Galapagos Cruise Koln: North-Southern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Yacht cruise through the islands Genovesa, Floreana, Española, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the yacht

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.

Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: 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.

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".

Afterwards, enjoy a welcome cocktail with the entire crew and sit down for dinner back on the yacht.

Day 2

Prince Phillip’s Steps, Genovesa Island

Morning: Prince Philip's Steps are a staircase sunken into the volcanic rock that leads to a plateau rich with vegetation and wildlife. True to the nickname of Bird Island, this area is home to nesting masked and blue-footed boobies, Bahama ducks, petrels and gulls amongst a host of other local species. The Galápagos horned owls bask on the warm volcanic rocks here, paying no attention to the tourists around them.

Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island

Afternoon: Genovesa Island is secluded from the other main islands in the north of the archipelago and is well-known as Bird Island. Emerging from the narrow entrance, you'll reach Darwin Bay, surrounded by protective cliffs. Frigatebirds regularly patrol the skies here and petrels can be seen hunting coastal waters for smaller fish. The green water in the bay is evidence of a high plankton content which attracts fish and seabirds, making this wildlife-rich bay a wonderful site for snorkelling. With some luck, you may also encounter peaceful hammerheads and black spotted stingrays.

Day 3

Rábida Island

Morning: The small island has only one access point for visitors, located on the east coast. The red beach, the lagoon near the coast and the 1.1-kilometre-long circular walk on the island are breathtaking. The red colour of the rock and beach is due to the porous ferruginous volcanic rock and various environmental factors such as rain, saltwater and the coastal winds. Along with the highest concentration of volcanic features and the environmental factors that act as oxidants, the red colour of the island is created.

After a wet landing, you can see sea lions and marine lizards relaxing on the Galapagos red beach. Just past the beach is one of the nesting sites for pelicans, which use the island's plants for shelter. It is one of the best places to see pelicans and sometimes a flamingo or two is spotted. The path of the island leads through opuntias, and a variety of birds can be seen here such as Darwin's finches, Galapagos doves or Galapagos mockingbirds. After the short walk, you can dive and swim in the bay, the clear water offers a good view of the underwater world.

Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon: Der Drachen Berg repräsentiert einen großen Erfolg in der Geschichte der Instandhaltung und Schutz der Natur der Galapagos Inseln. Bis 1975 waren fast alle Landechsen des Drachen Bergs ausgelöscht, da eingeschleppte Hunde sie jagten und die Anzahl drastisch dezimierten. Mit dem Zuchtprogramm der Galapagos Inseln konnte die Population wieder gesteigert werden und schon 1991 wurde die letzte in Gefangenschaft geborene Landechse in die Freiheit entlassen. Seither kontrollieren die Zuchtstationen Populationen und versuchen die Population der Arten so gut wie möglich wiederherzustellen und zu unterstützen. Aber nicht nur der Berg hat viel zu bieten, schon die Küste ist beeindruckend! Der felsige Strand ist ein schöner Ort um die Unterwasserwelt kennen zulernen und Rochen, Haie und grüne Meeresschildkröten zu sehen. Am Fuße des Berges kommen Sie an zwei Salzwasserlagunen vorbei, wo Sie den einen oder anderen Flamingo sehen können und treffen während der kleinen Wanderung nach oben vielleicht auch noch auf Darwin Finken und Spottdrosseln.

Day 4

Fausto Llerena, Santa Cruz Island

Morning: 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.

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. Here you can observe the famous Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild, using the new knowledge you gained at Charles Darwin Station in the morning.

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. While they are not craters in the technical sense, these 70-meter vertical gullies with a carpet of lush vegetation are an impressive sight to behold.

Day 5

Post Office Bay, Floreana Island

Morning: Floreana offers a 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.

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 freshwater fountain that once served as the only source of freshwater for the families living there. The fountain was called the Asylum of Peace by the Wittmers.

Punta Cormorant, Floreana Island

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

Day 6

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'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.

Gardner Bay, Española Island

Afternoon: 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.

Day 7

León Dormido & Cerro Brujo, San Cristóbal Island

Morning: The famous Kicker Rock is one of the most famous features of the Galapagos Islands. This small island shape was formed from two large lava rocks that look like a sleeping lion when viewed from the south. Hence the Spanish name "León Dormido" literally the sleeping lion. As you cruise around the islands on board, the naturalist guides will point out the various birds that inhabit the island. Among them are Nazca boobies, frigate birds or even swallow-tailed gulls. And if conditions permit, you will experience one of the most magnificent sunsets in the archipelago.

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 Galapagos 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.

La Galapaguera Breeding Center, San Cristóbal Island

Afternoon: Opened in 2003, at the beginning the centre could only be reached on foot from the coast, but today it can be reached by road from the streets of the harbour town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The journey takes about 1 hour and takes you across the island. Also known as Cerro Colorado (coloured hill), it offers an informative visitor centre that explains more about the origin and development of the Galapagos giant tortoises. The breeding station also displays measures taken to protect the endangered species from habitat destruction and introduced species. The baby tortoises and young animals at the station are released back into their natural habitat when they are about 4 months old. The larger giant tortoises can then be observed from a short hiking trail.

Day 8

Islet Mosquera

Morning: Like many islands in the archipelago, Mosquera was formed due to an eruption of a submarine volcano. Rocks and coral colonised the island and supported you against the current that flows between Baltra and Seymour to collect sand. Now it is home to one of the largest colonies of sea lions and offers them a large beach to rest, sunbathe and play. In addition, orcas (killer whales) can sometimes be seen from here, as sea lions are part of their diet and there is much cavorting here. Mosquera can also surprise some rare species. The endemic and rare Lava Gull nests on this island but is one of the rarest gull species in the world with its few hundred pairs. With a bit of luck, you may stalk a crabeater heron or catch a glimpse of a rare red-footed booby.

Transfer to Baltra Island

You will return to the harbour 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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