Santa Cruz Experience
6 days – 5 nights
In this tour program you will visit one of the most important and inhabited island of the archipielago, Santa Cruz. Here we have some restaurants and stores to buy souvenirs as well as being in contact with the native animals.
Day 1: Santa Cruz Island
The Adventures begin! After our flight from Guayaquil/Quito, we land at Baltra´s Airport. Once we passed the National Park checking point, we will meet our naturalist guide. Then, we continue our journey to Puerto Ayora, but first, we will do our first visit to the Highlands of Santa Cruz.
This first visit will let us impressed by the different types of life zones that Santa Cruz has, from the agricultural coast to the mist covered forest. Also, there are plenty of lava tubes, sinkholes, and craters during this journey. Hold on! Not everything is landscaped and beautiful geological formations in the highland. This is going to be our first approachment to the amazing birds of Galapagos. With some luck, we will be enchanted by the red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher or one of the Darwin´s Finch. Finally, we can see wild tortoises in their habitat.
After had this sneak peak of Galapagos views, landscapes, and wildlife, we will have our delicious lunch, and then we will continue to the next stop, the well known Tortuga Bay. But first, we have to walk approximately 45 minutes, through a cactus trail on the first beach, which is called “Playa Brava” do to its strong currents. Have you seen marine iguanas? Here you can see them, as well as marine birds and pelicans.
Continuing our journey, we will go to “Playa Mansa” which is the opposite of “Playa Brava” because it´s a natural lagoon where we can swim and sunbathe, surrounded by blue-footed boobies and pelicans.
After enjoying this marvelous day, we will go to our hotel for resting and dining
Overnight: Santa Cruz
Day 2: Bartolome, Seymour, Plazas or Santa Fe Island
After resting from the first day, and maybe after catching the marvelous Galapagos sunrise, we will have our breakfast. Later, we will meet our naturalist guide who is going to assist us with the plan chosen by us. This day we can choose between four programs, subject to availability, and there are:
Bartolome Island Full Day Seymour Island Full Day Plazas Island Full Day Santa Fe Island
Day 3: Santa Cruz - San Cristobal
This day starts very early with our breakfast, and then we will meet our driver who is going to pick up and transferring us to the dock, from where our adventure begins.
After 2-2:30 hours of navigation approximately, we will reach The Junco Lake or el Junco, as it is called by locals, is an inactive volcano that has a fresh water lake where frigate birds and Bahamas ducks rinse their wings from the salt. This will be our first approach to the amazing view of Galapagos and its wildlife. Here, we will have our first delicious lunch at the archipelago.
Moving on in our daily journey, after an approximate hike of 1 hour, we will have the opportunity to watch the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Where? At the Galapaguera Breeding Center. This center, run by the Galapagos National Park Authority, allows us not only to watch these magnificent tortoises but also touch and see some of their eggs. This visit is ideal for understanding the behavior of this massive animal that may weigh up to 200kg (440 pounds) and live up to 150 years.
After this amazing contact with the wildlife of Galapagos, we will move on to Puerto Chino. This is a breathtaking beach where we can lay down or having a sunbath.
Once we were astonished by the Galapagos first overview and the impressive animals, we are going to reach our hotel, where we will rest after a long but rewarding day as well as having a delicious meal. (-/L/D)
Day 4: Española Island
Española is the jewel of the archipelago, so if we can, we should visit it! This journey is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling lovers. In this trip, we will visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez. The first spot to visit is Gardner Bay, the turquoise water of this bay is ideal for snorkeling with the friendly sea lions that habit this area while we are astonished by the sharks or the 50 species of fishes that inhabit in this
Bay. If we snorkel, we have the possibility to swim among hammer sharks. But, hold on! There is not only clear water and colorful fishes, there are also interesting birds such as the Galapagos Hawk or finches.Today, and depending on the activities and the group, we will have an unforgettable lunch on board. After this unforgettable experience, we will go to Punta Suarez.
This rocky land requires a bit of effort by us, but firstly we have to wear comfy shoes or boots for being able to enjoy the 2 – 2:30 hours trail. Don´t worry! The effort will be more than rewarded. Here we will watch many species of birds like the blue-footed and red-footed boobies, hawks, finches and the Galapagos doves. If we are traveling between May and December, we will be able to see the albatross colony. At the end of it, there is another wonder of Galapagos waiting for us into the cliffs. There is the impressive blowhole of water that height up to 20m or more (50-75 ft). It like looking a geyser in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Overnight: San Cristobal Island
Meals for any excursion: B/L/D
Day 5: Kicker rock, Punta Pitt or 360º tour in San Cristobal
After a well-deserved rest and a lovely breakfast, we are going to meet our guide again, but this time for a Full Day of navigation. For this day, there are three options depending the availability:
Kicker rock and snorkeling
Today our adventure begins at the Baquerizo Moreno Dock early in the morning. We are going to be by the hand of our bilingual guide, who will help us board the zodiac that will take us to the Galapagos Hopper catamaran. We will navigate the west side of San Cristobal Island, so we will be able to watch frigate birds and the unique marine iguanas. With a little luck we will be able to spot manta rays and dolphins jumping amongst the sea alongside with other marine wildlife.
Our first snorkeling excursion will take place at Kicker Rock also known as the sleeping lion. This astonishing rock is a tuff cone eroded into twin peaks. There is vast wildlife living in its surroundings, it’s cliffs are home to blue footed boobies and other sea birds. In terms of marine life some of the species that we can find at this place are sea lions, reef fish, rays, hammerhead shark, sea turtles and much more. For lunch we will board again the Galapagos Hopper and will enjoy a succulent 3 course meal.
Also here, we will be served with soft drinks, coffee, tea and infusions. After enjoying Kicker Rock, we will disembark at the beach where we can walk in search of coastal birds and sea lions, or relax and take a sunbath. If we chose the option of discovering the shore by foot, we can see mangrove forests. Later we can dip into the turquoise water before returning to the Galapagos Hopper catamaran for our navigation back to Baquerizo Moreno Dock in the afternoon.
San Cristobal 360º
This is the most complete tour that we can do in San Cristobal because we will navigate all along the island. The first spot to visit is the marvelous White Rose Bay (Bahia Rosa Blanca). This place is not as visited as others in San Cristobal, so it is an uncrowded area where we can deep into the crystalline water, do snorkeling and watch colorful fishes, manta rays, sharks, seahorses, and many other species. After enjoying this pristine bay, we move on to Punta Pitt, where we are going to fish, if we want. Also, we will be able to watch the red-footed boobies overflying us.
Then, we continue Sardine Bay (Bahia Sardina) where we not only be able to continue swimming and snorkeling but also we will be able to lay down on the beach and enjoy some of the shadowed areas that this bay offers us. The journey continues, and after a relaxing time in Sardine Bay, we arrive at Punta Pucuna, after a 30 minutes hike approximately. This place has been recently opened by the National Park Authority for tourist, so we will see the lava ground as it has been originally formed by centuries. The human being has not affected or modify this land, so it is a unique and untouchable place.
Because of the lava ground, we must wear comfy and resistant shoes for the walking around the island. After being enchanted and astonished by the geological jewel of Punta Pucuna, we are going now to Cerro Brujo, which is another rocky formation, but this one has a tunnel where we can go into and watch many other animal species endemic from Galapagos and we can take beautiful pictures.
Finally, we visit our last spot in this 360º tour which is Kicker Rock. This highlight of Galapagos will offer us the possibility to be mesmerized by the rich marine wildlife and also be among the endemic Galapagos Shark. This tour is ideal for discovering all the jewels that San Cristobal has, all in one single day, with many activities and relaxing time as well.
Note: The lunch will be served on board.
Overnight: San Cristobal Island
Meals for any excursion: B/L/D
Day 6: Transfer out
Sadly, our daily adventure in Galapagos arrived at its end! Our guide will assist us in our return flight or to move on to our next experience in Galapagos, hopefully, onboard of an expedition cruise like the Boutique Yacht Galapagos Sea Star Journey and the First Class Catamaran Galapagos Seaman Journey.
|1||Privates transfers and transportation|
|2||Meals detailed in the itinerary|
|1||International flights and airport taxes|
|2||Additional meals and drinks (soft & alcoholics)|
|3||Tips and personal expenses|
|4||Travel and medical insurance|
|5||Ticket to/from Galapagos|
Contact a Galapagos & Ecuador Specialist