This four day Itinerary includes visits to Santa Cruz, Bartolome, Rabida and Santiago Galapagos Islands
About the vessel:
Both equally comfortable with thoughtful interior and exterior distributions, the Corals I & II twin yachts are attractively decorated, spacious vessels with cosy, fully equipped cabins. The ships have both open and interior spaces distributed on three decks, allowing you to have an intimate expedition experience. With a capacity for 36 and 20 guests respectively, there is no doubt that the thrill and comfort are guaranteed. Each cabin includes: safe, entertainment system with LCD TVs, hair dryer, and remodelled furniture in each cabin. Diving supplement available on selected departures.
Contours Travel suggests a minimum stay of four nights to explore this area.
Very early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Galapagos.
Your Galapagos Cruise include: Accommodation in selected cabin, all meals, Island sightseeing, Naturalist guides and lecture services in English, Snorkelling gear, shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife you will encounter.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests step from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Morning arrival to Baltra Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board your cruise. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
PM: Charles Darwin Station & Breeding Center
Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The centre is conducted by the Galapagos National Park staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station. Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborn tortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70s, more than 2000 specimens have returned to their own islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects, botanical research, providing environmental education to communities, schools within the Islands and tourists. If there is enough time, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora.
AM: Dragon Hill
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 important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighbouring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves. (Dry landing)
Discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones —as you hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colourful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkelling experiences; the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable. Pioneer plants are observed, so called because they are the first to establish roots on new ground. They include Tiquilia nesiotica (which is endemic to the island) and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. Behind the beach, there are dunes covered by mangroves. (Dry or wet landing)
Dark-red sand covers these unique beaches with the incredible landscape; Rabida is considered the epicentre of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting Brown Pelicans are found from July through September and nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can be seen. You will take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting seabirds, and snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active. (Wet landing)
PM: Buccaneers Cove & Espumilla Beach
This is an amazing location, 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. (Wet landing)
AM: Black Turtle Cove
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea where four species of mangrove crowd from the shore out into the lagoon, turtle enjoy swimming in the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface while fish, rays and small sharks circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets, all feed in the cove. This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary”. (Dinghy ride)
Afterwards you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back to the mainland.