Departure from Quito/Guayaquil to Baltra (approximately 2 hours flight). Arrive at the terminal and meet our staff. Then, take a bus for ten minutes to the pier. Board the Galapagos Legend and settle in your cabin. Enjoy lunch while you travel to your first destination.
This is the archipelago's most famous landscape, with views of Pinnacle Rock and Santiago Island beyond. It is well worth the climb up the wooden boardwalk. This volcanic landscape has been often compared to a lunar one. We might be able to snorkel for 60 minutes here and meet Galapagos penguins as well as curious sea lions or white-tipped sharks.
The tour includes Dry landing in the presence Sea lions, swallowtail gulls, and land iguanas. A red succulent carpet is laid on the small island, topped with Opuntia Cacti. We spend our time at the edge of the cliff watching birds pass by, including frigate birds and flocks red-billed tropicalbirds. We see land iguanas again at sea level. Some of them have even mated with their marine counterparts.
Dry landing on the flat, elevated island with rocky-terrain is a good spot to view both great frigate bird males and females. They click, bill-clap, shudder, flapping their wings, and then show off their brightly colored, grossly inflated gular pouches. It is possible to see blue-footed boobies dancing to potential mates while courting. A great time is had by all, with sea lions, swallow-tailed and gulls, crashing waves, and distant views to the Daphne Islands.
Today's landing is on the beach. Sea lions are expected to greet us. We will be climbing up to the top of the steeply eroded tuff cone. This is the only spot in the islands that we can see all three species of boobies in one place. The red-footed will be perched high on the Cordia Luta and small trees. The Nazca Boobies, blue-footed Boobies, will be further inland. The views are spectacular and there will be Frigate-birds all around.
Wet landing at Cerro Brujo from our panga. As we make our way to shore, we are first struck by the sheer size of the cliffs. The sandy trail leads to the hidden lagoon, where you may spot ruddy turnstones and whimbrels, black-necked stilts and white-cheeked pintails.
Our last cruise day takes us to the San Cristobal highlands towards the "La Galapaguera", giant tortoise breeding centre. Here we can see the iconic archipelago creature in all its stages of life in a semi-natural environment that offers great photographic opportunities. The reserve's purpose is to restore the San Cristobal tortoise population back into the wild. There are many shops in town that sell souvenirs and handicrafts from the local area.
Dry landing at the Pier. The Interpretation Center provides a wealth of information about the history of Galapagos and its importance in the world. It also outlines threats and conservation efforts. Then, we'll hike up to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tejeretas), where we will have great views of both frigate-bird species, as well as beautiful scenery of the bay below.
Morning wet landing at Gardner Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Galapagos; the long, white sandy beach is lapped by turquoise water and home to a colony Galapagos sea-lions that are indifferent to humans who walk among them. Hood mockingbirds are endemic to this island and will eagerly inspect visitors to satisfy their natural curiosity. Darwin's finches, including an isolated warbler finch, may join the crowd. To add to our adventure, we can snorkel in the bay from the beach and swim with playful Sea-Lions.
Lunch on board is followed by dry landing at Punta Suarez. This landing site has a lot to offer: We are greeted by a slew marine iguanas as well as sea lions. From there, we continue our walk with close encounters with gulls, endemic and lizards, and even the Blowhole. We have one chance to meet the endangered Waved-Albatross, which is only present on the oldest island of the archipelago during their breeding season (April through December). We can witness their intricate courtship displays with luck.
Floreana Island, wet landing; just a short walk from the beach takes us to the famous Post Office Barrel. It is believed to be the oldest operating "post office" on the Pacific side. It was originally designed so that fur sealers and whalers could leave letters in the barrel for their homebound colleagues. Visitors are still encouraged to write letters or send postcards to loved ones on their cruise.
Wet landing. The observant visitor to the beach will notice that the subtle green color of olivine, which is a volcanic rock, has been added. We will pass island-endemic Scalesia trees and arrive at a shallow lagoon, often home to greater flamingoes. Continue on through a forest full of "palo santo", trees, to reach a powdery white beach, a nesting place for green turtles. We will see white-tipped reef sharks and diamond stingrays as we paddle barefoot through the shallow waters. The coral-sand beach is the end of the trail. We return to the olivine beaches we landed on to swim or snorkel with Sea turtles, Reef fish and Sea-lions. With luck, we may even see white-tipped sharks. Sometimes, you can also see a small colony penguins.
Continue on towards Devil's Crown, a volcanic cone eroded into a volcano that is home to a variety of marine and fish species. We'll be swimming with large schools of yellow-tailed and creole surgeonfish. With some luck, we might even spot Sea turtles. The jagged "ecrowni", which is a roosting place for boobies and noddies, tropicbirds and frigates, is a jagged area.
We will then head to Champion Islet, which is also the last island-endemic Floreana mackerel home that we might be able to see from our pangas.
To visit the Charles Darwin Station on Santa Cruz Island, dry landing at Puerto Ayora is recommended. This station was once home to Lonesome George, the Pinta Tortoise. The breeding and relocation center is named after his long-time guardian. You can visit the center in the Galapagos National Park Service, where you will find many interpretive buildings. These grounds are home to many native plants and are a great place to see some rare Darwin's finches like the woodpecker, cactus, and vegetarian finches.
Santa Cruz Island's central highlands offer the best chance to meet Galapagos giant tortoises, which are completely wild. You can also find many highland species in the vicinity of these giant, 600-pound reptiles, including several famous finches, by taking a short walk.
Wet landing. This is the perfect spot for water sports like snorkeling, kayaking and glass-bottom boats. You will see many fish species, including surgeonfish, parrotfish and king angelfish. The land portion of the tour will include sea lions, basking marine Iguanas, and herons. Turtles can be found in the mangroves. It is possible that we will find some ceramic relics from ancient settlements.
Transfer to the airport after our morning visit to catch our flight back to the Mainland.