Upon arrival in Baltra your tour guide will met you there and transferred to Santa Cruz Island across the Itabaca Cannal on a 5 minute’s ferry boat ride Once on Santa Cruz, another vehicle will be waiting for you to take you for a tour in the highlands looking for giant tortoises in the wild. This will imply a walk through dirt trails and grassland. Water and lunch will be available at one of these private properties before heading down to the town of Puerto Ayora for a visit of the Charles Darwin Scientific Research Station. You will have some free time to stroll through town for a couple of hours at leisure. Based on the itinerary, you should be prepared for the activities of the day for which we suggest you to wear comfortable walking shoes, light clothes (preferably cotton), T-shirts or shorts as per your personal preference, and depending on the season, a light windbreaker in case it is misty during your excursion through the highlands.
** Please be aware that timing or sequence of visits might be altered depending on arrival of flights, force of nature or other unexpected conditions beyond our control.
Chinese Hat: This island is so named because of its perfectly conical appearance. After a wet landing a short walk around the island to observe flamingo and leads to a small colony of sea lion. On the return journey there is the possibility for snorkelling in the clear waters, often with the sea lion.
Rabida Island: This is a small island lying just south of Santiago. A trail leads to a salt-water lagoon, which is sometimes home to flamingos. An area of mangroves near the lagoon is a nesting area for brown Pelicans and it is possible to swim and snorkel from the beach.
Sierra Negra Volcano: Situated in the south of Isabela Island, the caldera of the Sierra Negra volcano is 6 miles by 5 miles, making it the second largest on the world. Starting from Puerto Villamil you will journey by road for approximately 4 hours to the small town of Santo Tomas. You will be able to see volcanic fumaroles inside smaller craters.
Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza: is where giant tortoises are reared on Isabela. It is located 1.5 kilometers from Pto. Villamil, this important center has a captive breeding program for tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela. In total there are 330 tortoises between juveniles and adults.
Punta Moreno, Albemarle (Isabela Island): A dry landing on a young lava field offers dramatic scenery stretching to the foot of some of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos. This is interrupted by lagoons, lush vegetation and brightly coloured birds in striking contrast with the surrounding jet black lava. Amongst the lava flows are clear tidal pools that attracts flamingos, herons and pelicans.
At Elizabeth Bay (Isabela Island) enjoy a panga ride through the mangrove area to see the rays, turtles, sea lions, and, circling overhead, Galapagos hawks. A colony of penguins inhabit a rocky islet at the entrance to Elizabeth Bay. No landings are permitted at Elizabeth Bay.
Urbina Bay (Isabela Island): Take a scenic cruise along Bolivar Channel where it is possible to see whales and dolphins. Disembark at Urbina Bay (wet landing), to look for giant tortoises and land iguanas. This place went through a volcanic uplifting event back in 1954 leaving gaunt marine skeletons, which make the walk remarkably interesting. Those who wish may take either only a short walk along the beach, or a longer walk towards the interior of the island. Swimming and snorkelling will depend on local conditions.
Tagus Cove (Isabela Island): On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove was originally a favourite landing point for pirates and whalers. Old graffiti can still be found on its walls. The vegetation in this area includes the fragrant Palo Santo, these white- barked trees are leafless and look dead for most of the year but bloom in the spring. Walk back to the Darwin crater which is filled with salt water, the view at the end of the trail is well worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabela’s six volcanoes, and a remarkable contrast to the lower islands east of the archipelago. Here you will have the option to swim or snorkel. There is no beach in this area so activities are done from the pangas.
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island): Morning visit to the youngest island, Fernandina. Disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk. Fernandina has an amazing combination of barrenness with lots of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant.
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. After the snorkeling you will go on a panga ride, which will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and penguins are often seen in the area.
Puerto Egas (Santiago Island): Wet landing for a mid-length walk. Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and there is a colony of fur-sea lions. Snorkelling and swimming from the beach after the walk is possible.
Disembark at Bartolome Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. This is a steep climb aided by a wooden staircase; the view from the top is excellent. There may be time for a panga ride around Pinnacle Rock to observe penguins, and time to enjoy the beach (wet landing), snorkelling.
North Seymour Island (early short visit): Walk along the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, observing bird colonies of blue-footed boobies,frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. A shorter walk is also available.
Transfer out: You will be taken to the airport.