Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, the guide will meet you to transfer to the Ocean Spray. Settle in to your cabin before an afternoon visit to Sombrero Chino, Chinese Hat, so-called for its distinctive shape. The islet is home to a colony of sea lions on the white coral sand beach. Here you can see American oystercatchers, Galapagos penguins swimming along the shores, and Sally- lightfoot crabs in bright contrast to the dark volcanic rock.
Comprised of two separate coves, Punta Vicente Roca is a large bay with incredible sea life including seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating mola-mola (or pacific sunfish). The next visit is a privileged one to the heavily restricted island of Fernandina. It is one of the world's most pristine island ecosystems with no foreign species having ever invaded. La Cumbre volcano dominates the landscape with lava fields reaching the ocean. Land at Punta Espinosa for a walkway past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions for the highlight of a flightless cormorant nesting site.
Upon embarking upon a 2km hike at Tagus Cove, observe the intriguing graffiti from pirate’s dating back to 1836. Hike through lava formations and take in stunning views of the surrounding slopes and volcanoes on the way to Darwin Lake. In the afternoon, land at Urbina Bay, formed by uplift from the sea where terrestrial coral reef is visible. Expect to see stingrays and sea turtles swimming near the surface of the water, along with the flightless cormorant, pelicans, and marine iguanas. You will gain excellent views of Volcán Alcedo, with the possibility to see land iguanas and giant tortoises in the wild.
Take a traditional 'panga' ride or dinghy, passing red mangroves up to Elizabeth Bay, a secluded area without landing sites. Expect to see sea turtles and rays, as well as brown pelicans, penguins and blue-footed boobies. You may even spot humpback whales! In the afternoon visit Punta Moreno, located south west of Elizabeth Bay. Here, a dry landing onto what was once flowing lava is possible. The lava has left craters which have formed crystal tide pools where you may see pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules
Visit the Charles Darwin Station Breeding Center, home to tortoises from four inches to four feet long. The successful conservation efforts see the tortoises reared until large enough to survive in the wild. In the afternoon, visit the Santa Cruz Highlands. Take a walkway, observing the rich flora and fauna with an impressive hilly backdrop. In the highlands you can observe the giant tortoise in the wild, as well as mockingbirds, bahama ducklings, white-cheeked pintail ducks and Darwin’s finches. Explore the underground lava tubes that are more than 1km long.
In the morning, head to Isla Plaza Sur, a small island with steep cliffs covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colourful yellow and red land iguanas. The afternoon visit is to Isla Santa Fé, also known as Barrington. Arrive at the picturesque bay to take a trail to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff. The other trail takes you from a small beach to a tall prickly cactus forest.
Venture to the southernmost island of the Galapagos archipelago, Española. Beginning at Punta Suarez, make way on a trail, sighting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. Arrive at a beautiful ocean-front cliff that the albatross uses as a launch pad. Visit the blowhole that spurts water over 20m into the air. In the afternoon, make your way to Gardner Bay and Osborn Islet. Land on a beautiful white sand beach amongst a colony of sea lions, where you can snorkel with the pups in the water. Continue to the albatross nesting site, where almost the entire population of 12,000 waved albatross can be found.
Make your way to the Interpretation Center focused on the interaction of humans with nature. The Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado is an area of land reserved for the repopulation of the giant tortoise, and cut off from potential predators. You may also see finches, warblers and mockingbirds. In the afternoon, visit Isla Lobos, appropriately named with a large population of noisy, frolicking sea lions. León Dormido, or Kicker Rock, is the remains of a lava cone, which is a fantastic spot for snorkelling. Above water you will see tropicbirds, frigates and boobies.
Visit Punta Pitt in the morning for an easy hike rewarded with the only nesting site which hosts all species of Galapagos boobies. The volcanic land formations create an impressive backdrop, making for a fascinating site. Later, explore Cerro Brujo, or Witch Hill, starting at one the finest beaches of the archipelago with its soft white sand occupied by sea lions and blue-footed boobies alongside one another. Beyond the beach is a lagoon, occupied by egrets and great blue herons. Snorkel in the beautiful turquoise waters complete with abundant marine life.
Visit two sites on Isla Floreana today. In the morning, head to the famous Post Office Bay, where 18th Century whalers placed a wooden barrel for use as a manual post box, a system that still works today. In the afternoon, head to Punta Cormorant for a hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingos. You’ll also be amazed by the green coloured beach, caused by a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand. You will also get to swim in the crystal clear waters off Corona del Diablo, Devil's Crown. This extinct volcano peaks out of the waters just off Floreana's coast and offers a magnificent snorkelling experience.
The shallow inlet of Black Turtle Cove is surrounded by mangroves and provides natural protection for a variety of marine life, attracting the vulnerable juveniles of many species. Below the surface of the water, you can see both black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, golden cow-nose rays, spotted eagle rays, and an occasional hammerhead shark. The afternoon visit includes Isla Bartholomé, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartholomé consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. Take a trail of stairs to the summit of the volcano for one of the best views of the islands. You will also visit a small, beautiful beach, surrounded by the only vegetation found on this barren island. The beach is perfect for snorkelling where you may even see the Galapagos penguins.
The morning visit will take you to the white sand coral beach at Darwin Bay to embark on a trail that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. You may see Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Arrive at the cliff’s edge and take in the spectacular views. In the afternoon travel to El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip's Steps, whose steep, rocky path will lead you up a cliff-face. After marvelling at the view you will have the opportunity to take a trek through palo santo vegetation sighting red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos storm petrels and Galapagos doves.
Visit Playa Espumilla where marine iguanas lounge and the Sally- lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons. This is an excellent spot for snorkelling where you may see octopus, moray eel, shark, or a variety of tropical fish. At Buccaneer Cove, British buccaneers would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. Marvel at the steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach. The afternoon visit is to Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay, on Isla Santiago. Here, you will take a hike on a trail, spotting Galapagos hawks and Galapagos lava lizards, before reaching the coastline and its tide pools which are full of fauna. Observe the Galapagos fur sea lions and snorkel at Puerto Egas beach.
Seymour Norte is home to Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds while the island’s vegetation is arid. The island was formed by a series of submarine lavas uplifted by tectonic activity. In the afternoon, visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz where you can explore and see its hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. Visit the Tortoise Breeding Center and then look for giant tortoises in the wild
Take a morning excursion to Mosquera Islet for its vast white sand beach. The island is an uplifted reef of rocks and coral. It is home to one of the largest populations of sea lions, while you can also observe shorebirds and occasional reports of orca sightings. Transfer to Baltra Airport for your departure flight to mainland Ecuador.
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