Galapagos cruise Tip Top IV : Southern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Española, San Cristobal, Mosquera, Rabida, Bartolome, Santa Fe, South Plaza onboard Tip Top IV

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the yacht

A guide meets you and accompanies you as you ride the bus to the Itabaca Channel, you cross the channel by barge and then you continue to Puerto Ayora by bus. You board the Yacht and the crew greets you and offers you a light snack and you have your first orientation.

Charles Darwin Station on 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.

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! You will board the yacht and you have a welcome cocktail with the entire crew, and dinner.

Day 2

Punta Suarez on Española Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make an early dry landing on Punta Suarez. 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. Return to the Yacht for lunch afterward.

Gardner Bay on Española Island

Afternoon: 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.

Optional: time for those who would like to swim and/or snorkel. Return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 3

Punta Pitt on San Cristóbal

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Punta Pitt in San Cristobal Island; the trail includes an olivine beach approximately 90 meters and a trail that ascends to the top of a volcanic tuff hill passing through several natural viewpoints. Punta Pitt is composed of volcanic tuff substrate. High winds present there have led to natural erosion. This is the only site in the Galapagos Islands, where you can watch the three species of boobies and 2 species of frigates nesting in the same area. You come aboard for a delicious lunch.

Kicker Rock on Leon Dormido

Afternoon: Your experienced Captain sails easily around Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), a massive tuff-rock that juts abruptly almost 500 feet straight from the ocean. Kicker Rock serves as nesting place for many sea birds. Optional: time for those who would like to swim and/ or snorkel. Then you make a wet landing on Cerro Brujo to walk on a white sand beach and observe sea lions, brown pelicans, marine iguanas and bluefooted boobies. Optional: time for those who would like to swim, snorkel and/ or kayak. You return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation

Day 4

Mosquera Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make an early wet landing on Mosquera Island. Between the two islands, North Seymour and Baltra lies the small island Mosquera. The narrow island's coastline stretches out with white sand beaches, lava rocks, and tide pools. Created by Geological uplift, the island has a relatively flat landscape. Mosquera is a great place for snorkeling, strolling on the beach, and enjoying the animal life without the tourist crowds that are common on many of the more popular islands. This islet is home to a huge colony of resident sea lions and is also home to many shorebirds. You will come aboard for a delicious lunch.

Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: In the afternoon, you make a panga ride on Black Turtle Cove. 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. You will board the Yacht for dinner and the first of your nightly orientations.

Day 5

Chinese Hat Islet

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino), a small island off the coast of Santiago Island. One of the most recognizable of the Galapagos Islands, Sombrero Chino's name means "Chinese Hat" and it's easy to see why: this islet off of Santiago is shaped like an old-fashioned Chinese hat, with its gently sloping cone rising out of the clear Galapagos water. It's one of the smallest Galapagos Islands but don't be fooled - it has a terrific visitor site with an unforgettable view! There is a short hiking trail on Chinese Hat that runs along the western coast of the islet. This is a harsh landscape of volcanic rubble and lava formations, a very atmospheric reminder of the fiery origins of the Galapagos. Along the coast of both Chinese Hat and the opposite Santiago shore, you are likely to see Galapagos Sea Lions and Galapagos Penguins, either basking in the sun or seeking shade to avoid the hottest time of the day. Overhead you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Galapagos Hawk. The stand-out reason for a visit to Chinese Hat, however, is to snorkel in that turquoise channel. Here you can see various species of sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. Not all Galapagos boats can visit, and permits are only given to a select few boats and guides. Return to the yacht for lunch.

Rábida 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.

You return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 6

Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island

Morning: Although this beautiful beach deserves its place in the highlights list, the day will surprise you with another highlight: the special pahoehoe lava flows.

Almost 100 years ago, lava flowed across the island and left behind various forms of soil: braided and stringy lava fields alternate with sharp-edged jagged formations. Feel the warm stones of the black, unreal lava landscape under your hands and move back to the time of origin, when volcanoes raged here, ultimately creating a paradise. Return to the yacht for lunch.

Bartolomé Island

Afternoon: Bartolomé in the northern part of the archipelago was nominated for the World Travel Awards 2012 as the most beautiful beach of South America. Here, you will find a fascinating, lunar-like volcanic landscape. At its center, the famous landmark of Galapagos: Pinnacle Rock.

A climb to the highest point of the island offers a wonderful view of the landscape. Take a swim together with some of the penguins who play in the waters and on the shores of the bay here.

You will return to the yacht for a delicious dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 7

Santa Fé 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. Return to the yacht for lunch.

The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé. Rest assured, your tour operator will substitute it with something equally fantastic!

South Plaza 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 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 8

Las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island

Morning: After breakfast you make an early disembark on Las Bachas Beach. On the north side of Santa Cruz, you will land on Las 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".

You return to the Yacht for disembarking on the pier at 09:00.

Return to the harbour of Baltra

You will return to the harbour of Baltra. From there transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to the mainland or you continue with your individual Galapagos program.

Outdoor & Sports
Beach
Wildlife & Nature
Landscapes & Sceneries