Galapagos Cruise Solaris: North-South Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Mosquera, Genovesa, Plazas, Santa Fé, San Cristóbal, Española and Floreana onboard Solaris

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival on Baltra island

Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will first pass through an airport inspection point where your TCT (Transit Control Card) will be checked and stamped (please keep this carefully with your passport as you will need to show it again when you leave Galapagos). Here you will also pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). To ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, your luggage will be inspected as well. At the arrival hall, a naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra. From there you will be taken to the yacht.

The small Mosquera Islet

Afternoon: Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a gorgeous white sand beach, where a population of sea lions can be found. You can also observe several species of shorebirds here. Along the rock, you can find Red Lava crabs or Sally light-foot crabs scuttling around.

Day 2

Darwin Bay at Genovesa island

Morning: This bay was created when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white sandy beach. This is a favorite place for birdwatchers. Red footed-boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area.

As the trail continue, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff with a view of the red-footed boobies nesting in the mangrove trees below. Bird sightings include the sharp-beaked finches, ground finches, Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff's edge, it offers an incredible view of the island and the birds living there.

Prince Philip's Steps on Genovesa island

Afternoon: El Barranco is located at the southern part of Darwin Bay and is also known as Prince Philip’s steps. Passengers will climb to a plateau that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of masked boobies and red-footed boobies in the trees. Storm petrels and short-eared owls have also created the ideal place for nesting among the lava landscape.

Day 3

The Plazas islands

Morning: South Plaza Island is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found on other islands. Throughout the island there are several hybrid iguanas - a result of crossing breeding between a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, and recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana's crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The large population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas - their favorite food. Swallow Tailed Gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds such as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropic birds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.

Santa Fé island

Afternoon: Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift, which explains why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which point to this being the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands iguanas in the islands. After disembarking the cruise, you will come into contact with the sea lion colonies at the beach. The island offers many snorkeling opportunities with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.

Please Note: The Galapagos National Park has placed a temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling or diving in the waters around Santa Fé.

Day 4

Leon Dormindo at San Cristóbal island

Morning: This huge rock is an old lava cone, now split in two. Many blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigate birds rest on the rocks. Snorkeling is great here which includes sighting the Galapagos sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, tropical fish and even the Galapagos shark.

The Interpretation-Centre on San Cristóbal island

Afternoon: The Galapagos National Park Visitor Center lies close to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The center explains a series of natural circumstances such as the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, its ocean currents, its special climate, the arrival of different species, and their establishment, among others.

Day 5

Gardener Bay in Española island

Morning: Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay is an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling with tons of opportunity to observe sea lions. You may also get to observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.

Punta Suarez at Española island

Afternoon: This rocky spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.

Day 6

Punta Cormorant at Floreana island

Morning: This site offers the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest. It is situated between two Tuff lava cones, giving the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos and the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is very intriguing to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olive crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral remains. After our visit to Cormorant Point we will continue cruising to the nearby islet known as Corona del Diablo (Devil’s Crown), where you can enjoy some great snorkeling session!

Post Office Bay on Floreana island

Afternoon: Historically, Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Since then, it has been used by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being a Post Office Barrel, this site is the landing area for some of the first colonists. The cruise will continue to the north of the island and ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful view from the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her House. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide Palo Santo forest.

Day 7

Sulivan Bay on Santiago island

Morning: Santiago, also known as James, or San Salvador Island, is located in the western central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is the fourth largest island in the archipelago (followed by Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz). Along with some of the large western volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina, Santiago is also volcanically active, with many recent lava flows and cones to be seen, particularly along the south, west, and east coasts. These may even be seen from the summit of Darwin Volcano and from space. A number of historic eruptions have been reported over the last 2 centuries. Santiago actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes - a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano at the southeast end.

Bartolomé island

Afternoon: Bartolome Island is situated across Sullivan Bay. It has an altitude of 114 meters, from where we can observe one of the most beautiful scenery of the Galapagos Islands such as volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba formed pinnacle eroded by the sea. There is very little vegetation on this island. It has two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles roam as well as a very small colony of Galapagos penguins.

Day 8

Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz and end of the cruise

This little cove is located at the northern side of Santa Cruz island. The calm red mangrove lagoon makes it a ideal nursery for many sharks and rays. Its crystal clear waters allows for great observation of large groups of white-tip reef sharks, black tipped reef sharks and hammer heads sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays. There are no landing sites so the visit is done by zodiac. Sea turtles are frequently seen and are occasionally spotted mating in the mangrove-lined waters. Pelicans and Herons are also seen in this area. Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.

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