatebird Rock. As the name already suggests, this visitor point is home to innumerable frigatebirds, who also choose this place as a nesting site. Marvel at the "Pirates of the skies" with their red throat sacs and black plumage. Did you know that they can not dive into the water and are often forced to steal prey from other seabirds to survive? Did you know that frigatebirds can fly for weeks at a time?

Cerro Tijeretas is the ideal place to enjoy a spectacular view of the rooftops of the provincial capital of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and the volcanic rocks contrasting against the white sand of the Island's dazzling bright beaches.

After your first stop, your guide will bring you to the National Park Interpretation Center, built in collaboration with the Spanish Science Center. The tour offered by the Center for Interpretation's facilities provide 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 4

Gardner Bay, Española Island

Morning: 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 Island

Afternoon: 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 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 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've likely seen in the wild during your time here!

Transfer to the airport

Transfer to the Baltra Airport in time for your return flight to the mainland or continue with your planned tour through the islands.

Outdoor & Sports
Beach
Landscapes & Sceneries
Wildlife & Nature