Copy of Galapagos cruise Tip Top II - Southern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Cruise on the catamaran through the islands of Genovesa, Plaza Sur, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz.

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the catamaran

Your guide will meet you at arrivals gate and the crew will take care of your luggage. Your guide will conduct you to a bus and after a short 5-kilometer ride to the pier; you board the Catamaran immediately. As the crew weighs anchor, you will be greeted with your first orientation and offered a light snack.

Las Bachas Beach, Genovesa

Afternoon: On the north side of Santa Cruz, you will land on Bachas beach - one of the most important nesting sites for the Galapagos Island's sea turtle population.

A hidden lagoon behind the bay reveals 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 pond.

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. Local people changed the word Barges to "Bachas".

In the evening you will learn about the Galapagos Islands in general: their origin and evolution. Afterwards, enjoy a welcome cocktail with the entire crew and sit down for dinner.

Day 2

Darwin Bay, Genovesa

Morning: 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 stingrays.

You'll have the opportunity to discover the bay with the ship's kayaks before lunch is served on board.

Prince Phillips’s Steps, Genovesa

Afternoon: 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

Dinner will be served on the catamaran, where you will also learn more about the conservation efforts in the islands.

Day 3

Plaza Sur

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 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.

Lunch is served back on the catamaran.

Santa Fé Island

Afternoon: 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.

Day 4

Highlands of Santa Cruz

Morning: 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.

Here you can also visit 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.

You will stop at a family farm for lunch, where you will have the opportunity to see the giant tortoises in the wild here.

Fausto Llerena Tortoise Centre, Santa Cruz

Afternoon: 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.

Dinner is served back on the catamaran.

Transfer to Baltra Island

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

Nature & Wildlife
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Aerial Tours
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