Galapagos cruise Tip Top IV : Northern Route (8)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Seymour, Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Santiago, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana onboard Tip Top IV

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Transfer to the yacht

Your guide will bring you to a bus and after a short 5-kilometer ride to the pier; you will board the yacht without delay. The crew will greet you with your first orientation and offers you a light snack.

North Seymour Island

Afternoon: The small island of North Seymour is one of the most diverse islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It is only about two square kilometers in size and above all known for of the intensive courtship rituals of many magnificent frigatebirds, taking place here during mating season. The island is also home to large colonies of land iguanas, marine iguanas, and sea lions. The characteristic bush landscape features diverse species of animals amongst the aromatic endemic balsa trees. You will return to the yacht for a welcome cocktail with the entire crew, and dinner.

Day 2

Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Darwin Bay. 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 snorkeling. With some luck, you may also encounter peaceful hammerheads and black spotted eagle rays.

El Barranco (Prince Philip's steps) on Genovesa Island

Afternoon: Genovesa Island is secluded from the other main islands in the north of the archipelago and is well-known as the Bird Island. 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 the tourists around them.

Head back for Dinner on the Yacht, and for your orientation about conservation efforts made to protect the Islands.

Day 3

Puerto Egas on Santiago Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on James Bay (Puerto Egas). 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. You will return to the boat for a delicious lunch.

Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island

Afternoon: Buccaneer Cove is evidence of Santiago's long history as a haven for British buccaneers. These pirates were likely anchoring in this sheltered bay to make repairs and, among other things, to increase their supplies of turtle meat. The steep cliffs surrounding the bay, where hundreds of seabirds settle on the dark red sand beach, are an impressive sight to behold. Return to the yacht for dinner.

Day 4

Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island

Morning: The sea-horse-shaped island of Isabela is the largest of the archipelago and the most volcanically active. Punta Vicente Roca is considered one of the most impressive and spectacular places of the enchanted Galapagos Islands with high cliffs and tuffstone giving this area a majestic feel.

While you explore the two coves and the large bay with spectacular sea life, keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the weird and wonderful mola-mola, also known as sunfish. In good conditions, Punta Vicente Roca is considered one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos. You will come aboard for a delicious lunch.

Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island

Afternoon: 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. This is a perfect spot for finding the flightless cormorant.

Day 5

Tagus Cove on Isabela Island

Morning: After breakfast, you will go to the historical pirate hideaway of Tagus Cove which has been frequented by sailors since the 1800s. The names of visiting ships were often painted and carved into 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. You can enjoy a panga ride through the cliffs, observing penguins, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs or return to the cove to relax on the shore or snorkel. Return to the Yacht for lunch.

Elizabeth Bay on Isabela Island

Afternoon: The wide and sheltered Elizabeth Bay, on Isabela's east coast, hosts a bevy of the archipelago's unique wildlife. The mangrove-lined shore contrasts starkly against the surrounding lava fields. The myriad of small islets and rocky reefs make this is a particularly rich area for wildlife. The waters here are particularly clear, and this makes Elizabeth Bay a great place to spot the rays, sharks, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins, pelicans, and Galapagos sea lions known to gather here. Nearer to the shores and mangroves you'll see Galapagos flightless cormorants and the sunbathing marine iguanas. Return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 6

Urbina Bay on Isabela Island

Morning: Urbina Bay graces the southeast flank of the Alcedo Volcano. After volcanic activity in 1954 caused a significant uplift, the coast expanded almost a kilometer out. Marine life found a way to thrive in this newly fertile area and many species chose to stay. Today, this area is a great place for snorkeling. During your hike, you may see a large colony of land iguanas, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises (from June to September) and flightless cormorants. Several species of whale have been spotted in the waters you'll be navigating through today.

Punta Moreno on Isabela Island

Afternoon: 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 favorite 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! Return to the yacht for dinner and your night orientation.

Day 7

Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Point Cormorant for a short walk to the Flamingos Lagoon of this island. Then you continue the walk until you reach the beach called "La Picona" to see marine turtles and their spawning grounds. Optional: time for those who would like to swim and/or snorkel. Later, you make a panga ride on Champion Islet, a small island off the Coast of Floreana Island. The principal attraction of Champion Islet is the nearly-extinct Charles (Floreana) Mockingbird. Visitors can also observe bird species such as Swallow-tailed Gulls, Nazca Boobies or Brown Noddies. It is a great place for snorkelling; you will see sea turtles, reef fishes, Galapagos Penguins and white-tipped reef sharks. Optional: time for those who would like to swim and/or snorkel.

Post Office Bay on Floreana Island

Afternoon: You make a wet landing on Post Office Bay. 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.

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 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. Return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 8

Santa Cruz Highlands and Transfer to Baltra Airport

After breakfast, you disembark and a bus takes you to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the native forests and twin craters. 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. 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.

After your time at the highlands, a bus takes you directly to the airport (Baltra) for your flight back to the mainland. Your guide accompanies you on this ride.

Outdoor & Sports
Landscapes & Sceneries
Wildlife & Nature