Galapagos Cruise Treasure of Galapagos: Western Route (7)

Tour/Activity in Baltra Island, Ecuador

About this activity

Discover the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Santiago, Fernandina and Rábida onboard Treasure of Galapagos

Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO

Day 1

Arrival on Baltra island

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.

Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz

Afternoon: 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 into their native 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 town of Puerto Ayora, one of the most important wetlands in the Galapagos. With bogs and lagoons, there are many things to admire here. Walk along the path on good ground or a boardwalk and observe a variety of birds such as flamingos, Galapagos finches, Galapagos doves, Galapagos mockingbirds and sea lizards. Those interested in the flora of the wetlands will not be disappointed here either. This is one of the few places where you can see all four mangrove species. These mangroves are not only important for the inhabitants of the wetland, but they also protect the coast from the crashing waves of the sea.

Day 2

Islet Eden

Morning: The small island lies to the northwest of Santa Cruz Island, and it is not permitted to enter it, so it is only circumnavigated by a speedboat. Inhabitants can be found in all three of the island's habitats. In the sea, look out for sea turtles, rays and sharks cavorting in the clear waters here. In the skies, a wide variety of seabirds drift here, such as the blue-footed booby, which dives into the sea here to forage. On land, sea lions lie on the beach and enjoy the sun and the tranquillity of the island. The island is the remnant of a volcanic "tuff cone" - a volcanic phenomenon that occurs when molten lava meets cold seawater - with explosive results.

Cerro Dragón, Santa Cruz

Afternoon: Dragon Mountain represents a great success in the history of the maintenance and protection of the nature of the Galapagos Islands. By 1975, almost all the land lizards of Dragon Mountain were extinct, as introduced dogs hunted them and drastically decimated the numbers. With the Galapagos breeding programme, the population could be increased again and already in 1991, the last captive-born land lizard was released into the wild. Since then, the breeding stations have been controlling populations and trying to restore and support the species' population as best they can. But not only the mountain has a lot to offer, already the coast is impressive! The rocky beach is a beautiful place to get to know the underwater world and see rays, sharks, and green sea turtles. At the foot of the mountain, you will pass two saltwater lagoons where you may see a flamingo or two, and you may also encounter Darwin's finches and mockingbirds during the short hike up.

Day 3

Sierra Negra, Isabela

Morning: Sierra Negra is the third highest volcano on Isabela Island and the fifth highest in the Galapagos. (1124 m). It erupted a total of 7 times in the 20th century, most recently in October 2005. It is the only volcano on Isabela whose crater region is open to tourism. A half-day hike through the cloud forests brings you to a viewpoint on the rim of the crater and offers fantastic views into the caldera (clear weather required, although unpredictable; thanks to prevailing winds, most clouds dissipate at the viewpoint). The caldera measures about 7 x 9 km and is the largest in the archipelago. A somewhat muddy path along the rim takes you through an evergreen cloud forest that exists only in the highlands of the main islands. The dense and rich vegetation includes ferns, tree ferns and endemic scalesias, laden with epiphytes such as lichens, orchids, and bromeliads. The mist and drizzle - frequent in the cool Garúa season (June-December) - adds to the mysterious atmosphere. Along the way, you may also spot striking songbirds such as the vermilion finch, the golden warbler, and the woodpecker finch (among six other species of Darwin's finches); this species hammers branches like a woodpecker and uses twigs as tools to catch insects!

Los Humedales, Isabela

Afternoon: This is one of the most important wetlands in the Galapagos. With bogs and lagoons, there are many things to admire here. Walk along the path on good ground or a boardwalk and observe a variety of birds such as flamingos, Galapagos finches, Galapagos doves, Galapagos mockingbirds and sea lizards. Those interested in the flora of the wetlands will not be disappointed here either. This is one of the few places where you can see all four mangrove species. These mangroves are not only important for the inhabitants of the wetland, but they also protect the coast from the crashing waves of the sea.

Day 4

Punta Moreno, Isabela

Morning: 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!

Urbina Bay, Isabela

Afternoon: 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.

Day 5

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina

Morning: 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.

Tagus Cove, Isabela

Afternoon: 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.

Day 6

Puerto Egas, Santiago

Morning: 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.

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 otherworldy red colouring 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.

Day 7

Las Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz

Morning: Breakfast in the morning. Dry Landing.Itis a beach about 1 km in length. With white sand beach, deserted and where you can see flamingos, and migratory birds. In the vicinity of the Las Bachas beach can observe predominant vegetation of the coastal zone. Las Bachas beach represents one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles (Cheloniamydas) on Isla Santa Cruz. very popular practice of snorkeling, swimming. Difficulty: Easy Duration: 1 hour

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.

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