Galapagos Cruise EcoGalaxy : West route (6)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Explore the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago and Rabida onboard EcoGalaxy

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival in Baltra

Upon arrival in Baltra, you will be greeted by the crew at the airport. Your guide will accompany you to your ship and a briefing will be conducted onboard.

Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: 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. Since the 1970s, at least 2000 tortoises have been released into the wild from the station.

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! If time allows, you can also explore the town of Puerto Ayora.

Day 2

Tintoreras, Isabela Island

Mornings: Take in the gorgeous scenery and unique wildlife on Las Tintoreras. On the sandy beach, the sea lions loll in the sun or laze in the shade of the mangroves and along the shores, the blue-footed booby males show off their striking blue feet in an attempt to woo the females. Marine iguanas warm themselves up on the black lava rocks next to the Galapagos penguins and Galápagos sea lions, recovering after their dives. Even white tip reef sharks are not uncommon to find in the calm waters of the bay.

Punta Moreno, Isabela Island

Afternoon: Punta Moreno is a rugged young lava bay. At first it appears to be a lifeless landscape, however as you walk over the cooled lava, you'll see new green areas and lagoons hosting a wide variety of birds. Marine iguanas and lava lizards are usually found in the lagoons you'll often meet flamingos foraging here for their favorite meal. While the sharp rocks make this hike a little tricky, its path itself is easy enough to be enjoyed by everyone and provides an unforgettable landscape set against a backdrop of the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul.

We recommend bringing plenty of water during this visit, as the lava field reflects the sun making the temperature higher than average. Don't forget to apply sunscreen!

Day 3

Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island

Morning: The wide and sheltered Elizabeth Bay, on Isabela's east coast, hosts a bevy of the archipelago's unique wildlife. The mangrove-lined shore contrasts starkly against the surrounding lava fields. The myriad of small islets and rocky reefs make this is a particularly rich area for wildlife.

The waters here are particularly clear, and this makes Elizabeth Bay a great place to spot the rays, sharks, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins, pelicans, and Galapagos sea lions known to gather here. Nearer to the shores and mangroves you'll see Galapagos flightless cormorants and the sunbathing marine iguanas.

Urbina Bay, Isabela Island

Afternoon: Urbina Bay graces the southeast flank of the Alcedo Volcano. After volcanic activity in 1954 caused a significant uplift, the coast expanded almost a kilometer out. Marine life found a way to thrive in this newly fertile area and many species chose to stay. Today, this area is a great place for snorkeling. During your 3,5 Kilometer hike, you may see a large colony of land iguanas, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises (from June to September) and flightless cormorants.

Several species of whale have been spotted in the waters you'll be navigating through today.

Day 4

Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island

Morning: Fernandina is the youngest island in the archipelago, at only around 700,000 years old. Surrounded by hills amidst a lava landscape covered with cacti and mangroves is the visitor location, Punta Espinoza. Meet sea lions and hundreds of marine iguanas basking on the black lava rocks and on the beach. While snorkeling you might come close to the resident penguins darting quickly through the water. This is a perfect spot for finding the flightless cormorant as well as the Galapagos Hawk.

Punta Vincente Roca, Isabela Island

Afternoon: The sea-horse-shaped island of Isabela is the largest of the archipelago and the most volcanically active. Punta Vicente Roca is considered one of the most impressive and spectacular places of the enchanted Galapagos Islands with high cliffs and tuff stone giving this area a majestic feel.

While you explore the two coves and the large bay with spectacular sea life, keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the weird and wonderful mola-mola, also known as sunfish. In good conditions, Punta Vicente Roca is considered one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos.

If possible, you can explore some of the caves with a dinghy and spot some cormorants or fur seals.

Day 5

Egas Port, Santiago Island

Afternoon: After landing on the black sand beach of Puerto Egas, Santiago Island hike along a 2km long coastal area boasting sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks and lava herons. The rugged lava coast with natural pools, where sea lions bathe and herons play marks the end of your hike. An excursion to Santiago Island is also one of the rare chances to see Galápagos fur seals in the wild, though not in large numbers.

The second path leads you to Pan de Azucar Volcano, which is responsible for the dark-colored beaches. The craters of the volcanoes are filled with salt water which is dried up during hot weather conditions. It was once considered to build a salt mine there but as it was not lucrative nor feasible, the idea was abandoned. In this lagoon, Galapagos Flamingos and Galapagos Hawks can be found.

Rabida Island

Afternoon: On arrival at Rábida Island's red sand beach, you will be greeted by the resident sea lions, basking in the sun. The island's otherworldly red coloring is a result of the high level of iron and magnesium left behind from previous volcanic activity.

A stroll along the beach reveals marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. If you look carefully you may also spot the bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs, who have found possibly the only place on earth where they can effectively camouflage themselves. The beach is also a nesting place for pelicans and they utilize the plants on the islands as protection. As you travel along a path with opuntias, various birds such as Darwin Finches, Galapagos doves, and the Northern Mockingbird can be spotted. You can also swim and snorkel under crystal clear waters here.

Day 6

Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: 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.

End of the cruise

Afternoon: The cruise anchors at Baltra where you will transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland or continue with your planned itinerary in the Galapagos.

Outdoor & Sports
Beach
Wildlife & Nature
Landscapes & Sceneries