We arrive at Baltra airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30 minutes bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, we may include a short hike which will be a great introduction to some Galapagos wildlife. Our Expedition Team will advise accordingly.
After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. We review the expeditions plan for next day, and enjoy the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
After breakfast, we land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as an informal post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Snorkelling off the beach.
Our visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like stilts and flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, we come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest. Snorkeling will happen at lovely “Champion Islet” site, or ride in the panga or glass-bottom boat.
Our morning outing at Punta Suarez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies including the waved albatrosses (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, mockingbirds, and the famous “blowhole”. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.
In the afternoon, we set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe Galapagos sea lions, finches, maybe a hawk or just enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak, or enjoy the glass-bottom boat. The turquoise colour of the waters at this location will be a favourite one to photograph.
In the morning, we land on the eastern tip of the island to see Punta Pitt. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline and is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, joined by the two frigatebird species plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim, kayak or snorkel from the beach or hop onto the panga for a ride along the coast.
In the afternoon, following lunch on board, we set out on a panga ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers which take us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coraline beach, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching including good views of both sea and shore birds. Also, keep your eyes open for Galapagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835. After the walk, there is a chance to swim and snorkel.