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Day 1 - Baltra, Galapagos


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.

Chinese Hat Islet

This small volcanic islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island is shaped amazingly like a Chinese Hat, which in Spanish means "Sombrero Chino". It is formed of hardened lava and spatter cones, which make for excellent scenic photos. Several species of Darwin’s finches are found on the island and along the coast you will find the very colorful Sally light-foot crabs and sea lions. Excursion options: Walk and zodiac.

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.

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 Villamil, Isabela Island

Welcome to the small, laid-back island town of Puerto Villamil. An interpretive trail, approximately 1.5 km from town, takes you around secluded wetland lagoons to the Tortoise Center. The Center was created to protect baby tortoises from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys, as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise. Visitors can see both hatchling tortoises and the older breeding animals. The wetlands of Isabela Island are home to a variety of bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules, and flamingoes. Excursion options: Walk and swim.

Wall of Tears (Isabella)

The Wall is 15 to 20 feet (5-6m) high, 10 feet (3 m) wide, and approximately 300 feet (100 m) long. When jailed in a penal colony here between 1944 and 1959, prisoners were forced to build the wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. It is a lesson in history and a remnant of a cruel and intolerant time. Excursion options: Walk.

Post Office Bay, Isla Floreana

Rich in history, this site is home to the post office barrel established in about 1793 where whalers and others could leave their mail to be picked up by outbound ships. Continue the tradition and during our short visit post your own letter or post-cards at this early mail stop.

Cormorant Point, Isla Floreana

Floreana was the first capital of the Galapagos and where Charles Darwin met the islands' Governor. Its small brackish lagoon is often home to flamingos, stilts, and white-cheeked pintail ducks, and one of its beaches is a highly used nesting site for sea turtles. Check out the green-hued sand where you land! Excursion options include a relatively short walk to the lagoon and sea turtle-nesting beach, and optional snorkeling and swimming at the landing beach. In addition, for experienced snorkelers only we offer a deepwater snorkel at nearby Champion Island.

Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal

White sand juxtaposed with black volcanic rocks makes this beach another of the Galapagos's most spectacular. Along the shore are seabirds and sea lions. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and beach walk with optional swimming. Afterwards, just in time for a sunset cocktail, the ship will navigate the steep, richly colored walls of Kicker Rock, the spectacular remnants of a satellite volcanic cone.

Kicker Rock (San Cristobal)

Off the northwest coast of San Cristobal lies Kicker Rock, where thousands of years ago a volcanic eruption left behind enormous vertical rock faces that rise nearly 500 feet from the ocean. There are actually two volcanic rocks here, with a channel between where small boats can navigate. Nicknamed Sleeping Lion because of its shape, Kicker Rock is an important ecological monument as it's home to many species of nesting birds including frigates and blue-footed boobies. It's also magnificent for snorkeling as tropical fish are abundant and the water is crystal clear.

Los Lobos, San Cristobal

Los Lobos, San Cristobal Island - Named after its large colony of sea lions, this island usually allows visitors to observe and potentially interact with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. In addition, we may see blue-footed boobies, frigates, and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: The Fur Sea Lion. It is a seasonal nesting location for the blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Excursion options: Walk, zodiac, snorkel.

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.

Punta Suarez, Isla Espanola

Espanola is the oldest island in the Galapagos and is home to an abundance of wildlife. At this site, visitors can expect to see sea lions, Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, and both blue-footed and Nazca boobies. And between late March to the following January, the waved albatross come here to mate and raise their young. Excursion options include a long, rocky walk to look for albatross and observe an impressive blowhole that spews water like a towering geyser. A short, easier walk to observe much of this island's amazing wildlife is also offered.

Gardner Bay, Espanola

A long white sand beach and clear blue waters make this an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing on the beach. In the water, sea turtles, rays, colorful tropical fish, and maybe even a white-tip reef shark may be seen. It is also home to a colony of sea lions. Excursion options include beach walking, swimming or a deepwater snorkel for experienced snorkelers.

Daphne Island

The cliff shore of the island is home for sea lions, pelicans, blue footed boobies and tropic bird. In addition, large schools of fish can be observed from the zodiac rides

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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