Galapagos Cruise Bonita: Southern Route (5)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Santa Cruz, Floreana, Española und San Cristóbal

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival in Baltra Island and transfer to cruise

You will arrive in Baltra in the morning where the crew will greet you. Your guide will accompany you to your cruise, and a briefing will be held regarding the following days onboard. Then, you will be brought to your cabin.

Highlands, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: 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 and giant tortoises roam around at ease in their natural environment. 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 as well as the Giant tortoise reserve. Take a walk and soak in the wonders of nature here!

Day 2

Punta Cormorant und Devil's Crown, Floreana Island

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. In the waters here are sea turtles, reef fishes, sea lions, and even reef sharks! There is also a small penguin colony in Floreana where you might have a chance to see on your lucky day.

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 saltwater lagoon that attracts vibrant flamingos and the adorable white-cheeked pintails.

Post Office Bay, Floreana island

Floreana offers a wonderful testament to the fascinating human history of the Archipelago. Although paling in comparison to the geological history, human history extends far beyond the island's first residents. Afternoon: At Post Office Bay you can 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 home port, 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.

Day 3

Punta Suarez, Española Island

Morning: Española is a geologically interesting island where you can explore the volcanic formations and spot a lot more of the Galapagos' 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.

Bahía Gardner, Española Island

Afternoon: This outstanding white sand beach at Gardner Bay is an import nesting place for the green pacific sea turtle. However, the large Galapagos Sea Lion colony is sure to steal the show here. The female sea lions say at the nursery and take care of their pups until they are three years old, even though sea lions can also fish independently when they are 5 months old. During mating and nesting season, the number of sea lions is even higher!

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.

Day 4

Roca León Dormido and Interpretation Center, San Cristóbal Island

Morning: An impressive rock formation towering 150 meters above the Pacific Ocean, León Dormido (aka Kicker Rock) hosts a tropical underwater playground in the narrow channel between the two rocks. From a distance, locals thought they saw a sleeping lion in the rock formation, while, from the other direction, the British saw a boot. Whether a lion or a boot, the tropical birds at home on León Dormido don't seem to mind. Blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and frigatebirds regularly enchant visitors with their daring flight maneuvers, as they hunt and socialize around this ancient volcanic cone.

In the 19 meters between the surface and the seabed, León Dormido offers snorkelers and divers a dazzling array of sea life. Whitetip reef sharks, Galapagos sharks, and even hammerhead sharks are often seen darting between spotted eagle rays and sea turtles.

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 staff gives guests 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.

Lobos Islet

Afternoon: The small Lobos island is situated near to San Cristóbal island and is home to not only a huge colony of sea lions but also to fur seals that enjoy resting quietly on rocks. In the midst of this uninhabited island, you can find blue-footed boobies nursing their nestlings! There are one to two paths that will you to the center of the island, where you can truly enjoy the tranquility of the Galapagos Archipelago. This island is a favorite among visitors, especially for those who enjoy immersing themselves in nature.

Also, fire engine red Sally Lightfoot crabs strike a strong contrast against the black volcanic rocks during your hike on Isla Lobos. Other curious creatures living on the otherwise uninhabited island include land iguanas and pelicans. Bring your snorkeling gear and treat yourself to a refreshing dip where sea horses are known to be sighted.

Day 5

La Bachas or Daphne Islet, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: 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".

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 tropicbirds. 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.

Departure from Baltra island

Your cruise ends here and from the harbor at Baltra, you will transfer to the airport where you will travel back to Ecuador or continue with your planned program in the Galapagos Islands.

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