DAY 1 – TUESDAY
AM: SAN CRISTOBAL
Upon arrival at San Cristobal airport, visitors must go through an inspection in order to verify that no foreign plants or animals are being introduced to the islands. An entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid) must be paid to the Galapagos National Park in order to conserve the islands. A representative of our M/Y Galápagos Sea Star Journey, will meet you right outside and, help collect your luggage, and escort your bus ride to the harbor.
PM: PUERTO CHINO AND BREEDING CENTER
In the afternoon, you will visit Puerto Chino. It is rife with huge cactus aside the trail like trees. Once you get on the beach, you will enjoy its surroundings with it wildlife. Sea lions share the beach with people so its common see the puppies playing and swimming. Enjoy the deep blue waters with the waves and tide, occasionally there is wildlife to see, especially tortoises.
After some beach time, you will visit the Breeding Center Jacinto Gordillo, also known as the “Galapaguera” is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.
San Cristobal island has endemic species such as: the Mockingbird (Nesomimus melanotis), lava lizard (Microlophus bivittatus), Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus leei) and the giant tortoises. All of these species can be observed in this place, the beach is really big and it serves as a nesting zone for marine tortoises.
DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY
AM: ESPAÑOLA ISLAND, GARDNER BAY
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
PM: ESPAÑOLA ISLAND, PUNTA SUAREZ
This rocky land spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
DAY 3 – THURSDAY
AM: PUNTA CORMORANT, FLOREANA
This site offers probably the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s now between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
PM: POST OFFICE BAY & BARONESS LOOKOUT, FLOREANA
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel placed here in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Marines as well as tourist used it as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists.
We will continue to the north of the island and will visit the Baroness Bay, here we will have the opportunity to Kayak and explore the inlets where seabird nesting sites and sea lion colonies can be found. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. It is a beautiful bay that allows to breathe in the coastal and volcanic scenery. You will enjoy amazing views from the Sea Star sundeck covering the scenery from Enderby islet to Post office bay, Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
DAY 4 – FRIDAY
AM : SANTA FE
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift instead than a volcanic origin, this is why is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipielago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands Iguanas of the islands. After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. You can see many salt bushes along the trail as well giant Pickly pear cactus, gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.
Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, you can see some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found at other islands. Throughout the island are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. You can see Swallow Tailed Gulls nesting along the cliffs with other sea bids as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.
DAY 5 – SATURDAY
AM: NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND
Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges.
Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, you can see sea lions haul out onto the beach or surfing.
Watch your step, as the boobies don’t worry much about where they nest, and you might just step on one. Also, you can see in the trees male frigate birds trying to attract the attention of the ladies by inflating their bright red skin flaps.
They sometimes fly in the air to call more attention to themselves. There’s a circular path that takes you through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash a silvery-blue.
PM: BACHAS BEACH, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
These two small beaches are found to the West of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges, they were abandoned during the Second World War. It happened when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.
DAY 6 – SUNDAY
AM: MOSQUERA ISLET
The Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour Islands and it was formed by a geological uplift, in its narrowest width reaches 160 meters approximately. This islet has one of the largest populations of sea lions, visitors can also observe several species of shorebirds. If you are lucky you can also see dolphins and orcas around this islet.
PM: DRAGON HILL, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
The visitor site at Dragon Hill has been open for visits on 1993. This site is located in northwestern Santa Cruz Island. It consists of a trail that lead to a hyper-saline lagoon behind the beach. Here you can see flamingos, pintail ducks and other species of birds. This site has been re populated with land iguanas from Seymour, Isabela and Santa Cruz islands. There is a short walk to the Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay.
DAY 7 – MONDAY
AM: BLACK TURTLE COVE
This little cove is located at the northern side of Santa Cruz Island. This is a red mangrove lagoon very calm and quiet which made an ideal place as nursery for many sharks and rays. Its crystal waters permits to observe large groups of white-tip reef, black tipped reef and hammer heads sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays. To visit this place, you have to use panga or kayak, due to, there are no landing sites. You can see sea turtles and sometimes they are in the mangrove waters. If you are lucky, you can also see Pelicans and Herons.
PM: CHINESE HAT
This is a small islet (1 sq km) located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, it shapes is like a Chinese hat when seen from the north side. On the west, you can see lava formations, formed under the sea and raised upward, this is why coral heads can be found on the lava. This is an excellent visit for interpretation of geological features such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is full of sea lions colonies, marine iguanas, and Galapagos penguins.
DAY 8 – TUESDAY
AM: DARWIN BAY, GENOVESA ISLAND
This bay has origin when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers: red footed-booby, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, with and yellow warblers can be seen in the area.
Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching includes sightings of Sharp-Beaked Finches, Large Cactus and Ground Finches, Galapagos Doves and Swallow-Tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.
PM: EL BARRANCO, GENOVESA ISLAND
El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay and it is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. Passengers will climb to a plateau that is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of Masked boobies and Red-Footed boobies in the tree; Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls have found in Genovesa lava flows the ideal place for nesting.
DAY 9 – WEDNESDAY
AM: BARTOLOME ISLAND
Bartolomé Island is situated across Sullivan Bay. It has an altitude of 114 meters, from where we can observe one of the most beautiful sceneries of the Galapagos Islands such as: Volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba formed pinnacle eroded by the sea. There is very little vegetation on this island.
It has two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles exist and at the base of the pinnacle, as well as a very small colony of Galapagos penguins.
PM: THE SULLIVAN BAY, SANTIAGO ISLAND
Santiago, also called James, or San Salvador Island, is located in the west central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is the fourth largest island in the archipelago (following Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz). Along with some of the large western volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina, Santiago is also volcanically active. There are many young flows and cones to see, particularly along the south, west, and east coasts. These may even be seen from the summit of Darwin Volcano and from space. A number of historic eruptions was reported over the last 2 centuries. Santiago actually consists of two coalesced volcanoes: a typical shield volcano on the northwest end and a low, linear fissure volcano on the southeast end.
DAY 10 – THURSDAY
AM: HIGHLANDS, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
The trail to the highlands leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather (unpredictable) this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round.
Then transfer to Baltra Airport for flight back home