Galapagos cruise Tip Top IV : Central Route (5)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Santiago, Bartolomé, Santa Fe, South Plaza, Rábida and Santa Cruz 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 a light snack will be provided.

Turtle Cove on 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. Travelers 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. You will board the Yacht for dinner and the first of your nightly orientations.

Day 2

Chinese Hat Island

Morning: One of the most recognizable 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! There is a short hiking trail on Chinese Hat that runs along the western coast of the islet. This is a harsh landscape of volcanic rubble and lava formations, a very atmospheric reminder of the fiery origins of the Galapagos. Along the coast of both Chinese Hat and the opposite Santiago shore, you are likely to see Galapagos Sea Lions and Galapagos Penguins, either basking in the sun or seeking shade to avoid the hottest time of the day. Overhead you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Galapagos Hawk. The stand-out reason for a visit to Chinese Hat, however, is to snorkel in that turquoise channel. Here you can see various species of sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. Not all Galapagos boats can visit, and permits are only given to a select few boats and guides. Return to the Yacht for lunch.

Rábida Island

Afternoon: On arrival at Rábida Island's red sand beach, you will be greeted by the resident sea lions, basking in the sun. The island's otherworldly red coloring is a result of the high level of iron and magnesium left behind from previous volcanic activity.

A stroll along the beach reveals marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. If you look carefully you may also spot the bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs, who have found possibly the only place on earth where they can effectively camouflage themselves.

You will return to the Yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 3

Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Sullivan Bay, a perfect place to get a feel of the volcanic origin of the islands. Although this beautiful beach deserves its place in the highlights list, the day will surprise you with another highlight: the special pahoehoe lava flows.

Almost 100 years ago, lava flowed across the island and left behind various forms of soil: braided and stringy lava fields alternate with sharp-edged jagged formations. Feel the warm stones of the black, unreal lava landscape under your hands and move back to the time of origin, when volcanoes raged here, ultimately creating a paradise.

Bartolomé Island

Afternoon: You make a dry landing on Bartolome Island. Bartolomé in the northern part of the archipelago was nominated for the World Travel Awards 2012 as the most beautiful beach of South America. Here, you will find a fascinating, lunar-like volcanic landscape. At its center, the famous landmark of Galapagos: Pinnacle Rock.

A climb to the highest point of the island offers a wonderful view of the landscape. Take a swim together with some of the penguins who play in the waters and on the shores of the bay here. Return to the yacht for a delicious dinner and your nightly orientation.

Day 4

Santa Fé Island

Morning: After breakfast, you make a wet landing on Santa Fe Island. Upon arrival at the 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. Return to the Yacht for lunch.

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

South Plaza Island

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

Day 5

Las Bachas on Santa Cruz island

Morning: After breakfast, you will land on Las Bachas Beach - one of the most important nesting sites for the Galapagos Island's sea turtle population.

A hidden lagoon behind the bay reveals a treasure trove of animal sightings - sunbathing iguanas, curious shorebirds, and Darwin finches, mockingbirds and seagulls frolic here. Native plant life is also interesting in this area. Red and black mangroves and salt bushes line the edges of the pond.

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".

Return to the harbour of Baltra

You will return to the harbour of Baltra. From there transfer to Baltra Airport by bus for your return flight to the mainland or you continue with your individual Galapagos program.

Outdoor & Sports
Beach
Landscapes & Sceneries
Wildlife & Nature