Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Arrival in Baltra and Santa Cruz Highlands
After arriving in Baltra Airport, you will be greeted by a staff member from Passion, who will help you transfer to the harbour to board the yacht. We recommend that you wear clothing that is appropriate for the afternoon hike in the Santa Cruz highlands.
As you venture into Santa Cruz's higher altitude areas, you will notice the changes in the vegetation as the climate becomes wetter and warmer. The earth in the upper altitudes is rich in minerals. Coffee plantations and fruit orchards line the streets and giant tortoises roam around at ease in their natural environment.
The Scalesia forests in this area offer the opportunity to discover endemic species of the Galapagos Islands, as well as giant cacti and a variety of deciduous trees and edible fruits.
Fausto Llerena Breeding Station, Santa Cruz
A short walk along the promenade of Puerto Ayora will bring you to the breeding station Fausto Llerena, at the Charles Darwin station. Since March 2017, the Fausto Llerena hatchery is home to the embalmed tortoise Lonesome George, who became the symbol of the Galapagos Islands. Lonesome George was the last surviving member of the Pinta Island Tortoise species and for a long time, was known as the rarest animal on earth. On the "Ruta de las Tortugas" you will learn about the history of tortoises in Galapagos and then visit the breeding station. Here, tortoises eggs are incubated and the hatchlings spend the first 5 years of their life in protection as they are prepared for their release into the wild. Visitors leave with a stronger understanding of species conservation as well as the Galapagos Islands themselves.
Afterwards, head back to Puerto Ayora, where you can explore the town and shops at your leisure before returning to Passion at 5pm. Once on board, you can enjoy your official welcoming from the crew and captain, with dinner and the briefing for the next day's activities.
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 island’s 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.
Visit Santa Fé Island
Santa Fé Island 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.
Please Note: The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé.
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.
Afterwards, visit Osborn Islet 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.
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.
Los Gemelos and end of cruise
Return to the highlands, where coffee plantations and fruit orchards line the streets, and where you can observe the famous Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. The special treat for your last day is a trip to the twin 'craters' Los Gemelos. While they are not craters in the technical sense, these 70 meter vertical gullies with a carpet of lush vegetation are an impressive sight to behold.
The cruise will conclude in the harbor of Baltra. From there, transfer to Baltra Airport in time for your return flight to the mainland, or continue with your planned route through the Galapagos.