Galapagos Cruise Archipel I: South Eastern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Santa Cruz, Floreana, Española, San Cristóbal, Santa Fé, Seymour and Santiago

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival at Baltra Airport

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.

Fausto Llerena, Santa Cruz

Afternoon: Visit the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguana breeding programme, where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen from Pinta Island) lived for decades. The centre is managed by Galapagos National Park (GNP) staff in collaboration with scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the risk of introduced species. After artificial incubation, the "galapaguitos" (newborn turtles) are bred until they are 5 years old so that when they are released in their original habitats, they have enough skills to survive on their own. Since the 1970s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, Darwin Station works on several scientific projects, botanical research and provides environmental education for local communities, schools and tourists. If there is still time, you can take a stroll through the small town of Puerto Ayora.

Day 2

Punta Cormorant, Floreana

Morning: Punta Cormorant is home to two stunning natural beaches. You'll make a wet landing in the first bay, where you'll find a special black sand beach that twinkles green in the sunlight. The shimmering sand is made of olivine crystals, remnants of a long-gone violent volcanic eruption. Following the short trail along the beach, you'll come to a second little bay. Visitors will be delighted by the soft, white powdery sand that feels like walking in fine baking flour. This gorgeous beach certainly earned the name "Flour Beach". In the bay, you will likely spot green sea turtles, and if you wander back from the sandy stretch, you can find a salt water lagoon that attracts vibrant flamingos and the adorable white-cheeked pintails.

Post Office Bay, Floreana

Afternoon: Floreana offers a wonderful testament to the fascinating human history of the Archipelago. Although paling in comparison to geological history, human history extends far beyond the island's first residents. Here at Post Office Bay, learn about the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Lonely sailors, away from home for years at a time, would stop at Floreana to restock their supplies of food and water. The homesick sailors devised a clever solution - they left letters in a makeshift 'post box' on Floreana, and when passing ships stopped on the way back to their homeport, they would pick up all the letters destined for that place and deliver them. To this day, the system is alive and well - each year thousands of visitors continue to leave letters for loved ones, and search for letters to bring home and deliver. To keep the tradition alive, hunt for a letter destined for a town near you and hand-deliver it. 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.

Day 3

Bahía Gardner, Española

Morning: 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. Afterwards, visit Osborn Island for a stroll along a beautiful, white sand beach, again covered in sunbathing sea lions. If you choose not to sunbathe with the locals, you might prefer to swim or snorkel here.

Punta Suarez, Española

Afternoon: 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.

Day 4

Punta Pitt, San Cristóbal

Morning: Punta Pitt is an eroded volcano, it is one of the few places in the Galapagos where you can spot the three species of boobies, the blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies. The excursion in Punta Pitt is on rocky terrain, so be prepared for the two hours with comfortable shoes to avoid discomfort and enjoy this unique landscape. After the hike, snorkelling allows you to observe an amazing variety of fish and, if you are lucky, snorkel among sharks.

Cerro Brujo, San Cristóbal

Afternoon: The white beach of the bay in front of Witch Hill is one of the most beautiful in the archipelago. The hill itself is the remnant of a volcanic "tuff cone" - made of compacted volcanic ash and debris. It is also one of the first places Charles Darwin visited on his journey. Here, in addition to a great diversity of species on land, you can also see quite a bit below the water surface. During a walk, you can take it all in and see animals such as Galapagso sea lions, marine lizards, pelicans and blue-footed boobies. If you decide you should go snorkelling, you won't be disappointed here either. Besides Galapagos rays, sea turtles and a variety of tropical fish, you can also discover different corals in the water. And even if you don't want to go into the water, you can also discover a variety of underwater inhabitants from the speedboat through the clear water.

Day 5

Islet Lobos

Morning: The small island of Lobos, near the island of San Cristóbal, is not only home to a sea lion colony, but also a pair of fur seals find their rest here. Amid these large sea dwellers, there are also nesting blue-footed boobies that raise their young here. One or two paths lead to the centre of the island, where you can enjoy the tranquillity of the Galapagos archipelago. It is a popular place for visitors to simply become aware of nature and the wonders of the islands. Back at the beach, the island's positioning close to San Cristóbal Island makes it a great place to snorkel and marvel at the underwater world. The water is clear and calmer than in other areas of the archipelago, providing perfect conditions to see seahorses and a variety of colourful tropical fish.

Interpretation center, San Cristóbal

Afternoon: The National Park Interpretation Center, located on San Cristóbal, was built in collaboration with the Spanish Science Center. The tour offered by the Center for Interpretation's facilities offers a good overview of the Galapagos Islands. The tour takes us through the history of the islands in the context of nature, humankind, and conservation. It also tells the story of the first settlers on the islands.

Day 6

Santa Fé island

Morning: Santa Fé island 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.

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

North Seymour island

Morning: 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.

Islet Sombrero Chino

Afternoon: 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 overhead. 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.

Day 8

Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz

Morning: The Twin Craters are not craters at all, they were formed when underlying magma chambers collapsed and the earth caved in. This makes them no less impressive to see. They are easily accessible via a path from Puerto Ayora and offer a fantastic view. In addition to the avoidable craters, some of the endemic bird species also cavort here. The path leads you through the Scalesia forest, past Galapagos doves, Darwin's finches, Galapagos flycatchers, Galapagos owls and many other inhabitants of the air. And once you reach the crater rim, a view awaits you that you will never forget!

Departure from 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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