Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Baltra to Las Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island
After arriving at Baltra airport, your guide will take you to the yacht Angelito. The cruise begins right away to Las Bachas Beach. 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".
Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island
Afternoon: The Bachas Beach, which meanders along the coast of Santas Cruz Island, seems to be full of life. But also the Turquoise Bay and the symmetrical tuff-cone island of Daphne Major attract attention. After a short walk, you will come to a lagoon in the dunes that is home to various species of wading and shorebirds, including black-necked wilts, blue-cheeked ducks (or Bahamian ducks) and hunting herons. Migratory birds that hibernate in the Galapagos in winter, such as whimbrels, also stay in this lagoon. As soon as the water level drops and the lagoon becomes salty in the dry season, you might even come across some American flamingos who tirelessly filter this water in search of shrimp and algae. The remote northwest coast on the main island of Santa Cruz has become the preferred nesting site for Pacific green sea turtles. Females wait for the tide at night before crawling ashore.
Morning: 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.
Cerro Dragón, Santa Cruz
Afternoon: You won't find a more fitting place name than Cerro Dragón, "Dragon Hill", located behind a flamingo lagoon. Dragon-like land iguanas roam across the sun-scorched, boulder-strewn island, grazing freely on the fruits and flowers of their favorite food, the Opuntia Cacti. Cerro Dragón is a great opportunity to get out your camera and capture some of what makes the Galapagos Islands so unique.
Tagus Cove, Isabela
Morning: The historical pirate hideaway of Tagus Cove has been frequented by sailors since the 1800s. The names of visiting ships were often painted and carved into the cliffs surrounding the cove. Trails wind their way around Lake Darwin up to a ridge, offering wonderful views of the landscape and the ocean, with Wolf and Darwin Islands dotting the horizon. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another idyllic tropical beach surrounded by mangroves. Later, enjoy a panga ride through the cliffs, observing penguins, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Return to the cove to relax on the shore or snorkel.
Punta Espinoza, Fernandina
Afternoon: Fernandina is the youngest island in the archipelago, at only around 700,000 years old. 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 snorkeling you might come close to the resident penguins darting quickly through the water.
Urbina Bay, Isabela
Morning: Urbina Bay graces the southeast flank of the Alcedo Volcano. After volcanic activity in 1954 caused a significant uplift, the coast expanded almost a kilometer out. Marine life found a way to thrive in this newly fertile area and many species chose to stay. Today, this area is a great place for snorkeling. During your hike, you may see a large colony of land iguanas, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises (from June to September) and flightless cormorants.
Several species of whale have been spotted in the waters you'll be navigating through today.
Elizabeth Bay in Isabela Island
Afternoon: The wide and sheltered Elizabeth Bay, on Isabela's east coast, hosts a bevy of the archipelago's unique wildlife. The mangrove-lined shore contrasts starkly against the surrounding lava fields. The myriad of small islets and rocky reefs make this is a particularly rich area for wildlife.
The waters here are particularly clear, and this makes Elizabeth Bay a great place to spot the rays, sharks, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins, pelicans, and Galapagos sea lions known to gather here. Nearer to the shores and mangroves you'll see Galapagos flightless cormorants and the sunbathing marine iguanas.
Punta Moreno, Isabela
Morning: Punta Moreno is a rugged young lava bay. At first it appears to be a lifeless landscape, however as you walk over the cooled lava, you'll see new green areas and lagoons hosting a wide variety of birds. Marine iguanas and lava lizards are usually found in the lagoons you'll often meet flamingos foraging here for their favorite meal. While the sharp rocks make this hike a little tricky, its path itself is easy enough to be enjoyed by everyone and provides an unforgettable landscape set against a backdrop of the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul.
We recommend bringing plenty of water during this visit, as the lava field reflects the sun making the temperature higher than average. Don't forget to apply sunscreen!
Puerto Villamil, Isabela
Afternoon: At around 10:30 in the morning, the ship begins the 6-hour navigation along the beautiful shoreline and around the Volcano Cerro Azul on the way to Puerto Villamil. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales in these waters. Just before the dark, you will arrive in the small harbor, Puerto Villamil.
Sierra Negra Volcano, Isabela
Morning: Spend the morning exploring the volcanic landscape of Isabela Island, created by five neighboring 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. Note: Please remember to bring high SPF sunscreen. The Sun's harmful rays can be very strong here.
Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, Isabela
Afternoon: 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.
Punta Cormorant and Devils Crown, Floreana
Morning: After breakfast, dip your toes into the soft white sand at Punta Cormorant. In the evenings, green turtles come out to nest on this beach. A short stroll brings you to another beach, where the carpet of olivine crystals shimmers green in the sunlight. Behind Punta Cormorant, you will discover a salt water lagoon that often attracts a flamboyance of wild flamingos.
Devil’s Crown is a submerged eroded volcanic crater. The interior of the crater forms an ideal coral reef habitat, making it one of the most fascinating places to snorkel in the Galapagos. Here you can observe beautiful corals, sea lions, reef fish, hammerhead sharks, and several other species of fish.
The Devil's Crown is a ring of jagged rocks that jut out of the water not too far from shore. They get their name from the fact that they look roughly like a crown: they are in a circle and rather pointy when seen from a distance. The rest of the name comes from the notion that only the Devil could wear something so uncomfortable!
Over thousands of years a wonderful coral reef was formed in the center of the crater below the water surface, which today offers one of the most wonderful snorkeling spots in the archipelago.
Afternoon: Daphne Island is a cone formed by the accumulation of volcanic ash. Daphne is home to thousands of birds, including blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, and tropic birds. You won't go ashore here, but you’ll navigate around the volcanic cone, so binoculars are recommended to get a good look at the birds. Daphne is a great research site on which many scientists have spent years studying the behavior of Darwin’s finches.
To learn more about evolution and the studies conducted here, we recommend "The Beak of the Finch" by Jonathan Weiner
Return to Baltra Airport
Transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to Guayaquil or Quito, or continue on with your individual Galapagos travels