Itinerary C

Tuesday AM:

Baltra Airport – Arrive at Baltra Airport.

Tuesday PM:

Charles Darwin Reasearch Station

The Charles Darwin Research Station provides an unmissable opportunity to find out about the vital work that is being carried out to preserve the archipelago’s ecosystems.

One element of this is a significant breeding programme for Galapagos tortoises, whose numbers have been in decline since the 1970’s.

These captivating enormous reptiles are very accustomed to humans, so be sure to bring your camera for some close-ups.

Wednesday AM:

Genovesa – Prince Philip’s Steps / El Barranco

El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, is a rocky stairway that will lead you past a colony of nazca and red-footed boobies leads up to a plateau of dried lava. Continuing through the thin Palo Santo forest and looking out over the plain, visitors are often treated to sites of storm petrels launching out over the ocean.

A panga ride or kayaking/paddle boarding along the edge of the cliffs provides a good chance to see the elusive Galapagos fur seals nestled on the rocks, and snorkeling is a great activity if you fancy a dip with a variety of shark species.

Wednesday PM:

Genovesa / Darwin Bay

Darwin Bay has a small sand and coral beach that provides the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding in calm, sheltered waters in the company of hammerhead sharks, rays and a plethora of colourful reef fish.  Onshore, a short trail leads along a tidal lagoon and mangroves, home to a variety of land bird species, including Nazca and red-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls.

The trail culminates at a viewpoint that offers a stunning view overlooking the cliffs and the bay below.

Thursday AM:

Santiago – Espumilla Beach / Buccaneer Cove

Espumilla beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago island, is an exquisite white sand beach, whose name refers to the meringue-like trails of foam left by the lapping of the waves. Sally Lightfoot crabs are in abundance here and as a result, it is common to see predatory birds such as hawks, herons and pelicans.

This idyllic location is perfect for snorkeling or kayaking/paddle boarding amongst a raft of marine life, including species of octopus, eels and sharks. Buccaneer Cove has an interesting history as it is where sailors, buccaneers and whalers frequently anchored their vessels in search for food and water. In more recent times it has become an important nesting site for turtles and is also popular with sea lions.

A panga ride along the eroded shoreline provides views of intriguing rock formations that provide excellent ledges for boobies, pelicans and gulls.

Thursday PM:

Egas Port

Egas Port was once the site of a salt mine, but now this impressive black sand beach is an excellent location for snorkeling and observing shorebirds, Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas.

A stroll along the wide trails inland leads you past tidal pools and rocky volcanic formations known as grottoes where it is possible to spot fur seals enjoying a spot of shade.

Friday AM:

Santa Cruz – Bachas Beach

Bachas Beach is a glorious white sand beach on which the remnants of a rusted barge, thought to have been abandoned by the Americans during WWI, can be seen. It is a popular nesting site for turtles, so if you go for a snorkel, you might find yourself sharing the water with these wonderful creatures.

The beach is also full of vibrant Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs and elegant pink flamingos that frequent the salt water lagoon behind.

Friday PM:

Twin craters and the highlands of Santa Cruz

The best way to appreciate these remarkable, almost identical crater-like holes, caused by the collapse of empty lava chambers, is to take the trail that leads up and around the rims.

From this vantage point, one can revel in the beauty of the surrounding highlands, lush with ferns and an abundance of Scalesia trees.

Here, Bird enthusiasts can also enjoy spotting the distinct red feathers of Vermilion Flycatchers, Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves and, with a bit of luck, an endemic short-ear owl.

Saturday AM:

Lobos Island / San Cristobal

Accessed by panga, Lobos island gets its name from the herds of sea lions that have made their home here.

Snorkeling in the calm clear water provides a unique opportunity to see these inquisitive and playful animals up close and it is also common to be accompanied by green turtles and rays as well.

Inland there is a trail where you can expect to encounter nesting sites for blue-footed boobies and frigates.

Saturday:

San Cristobal Airport

Depart from San Cristobal Airport.