Galapagos vacations in Galapagos, Ecuador

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Galapagos vacations in Ecuador, Galapagos


Galapagos
Overview


 Galapagos Introduction
  The Islands
  
The Seasons
     
Diving

 

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Galapagos tours in Ecuador, Galapagos
Coral I & II Mega Yachts


Itinerary for Coral I & II Mega Yachts



 

Sample Itinerary: Central + West option - subject to changes

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival & Santa Cruz Island Visit
In the morning, departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (approx. 2½-hour flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken on a 10-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
In the afternoon, dry landing on Santa Cruz Island. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk


Day 2 (Monday): Santa Cruz Island & Bartolome Island Visit 
This morning, go for a walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos (Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island). The trail leads across a typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, there will be an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk


After lunch, dry or wet landing on Bartolome Island. We discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon.  Going up to the summit there will be an impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer.
Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (372 steps)
Activity Duration: 1.5 hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 3 (Tuesday): Rabida Island & Santiago Island
Also known as Jervis Island in English, Rabida Island is one of the most diverse in terms of volcanic activity as it lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic origin. In this deep red beach, surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones it is usual to find nesting colonies of brown pelicans, as well as, nine species of Darwin finches, fur seals, and Nazca boobies.
Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active and colorful.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1.5 hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride


Buccaneers Cove and Espumilla Beach (Santiago Island) are amazing locations, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions.  The island's different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors.  There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration:1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time


Day 4 (Wednesday): Black Turtle Cove & Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd form an internal lagoon: Black Turtle Cove. Turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while the fish and rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus seabirds including pelicans, herons, and egrets feed from the cove. This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary.”
Activity Difficulty: easy
Activity Duration: 1-hour dinghy ride


In the afternoon, dry landing at the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat & muddy terrain - depending on season)
Activity Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk


Day 5 (Thursday): Isabela Island & Fernandina Island
Vicente Roca point (Isabela Island) is a high peak of land created out of remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on both sides. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks. The dinghy ride along the coast will allow observing a great diversity of seabirds like noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once during the cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate
Activity Duration: 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride


Dry landing on Fernandina Island in he afternoon. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally Lightfoot Crabs. Fernandina island displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites. The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hours walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 6 (Friday): Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Wet landing (might be difficult due to the tide) in Urbina Bay this morning. Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is usual in May – December.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (flat & rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


This afternoon, dry landing in Tagus Cove, on Galapagos’ largest island (Isabela) where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate/difficult (steep)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk / 40-minutes dinghy ride / 1-hour deep water snorkeling


Day 7 (Saturday): Santiago Island
Wet landing at Egas Port (Santiago Island), a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (flat & semi-rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


After lunch, wet landing in Sullivan Bay. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.
Activity Difficulty : difficult (flat volcanic lava)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
After breakfast, wet landing at Bachas Beach, on the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling/ beach time


After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the Baltra airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

 

Sample Itinerary: West + East option - subject to changes

Day 1 (Wednesday): Arrival & Santa Cruz Island Visit
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (approx. 2½-hour flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken on a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.

In the afternoon, dry landing on Santa Cruz Island. In the mountains of Galapagos, it is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the Highlands Tortoise Reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat & muddy terrain depending on season)
Activity Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk


Day 2 (Thursday): Isabela and Fernandina Islands
In the morning, you will visit Vicente Roca Point, on Isabela island. It is a high peak of land created out of remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on both sides. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks. The dinghy ride along the coast will allow observing a great diversity of seabirds like noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once during the cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate
Activity Duration: 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride


After lunch, dry landing on Fernandina Island. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally Lightfoot Crabs. Fernandina island displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites. The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
Activity Difficulty : intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hours walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 3 (Friday): Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, wet landing in Urbina Bay (might be difficult due to the tide). Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is usual in May – December.
Activity Difficulty : intermediate (flat & rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


This afternoon, dry landing, in Tagus Cove, on Galapagos’ largest island (Isabela) where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate/difficult (steep)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk / 40-minutes dinghy ride / 1-hour deep water snorkeling


Day 4 (Saturday): Santiago Island
This morning, wet landing on Santiago Island. Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (flat & semi-rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


After lunch, wet landing in Sullivan Bay. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (flat volcanic lava)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time


Day 5 (Sunday): Santa Cruz Island
We start the day with a wet landing on Bachas Beach. On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling/ beach time


In the afternoon, dry landing to visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk


Day 6 (Monday): Mosquera Islet & North Seymour Island
Wet Landing on Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, the visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk & snorkeling


In the afternoon, dry landing on North Seymour Island. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora.
 An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky ground)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk / 30-minute snorkeling


Day 7 (Tuesday): Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Islet
Wet landing on Santa Fe Island. This location features white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour deep-water snorkeling


This afternoon, dry landing on the northern part of South Plaza Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest* surrounded by land and marine iguanas; as we reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls.
 In South Plaza there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. Approximately, there is a population of 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where we will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk


Day 8 (Wednesday): San Cristobal Island & Departure
AM –  Kicker Rock Circumnavigation & Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve (San Cristobal Island)
We start our day by a visit to the Kicker Rock, which can be seen directly from the vessel. In the sea northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is this ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava named Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock it is formed by two rocks approximately 148 m, named for its resemblance of a sleeping lion.
It serves as home to many of the typical Galapagos sea animals, such as birds, sea lions, blue and Nazca boobies and frigate. With rare sightings of swallow turtle gulls, tropic birds, and pelicans.
Activity Difficulty level: easy
Activity Duration: 1-hour circumnavigation


Later, we do a dry landing at Cerro Colorado, in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 40-minute bus drive to the Reserve / 1-hour visit


After the visit, you will go to San Cristobal Airport for the return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

 

Sample Itinerary
: East + South option -
subject to changes

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival & Santa Cruz Island Visit
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (2 ½ hours flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the Coral I or II.

In the afternoon, dry landing on Santa Cruz Island to visit the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk


Day 2 (Monday): Mosquera Islet & North Seymour Island
This morning, wet landing on Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, the visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk & snorkeling


After lunch, dry landing on North Seymour Island. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora.
 An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky ground)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk / 30-minute snorkeling


Day 3 (Tuesday): Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Islet
After breakfast, wet landing on Santa Fe Island. This location features white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour deep-water snorkeling


In the afternoon, dry landing on the northern part of South Plaza Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest* surrounded by land and marine iguanas; as we reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls.
 In South Plaza there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. Approximately, there is a population of 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where we will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk


Day 4 (Wednesday): San Cristobal Island 
This morning, visit of Kicker Rock, which can be seen directly from the vessel. In the sea northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is this ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava named Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock it is formed by two rocks approximately 148 m, named for its resemblance of a sleeping lion.
It serves as home to many of the typical Galapagos sea animals, such as birds, sea lions, blue and Nazca boobies and frigate. With rare sightings of swallow turtle gulls, tropic birds, and pelicans.
Activity Difficulty: easy
Activity Duration: 1-hour circumnavigation


After Kicker, Rock, we do a dry landing at Cerro Colorado, in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 40-minute bus drive to the Reserve / 1-hour visit


In the afternoon, dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about islands’ history in The Museum of Natural History which displays information about the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and the island’s colonization.
Activity Difficulty: easy / intermediate (flat terrain with stairs)
Activity Duration: 1-hour visit / 1-hour walk


Later in the day, we visit Tijeretas Hill involving a high-intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour visit


Day 5 (Thursday): San Cristobal Island 
We start the day with a wet landing at Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone that is composed of AA lava formations; it is close to a beautiful white sandy beach which is great for snorkeling and sunbathing. Nearby a lagoon ideal for migratory bird species can be seen, including black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, sandpiper, and white- cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, an islet in the adjacent southern coast of San Cristobal.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Wet landing followed by a high-intensity hike on Pitt Point & Islet. The trail includes a 90 meters long, olivine beach and a path that climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff, through several magnificent viewpoints. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as, two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. It is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2½-hour walk/ 40-minutes snorkeling or kayaking


Day 6 (Friday): Espanola Island
After breakfast, dry landing at Suarez Point. An island of geological interest, being one of the oldest in Galapagos, it has a high percentage of endemism due to its isolation from the rest of the islands. Due to the great variety of wildlife, this is one of the most attractive spots in the Galapagos. Here, it is possible to explore volcanic formations and see large colonies of sea lion and seabirds including the Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, and the spectacular red-billed tropicbirds. Here, the singular marine iguanas have a turquoise color with reddish parts during the breeding season, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally light-foot crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike brings visitors to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birdwatchers favorites include the Galapagos dove, the Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (April-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous “Soplador,” a seaward blowhole that shoots water up to 23 m. (75 ft.) into the air.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky ground)
Activity Duration: 2½-hours walk


This afternoon, wet landing in Gardner Bay, a beautiful white coral sandy beach guarded by a colony of sea Lions. Here, there are no trails, so visitors stay along the shore, spotting the Galapagos hawk, the American oystercatcher, the Galapagos dove, hood mockingbirds, yellow warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin finches , cacti finch (Geospizafuliginosa), the small ground finch (Geospizafuliginosa) and the warbler finch (Certhideaolivacea). Swimming and snorkeling offers a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish and parrot fish.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hours walk / 1-hours snorkeling


Day 7 (Saturday): Floreana Island
Wet landing, on an olivine green, sanded beach: Cormorant Point. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white sandy beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach, one can spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in the search for food.
This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on, to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy & flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


In the afternoon, wet landing at a location called Post Office. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay was named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them back to their destinations. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler, going to the letter destination, will take it back for free. The chances are that the letter posted can take a long time to arrive at its destination. However, there have been cases where it has arrived before the sender.
We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and Lava Lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. As well, the island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus Pinnatifidus, and the Galapagos Milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 30-minute walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
Dry landing on Santa Cruz Island. In the mountains of Galapagos, it is possible to admire different kind of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat & muddy depending on season)
Activity Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk


After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.

---

Sample Itinerary: South + Central option - subject to changes

Day 1 (Wednesday): Arrival & San Cristobal Island Visit
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (2 ½ hours flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the Coral I or II.

This afternoon, dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Islands (on San Cristobal Island). Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about islands’ history in The Museum of Natural History which displays information about the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and the island’s colonization.
Activity Difficulty: easy /intermediate (flat terrain with stairs)
Activity Duration: 1-hour visit / 1-hour walk


Later that day, visit of Tijeretas Hill, which involves a high-intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour visit


Day 2 (Thursday): San Cristobal Island
After breakfast, wet landing at Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone that is composed of AA lava formations; it is close to a beautiful white sandy beach which is great for snorkeling and sunbathing. Nearby a lagoon ideal for migratory bird species can be seen, including black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, sandpiper, and white- cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, an islet in the adjacent southern coast of San Cristobal.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Later that day, wet landing followed by a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain on Pitt Point & Islet. The trail includes a 90 meters long, olivine beach and a path that climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff, through several magnificent viewpoints.  This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as, two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. It is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2½-hour walk/ 40-minutes snorkeling or kayaking


Day 3 (Friday): Espanola Island
We start our day with a dry landing on Suarez Point. Espanola is an island of geological interest, being one of the oldest in Galapagos, it has a high percentage of endemism due to its isolation from the rest of the islands. Due to the great variety of wildlife, this is one of the most attractive spots in the Galapagos. Here, it is possible to explore volcanic formations and see large colonies of sea lion and seabirds including the Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, and the spectacular red-billed tropicbirds. Here, the singular marine iguanas have a turquoise color with reddish parts during the breeding season, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally light-foot crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike brings visitors to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birdwatchers favorites include the Galapagos dove, the Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (April-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous “Soplador,” a seaward blowhole that shoots water up to 23 m. (75 ft.) into the air.
Activity Difficulty: difficult (rocky ground)
Activity Duration: 2½-hours walk

This afternoon, wet landing in Gardner Bay, a beautiful white coral sandy beach guarded by a colony of sea Lions. Here, there are no trails, so visitors stay along the shore, spotting the Galapagos hawk, the American oystercatcher, the Galapagos dove, hood mockingbirds, yellow warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin finches , cacti finch (Geospizafuliginosa), the small ground finch (Geospizafuliginosa) and the warbler finch (Certhideaolivacea). Swimming and snorkeling offers a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish and parrot fish.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hours walk / 1-hours snorkeling


Day 4 (Saturday): Floreana Island
Wet landing, on an olivine green, sanded beach: Cormorant Point. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white sandy beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach, one can spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in the search for food.
This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on, to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Activity Difficulty level: easy (sandy & flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


After lunch, wet landing in a location called Post Office. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay was named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them back to their destinations. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler, going to the letter destination, will take it back for free. The chances are that the letter posted can take a long time to arrive at its destination. However, there have been cases where it has arrived before the sender.
We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and Lava Lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. As well, the island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus Pinnatifidus, and the Galapagos Milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
Activity Difficulty: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 30-minute walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 5 (Sunday): Santa Cruz Island
Dry landing on Santa Cruz Island, this morning. In the mountains of Galapagos, it is possible to admire different kind of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat & muddy terrain depending on season)
Activity Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk


In the afternoon, dry landing and visit of the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Activity Difficulty: easy (flat terrain)
Activity Duration: 1½-hour walk


Day 6 (Monday): Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island) & Bartolome Island
In the morning, walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across a typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, there will be an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (rocky terrain)
Activity Duration: 2-hour walk


Dry or wet landing on Bartolome Island is scheduled for this afternoon. We discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon.  Going up to the summit there will be an impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer.
Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.
Activity Difficulty: intermediate (trail made of 372 steps)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


Day 7 (Tuesday): Rabida Island and Santiago Island
Also known as Jervis Island in English, Rabida is one of the most diverse in terms of volcanic activity as it lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic origin. In this deep red beach, surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones it is usual to find nesting colonies of brown pelicans, as well as, nine species of Darwin finches, fur seals, and Nazca boobies.
Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active and colorful.
Activity Difficulty level: easy (sandy terrain)
Activity Duration: 1 ½-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / 1-hour dinghy ride


This afternoon, visit of an amazing location: Buccaneers Cove, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions.  Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind.  Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors.  There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos.  In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles.  A good place to snorkel to see rays.
Activity Difficulty: easy (white sand terrain)
Activity Duration:1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling / beach time


Day 8 (Wednesday): Black Turtle Cove & Departure
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd form an internal lagoon: Black Turtle Cove. Turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while the fish and rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus seabirds including pelicans, herons, and egrets feed from the cove.
This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary.”
Activity Difficulty: easy
Activity Duration: 1-hour dinghy ride


After the visit, passengers will be transferred to the airport to their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
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Coral I & II Mega Yachts
Tour Code: ZZ-EC-GALP04
8 days / 7 nights ~$3,800.00
Dates: Available all Year

Trip Rating :
Level : Fitness Level
Difficulty Levels Explained
1. Easy
Easy pace and an average-to-sedentary level of fitness. You should be in good health and fit enough for full day of normal sightseeing and walking.
2. Easy to Moderate
An average level of fitness or some experience with the featured activity is recommended.
3. Moderate
Requires you to have performed the featured activity regularly, with some periods on challenging terrain. Activities are mandatory and you may be traveling at high elevations. You need to be in good health and physical condition to enjoy these trips, with adequate muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.
4. Demanding
You must be extremely physically fit and are expected to hike or ride four to six hours over steep or more rugged terrain.
5. Strenuous
Prolonged hiking/biking on moderate to difficult terrain (five to nine hours a day).
May include high altitude, rugged terrain etc..
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accomodation
Land Extension
Airport: Baltra
Activities:
Cruising, snorkeling, wildlife

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Image Gallery
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Climate
What To Bring
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