Welcome to the extraordinary world of the Galapagos Islands, where nature's wonders await you at every turn. Prepare to be captivated by the unique wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and pristine ecosystems that make this archipelago a true paradise for explorers and nature enthusiasts.
Join us on an unforgettable 8 day Galapagos Island cruise, and immerse yourself in the wonders of this extraordinary destination.
As your adventure begins, you'll arrive at Baltra Airport after a short 2 ½-hour flight from Quito or Guayaquil. Our friendly natural guides will be eagerly waiting to greet you and accompany you on a ten-minute bus drive to the pier, where the M/V Galapagos Legend awaits. Step on board and get ready to embark on an incredible journey.
Our first stop is Santa Cruz Island's Highlands, a place of remarkable beauty and biodiversity. Prepare to be enchanted by the melodious songs of the tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, and yellow warblers that fill the air. Keep an eye out for the majestic Galapagos giant tortoises as they roam freely through the pastures. Bird watchers will be thrilled by the abundance of avian species that call this place home. The Santa Cruz highlands are a true haven for nature lovers.
We set sail for the enchanting Genovesa Island, also known as "Bird Island." Our first stop is El Barranco, where you'll be astounded by the diverse array of sea life sheltering amidst the crevices of the lava cliffs. Marvel at the graceful flight of the red-billed tropicbirds and catch a glimpse of the fur seals basking near the landing site. Ascend the steep stairway that winds through a seabird colony teeming with Nazca and red-footed boobies. The trail leads you deeper into the Palo Santo forest, where more nesting booby colonies await. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive short-eared owl, a sight to behold.
In the afternoon, we arrive at Darwin Bay, a true sanctuary for both land and marine wildlife. Disembark onto a serene sandy beach and follow a trail that winds its way along a tidal lagoon. Swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls, and herons grace the shoreline, while frigate birds and red-footed boobies make their nests among the Palo Santo trees and Opuntia cacti. Witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of more than 200,000 red-footed boobies inhabiting the trees and bushes of Genovesa. This is a rare opportunity to witness nature's wonders up close.
Our next destination is Santa Cruz Island, where you'll have the chance to explore Dragon Hill. Embark on a dry landing and follow a trail that takes you through a brackish lagoon, home to a vibrant flock of flamingos. The hike continues through the island's dry zone vegetation until you reach Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas. Witness the stunning panoramic views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands from this vantage point. Along the way, encounter Darwin's finches, mockingbirds, and other fascinating avian species that inhabit this remarkable landscape.
Afterward, we head to Santa Fe Island, where white sand beaches await, surrounded by colonies of playful sea lions. Traverse an endemic cactus forest, home to the impressive Santa Fe land iguanas, known for their size and grandeur. Keep your eyes peeled for the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats, and a variety of finches as you explore this unique island. Santa Fe Island is a true haven for biodiversity, with its diverse range of species and stunning natural landscapes.
We venture to the pristine shores of Bachas Beach on the northern side of Santa Cruz Island. As we make a wet landing, you'll be greeted by the sight of flamingo ponds and sunbathing iguanas. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach and marvel at the coastal birds, such as Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls. Native vegetation like red and black mangroves and salt bushes adorn the landscape, creating a picturesque backdrop. Bachas Beach is not only a haven for wildlife but also holds historical significance, with the remnants of barges from World War II still visible.
Next, we set sail to Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. As we make a wet landing on this sandy paradise, you'll be greeted by a large colony of playful sea lions. Enjoy the open area of the islet and observe the fascinating shorebirds, including herons and lava gulls. Mosquera Islet offers a tranquil setting with its sandy expanses and barren lava rock, adorned with scattered sesuvium por tulacastrum plants.
Get ready to explore the remarkable sights of Santiago Island, starting with a wet landing at Egas Port. As you step onto the black volcanic sand beach, you'll feel as if you've traveled back in time. The unique layered terrain, formed by volcanic ash and basaltic rock, sets the stage for a truly striking experience. Keep an eye out for the yellow-crowned night heron, marine iguanas, lobsters, starfish, and the vibrant Sally light-foot crabs that inhabit this area. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the colonies of fur seals swimming in volcanic rock pools, a truly unforgettable sight.
We then make our way to Rabida Island, where the landscape is adorned with dark-red sand beaches. Here, sea lion colonies bask in the sun, creating a lively atmosphere. Rabida Island boasts an incredible diversity of volcanic geology, making it the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands. Look out for nesting brown pelicans and the renowned Darwin's finches, which showcase the archipelago's evolutionary wonders. Take a dinghy ride along the marine cliffs, where you can observe nesting seabirds, and immerse yourself in the vibrant marine life with a snorkeling adventure.
Isabela Island beckons us with its natural wonders. We begin with a wet landing at Urbina Bay, where you'll encounter giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the extraordinary flightless cormorant. Explore the inland areas and take the opportunity to snorkel alongside graceful sea turtles, sea lions, and an abundance of tropical fish. The colorful array of flowers and plants provides a picturesque backdrop, attracting a diverse range of insects, birds, and reptiles. Don't miss the remarkable uplifted coral reef, a result of seismic activity in 1954, and be mesmerized by the remarkable views of Alcedo Volcano.
Next, we arrive at Tagus Cove, a site with a rich historical and geological significance. As we make a dry landing, we delve into the fascinating history of the five volcanoes that shaped Isabela Island. Follow the trail to Darwin's salt-water crater lake, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of lava fields and volcanic formations. Along the shoreline, take a dinghy ride and marvel at the abundant marine wildlife, including blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, terns, and the captivating flightless cormorant. Depending on the season, you may even spot a large number of Galapagos Penguins, the only penguin species in the world to thrive in the tropics. Dive into the deep water for an exhilarating snorkeling experience, immersing yourself in the vibrant underwater world. As you explore, keep an eye out for the graffiti left by 19th-century pirates, a fascinating reminder of the Galapagos' intriguing past.
Embark on a journey to Fernandina Island, where nature unfolds in all its splendor. At Espinoza Point, be captivated by the breathtaking view across the Bolivar Channel to Isabela Island. This area boasts an incredible diversity of endemic sea fauna, offering a mesmerizing sight. Witness the largest marine iguanas, known for their primitive appearance, coexisting with sea lions and Sally light-foot crabs. Fernandina Island provides a unique opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, as well as the magnificent Galapagos hawk. Marvel at the pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations that dominate the terrain, while mangroves dot the shoreline, adding a touch of greenery to the landscape.
Our exploration continues at Vicente Roca Point on Isabela Island. Prepare for an exceptional snorkeling experience in the Bolivar Channel, renowned as one of the richest marine havens on Earth. Board a dinghy and cruise along the coast, observing a diverse array of sea and coastal birds, including Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, and the remarkable flightless cormorant. The upwelling of cold water currents in this area creates an abundance of marine life, making it an ideal location for deep snorkeling. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and witness the underwater wonders firsthand.
On the final day of our 8 day Galapagos cruise, we return to Santa Cruz Island to explore its enchanting highlands. As we make a dry landing, prepare to be enchanted by the diverse birdlife that inhabits this region. From tree and ground finches to vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets, the highlands are a haven for birdwatchers. Keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent Galapagos Giant Tortoises, a symbol of the islands, as they roam through pastures and paddocks. The journey to the reserve offers a glimpse into the contrasting ecosystems that Santa Cruz Island has to offer, from the coastal zones to the dense humid forests.
After our visit to the highlands, it's time to bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands. Passengers will be transferred to the airport for their return flight to either Guayaquil or Quito. As you depart, carry with you the cherished memories of the Galapagos island cruise, where you witnessed the wonders of nature and forged a deep connection with this extraordinary archipelago.