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Itinerary

Day 1 - Baltra, Galapagos

EMBARK 3:00PM

Baltra, Galapagos

During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region's main airport.

Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island

A Zodiac ride into Black Turtle Cove, one of the most beautiful sites in the Galapagos, takes us through a complex maze of tranquil saltwater inlets surrounded by mangroves. Once inside the cove, we’ll quietly explore the area looking for sea turtles, several species of rays, and sharks. It is also a nesting site for brown pelicans, egrets, and herons. Excursion options: Zodiac.

Rabida Island, Galapagos

A small island south of Santiago, Rabida is best known for its red sand and eroded volcanic landscape. A nesting colony of pelicans makes its home here, along with sea lions and some seabirds. Excursion options include a zodiac ride and short walk, swimming and snorkeling from the beach, and a deepwater snorkel for more experienced snorkelers.

Puerto Egas (Galapagos)

With its sandy beach and black rock, blue-water grottos this stop offers a taste of Galapagos geology, some great snorkeling, and an opportunity to see shore birds and Galapagos fur seals. Excursion options include a long walk along the shore to the grottos to see fur seals, followed by optional swimming and snorkeling or a shorter coastal walk, and optional swimming and snorkeling.

Caleta Tagus, Isabela

Historically an anchorage for pirates and whalers, this site offers a breathtaking view of Isabela, its volcanoes, and a saltwater lagoon. Along the shore seabirds, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles and nesting flightless cormorants can often be found. Excursion options include a scenic zodiac ride for wildlife viewing, a long, faster-paced walk, and optional snorkeling.

Puerto Espinoza (Fernandina)

Here on Isla Fernandina, guests may walk on recent lava flows from La Cumbre volcano and also observe the flightless cormorant, one of the islands' best examples of evolution.

Urvina Bay, Isabela

Due to currents and upwelling, the water here is noticeably colder than in other parts of the Galapagos and in 1954, part of this area along Isabela’s coast was uplifted 12–15 feet just prior to an eruption. The remains of a coral reef raised during the uplift can still be found at Urvina Bay. On a long hike, you can ramble through the now high-and-dry corals of this once thriving reef or stick to a shorter version of the same hike and look for land iguanas, finches, and if luck holds, giant tortoises. Afterwards, if conditions allow, the black sand beach of Urvina Bay offers a chance for swimming and snorkeling. While in the water, you may see sea turtles and diving cormorants.

Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela

The half-collapsed remains of an ancient volcano make for a spectacular setting at this site. Awe-inspiring cliffs, blue waters, and wildlife create a zodiac ride to remember as we search for sea turtles, penguins, fur seals, the flightless cormorant, marine iguanas, marine mammals, and the oddly shaped form of the elusive sun fish.

Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

This is the main population center of the islands and home to the National Park Service tortoise breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will be able to visit the tortoise-breeding center and hopefully say hello to one of the island's most famous residents, Lonesome George, and walk through the Charles Darwin Station. You will also have the opportunity to take a bus ride to the Highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. There will also be free time available for shopping.

El Barranco, Genovesa Island

El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, named for Prince Philip who visited Galapagos in 1965 and again in 1981, is a steep stairway that leads up through a seabird colony full of Nazca and Red-footed Boobies. Once visitors reach the plateau, the trail continues inland and passes more nesting booby colonies in the thin Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and storm petrels. Lucky visitors with keen eyes may catch a glimpse of a Short-eared lava owl stalking petrel along the island's eastern cliffs. Excursion options: Hike, zodiac, deep water snorkel.

Darwin Bay, Genovesa

Darwin Bay's soft white sand is only the beginning of a spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red-footed boobies nest. Other local wildlife includes sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, and more. Snorkeling is a must here, as the nutrient-rich water attracts all types of marine life, including sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and the occasional manta ray. Excursion options: Walk, swim, snorkel and kayak.

Bartolome Island

Bartolome island hosts one of the region's most often photographed views and a spectacular geologic setting. Its barren moon-like volcanic landscapes, spatter cones, and pinnacle rock make for a unique stop. It is also home to the endemic Galapagos penguin and provides an excellent opportunity for snorkeling. Excursion options include a hike up some 360 stairs "To the Top" of the volcano, a zodiac ride, and an optional beach swim or snorkel.

Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz)

Dragon Hill, or "Cerro Dragon," is named after its population of land iguanas. The site offers a beautiful view of the landscape and two small brackish lagoons where flamingos and other shore birds occasionally feed. Along the trail, we'll cross a beautiful "white forest" of Palo Santo (incense) trees and Galapagos cotton plants. Excursion options include a high-intensity hike with swimming/snorkeling at the beach, high intensity snorkeling from a zodiac followed by a short walk and a low-intensity Zodiac ride along the coastline with optional dry landing for animal observation.

Las Bachas, Isla Santa Cruz

This is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in all of the Galapagos, and behind it are two small ponds that often have flamingos feeding in the shallows. It is also one of the largest nesting areas for the Pacific green sea turtle. Excursion options include a short beach walk to look for flamingos, followed by an optional opportunity to swim, snorkel, or just relax on the shore. It is also possible to simply go to the beach to swim, snorkel, and relax.

Baltra, Galapagos

During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region's main airport.

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