Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Arrival on Galapagos and Highland of Santa Cruz
As we arrive at Baltra a shuttle service takes us to the island of Santa Cruz. We drive across the island and through the highlands, which will delight us with its variety of species and geology. We start off the coast, traveling from the north on the road that leads us to Puerto Ayora through the agricultural area, as well as the often through the misty forests of the highlands. The island of Santa Cruz houses all the different habitats that are found in the archipelago, which are exceptional bird watching areas. Whether it is the shining red feathers of the vermilion flycatcher or one of the Darwin finches, almost every bird species that exists on the islands can be found here.
Afterwards, enjoy lunch on one of the farms before eyploring the grounds filled with Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural environment. After lunch continue on to Puerto Ayora, where you can take the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Santa Cruz to Floreana
After breakfast you will take a speedboat about 2.5 hours to the island of Floreana.
Floreana offers wonderful testament to the fascinating human history of the Archipelago. Although paling in comparison to the geological history, the history of human settlement begins here on Floreana Island. Over the next two days, your guide and maybe even some of the locals themselves will give you wonderful insight in to this history, riddled with eccentric personalities and mysteries.
After checking in at the hotel, the group will walk about 30 minutes to La Loberia, a rearing spot for the sea lions. Here you can swim in the turquoise waters with the cheeky sea lions, and often also sea turtles, manta rays and a variety of colorful fish species. In the afternoon, return to the hotel to relax, perhaps to exchange experiences with local people and possibly meet some members of the first families who settled the islands.
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up with a "Chiva", a traditional bus of the islands, and drive to the highlands. Along the way your guide will tell you interesting stories about the first inhabitants of the island of Floreana. Among them are the Wittmer Family (whose descendants still live on the island), an Austrian Baroness, as well as the pirates who once frequented the island. You can also try to solve the "Mystery of Floreana", a story about the death of some inhabitants of the island which has remained unresolved to this day. Your nature guide will also introduce the special animal- and plant-species of this island, including Floreana's own tortoise species.
In the highlands we visit the hill "Asilo de Paz". As well as Post Office Bay, Floreana is famous for its mysterious stories revolving around its first inhabitants, Doctor Ritter, Dora Strauch and the Wittmer family. You should also be sure to visit the Cave of Pirates, which is located near a fresh water fountain that once served as the only source of fresh water for the families living there. The fountain was called the Asylum of Peace by the Wittmers.
After this excursion, return to the speedboat to travel to the island of Isabela. Back on Isabela island you will have leisure time to have a lunch or to relax on the unspoilt beach of the largest island of the Galapagos archipelago.
Sierra Negra Volcano
Spend the morning exploring the volcanic landscape of Isabela Island, created by five side by side shield volcanoes, whose lava flows have united to form a landmass. Although Sierra Negra is not the highest volcano at 1,200 meters, it has the second largest volcanic cone on earth, with a diameter of about 9 kilometers. From the edge of the crater, visitors are treated to a magnificent view out over the island of Isabela. Receive a packed lunch before continuing on to the volcano Chico. TThe afternoon is once again your s to enjoy at leisure and enjoy the turquoise coral sand beaches.
OPTIONAL alternative: Los Tuneles A series of long gone lava flows produced unique geological formations here at Los Tuneles. A series of arcs and tunnels both above and below the water offering a home for many local Galapagos Species, and a spectacular snorkelling site for visitors. The site is approximately 45 minutes by speedboat from your hotel, and you will have the chance to see sharks, lobsters, penguins, sea lions, and sea turtles, amongst other endemic species.
OPTIONAL addition: Las Tintoreras 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.
Isabela - Santa Cruz
After breakfast, your guide will accompany you to the Flamingo Lagoon. During the 2km walk, your guide will explain the vegetation and geology of Isabela Island. The lagoon often attracts a large and colourful flambouyance of flamingoes.
Only one and a half kilometers from the small town of Puerto Villamil, you will find the Breeding Station Arnaldo Tupiza. The station dedicated to the protection and repopulation of the endangered giant tortoise subspecies of Isabela Island. The most threatened species at the station are the Cinco Cerros and Cerro Paloma, however guests will also see Cazuela, Roca Unión, San Pedro, and Tablas.
After the eruption of the volcano Cerro Azul in September 1998, rescued Cinco Cerros tortoises were brought to safety with the help of the Ecuadorean Army. Thanks to the breeding program, there are now 17 Cinco Cerros living in the station today.
Back in Puerto Villamil, the speedboat will take you to Santa Cruz Island. The rest of the afternoon is free at Puerto Ayora.
Charles Darwin Station and transfer to the airport
After breakfast, pay a visit to Charles Darwin Station, where 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 in to 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!
After Charles Darwin Statuin, you will return to 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.