Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Arrival at Baltra and Cerro Dragón, Santa Cruz
After arriving at the airport in Baltra, transfer to the harbout to board the catamaran Millenium. Your cruise begins at Cerro Dragón on Santa Cruz.
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 favourite 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.
Plaza Sur Island and Santa Fé
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.
Upon arrival at Santa Fé's 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. Snorkeling and swimming on the beach, kayaking or a tour with the glass bottom boat make this trip unforgettable.
Please Note: The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal and Isla Lobos
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the administrative center of the archipelago, located on the island of San Cristóbal. Here you visit the newly built visitor center with its excellent exhibition on nature and settlement history of the Galapagos Islands.
Isla Lobos is sometimes known as Sea Lion Island, for the huge colony of resident sea lions. 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.
Punta Pitt on San Cristóbal Island and La Galapguera
At dawn you reach the northeastern tip of San Cristóbal, Punta Pitt. The walking trail here covers 1400m and takes roughly 2 hours, including an olivine beach approximately 90 meters long, and a trail that ascends to the top of a volcanic tuff hill passing through several natural viewpoints.
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. There are also plenty of curious sea lions in the area.
In the highland plains of the island of San Cristóbal lies the reserve La Galapaguera - a breeding ground for giant tortoises. The leisurely giants move freely in their natural habitat, seek out cooling mud pots, slowly munching a few blades of grass, or leisurely ambling on their way without taking any notice of the tourists. The dry and tropic climate attracts not only giant tortoises but also scarlet flycatchers and mockingbirds.
Cerro Brujo on San Cristóbal Island and León Dormido
In the morning you arrive at Cerro Brujo on the west coast of the island of San Cristóbal. In this fascinating crater there are boobies, gulls and some pelicans. In the sheltered bay young sea turtles and stingrays live - a beautiful place for swimming and snorkeling.
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 socialise 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 sealife. White tip reef sharks, Galapagos sharks and even hammerhead sharks are often seen darting between spotted eagle rays and sea turtles.
Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay on Española
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.
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.
Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay on Floreana
Floreana offers wonderful testament to the fascinating human history of the Archipelago. Although paling in comparison to the geological history, the human history extends far beyond the island's first residents.
After breakfast, dip your toes in to 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.
Here 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.
Charles Darwin Research Station and return to Baltra Airport
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 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!
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.