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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 and where you will meet the ship. From the airport, it is just a short bus and zodiac ride to the ship.
This small, flat, islet sits in the channel between Baltra and North Seymour. It is almost devoid of vegetation, but is home to one of the largest populations of sea lions in the islands. Its sandy expanse offers visitors the perfect opportunity to observe sea lion behavior. It is also a beautiful site to spot lava gulls, coastal birds, and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep your eyes peeled for occasional sightings of dolphins and orcas. Excursion options: Walk
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, cross a beautiful “white forest” of Palo Santo (incense) trees and Galapagos cotton plants. Excursion options: walk and swim.
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 sea birds. Excursion options: Zodiac, walk, swim, kayak, and snorkel.
Welcome to the small, laid-back island town of Puerto Villamil. Follow an interpretive trail, around secluded wetland lagoons to the Tortoise Center. Visitors can see both hatchling tortoises and 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..
The Wall of Tears measures 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.
Rich in history, this site is home to the post office barrel established in about 1793, where pirates, buccaneers, whalers and others could leave their mail to be picked up by outbound ships. The tradition continues today, as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.
The Baroness’ Viewing Point is the ideal place to take in the unique scenery that defines Floreana, and to learn about the intriguing history of the island, once inhabited by an indulgent baroness and her three lovers. Observe several marine species such as golden eagle rays, sea turtles, sea lions, mullets and occasionally Galapagos penguins on a zodiac ride around “La Loberia”. Excursion options: zodiac, walk, swim, snorkel.
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 popular nesting site for sea turtles. Check out the green-hued sand where you land! Excursion options: Walk and swim.
This bay provides a wonderful opportunity for ocean adventures. When snorkeling, tropical fish abound with frequent sightings of sea turtles, rays, sharks, sea stars, and sea lions if they’re in a playful mood. On a zodiac ride along the rocky shoreline keep an eye out for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, and frigate birds. Red-billed Tropicbirds nest in the crevices below prickly pear cacti. The rare Charles Mockingbird also makes its home here. Excursion options: Snorkel, zodiac.
Explore the eroded remains of a volcanic tuff cone and one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. Captain Fitzroy climbed to the top of the hill to scout out reefs. The favorite attraction here is the gorgeous white sand beach; a wonderful place to swim, snorkel or take a walk along the shoreline. Excursion options: Walk, swim, snorkel.
Kicker Rock or León Dormido, named for its characteristic shape similar to a boot or sleeping lion, is a dramatic sight with the remains of a volcanic tuff cone rising almost 148 m straight up out of the ocean. Erosion has split the rock into two parts, forming a narrow channel between. Circumnavigation provides the visitor with the best views of the rock. Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, and sea lions line the shore. Excursion options: Circumnavigation.
Named after its large colony of sea lions, visitors can observe and potentially interact with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. In addition, you may see blue-footed boobies, frigates, and even a catch glimpse of the islands’ second type of sea lion: The Fur Sea Lion. Excursion options: Walk, zodiac, snorkel.
The main population center of the islands, Puerto Ayora is home to the National Park Service tortoise-breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. You will have the opportunity to take a bus ride to the highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. Optional time for shopping will be available. Excursion options: Tortoise-breeding Center/Charles Darwin Center, Highlands.
Española is the oldest island in the Galapagos and 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. Excursion options include a long, rocky walk to look for Waved Albatrosses (March to January), and observing an impressive blowhole that spews water like a towering geyser.
The beach at Gardner Bay, with its sparkling white sand, offers one of the best places to relax and swim in the Galapagos. It is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions in the archipelago, and is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Three species of Darwin’s finches and Española Mockingbirds may also be seen here. Excursion options: Swim, snorkel, and kayak.
Daphne is a satellite volcanic cone located north of Santa Cruz Island. The crater floor is an important breeding site for blue-footed boobies. The cliff shore of the island is home for sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and tropical birds which can be observed during the circumnavigation of the island. Excursion options: Ship circumnavigation.
Baltra is home to the region’s main airport, and where you will fly out after a zodiac and bus ride to the airport.
Say “Hello” to a sense of community that can only be enjoyed on a small ship. The ultimate in intimate adventure travel in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Xploration is a stylish catamaran that features eight luxuriously cozy staterooms, each with a window or veranda to the world that offers up-close and personal views of this stunning destination. Be indulged with seamlessly intuitive service and every creature comfort possible. Your onboard certified naturalist and the rest of our dedicated staff will make your journey extraordinary!