Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
From Baltra airport transfer to Santa Cruz
After arriving at Baltra airport, transfer to the harbour to board the Milennium.
In the afternoon, you will set sail for the north of Santa Cruz Island. Begin with a walk up Crocker Hill, offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding islands on a clear day. Your nature guide will explain some of the vegetation on the Galápagos Islands, for example, the tree ferns. Afterwards we will visit El Chato which is known for its Galápagos giant tortoise population.
Las Tintoreras, Wall of Tears and Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center
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.
After your stop in the idyllic bay, make your way to the Wall of Tears. The structure is about 150 meters long and was built under cruel conditions by convicts of the infamous penal colony "Porvenir" in the 40s and 50s. It was first named the Wall of Tears by local residents, who state that the wall often emits an eerie, crying sound and the area is said to have a "heavy energy".
The penal colony was closed after a prison uprising in 1959, but the wall remains intact as a memorial to the large number who needlessly lost their lives during the construction of the wall. Rumor has it that there are still descendants of the prison escapees living on the island.
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 Moreno on Isabela and Punta Mangle on Fernandina
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 favourite 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!
Off the eastern coast of Fernandina, Punta Mangle offers great snorkeling and a beautiful location for riding in a dinghy through a grove of mangrove trees. Whether you hike, snorkel, or stay in your dinghy for a ride through the red mangrove trees, the second site of Fernandina Island is equally memorable. During your ride, you are likely to see sea lions, tortoises, pelicans, rays and many types of birds.
Punta Espinoza on Fernandina and Tagus Cove on Isabela
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.
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 in to 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.
Puerto Egas on Santiago and Chinese Hat
After landing on the black sand beach of Puerto Egas, Santiago Island hike along a 2km long coastal area boasting sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks and lava herons. The rugged lava coast with natural pools, where sea lions bathe and herons play marks the end of your hike.
An excursion to Santiago Island is also one of the rare chances to see Galápagos fur seals in the wild, though not in large numbers.
One of the most recognisable of the Galapagos Islands, Sombrero Chino's name means "Chinese Hat" and it's easy to see why: this islet off of Santiago is shaped like an old-fashioned Chinese hat, with its gently sloping cone rising out of the clear Galapagos water. It's one of the smallest Galapagos Islands but don't be fooled - it has a terrific visitor site with an unforgettable view!
Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz and return to Baltra
Black Turtle Cove is a red mangrove lagoon serving as a nursery for sharks and rays. Black Turtle Cove is a great location to observe mating sea turtles during nesting season. Travellers often see large groups of resting white-tip reef sharks, schools of golden rays and the incredibly beautiful spotted eagle rays. As the water is usually very calm, this area can be navigated using paddles instead of the loud panga engines, increasing your chances of wildlife encounters.
Afterward, 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.