Climb aboard the comfortable Estrella and explore the northern and central islands of the Galápagos archipelago. Enjoy included snorkelling gear and the presence of an expert Naturalist Guide, there to make sense of this unique region. After a full day of swimming with unique sea life and walking among wildlife that has no fear of humans, enjoy deck-side drinks before retiring to your air-conditioned cabin.
Arrive at Quito at any time where the day will be spent at your leisure.
Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city, a short distance from the Equator and with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is known for its stunning colonial architecture and art-work. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.
You will take a morning flight from Quito to Baltra Island. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to Puerto Ayora. You will then check into your hotel before taking an afternoon hike to beautiful Tortuga Bay and kayak through the mangrove forest.
In the morning you will board your vessel where you will have an introduction to the ship and its crew. You will then take a morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Centre, responsible for education and conservation among the islands natural flora and fauna. In the afternoon you will Trek to the summit of the island for a clearer perspective of the islands' not-too-distant volcanic origins, and enjoy a view that is one of the best among the Galápagos. Spectacular vistas await, so bring your camera and snap away at the amazing panoramas.
In the morning you will visit Darwin Bay. walk along the white sand beaches and follow the trail and see nesting frigatebirds, gulls, and boobies. You will also snorkel here and have the possibility to see large schools of tropical fish and even the odd sightings of manta rays, sea lions and hammerhead sharks.
Today you will visit the islands of South Plaza and Santa Fe. South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.
In the afternoon you will visit Santa Fe. Hike towards the cliffs along the island's northern shore to view the forest of giant prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), which is home to endemic land iguanas. It is also one of the best locations to see sea turtles, sea lions, and maybe even get a glimpse of a whitetip reef shark from the panga.
Early in the morning you will visit the Santa Cruz highlands and the El Chato Reserve. There are many reserves in this area, such as El Manzanillo, Primicias, and El Chato II, making this is a perfect place to see giant tortoises in their natural environment. You will also have the opportunity to visit Santa Cruz's lava tunnels, massive underground lava tubes found throughout the island that, in some places, extend several kilometres.
After this activity you will be transferred to the airport where you will board your departure flight to Quito.