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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.
North Seymour is a small island just north of Baltra. It is home to the largest colony of frigatebirds in the Galapagos. While keeping an eye out for male frigatebirds trying to impress potential mates with an inflated red neck pouch, you may see blue-footed boobies dancing in a timeless courtship ritual. Sea lions and large land iguanas also roam about this rocky terrain. Excursion options: Walk & deep-water snorkel.
One of two islands off Santa Cruz, South Plaza was born of upheaval, uplifted during a geologic event. The rocky island is strewn with prickly pear cactus and home to land iguanas, marine iguanas, and a colony of sea lions. Our excursion here is a short walk to view wildlife, flora, and geology.
Begin with a wet landing on the small beach in Barrington Bay. Large numbers of sea lions are found on the beaches and can often be seen surfing in the waves. Some of the island’s endemic species include massive Santa Fe Opuntia cactus, the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, finches, and the Galapagos Mockingbird. Hike past saltbush where Galapagos hawks and Santa Fe land iguanas tend to roam. Keep an eye out for sea lions and the occasional sea turtles or ray. Excursion options: Walk, swim, kayak, zodiac.
After disembarking onto the small green sand beach, hike up to a plateau, where the view and landscape are so spectacular it is well worth the effort. A steep gully leads up the cliff to a breeding ground for all three varieties of boobies: Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca. It’s the only place in the Galapagos where you can see all three species nesting together. Excursions options: Hike, kayak, snorkel, Zodiac.
Visit the small waterfront town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the administrative capital of the islands. Excursion options: a tour of a local interpretation center and time for shopping or a fast-paced long walk to view scenic vistas, followed by a visit to the interpretation center.
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.
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 frigatebirds. Red-billed Tropicbirds nest in the crevices below prickly pear cacti. The rare Charles Mockingbird also makes its home here. You can also head out on a short hike over a small hill and across the island, where you may find the elusive flamingos in a brackish pond and visit a popular sea turtle nesting site on a fine white sand beach.Excursion options: Snorkel, short hike, zodiac.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the furthest points in the Galapagos visited on our cruise. Enter a sheltered cove accessible only by Zodiac. It is a wonderful and secluded mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge, resting, and feeding site for sea turtles, rays, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, lava herons, and more. Excursion options: zodiac.
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 be able to visit the breeding center and walk through the Research 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. In addition, you will have an exclusive opportunity to participate in the Scalesia reforestation project.
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, sea lions and maybe even a white-tip reef shark may be seen. Excursion options: beach walking, swimming, or a deep-water snorkel for experienced snorkelers.
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. Optional shorter walk is also available.
Baltra is home to the region’s main airport, and where you will fly out after a zodiac and bus ride to the airport.
When you set foot aboard our 48-passenger Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos Islands, be prepared for an experience like no other. Filled with indulgences, including room service, in-suite dining, massage services, complimentary plush bathrobes, a fitness room, nightly lectures by certified naturalists from the Galapagos National Park (who are on board during your entire vacation), and live music in the Discovery Lounge, you’ll experience the Galapagos Islands with style.