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Cruises

Corals I & II (C East; Sun to Wed)

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

4 days

Summary

This journey includes visits to Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Santa Fe, South Plaza and San Cristobal Galapagos Islands.

About the vessel:
M/Y Corals I and II offer passengers a comfortable and intimate base from which to explore the magnificent Galapagos Islands. Coral I accommodates 36 passengers and Coral II accommodates 20 passengers; all cabins have air conditioning and private facilities. Both vessels have ample sun decks, social areas, Jacuzzi and library for guest enjoyment. Corals cruise include full board, two daily guided excursions with optional activities such as snorkelling, kayaking, dinghy rides and daily diving tours for license-holding divers.

Contours Travel suggests a minimum stay of four nights to explore this area.

Highlights

  • See the following iconic species: Land Iguana, Nazca and Blue Footed Boobies, Giant Tortoise, Sea Lion, Galapagos Fridate, Sea Turtle, Marine Iguana, Galapagos Pelican, Darwin Finch, Galapagos Hawk and Mockingbird.
  • Appreciate firsthand the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Get to see the famous Galapagos giants. At the Charles Darwin Research Centre, you will be able to see the largest living species of tortoise.
  • Walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls.
  • Visit the lava fields and volcanoes that helped the formation of these islands.
  • Admire the incredible life under the sea, while snorkelling with rays, turtles, and reef sharks.
  • Get to see Galapagos marine iguanas, the world’s only marine lizards.
  • Wet suits & kayak rental available and scuba diving available on selected days of the itinerary.

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in seaview cabins with air-conditioning & private facilities
  • Two daily excursions to the islands, multilingual speaking naturalist guides
  • Open decks to observe flora and fauna, briefings, lectures and activities on board
  • All meals during the cruise days

ITINERARY

Day 1 Santa Cruz Isl./Galapagos Islands

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.

On arrival in Baltra, you will be picked up at the airport by your naturalist guides and taken on a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Corals I & II.

PM: Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.

Day 2 North Seymour/Galapagos Islands

AM: Mosquera Islet
Wet Landing, Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, the visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.

PM: North Seymour Island
Dry landing. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora.
An approximately two hours walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in-depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.

Day 3 South Plazas Isl./Galapagos Islands

AM: Santa Fe Island
Wet landing. Santa Fe shows white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.

PM: South Plaza Islet
Dry landing on the northern part of the Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest* surrounded by land and marine iguanas; as you reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls.
In South Plaza, there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. Approximately, there is a population of 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where you will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.

Day 4 San Cristobal Isl.

AM: Kicker Rock Circumnavigation & Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve (San Cristobal Island)
Kicker Rock can be seen directly from the vessel. In the sea northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is this ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava named Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock it is formed by two rocks approximately 148 m, named for its resemblance of a sleeping lion. It serves as home to many of the typical Galapagos sea animals, such as birds, sea lions, blue and Nazca boobies and frigate. With rare sightings of swallow turtle gulls, tropic birds, and pelicans.

Cerro Colorado is a dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. You will also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.

Afterwards you will be transferred directly to the airport to catch your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.

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