Galapagos Cruise Koln: Central-Western Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Yacht cruise through the islands Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz and North Seymour

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the yacht

You will arrive on Baltra in the morning where your Crew will greet you and your guide will bring you to the boat. You will be informed about the coming days and get a chance to get to know the boat and your cabin.

North Seymour Island

Afternoon: The small island of North Seymour is one of the most diverse islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It is only about two square kilometres in size and above all known for the intensive courtship rituals of many magnificent frigatebirds, taking place here during mating season. The island is also home to large colonies of land iguanas, marine iguanas and sea lions. The characteristic bush landscape features diverse species of animals amongst the aromatic endemic balsa trees.

Day 2

Espumilla Beach, Santiago Island

Morning: At the northernmost end of James Bay is Espumilla Beach. Next door, feeding sea lizards, the Green Galapagos Sea Turtles also visit this beach to lay their eggs here. In addition, the beach also offers a nice snorkelling experience, here sharks, rays and octopods have been observed in the clear water. Continue a trail that leads inland, passing a seasonal lagoon, some of which is quite green due to the algae in the water. Along the way, you might encounter Galapagos flamingos, Bahama ducks and many other species of Galapagos birds, if you are lucky, you might also spot a Galapagos hawk circling in the skies above you.

Puerto Egas, Santiago Island

Afternoon: The black beach along the northwest coast of Santiago Island is a great sight, even from the boat. After arriving at the beach, two paths invite you to take a walk. One leads you along the coast to "Fur Seal Grotto", where fur seals lie in the shade and rest on the cool stones of the coast from the strong sun. The grotto provides an excellent place for this and the surrounding pools of the tide attract marine lizards to forage in them.

The second trail takes you to the island's Pan de Azucar volcano, which is responsible for turning the beach black. The volcano's crater is filled with saltwater, which dries up in hot weather, leaving a dry saline landscape. Between 1928 and 1930, a salt mine was considered, but it was decided against because it was not feasible or lucrative. The lagoon is often home to Galapagos flamingos and other birds such as the Galapagos hawk, which circles high above the landscape.

Day 3

Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

Morning: You will take an excursion to the infamous Tagus Cove - a favourite anchorage of pirates and whalers for centuries. The deep blue cove is home to breeding penguins, flightless cormorants, noddy terns, shearwaters and blue-footed boobies. A steep trail through dry balsam tree forests and cacti leads to a salty, green crater lake (Laguna Darwin). Sea turtles and marine lizards appreciate the food-rich bay, making it ideal for snorkelling despite the abundance of green algae.

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island

Morning: Today you are heading towards Fernandina, the westernmost and with just about 700,000 years, the youngest island in the archipelago. 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 snorkelling you might come close to the resident penguins darting quickly through the water.

Day 4

Urbina Bay, Isabela Island

Morning: n the east coast of Isabela Island lies Urbina Bay, one of the youngest bays in the Galapagos. Formed in 1954, by an upwelling of the coast and was pushed up 5 meters. This brought a variety of corals to the surface, which can now be admired. However, this view will not last long as the air is destroying the coral reef. After a wet landing in the bay, you will go on a 3.5-kilometre march into the interior of the island. Here you have a high probability of seeing giant tortoises and land iguanas, which are only found in the Galapagos Islands.

As the trail leads back to the coast, you will encounter flightless cormorant colonies. The bay offers a fantastic place to snorkel and see Galapagos sea lizards feeding underwater.

Punta Vicente 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 snorkelling sites in the Galapagos.

Day 5

Bartolomé Island

Morning: One of the most popular destinations for visitors to the Galapagos Islands, Bartolomé is known for its double beach. The popular photo motif can be admired from a platform that can be reached via a path from the beach. The path leads upwards for just under a kilometre with many erected wooden steps, but rest assured that the climb is worth it. From here, you not only have a great view of the double beach, but also of Pinnacle Rock, which rises 120 metres into the air. You can also see Sullivan Bay, the small island of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor. On your way back, observe the different rock formations formed by the lava, such as tufa cones or various rocks.

The island is also a good example of how the environment adapts to its circumstances. Look out for the plants that grow here, they may look like they have no leaves, but on closer inspection you can see little white hairs that reflect the light so that the plant can store water. On the beach you then have the opportunity to snorkel in underwater caves and meet sharks, rays and tropical fish. With a bit of luck, you might even see a penguin or two swimming by.

Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

Afternoon: To the east of Santiago Island, you will reach the white coral beach of Sullivan Bay. Although this beach deserves your full attention, the day will surprise you with another highlight: Santiago's cooled lava blanket. Almost 100 years ago, lava flows flowed across the island here, leaving behind different ground shapes: braided and thread-like lava fields alternate with sharp-edged jagged formations. Feel the warm stones of the black, unreal lava landscape under your hands and transport yourself back to the time when volcanoes raged here and ultimately created a paradise.

Day 6

Chinese Hat Island

Morning: The small island gets its name from its shape because when you approach the island from the north, it looks like a traditional Chinese hat. The island is close to Santiago Island and the sea between the islands is well protected, allowing visitors to look deep into the blue water. On the island, there is the possibility to walk along a short path along the western coast and see the impressive landscape. There are volcanic rocks and residues of lava that once flowed here. The atmosphere and rocks of the island are reminiscent of what the Galapagos Islands once were. Sea lions and Galapagos penguins bask on the island's shores or seek refuge from the sun and cool off in the shade. In the island's skies, you might see a Galapagos hawk or two circling overheads. One of the main reasons to visit this island, however, is the sea that surrounds it. It is a fantastic place to snorkel and spot marine life such as sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. As not all boats have permission to go to this island, it is well worth it.

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 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 colour 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 7

Highlands, Santa Cruz Island

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. Here you can observe the famous Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild, using the new knowledge you gained at Charles Darwin Station in the morning.

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.

Interpretation Center Fausto Llerena, Santa Cruz Island

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.

Return to the yacht for dinner.

Day 8

Las Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: On the north side of Santa Cruz, you will land on Bachas’s 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, 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".

Transfer to Baltra Island

You will return to 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.

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