San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center
Arrival from Quito or Guayaquil; the guide and crew will be expecting your arrival at airport. First, pay $100 p.p. for entrance to National Park. Afterwards, you will be taken to the Seaman Journey and to your cabin to settle in. lunch on board before afternoon visit.
PM: Interpretation Center
This is an interpretation center with exuberant gardens and stunning ocean views in contrast with the 1960´s buildings in Charles Darwin Center. Visitors at the interpretation center can learn a lot about the geological and human history of the islands, conservation facts and natural history. This is the oldest museum of Natural History in Galapagos Islands that is trying to preserve the nature of the islands.
A short visit to the Galapaguera that is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in its natural habitat. San Cristobal island has endemic species such as: the Mockingbird Nesomimus melanotis, lava lizard (Microlophus bivittatus), Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus leei) and the tortoises. All of these species can be observed in this place, the beach is really big and it works as a nesting zone for marine tortoises. Between January and May, it is common to find the footprints of the female tortoises that have climbed to the sand dunes to deposit their eggs.
PM: Cerro Brujo
Cerro Brujo is a beautiful white coral beach where you can swim and watch birds and sea lions, plus you can snorkel. This is the first coast where Charles Darwin ever walked on in 1835. In this marvelous lava landscape, you can see seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds and shore birds. The protected bay is very popular to observe young tortoises and for swimming.
The pools with salty water behind the sand dunes were used by the fishermen as a salt mine in order to preserve food for the local population. Among the fauna, you can observe the Chatham Mockingbird and the San Cristobal Lava Lizard, both species being endemic to the island and unique to the area as they cannot be observed nowhere else.
Furthermore you can find the island canary, the Galapagos turtles and with luck the little bird known as the Pajaro Brujo in Spanish, an endemic specie from San Cristobal Island. The vegetation covers all the route where you can find species like the candelabrum cactus and carob trees. Located on the north coast of Isla San Cristobal, here Cerro Brujo, is the place where we can find a relaxing and beautiful place to be at.
AM: Gardner Bay
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, we find Gardner Bay. It provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
PM: Suarez Point
This area is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the oceanfront, the large waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air at least from 50 to 75 meters high. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
AM: Cormorant Point
This site offers probably the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds.
It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
PM: Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists.
We will continue to the north of the island and will ascent to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
AM: Charles Darwin Station
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands is carried out. One of the main attractions is the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (turtle from Pinta Island).
After the morning excursion you will be taken to the airport for your flight to the mainland.